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The award showcases unrecorded country songs by musicians from Australia and New Zealand.
Among the 10 short-listed are If You Were a Bird by Gore’s Jenny Mitchell and Tired as a Possum by her father Ron Mitchell.
New Zealand Country Music Awards committee chairman Jeff Rea said he was ‘‘delighted" the pair had made it to the finals.
"It’s an indicator of their abilities because now ... the calibre is really high," Mr Rea said.
A total of 117 people entered the competition.
"Some very, very well-established writers entered material this year. Some are in the top 10 and some aren’t, but it indicates the stature the award is garnering.
"I’m amazed at the ever-increasing standard of songs entered."
Australian finalist Eric Reid would be travelling to Gore to take part in the event.
"As long as [Covid-19] doesn’t rear its head again that’s going to be a reality, so that’s pretty exciting."
Finalists would perform before a winner was announced at the New Zealand Country Music Awards at the St James Theatre on June 3.
Winners of the Tui award for Recorded Music NZ Best Country Artist and APRA Best Country Song would also be announced.
The 10 finalists in the 2021 MLT Songwriting Award are:
- Look But Don’t Touch – Marian Burns (Auckland)
- Gonna Turn – Nicky Moran (Hamilton)
- If You Were a Bird – Jenny Mitchell (Gore)
- Imperfect Lovers – Mia Jay (Napier)
- Trouble Finds a Girl – Jenny Mitchell (Gore), Tami Neilson (Auckland), Chris Wethey (Christchurch) and Tali Enjalas Jenkinson (Christchurch)
- Old Bones and New Strings – Carylann Martin (Otaki)
- Alexandra Road – Chad Robinson (Queenstown)
- What It Does – Michael Young (Auckland) Dixie Dolejs (Auckland)
- Downsizing – Eric Reid (Pelican Waters, Australia)
- Tired as a Possum – Ron Mitchell (Gore)