Arts Foundation of New Zealand

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Arts Foundation of New Zealand
Arts Foundation of New Zealand logo
Legal statusCharity
PurposeFund-raising and providing grants for arts, culture and heritage
Region served
New Zealand
NZD 1.12m (2010)

A facilitator of private philanthropy, the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Te Tumu Toi supports artistic excellence through raising funds for the arts and allocating it to New Zealand artists across multi platforms.

The foundation produces award programmes that provide recognition and a money prize to New Zealand artists working in across all art forms. This includes writers, fine artists, musicians, dancers, choreographers, theatre-makers and screen artists.[1][2]


The Arts Foundation started in 1998. In 2002 Simon Bowden was appointed to director and in 2003 they held their first awards.[3][4] By 2008 the Arts Foundation had established an endowment fund of $6 million and donated $3 million to over 100 artists across arts disciplines.[5]

In 2012 the Arts Foundation launched Boosted a crowdsourced funding platform.[6] The Arts Foundation Awards celebrate achievement in an artists career. Donations come from Patrons of the Arts Foundation and other sources and are awarded directly to artists at the annual New Zealand Arts Awards.[1]

Promotion of the arts is also part of the mandate of the Ats Foundation. In September 2019, the Arts Foundation launched the first New Zealand Arts Month. This campaign was supported by Creative NZ, Chartwell Trust, NZME, Phantom and Go Media.[3]


There is no application for the awards, artists are selected by an independent panel of arts peers or curators so recipients of awards are selected without their knowing they are under consideration by independent panels. The arts foundation administers this process.[7][8]

The Icon Awards, Whakamana Hiranga recognise a lifetime of achievement. Artists considered to have prominence and outstanding potential receive The Laureate Award. Artists in the early stages of their career were selected to receive a New Generation Award, and now receive a Springboard Award and mentorship from a Laureate or Icon.[3]

In partnership, the foundation produces the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award, of $25,000NZD to assist the career of a photographer, and the Harriet Friedlander Residency, which is a residency in New York valued at $80,000NZD.

The Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award was presented for the first time in 2011. The award is presented every two years to a children's book illustrator with published work of a high standard and includes a cash gift of $15,000.[9][10]

The Arts Foundation also administers the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship awarding a residency to Menton in France for a writer.[11][7]

Supporters of the arts are also recognised. Every year an individual, couple or trust is honoured with the Award for Patronage and are gifted $20,000NZD by the foundation to distribute to artists or art projects of their choice. From time to time the foundation honours an individual or institution that has contributed to the arts through the Governors' Award.

Icon Award[edit]

The 2013 recipients of Arts Foundation Icon Awards, at a reception at Government House, Wellington. Left to right: Cliff Whiting, Jacqueline Fahey, Geoff Murphy, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Ian Athfield.

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand established the Icon Awards as a means to celebrate and acknowledge New Zealand art-makers who have achieved the highest standards of artistic expression.[12]

Limited to a living circle of 20, Icons are pioneers and leaders from all arts disciplines, living and working around the world. To date, 41 artists have been acknowledged as Icons. In 2003, eight artists were honoured, followed by one in 2004, seven in 2005, five in 2007, five in 2011, five in 2013, two in 2015, five in 2018, and three in 2020.[13]

Each Icon receives a medallion and pin designed by sculptor John Edgar. The recipient is gifted the pin in perpetuity, while the medallion is presented to a successor at a future Icon Award ceremony following the artist's death.

In 2008 the Arts Foundation began commissioning oral histories from Icons. In time, the foundation hopes that an oral history will be deposited with the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington covering the life of each Icon artist. This will ensure the artists' stories are on public record and available for future generations.

