Of course, walking away with NZ$40,000 is an incentive, but the First Prize of the Michael Hill is so much more than a cash award.

Fulfilling our promise of lifting your musicianship and helping to launch your career; if you win, we provide you with a suite of tools to help you achieve this including a recording on the Atoll Label, a personally-crafted suit or gown from a New Zealand designer, a New Zealand-inspired pendant from Christine Hill’s Spirit Bay Collection and the incomparable Winner’s Tour.

Every Michael Hill winner has said that their Winner’s Tour was the most significant part of their prize package because it provided an opportunity unlike any other to develop and test their artistry in a thrilling pressure-cooker experience – a multi- week performance tour of New Zealand and Australia with recitals, a concerto and a recording.

With bespoke professional development proffered and opportunities to test your emergent skills in safe settings, you will leave Aotearoa New Zealand a stronger, more insightful, and road-tested artist.

Past winners have developed skills and confidence in public speaking, branding, stage presence, media training, maintaining and managing influential stakeholders, stress management, etc.

Mairéad Hickey. Photo Andi Crown

1st Prize:

NZ $40,000 cash

+ Recording on the Atoll Label

+ Winner’s Tour in 2024
presented in partnership with Chamber Music New Zealand, and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

+ Personalised Professional Development Programme

+ Michael Hill gold and diamond pendant from Christine Hill’s Spirit Bay Collection, based on iconic New Zealand shell the Totorere.

First Prize Donor: Michael Hill International 

2nd Prize

NZ $10,000 cash

3rd Prize

NZ $5,000 cash

donated by Ian & Agi Lehar-Graham

4th Place

NZ $3,000 cash

donated by Julian & Lizanne Knights

5th Place

NZ $2,000 cash

donated by Jing Song

6th Place

NZ $1,000 cash

donated by John Boscawen

Best Performance of NZ Commissioned Work

NZ $2,000 cash

donated by Mark & Wendy McGuinness

Chamber Music Prize

NZ $2,000 cash

donated by Frances Bell

Michael Hill Audience Prize

NZ $500 cash

Sheila Smith Prize - Violin Loan

A three-year loan of a fine violin – a Domenico Montagnana of Venice Italy circa 1735-39.

donated by Rare Violins of New York


All qualifying quarter-finalists receive travel to Queenstown and Auckland New Zealand.