The Laureate Award is an investment in excellence across a range of art forms for an artist with prominence and outstanding potential for future growth. Their work is rich but their richest work still lies ahead of them. The Award recognises a moment in the artists' career that will allow them to have their next great success.

The Laureate Awards are presented to five artists annually. Each recipient receives $50,000 in recognition of their achievement and as a challenge for them to continue working at high levels.

At quarter of a million dollars, the Laureate Awards are one of New Zealand's largest cash awards, and the only private award covering all art forms. Established in 2000, the Laureate Awards donation can be used by the artist in any way they choose. The impact on artists has been life-changing. Each artist also receives a Terry Stringer designed bronze statuette.

Terry says "my concept for the sculpture is of a child with raised hands clapping. The outside shape of the work is a bird's egg. The interior negative outline is in the shape of a flying Tui....the work is in the nature of applauding an artist." Terry used a child's persona to avoid representing either a man or a woman, while the egg symbolises the starting point from which the artist has flown from to reach great heights. The Tui, he says"is identified by the distinctive feather at the crop, to make it more specifically of New Zealand"