In October 2020, multiple allegations of historical sexual abuse were made against composer Jack Body, who had received the award in 2015 shortly before his death, by a number of his former students.[14] In November 2020, the allegations were described by Victoria University as "very credible", and the Arts Foundation announced that it had suspended Body's status as an Arts Icon while it "awaited further information".[15]

Living Icons[edit]

Name Portrait Year of award Age Discipline
1 Sir Miles Warren
Miles Warren ONZ 2009 (cropped).jpg 2003 92 Architect
2 Maurice Gee Maurice Gee.jpg 2003 89 Novelist
3 Sir Donald McIntyre
2004 88 Opera singer
4 Russell Kerr
2005 90–91 Choreographer
5 Patricia Grace
2005 83–84 Writer
6 Ans Westra
2005 85 Photographer
7 Dame Gillian Weir
2011 80 Organist
8 Greer Twiss
Greer Twiss (cropped).jpg 2011 83–84 Sculptor
9 Sir Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson ONZ (cropped).jpg 2011 59 Filmmaker
10 Jacqueline Fahey
Jacqueline Fahey (cropped).jpg 2013 91–92 Painter
11 Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
Kiri Te Kanawa 2013 (cropped).jpg 2013 77 Opera singer
12 Jim Allen
2015 98–99 Visual artist
13 Albert Wendt
Albert Wendt ONZ (cropped).jpg 2018 81 Writer
14 Billy Apple
Billy Apple 2018 (cropped).jpg 2018 85 Visual artist
15 Fred Graham
Fred Graham 2018 (cropped).jpg 2018 92–93 Carver and sculptor
16 Bill Manhire
Bill Manhire.jpg 2018 74 Writer
17 Dame Gillian Whitehead
Gillian Whitehead DCNZM (cropped).jpg 2018 80 Composer
18 Joy Cowley
Joy Cowley ONZ (cropped).jpg 2020 84 Writer
19 Sam Neill
Sam Neill 2017 (cropped).jpg 2020 73 Actor
20 Sandy Adsett
Sandy Adsett (cropped).jpg 2020 Visual artist

Deceased Icons[edit]

Name Portrait Year of award Date of death Discipline
Hone Tuwhare 2003 16 January 2008 Poet
Diggeress Te Kanawa
2003 30 July 2009 Weaver
Ralph Hotere
Ralph Hotere (cropped).jpg 2003 24 February 2013 Painter
Janet Frame
2003 29 January 2004 Writer
Milan Mrkusich
2003 13 June 2018 Visual artist
Len Castle
2003 29 September 2011 Potter
Peter Godfrey
2005 28 September 2017 Musician
Alexander Grant
2005 30 September 2011 Ballet dancer
Pakaariki Harrison
2005 29 December 2008 Carver
Margaret Mahy
Margaret Mahy at the Kaiapoi Club, 27 July 2011, smiling (digitally altered).jpg 2005 23 July 2012 Writer
Donald Munro
2005 18 January 2012 Opera singer
Don Selwyn
2007 13 April 2007 Actor
Don Peebles
2007 27 March 2010 Painter
Arnold Manaaki Wilson
Arnold Wilson MNZM (cropped).jpg 2007 1 May 2012 Sculptor
Raymond Boyce
2007 1 August 2019 Theatre designer
Barbara Anderson 2011 24 March 2013 Writer
Marti Friedlander
Marti Friedlander (cropped).jpg 2011 14 November 2016 Photographer
Sir Ian Athfield
Ian Athfield Arts-foundation-icon-awards-2013-006 (cropped).jpg 2013 16 January 2015 Architect
Geoff Murphy
Geoff Murphy (cropped).jpg 2013 3 December 2018 Filmmaker
Cliff Whiting
Cliff Whiting (cropped).jpg 2013 3 December 2018 Artist and heritage advocate
Jack Body
(currently suspended)
Jack Body.jpeg 2015 10 May 2015 Composer

Laureate Award[edit]

To start with there were five artists honoured annually at the New Zealand Arts Awards ceremony receiving a Laureate Award of a NZ$50,000 grant each and a commissioned sculpture by Terry Stringer. No awards were awarded in 2018, and in 2019 the amount of the prize changed to NZ$25,000, new partnerships and awards were introduced and the Laureate Award will be given to up to ten practising artists.[16]

Named awards[edit]

Established in 2019:

  • The Theresa Gattung Female Arts Practitioners Award (awarded every year)
  • The Burr/ Tatham Trust Award (awarded every second year)
  • Gaylene Preston Documentary Film Makers Award (NZ$30,000 awarded every second year)

Established in 2020:

