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Meet the inaugural Springboard award recipients

Our inaugural Springboard awardees – six artists, each at a formative stage of their career, with outstanding potential in a variety of arts disciplines – have officially been selected. Along with a $15,000 gift, they have also been matched (with cupid-like consideration) to a senior artist mentor from our alumni of Arts Foundation Laureates, Icons, New Generation, residency or Fellowship recipients. Mentors also receive a $5,000 koha for their time.

“We’re incredibly proud to be supporting these outstanding artists as they kickstart a sustainable career in the arts. Ngā mihi maioha to the Edgar Family, the Todd Trust and some wonderful givers who attended the 2019 New Zealand Arts Ball – we can’t wait to see the incredible art careers built as a result of your generous gifts.” - Jo Blair, Arts Foundation Lead

Springboard called for nominations in November 2019, and Aotearoa delivered. Our independent selection panel gathered late February 2020 to review the 450 submissions received. The selection panel included:

  • Professor Heather Galbraith
  • Nigel Borell
  • Andrea Daly
  • Tusiata Avia
  • Daniel Belton
  • Briar Monro
  • Kerry Warkia

Meet your 2020 Springboard recipients:


Min-Young Her, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Min-Young Her, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Genre: Multi-disciplinary – performance art, sculpture

Min-Young Her is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Ōtautahi. She is a recent BFA Sculpture graduate of the Ilam School of Fine Art, University of Canterbury. Her work has a clarity, focus and proficiency that demands attention. She works with fabrics to construct sculptural forms that can – through wearing – spark a unique dialogue between previously disconnected groups. Her art can also be encountered through installations, and via video performance. While the performative action is key, the heart of her work is found in her incredibly imaginative and beautifully crafted sculptural works. Min-Young is at an early stage of her career, but has already carved out her own place in the industry. We are very excited to where her experiences as a Springboard Awardee take her.

Mentor: Tiffany Singh

Tiffany Singh is a social practice artist, specialising in socially engaged art outcomes. Born in New Zealand of Indian & Pacific descent, her practice explores relationships & engagement between arts, culture & subjective well-being.

Min-Young Her


Matasila Freshwater, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Matasila Freshwater, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Genre: Writer, director

Matasila Freshwater is a Wellington director with a background in animation, anthropology and design. Growing up, Matasila struggled to find her own experiences of the world reflected back at her through the media she consumed. Now, with the aim of forging a sustainable career in the arts, Matasila is passionate about exploring the relationship between culture and selfhood. As a springboard recipient, Matasila is currently working on her first solo film feature, and will be using this package as an opportunity to work full time on her creative endeavours. Having the support of an experienced filmmaker from the Arts Foundation alumni will enable her to further develop her distinctive knack for storytelling. One. To. Watch.

Mentor: Tusi Tamasese

He has had notable success with his film work, and is perhaps best known for Samoan language film, The Orator. The film received recognition at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, including two awards and a special mention from the jury. It was New Zealand’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film to the 84th Academy Awards.

Matasila Freshwater


Ayesha Green, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Ayesha Green, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Iwi: Kai Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu

Genre: Visual arts (painter)

Ayesha Green is a visual artist based in Ōtepoti. She is also currently co-chair on the Board of Trustees for The Blue Oyster Art Project Space and is represented by Jhana Millers. Ayesha makes extraordinary paintings. She has significant momentum – and is beginning to receive attention and opportunities – but the potential for her practice is exponential. Her work, which focuses on the visual language of nation building makes a highly original contribution, and is a fresh voice in the language of painting (specifically the portrait) in Aotearoa. This Springboard award recognises Ayesha’s achievements to date and offers her the support to keep developing her practice with resource and mentorship.

Mentor: Suzanne Ellison MNZM

Suzanne has significant experience working for her iwi in the areas of communication and community development. She is currently Runaka Manager for Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki. Suzanne is currently Chair of the Ngāi Tahu fund and has previously sat as a member of Arts Council of New Zealand.

Ayesha Green


Arjuna Oakes, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Arjuna Oakes, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Genre: Musician

Arjuna Oakes is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer from Auckland, New Zealand. Currently based in Wellington, he’s been performing since he was 6. Arjuna is a striking and assured new talent. This young artist demonstrates a profound understanding of his medium, which he complements with powerful, original sonic language. His music is inspired by jazz, soul, folk and world music, often exploring social issues through a distinctly personal lens. He has a fresh new voice, and shines with integrity and optimism Arjuna will benefit greatly from the Springboard package with mentoring and financial support

Mentor: John Psathas ONZM

John Psathas is regarded as one of the most talented composers of his generation. From genre-crossing projects with jazz legends Michael Brecker and Joshua Redman, to an innovative e-book scoring collaboration with Salman Rushdie, from an unforgettable recording session with the Grand Mufti in Paris's Grand Mosque, to a Billboard classical-chart-topping album with System of a Down front man Serj Tankian, John's musical journey weaves through a myriad of genres, and has moved concert audiences in more than 50 countries on all 7 continents (yes, even Antarctica). John's music has achieved a level of international success unprecedented in New Zealand history, and he is also now considered one of the three most important living composers of the Greek Diaspora.

Arjuna Oakes


Moana Ete, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Moana Ete, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Iwi: Ngai Tahu, Ngāti Wheke, Rāpaki and Savai’I Samoa

Genre: Multi-disciplinary – writer, film maker, musician, curator, performing arts

Moana is an artist who is cultivating her artistic voice while raising our future generation. Moana uses her practice to explore the ways we are navigating the impact of colonization, sparking korero about our collective future. Moana’s practice demands us to surrender judgement, instead seeking a future where individuality shines”. In her film work she is challenging how we see and relate to people of colour on our screens in New Zealand. Springboard will be an opportunity for Moana to focus on developing her work, while also supporting her whānau. Moana also happens to be the voice of Unite Covid 19 in New Zealand.

Mentor: Niki Caro MNZM

Director Niki Caro, is one of the most successful filmmakers to emerge from New Zealand. Her second feature film, Whale Rider, won twenty-seven international awards, including audience awards at prestigious international film festivals including Toronto, Sundance, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Seattle and Maui. It won an Academy Award nomination for Keisha Castle-Hughes, then the youngest person ever to be nominated in the Best Actress category.

Moana Ete


Bala Murali Shingade, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Bala Murali Shingade, 2020 Springboard Recipient

Genre: Film maker, writer, theatre maker

Bala represents a distinctive and new voice in film and theatre in Aotearoa right now. Having graduated from the University of Auckland with an MA in screen production, he has freelanced as a writer, director and actor both on stage and for screen. His work has been well-received within the film industry, particularly his short film 800 Lunches which was commissioned by Someday Stories. Bala will benefit in a pivotal way at this stage in his development from the Springboard package. His sensitive and intelligent cinematic voice represents a young Kiwi's vision, one that eloquently connects his Indian cultural roots to his experience of Aotearoa. He has an original approach to film, a great eye for detail and a knack for exposing stories that deserve to be shared with integrity and humour.

Mentor: Oscar Kightley MNZM

Oscar Kightley is a critically acclaimed writer, actor, director and television presenter renowned for his comedy work, particularly with The Naked Samoans. Born in 1969 in Apia in Samoa, he emigrated to New Zealand aged four and grew up in West Auckland.

Bala Murali Shingade