Since 2000, the Arts Foundation has awarded 5.8 million dollars to New Zealand artists, and this year's purse totalling $480,000 is among the richest awards of any kind in New Zealand.
The ceremony was as rich in art as it was in money, with performers and honourees taking to the stage to be celebrated by the capacity audience.
A choir lead by composer Alex Taylor opened the event, and guests laughed their way through a series of phone messages from Taika Waititi, each one increasingly desperate for his Laureate Award money.
Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship recipient Kate Camp read a wonderful poem, and Last Tapes Theatre Company brought to life a scene from Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries as theatre for the first time ever.
Violinist Martin Riseley performed a solo work by Laureate Lyell Cresswell, and choreographer Parris Goebel sent a crew from The Palace Dance Studios to top off the evening with the kind of show that places them at the very heights of the hip-hop scene.
The 2016 Arts Fondation Award recipients are:
Arts Foundation Laureate
Lyell Cresswell, Peter Robinson, Eleanor Catton, Taika Waititi, Dylan Horrocks
New Generation Award
Alex Taylor, Parris Goebel, André Hemer
Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellow
Harriet Friedlander New York Residency
Miriam Smith and Christopher Pryor
Award for Patronage
John and Jo Gow
Recipients: Q Theatre, Sculpture on the Gulf, The Big Idea, Tautai Trust
(all photos below by Andi at Monster Valley Ltd)