Denis Adam, prolific philanthropist and inaugural recipient of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Award for Patronage died in 2018. We will remember Denis for his incredible commitment and passion for the arts in New Zealand.
Denis Adam had a wonderful energy. Often, he and his wife Verna were the first to arrive at openings and other important arts functions. They were a great presence at any function, with an energy emitting from their conversations that was infectious. When generosity comes with commitment and determination, then it is a powerful force. Denis and Verna gave with style and were serious about it. As a result, thousands have benefited from their generosity, and they have made space for the arts and artists to flourish.
Denis was awarded the OBE in 1993 and was made Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2000. In 2001, Victoria University made him an Honorary Doctor of Literature.
In 2006, Denis and Verna were the first to accept the Arts Foundation Award for Patronage, set up to recognise arts patrons in New Zealand. The Arts Foundation gifted them $20,000 to distribute to artists or arts projects of their selection. Denis came up with the idea of doubling the money and splitting it into four donations of $10,000, which became standard practice for Award for Patronage recipients after.