The Pavs: NZ Game Awards is a night to celebrate the exceptional games created by New Zealanders. It's about highlighting the amazing experiences people are creating in our community. To this end, the NZGF committee supports transparency in how the awards work and we want to take this opportunity to share it with you.

game awards schedule for 2024

March 15th 2024: Submissions open 

April 31st 2024: Submissions close 

June 1st 2024: Finalists notified

July 2024: Winners will be announced at The Pavs awards night

August 2024: Feedback from Judges/Jury sent out

the judging process for the game awards

While The Pavs are organised by NZGF, the judges are independent volunteers. These volunteers have graciously given large amounts of their time to review the submissions.

The Judges are invited from our community both in New Zealand and in Australia. The Judging Managers from the NZGF committee reviews past judges, brings in new judges and selects applicants from those who are interested in becoming a judge. Past judges have been invited back and invited to suggest others. New judges are invited because of their unique perspective or work they have done for the community.

The number of these judges ranges each year and is dependent on the number of award submissions. Our list of judges for 2024 will go live during April 2024.

Once game submissions are completed, these Judges receive a list of games to vote on. This list is first reviewed by the Judging Manager to resolve any conflicts of interest. Before Judges can vote on a game they must also certify that they are not aware of any conflicts of interest. If any conflicts exist, they are not allowed to vote on the game and a new submission is supplied to them to review in its place.

Over the judging period, the Judges take time to carefully review each submission. They will cast their votes by the end of the voting period, and finalists are determined from the vote totals. 

The Judging Manager invites additional standup developers to become a special Jury to select the winners from the finalists. These members of the Jury are not affiliated with any of the finalists in their judging categories. 

The grand prize category nominees are given to the Jury to resolve and vote on before the rest of the categories. The winner of the grand prize then becomes ineligible for the remaining categories. Following Grand Prize selection the members of the jury are assigned an entire award category, often multiple award categories. The Jury decides on the winner per category.

If a Juror has a conflict of interest they are not allowed to vote on any of the games within that category.

the judging process for the community awards

The Community Pavs follow a slightly different process than the rest of the Pavs. Individuals are nominated by the public for the 2 awards, Te Maunga Kai Kapua (Teina) Unsung Hero and Te Maunga Kai Kapua (Tuakana) – Industry Pillar. The open call for nominations are announced on the festival’s social media and can be found on the festival’s website.

Once nominations are open they remain open for a minimum of 2 months, see the nominations page for more details on the exact dates. During this time, the public can make as many nominations as they want. Multiple people entering the same nominee does not increase their chances of winning.

Once nominations are closed, the NZGF Judging Manager reviews the list and makes sure that all nominations meet the eligibility criteria, if they are then all eligible candidates and their information are sent on to the Selection Team. 

The Selection Team consists of: the current Board of Directors of NZ Games Festival, and any invited Community Pavs winners from previous years that are invited by the board.

This Selection Team discusses and decides who the winners should be and passes the choices back to the NZGF Judging Manager. The winners are contacted a minimum of 1 month before the Awards night. Community Pavs winner awards are posted on NZGF website.

The winners are asked to come on stage to accept the award during the Pav Awards night. A short thank you speech is customary. A free ticket to the Awards night will be provided to the winners.

sponsorship in relation to the pavs

NZGF receives no sponsorship or donations for the awards judging process. We ensure the judging process remains independent by:

  • Having the judging managed by one committee member, and awards night co-ordinated by another.
  • Requiring any judges with ties to a sponsor to abstain from voting on any of that organisation’s submissions.
  • Excluding sponsors from participating in the final Jury.

Questions? Please contact

We hope that knowing more about the process will help everyone appreciate just how much each of our award winners has earned their spot on the stage. So follow @nzgamesfest on twitter, plan your Awards outfit, and be ready to enjoy a night of celebration of our wonderful community!