The Arts Foundation of New Zealand Governors' Award acknowledges an individual or an institution that has significantly contributed to the arts in New Zealand. The Award is honorary and made on occasion. Recipients to date are Otago University, for their arts fellowship programme, Radio New Zealand Concert and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (New Plymouth).

Recipients receive a bronze plaque designed by Jim Wheeler. Jim has used the image of the burning bush from the Old Testament: Moses speaking to God. He uses the image in a non-specific sense as a metaphor for the mystery of an artist's inspiration. A Pohutukawa is used as a NZ reference. Jim was also told that once, in pre-European times. Maori burned prominent trees as beacons for navigation at night.