Two artists with debut solo albums lead the list of nominations for this year's New Zealand Music Awards (NZMA), popularly known as the Tuis and due to be handed on Oct. 8.

Tiki Taane, the former frontman of NZ reggae/drum'n'bass act Salmonella Dub, is a finalist in six categories, while Liam Finn, once with Betchadupa and son of Crowded House's Neil Finn, has picked up four nods.

Other multiple nominees include Grammy Award-winning comedy act Flight Of The Conchords; alternative rock act Shihad, and rock band The Phoenix Foundation, all of whom are finalists in three categories, plus singer/songwriter Anika Moa and Kiwi hip hop act Scribe, who have two nominations apiece.

In the best album category, Taane's "Past, Present and Future" (Dirty Records) and Finn's "I'll be Lightning" (Liberation) will be up against Flight Of The Conchords' self-titled Sub Pop album, Moa's "In Swings the Tide" (EMI) and Scribe's "Rhymebook" (Dirty Records).

All told, 14 awards based on votes by New Zealand music industry executives and the public will be awarded on the night. Other awards based on sales and airplay will also be presented, as will the publicly-voted "People's Choice" honor.

The awards ceremony will also see veteran alt-rock act According to Straitjacket Fits inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, which was launched last year.

The now-defunct Flying Nun act, which in 1993 was briefly signed to Arista for the U.S., is the second-ever winner of RIANZ's Herald Legacy Award; the first recipient, pioneering Kiwi rocker Johnny Devlin, was honored last year.

RIANZ has already announced the winners of this year's technical awards, with Lee Prebble picking up the best engineer and best producer awards for his work on Phoenix Foundation's "Happy Endings" (Flying Nun). Best album cover went to Goodnight Nurse's "Keep Me On Your Side" (Warner Music).

The awards ceremony, sponsored by Vodafone New Zealand, will be transmitted live by national terrestrial/cable/satellite music TV channel C4.

RIANZ CEO Campbell Smith, "It is great to see a wide mix of established and newer artists named as finalists, once again recognizing the depth and breadth of New Zealand music talent across the full range of genres."

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