2009 Recipient - Dame Adrienne Stewart

Dame Adrienne Stewart is a significant supporter of the arts in New Zealand. Her sponsorships are often intensely personal and focussed on ensuring that an individual is able to benefit from an opportunity or a career development at the time that it is happening.

Born in Australia, Adrienne married Sir Robertson Stewart (CBE JSM) of Christchurch. She was involved in industry and commerce for 40 years, becoming one of the country’s first women to be a public company director. Holding a number of important positions in both the Christchurch region and nationally, she is currently Governing Patron of the Art & Industry Biennial Trust, Chair of the Christchurch Symphony Foundation; a long-term judge of the NBR Awards for Sponsorship of the Arts; a member of the University of Canterbury College of Arts External Advisory Panel; and member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and Christchurch Cathedral Foundation. She is a Canon Almoner, Patron of the Court Theatre, Hohepa Trust, the Sumner Lifeboat Inc and the Sumner/Ferrymead Foundation, and is Founding Patron of Raewyn Hill & Dancers (Soapbox Productions). 

Dame Adrienne Stewart has been an extremely generous and long-standing supporter, promoter, fund-raiser and patron of most arts organisations in Christchurch, hosting numerous events in her home in support of arts organisations, a tradition she continues today. She has made significant donations individually, and in partnership with her late husband, to the Canterbury Museum, the Christchurch Art Gallery; Canterbury Opera/Southern Opera; the Christchurch Arts Centre; Local Heroes Sculpture Project; the Christchurch Arts Festival; the Christchurch Symphony Foundation; the Court Theatre, Christchurch; the Dame Malvina Major Foundation; the Isaac Theatre Royal Charitable Trust; Saint Andrew’s College, Art & Industry SCAPE 2006 and 2008; the University of Canterbury Foundation, School of Fine Arts Platform Festival; and the Christchurch Cathedral Choir UK Tour 2008. Grants have also been made to a range of artists, community projects and emerging artists. Although much of her support has been in the Christchurch region, she has also provided support nationally, such as to Chamber Music New Zealand, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Royal New Zealand Ballet Partners Programme, the National Youth Choir and as Patron of the Venice Biennale (2009).

Formerly Adrienne, Lady Stewart, is now known as Dame Adrienne Stewart after being named a Dame companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to the arts and business on the New Year Honour's list of 2014.


Holly Mathieson, Raewyn Hill, Dame Adrienne Stewart, Philip Norman and Deborah McCormick (Art & Industry Biennial Trust) at the 2009 Award for Patronage, Christchurch Art Gallery.