Arts Foundation of New Zealand

Arts Foundation of New Zealand
Formation 2000
Legal status Charity
Purpose Fund-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 supports artistic excellence through its permanent Endowment fund. Legacies help grow the fund, with income generated enabling the foundation to run. Donations from Patrons of the Arts Foundation are awarded directly to artists at the annual New Zealand Arts Awards.

The foundation produces award programmes that provide recognition and support to artists working in all art forms. By the end of 2015, the foundation will have honoured 178 artists and distributed over $5 million to artists.[1]

Arts Foundation Awards celebrate achievement in an artists career and are presented on an annual or biannual basis.

New Zealand's most senior artists are honoured at the Icon Awards. These awards recognise a lifetime of achievement and are considered the foundation's highest honour. Established artists receiving the Arts Foundation Laureate Award receive $50,000NZD each in recognition of their achievements at the New Zealand Arts Awards.

Artists who are in the early stages of their career selected to receive a New Generation Award receive $25,000NZD each. 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. In 2011 the inaugural Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award was presented to David Elliot. 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 $10,000.[2]

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.

Recipients of awards are selected without their knowing they are under consideration by independent panels of arts peers or curators.

Icon Award

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand established the Icon Awards as an honours system to celebrate and acknowledge New Zealand art-makers who have achieved the highest standards of artistic expression.[3]

Limited to a living circle of 20, Icons are pioneers and leaders from all arts disciplines, living and working around the world. To date, 21 artists have been acknowledged as Icons. In 2003, ten artists were honoured, six in 2005 and five in 2007. With the deaths of Janet Frame, Don Selwyn and Hone Tuwhare, the living circle stands at eighteen in 2008.

Each Icon receives a medallion and pin designed by stone sculptor John Edgar. The artist 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.

Living Members

Deceased Members

Laureate Award

Annually five artists whose careers are in full flight are honoured at the New Zealand Arts Awards.

Artists receive a donation of $50,000NZD each and a commissioned sculpture by Terry Stringer. Laureate Artists are New Zealanders practicing in any arts discipline, located anywhere in the world. 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.[4]

Laureate Award recipients:

















  • Delaney Davidson – Music
  • Sara Brodie – Theatre / Dance
  • Wetini Mitai-Ngatai – Performance / Cultural Entrepreneurship
  • Daniel Belton – Music / Dance / Film
  • Lisa Walker – Visual Art


New Generation Award

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.[5]

New Generation Award recipients


  • Eve Armstrong, Visual Artists
  • Warren Maxwell, Music
  • Tze Ming Mok, Literature
  • Joe Sheehan, Visual Arts
  • Taika Waititi, Film/Moving Image


  • Jeff Henderson, Music
  • Alex Monteith, Visual Arts*
  • Madeleine Pierard, Music
  • Jo Randerson, Literature
  • Pippa Sanderson, Literature




  • Eleanor Catton, Literature
  • Ngaahina Hohaia, Visual Arts
  • Anna Leese, Music
  • Kate Parker, Theatre/Puppetry*
  • Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland, Film/Moving Image (joint recipients)




  • Kushana Bush, Visual Arts
  • Kip Chapman, Theatre
  • SJD (Sean James Donnelly), Music


  • Dudley Benson, Music
  • Star Gossage, Visual Arts
  • Vela Manusaute and Anapela Polataivao, Theatre (joint recipients)


  • Anna Smaill, Literature
  • Simon Denny, Visual Artist
  • Tusi Timothy Tamasese, Film

Award for Patronage

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), Jenny Gibbs (2007), Gillian and Roderick Deane (2008),[6] 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

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

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.[7]

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

On 26 June 2008, the Harriet Friedlander Scholarship Trust and the Arts Foundation launched a new international residency.[8] 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 is filmmaker Florian Habicht, He took up the residency in 2009. Visual artist Seung Yul Oh was selected in 2010 by arts journalist Lynn Freeman. Seung Yul will take up the residency in 2011.


  1. "Artists". Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  2. "The Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award". The Arts Foundation. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  3. "New Zealand Book Council". Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  4. "Five new arts laureates". 4 November 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  5. Daly-Peoples, John (4 November 2008). "Five new arts laureates". National Business Review. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
  7. "Auckland Art Gallery". Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  8. "New international arts residency launched". Retrieved 6 June 2016.

External links

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