Supported by the Arts Foundation, the Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award was announced in 2010. The first Award was made in 2011 to David Elliot. The Award will be presented every two years to a children's book illustrator with published work of a high standard and includes a no-strings cash gift of $10,000 and a certificate designed by Sarah Maxey.

The recipient is selected by a voluntary panel appointed by the Arts Foundation, without the artist knowing that he or she is under consideration.  It is not possible to apply for this Award.

Ann Mallinson said "I have long felt the need for recognition of the painterly skills, imagination and artistry that are required to do justice to the words in a picture book.  This is an important artform, as it is a child's first introduction to books.  I am delighted that at the end of my publishing career I am able to make a contribution to this field."

Mallinson Rendel was an independent publishing company which specialised in children's books. Established by David Rendel and Ann Mallinson in 1980, it operated until 2009. Mallinson Rendel was best known for its picture books which, in Joy Cowley's words, "set in place in this country a standard of excellence that won't retire."  It was always Mallinson Rendel's belief that children's books deserve the best.   Illustrators published by Mallinson Rendel include Lynley Dodd, Robyn Belton, Jenny Cooper, Bob Kerr, Philip Paea, Lesley Moyes, Christopher White, Trish Bowles and Terewai Kemp. 

Ann Mallinson congratulates inaugural recipient David Elliot at the 2011 Macquarie Private Wealth New Zealand Arts Awards.  Arts Foundation Chair Fran Ricketts in background is about to present the certificate designed by Sarah Maxey