Hamilton teacher Amy Maynard wins 2024 Gold Guitar Award

A first-time contestant has taken out Aotearoa’s top country music prize – the coveted Gold Guitar Award.

Amy Maynard, a part-time teacher in Hamilton, won the judges over with a tear-jerking rendition of Whakaaria Mai (How Great Art Thou), which she performed in the gospel section to a roaring crowd at the Gore Town and Country Stadium on Sunday night.

Maynard dedicated the song to her pāpā, David Thompson, who was a member of the Gisborne Country Music Club when she was growing up.

Maynard was visibly emotional after accepting the award and says the song means a lot to her.

“To me, Whakaaria Mai means inclusivity. This song that won me the award, it’s taking te ao Māori, and country music, and gospel, which are three things I absolutely love, and smashing them all into one lovely little thing.

“I would do it forever. I love that song.”

As part of the prize package, Maynard will head to the Tamworth Country Music Festival in Australia next year – and she hopes to take her reo with her.

“When I’m over there, I’ll try and slip some te reo into my songs, slide it in on the downlow.”

Gold Guitar winner Amy Maynard thanked her sister, who she said had chosen all her songs.

Maynard has wanted to participate in the Gold Guitars all her life.

“I’ve heard about the Gold Guitars since I was a baby. It was the place you would aspire to go and be, and I heard that the calibre down here and the level of who would sing and who would play was incredible, so I wanted to come down and be a part of it.

“I could never afford to come until this year, so it’s a really good feeling, and now I get to go to Tamworth and I’m so excited, I’ve never been there either.”

Maynard says she has her sister to thank for the big win on Sunday night.

“My sister actually chose the songs that I sang. She said, and I quote, if I were to win, I’d have to share the prize money with her, so I’m gonna have to fork some of that out for her.

As part of the Gold Guitar prize, Amy Maynard will go to the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2025.

“I’m feeling grateful, thankful to all the judges who chose me, which is crazy. I’ve worked hard to be here, so this is amazing to finally win something. I’m on cloud nine.”

Maynard also took home Gold Guitar awards for the gospel and New Zealand song sections, while Gore harmonica player Brendon Fairbairn won overall runner up, after being the only finalist in the instrumental section.

Other winners on the night include:

  • Traditional, Singer/Songwriter: Nicola Mitchell, Gore
  • Vocal Group: The Dollys, Invercargill
  • Male Vocal Solo: Jon Collins, Australia
  • Female Vocal Solo: Sadie Wech, Otautau
  • New Country: Maddison Connor, Nelson
  • Duet: Renee and Madeline, Dunedin
  • Country Rock: The Mitchell Twins, Gore

The 49th annual Gold Guitar Awards were held in Gore over King’s Birthday weekend.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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