  • The Sir Roger Hall Theatre Award (NZ$25,000 awarded every second year, smaller amounts awarded to more people the other year)
  • The My Art Visual Arts Award (awarded every year)
  • Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Award

Laureate Artists are New Zealanders practicing in any arts discipline, located anywhere in the world. The criteria has changed away from the terminology of 'best' which is subjective in the arts, instead focusing on the significance of work and the impact on New Zealand.[17][18] The Arts Foundation website states:

Arts Foundation Laureate Awards celebrate and empower New Zealand’s most outstanding practising artists - artists whose practise also has an impact on New Zealand.[19]

Laureates are able to use their award in any way they choose, for example, in the creation of new works, or the freedom to concentrate time and resources into the development of their career.[20]



New Generation Award[edit]

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand New Generation Awards, celebrate artists’ early achievements through an investment in each recipient’s career. Biennially, five artists are awarded $25,000NZD each, and a sculpture designed by glass artist Christine Cathie. Although still at an early stage of their career, the artists will have already demonstrated excellence and innovation through their work.

Similar to other Arts Foundation Awards, the New Generation Award may be presented to an artist working in any arts discipline. Teacher, critic, theorist and organiser of contemporary creative practices, Jon Bywater (Auckland) curated the award in 2006, while writer, teacher, painter, curator Gregory O'Brien (Wellington) undertook the role in 2008 and arts radio journalist Lynn Freeman in 2010.[21]


  • Jeff Henderson, Music
  • Alex Monteith, Visual Arts*
  • Madeleine Pierard, Music
  • Jo Randerson, Literature
  • Pippa Sanderson, Literature
  • Kushana Bush, Visual Arts
  • Kip Chapman, Theatre
  • SJD (Sean James Donnelly), Music

Springboard Award[edit]

From 2020 a Springboard award is given to up to ten emerging artists. This consists of NZ$15,000 and mentoring from one of the alumni of Arts Foundation Laureates, Icons, New Generation, residency or Fellowship recipients. Criteria relates to potential for a sustainable career.[22]


  • Min-Young Her - performance art, sculpture
  • Matasila Freshwater - writer, director
  • Ayesha Green - visual arts (painter)
  • Arjuna Oakes - musician
  • Moana Ete - writer, film maker, musician, curator
  • Bala Murali Shingade - film maker, writer, theatre maker

Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award[edit]

The inaugural Mallinson Rendel Illustrators award, initially worth $10,000 occurred in 2011. It has been awarded every two years up to 2017, and has increased in value.


Award for Patronage[edit]

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand Award for Patronage is made annually to a person, couple, or private trust for the outstanding private contributions they have made to the arts. The Award for Patronage is presented by Perpetual Trust.

As a community of artists and arts supporters, the Arts Foundation honours those who contribute significantly as patrons. Annually, a donation of $20,000NZD from the Arts Foundation is provided to the recipient of this award for them to distribute to artists, arts projects or arts organisations of their choice. Philanthropists Denis and Verna Adam (2006), Dame Jenny Gibbs (2007), Lady Gillian and Sir Roderick Deane (2008),[26] Adrienne, Lady Stewart (2009) and Gus & Irene Fisher (2010) have been recipients. All recipients have chosen to double the funds for distribution through a matching contribution of $20,000NZD, with Gus and Irene Fisher donating $30,000NZD of their own funds, meaning an annual distribution of up to $50,000NZD. Recipients have also chosen to distribute an amount of $10,000 each to artists and /or arts projects

Governors' Award[edit]

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand Governors' Award recognises an individual or institution that has contributed in a significant way to the development of the arts and artists in New Zealand. The recipients are chosen by Arts Foundation Governors, with each recipient receiving a plaque designed by Auckland artist Jim Wheeler.

To date two awards have been made:

The inaugural recipient was the University of Otago in recognition of its contribution to the arts community through its Burns, Hodgkins and Mozart Fellowships. The three Fellowships were set up through the generosity of anonymous benefactors and have subsequently been funded by additional grants to maintain their value.

