2006 - Inaugural Recipient - Denis & Verna Adam

Denis and Verna started to collect objets d'art in the 1960s. In 1975 they decided to create the Adam Foundation to consolidate the ownership of this growing collection. Gradually the Adam Foundation activities extended to support arts in general and have tended to focus on emerging artists when it comes to philanthropy. Following in the spirit of Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote to Walt Whitman, saying, "I greet you at the beginning of a great career," Denis and Verna have greeted many artists at the start of their careers. 

Their support includes the Adam Art Gallery and the Adam Concert Room at Victoria University of Wellington, the Adam Foundation Prize for Creative Writing, the Adam Portraiture Award and Exhibition, the Adam Chamber Music Festival, the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, the Adam Auditorium at City Gallery Wellington and the Adam International Cello Competition. The Adams also fund Playmarket's Adam Playreading series at Downstage Theatre as well as providing funds foran extensive number of individuals and one-off events.  

In 2017, the Adam Foundation made a substanial gift towards the world-class centre of musical, cultural and educational excellence being planned for Wellington's Civic Square. In gratitude the new auditorium will be named the Adam Auditorium.


Oscar Kightly, Tom Scott, Dave Armstrong, Denis Adam, Verna Adam and Tanya Ashken at the 2006 Award for Patronage at Government House, Auckland.  Photo: Scott Venning