The public almost outnumbered the music industry for the first time at this year's New Zealand Music Awards -- and the organizers couldn't be happier. The Vodafone-sponsored "Tuis" were held at the Vector Arena in Auckland on Wednesday night (Oct. 8) and were dominated by Flight of the Conchords and Opshop, both of whom bagged four awards apiece.

The 43rd awards were also the biggest yet, with around 2,300 members of the public joining leading industry figures and celebrities at the event. Guest presenters included visiting Spearhead frontman Michael Franti and New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark; the total turnout for the industry's premier award event of the year was around 5,000.

Campbell Smith, organizer and chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand, was delighted with the way the show went and the large turnout from the public. He hopes that arena events will become the norm for the awards.

"I think it works well and the producers of the show did a terrific shop in making it work in the arena," he told "I was also thrilled by the support from the public."

The awards themselves were dominated by two very different Kiwi acts. Comedy duo Flight Of The Conchords made a clean sweep in all three categories they were nominated in -- album of the year, best group, break-through artist -- and also shared the international achievement award with hip hop sensation Savage.

The Sub Pop act are currently shooting the second season of their HBO comedy series and were unable to attend in person. However, their deadpan pre-recorded acceptance speeches went down a treat with the crowd: "We're barely even a real group," quipped Jermaine Clement on receiving the best group award, with partner Bret McKenzie, adding, "There's only two of us -- Phoenix Foundation should have won that."

They shared the international achievement award with Dawn Raid's Savage, whose single "Swing" has been an international hit. Smith says: "We don't have an international achievement award each year, we only do it when there is need to do it. So to award two this year was particularly pleasing."

The other big winner on the night was Siren act Opshop, which picked up single of the year for "One Day." The smash hit also nabbed the prizes for highest selling and most played radio song, while their album "Second Hand Planet" was the biggest selling album.

In other awards, Liam Finn (Liberation) and Anika Moa (EMI) won the best male and female artist for their albums "I'll Be Lightning" and "In Swings The Tide," respectively. Recloose's "Perfect Timing" (Loop) was named best electronica album, Shihad won best rock album for "Beautiful Machine" (Warner Music), and Scribe took out the best urban/hip hop album prize for "Rhymebook" (Dirty Records).

Tiki Taane, who received eight nominations, had to settle for the best Aotearoa roots album for his solo debut. However, his live performance with Maori kappa haka group Te Pou o Mangatawhiri was one of the highlights of the night, along with Scribe's collaboration with funk outfit Open Souls and a cover of the Straitjacket Fits' "She Speeds" by Fast Women, a one-off all-girl local supergroup headed up by Fur Patrol's Julia Deans and Anika Moa.

Straitjacket Fits became the third act to be inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.