The second presentation was made to Concert FM (now Radio New Zealand Concert). The Arts Foundation of New Zealand Governors recognised the contribution that Concert FM has made in supporting New Zealand composers, musicians, writers and actors at a national level. The Arts Foundation also acknowledged Concert FM's contribution to the arts through its recording collaborations and the Douglas Lilburn Prize (a joint initiative between Concert FM and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra).

In 2009 a third presentation was made to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth. In making their selection, Arts Foundation Governors acknowledged the commitment by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery to the cause of contemporary art, particularly from Aotearoa New Zealand, over the last four decades.

Marti Friedlander Photographic Award[edit]

The Marti Friedlander Photographic Award, supported by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand is presented every two years to an established photographer with a record of excellence and the potential to carry on producing work at high levels. The award includes a donation of $25,000NZD for the photographer to use as they please.

The inaugural recipient selected and announced by Marti Friedlander, was Edith Amituanai – a widely exhibited artist and a finalist in a number of awards, including the 2008 Walters Prize. Extended family and immediate community are primary subjects for Edith; she collaborates closely with her Christchurch and Auckland relatives as well as people she grew up with in West Auckland.[27]

John Miller (an independent social documentary photographer, renowned particularly for his protest images) and Mark Adams (a photographer working with subjects of cross-cultural significance) were joint recipients in 2009.


Harriet Friedlander Residency[edit]

On 26 June 2008, the Harriet Friedlander Scholarship Trust and the Arts Foundation launched a new international residency.[28] A supporter of the arts, Harriet Friedlander also loved the vibrant culture of New York. When Michael and Harriet Friedlander and their sons Jason and Daniel designed the residency, Harriet was clear that she did not want to place any expectations or responsibilities on the recipient. An artist was to be sent to New York to have an "experience", all expenses paid, so that they could immerse themselves in the culture and process it in their own way.

One of the most generous residencies offered to a New Zealand artist, up to $80,000NZD is made available every two years for their travel and living expenses. This opportunity is available to an artist aged 30 to 40, practicing in any discipline. The inaugural curator was Gregory O'Brien and the inaugural recipient was filmmaker Florian Habicht. Visual artist Seung Yul Oh was selected in 2010 by arts journalist Lynn Freeman.



  1. ^ a b "Artists". Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Creative superstars wearing their arts on their sleeves". NZ Herald. 30 August 2019. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Backing artists to make their mark". Arts Foundation. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  4. ^ "Arts Funders convening". Philanthropy New Zealand, Tōpūtanga Tuku Aroha o Aotearoa. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  5. ^ Linnell, Amanda (20 October 2010). "Simon Bowden's favourite things". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Crowdfunding for the arts". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
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  9. ^ "The Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award". The Arts Foundation. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  10. ^ "2017 NEW ZEALAND ARTS AWARDS RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED!". The Arts Foundation. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship". Arts Foundation. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  12. ^ "New Zealand Book Council". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  13. ^ "The Arts Foundation Icon Award". The Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  14. ^ Mau, Alison. "Art or abuse? Historical allegations surface about beloved music icon Jack Body". Stuff NZ. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  15. ^ Mau, Alison (16 November 2020). "Victoria University launches reparation plan for survivors of famous composer's alleged sex abuse".
  16. ^ Wilson, Hannah (3 May 2019). "The Arts Foundation announce new strategic direction". Arts Foundation of New Zealand. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Arts Foundation Awards Selection Process". Arts Foundation. Archived from the original on 27 September 2020. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  18. ^ Green, Kate (25 September 2020). "Wellingtonian Ariana Tikao named among latest Arts Foundation Laureate winners". Stuff. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Arts Foundation Laureate Awards". Arts Foundation. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  20. ^ "Five new arts laureates". 4 November 2008. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  21. ^ Daly-Peoples, John (4 November 2008). "Five new arts laureates". National Business Review. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  22. ^ "Arts Foundation Awards Selection Process". Arts Foundation. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  23. ^ "Gavin Bishop". The Arts Foundation. 26 September 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  24. ^ "Jenny Cooper". Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Donovan Bixley". The Arts Foundation. 21 September 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 23 December 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "Auckland Art Gallery". Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  28. ^ "New international arts residency launched". Retrieved 6 June 2016.

External links[edit]