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How to choose a Laureate?

A question we are often asked... how do you possibly choose who gets awarded as a Laureate?

Every year, we recognise up to ten outstanding artists with a $30,000 Laureate award. These artists join a remarkable alumni of 120+ of New Zealand's greatest artists, awarded across the disciplines since the year 2000. But how do we possibly choose who is selected?

Short answer: we don't!

Instead, an independent panel of experts from across the arts and creativity sector come together to make the call. The panel is selected by our Arts Foundation trustees (and changes every year!). Ahead of their meeting, each panel member is sent a longlist of potential recipients created by previous panels, and asked to add their own suggestions. At that time, each panel member must assess the longlist against the criteria of the awards, and send back a shortlist of their preferred recipients. Each panel member will focus on the areas in which they are knowledgeable – for example, a dance expert would focus on potential dance recipients.

From there, the panel meets in person! The panel is chaired by an Arts Foundation arts trustee (in a non-voting capacity), and organised by our GM – who attends as an observer.

Once selected, all chosen recipients are ratified the by The Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi board. Once approved, our Co-Chairs have the wonderful task of calling our new Laureates out of the blue to inform them of their award.

Partnership Awards (which include the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award, the Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award, the Dame Gaylene Preston Documentary Award and the Toi Kō Iriiri Queer Arts Laureate) have their own selection panels.

Our 2023 Selection Panel

  • Julia Waite – Curator, New Zealand Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
  • Leafa Wilson – Community Activator, Creative Waikato
  • Lucy Marinkovich – Dancer and Choreographer, 2018 Harriet Friedlander Residency recipient
  • Matariki Williams – Senior Māori Historian, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage
  • Charlotte Ryan – National Presenter, Radio New Zealand

Selection Panel for the Toi Kō Iriiri Queer Arts Award

  • Nathan Joe – Playwright, Creative Director, Auckland Pride
  • Jack Gray – Māori Contemporary Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher, Facilitator, Writer
  • Alex Monteith – New Media Artist, Associate Professor of Fine Arts, University of Auckland

Selection Panel for The Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award

  • Vida Kelly – Art Director, Book Designer
  • Bob Kerr – Painter, Writer, Ilustrator
  • Rebecca Gibbs – Illustrator, Designer, Teacher

Selection Panel for The Marti Friedlander Photographic Award

  • The Marti Friedlander Trust

Selection Panel for The Dame Gaylene Preston Documentary Film Makers Award

  • Phil Bremner – Producer
  • Kay Ellmers – Managing Director, Tūmanako Productions
  • Florian Habicht – Filmmaker, 2021 Arts Foundation Laureate
  • Libby Hakaraia – Producer, Director, Managing Director at Māoriland Charitable Trust

Selection Panel for The John and Jo Gow Sculpture Laureate

  • Julia Waite – Curator, New Zealand Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
  • Heather Galbraith – Curator, Writer, and Professor of Fine Arts, Massey University
  • Karl Chitham – Director, The Dowse Art Museum