Prize details

Niland Prize in Jazz Composition


$250 (subject to available funds)

Closing date:

Entries close 30 October (see details in next section)


One prize will be awarded annually to an NZSM student, who (a) is enrolled in jazz papers, (b) intends to continue her/his studies in the next academic year, and (c) submits the best composition in a jazz idiom.

Where relevant, preference may be given to composers who are also performers as well as to those writing in jazz styles which reference or develop the jazz standard form that the Ruth and Joe Niland loved.


This prize was established in 2012 via the Victoria University Foundation by John M Niland, artist and musician, to support students studying jazz in the Te Koki; New Zealand School of Music (NZSM). The award is in memory of his parents, Ruth and Joe Niland, who were both keen admirers of what is described as the Great American Songbook, an informally recognised collection of influential and important jazz standards. Both Ruth and Joe Niland were interested in the development of the local Wellington music scene and were enthusiastic supporters of the family's art and music interests.

Selection will be made by the NZSM Scholarships Committee and decisions will be based on the quality of jazz compositions.

No award will be made in any year in which the NZSM considers there is no candidate of sufficient merit. If in any year the prize is not awarded, the funds may be used in a subsequent year.

Only in exceptional circumstances will a student be awarded the prize more than once.

Recipients will participate in a performance of their composition at the NZSM, to which the donor will be invited.

Recipients will be asked to write a letter of thanks, which will be forwarded appropriately.