The Arts Foundation

Laureate Award

Arts Foundation Laureate Awards celebrate and empower New Zealand’s most outstanding practising artists - artists whose practise also has an impact on New Zealand. Every year we recognise up to ten exceptional artists with a $25,000 award and share their story with New Zealand.

Let's Fund a Laureate

For the first time ever, we’re giving all New Zealanders a chance to back an Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi Laureate – an award gifted to our country’s most outstanding artists, and supported by some of New Zealand’s great givers. Now, you get a go.

Be part of it. Donate now.


Funded Laureate Awards

The Laureate Awards also include six awards created out of dedicated generosity.


The 2020 Awards include:

The My Art Visual Arts Award
My Art is a not-for-profit organisation that makes it easier to own original art through most New Zealand galleries by providing interest-free loans. This $25,000 award was established in 2020, in partnership with My Art Founders Sonja and Glenn Hawkins. The award is presented every year to an outstanding visual artist.

The Sir Roger Hall Theatre Award
Sir Roger Hall is one of Aotearoa’s most successful playwrights. Established in 2020, the Sir Roger Hall Theatre Award will recognise and support exceptional talent in theatre. At Sir Roger’s request, this $25,000 award will alternate each year with a number of smaller awards (probably of $5000 each) to individuals or institutions so that the benefit of his trust may be spread widely.

The Theresa Gattung Award for Female Arts Practitioners
Established in partnership with Theresa Gattung, this $25,000 gift to an artist is one of many ways Theresa gives back to women and girls through business and philanthropy. At the time of enabling this award, 66% of the Laureates within the Arts Foundation whānau were men, making it a timely marker in gender equity.

The Burr/ Tatham Award
Adrian Burr and his late partner Peter Tatham are some of the most remarkable and well-known arts philanthropists in Aotearoa. This award, which was established in 2019, will recognise and reward an outstanding artist of any discipline.

Awarded every second year (last awarded in 2019):

Gaylene Preston Documentary Film Makers Award
Initiated by Gaylene Preson and Sir Roy McKenzie, this award is funded through a collaboration of a legacy gift by Sir Roy, Vista Foundation and the NZ Film Commission, and selection is facilitated by the NZ International Film Festival. The award of $30,000 is given every second year to an outstanding Documentary Film Maker.

The Marti Friedlander Photographic Award
The Marti Friedlander Photographic Award was launched by the Arts Foundation in 2007, in partnership with photographer Marti Friedlander and her husband Gerrard. The award is presented every two years to an exceptional photographer to help further their career.

The Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award
Mallinson Rendel was a publishing company specialising in illustrated children’s books. The $10,000 award was established in 2010 to recognise the painterly skills, imagination and artistry in picture books, and was presented every two years to a children’s illustrator. Now, due to the continuing generosity of our founding donor, and a new donor, this award has become a $25,000 Laureate Award awarded every two years.

Laureate awards are not open for applications.

2019 Recipients

Outstanding artists with big impact.

Introducing your 2019 Arts Foundation Laureates.

The Laureate Selection Process

The Arts Foundation celebrates and increases the impact of New Zealand artists with financial awards. Understand the selection process for Arts Foundation Awards.

Learn More