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2019 National Contemporary Art Award

3 August - 10 November 2019

Free entry to exhibition

The National Contemporary Art Award brings the best in New Zealand contemporary art to Hamilton and the Waikato. Entries are drawn from across the country and New Zealand citizens living overseas. The overall winner received $25,000 from major sponsors Tompkins Wake and Chow:Hill. The Hugo Charitable Trust sponsors the Hugo Award for the Runner-Up, with the recipient receiving $5,000, and two merit award winners received $1,000 sponsored by Friends of Waikato Museum and Random Art Group.

Visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to cast their vote for the Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award before the exhibition closes on 10 November. This award, worth $250, is sponsored by the Smith family as a tribute to the former Waikato Art Museum Director, artist, playwright and poet.

This year the exhibition is made up of 52 finalists chosen from among more than 300 entries by the judge for 2019, internationally-renowned NZ artist Fiona Pardington MNZM, DocFA.

You can see the 2019 exhibition catalogue here:


Dr Fiona Pardington, the judge for the 2019 National Contemporary Art Award, shares her insights on this year's competition:

The 2019 Award winner is Dunedin-based artist Ayesha Green for her painting entitled Nana's Birthday (A Big Breath). For information on all the winners read the news release here.

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Every year a new judge is chosen with the credibility to select the finalists and the ultimate winner. Through elimination, it is the judge who curates the award, shaping the final exhibition as well as choosing a winner, runner-up and merit award winners. The finalists are selected by viewing photos or videos of the works and artists’ statements on a digital judging platform, with the entrants’ identities kept confidential. The winning works are then decided in situ at Waikato Museum.

The award was initiated in 2000 by the Waikato Society of Arts. It has always been held at Waikato Museum, which has managed the award since 2006. Trust Waikato sponsored the award for the first 10 years, with Tompkins Wake and Chow:Hill co-sponsoring the award since 2015 (Tompkins Wake was also a co-sponsor in 2014). Past winners include Dane Mitchell, Sriwhana Spong, Ann Shelton, Joanna Chow, and Kim Pieters.

Follow the National Contemporary Art Award on Facebook and get updates first. You can read the conditions of entry here.

Education programmes are available for this exhibition.


Major Sponsors

sponsor logos for web flipped


  • Top photograph from L to R: Brian Squair (Chow:Hill) and Phil Taylor (Tompkins Wake) with NCAA grand prize winner Ayesha Green
  • Second photograph L to R: Peter Fanning, Johanna Fanning (representing the Hugo Charitable Trust) and NCAA runner-up Gina Matchitt
  • Third photograph L to R: Alison Gibb (Friends of Waikato Museum) with merit award winner Matthew Browne
  • Fourth photograph: Alison Ewing (far right) and Random Art Group representatives with merit winner Cathy Tuato'o Ross (3rd from right)


2019 Finalists


The finalists for the 2019 National Contemporary Art Award:

Carrie Andrews, Cambridge

Claudia Avril, Hamilton

Caryline Boreham, Auckland

Jen Bowmast, Motueka

Matthew Browne, Auckland

Trish Campbell, Auckland

Hikalu Clarke and Wilson Ong, Auckland

Geoffrey Paul Clarke, Hamilton

Andrea du Chatenier, Whanganui

Russ Flatt, Auckland

Cat Fooks, Auckland

Aaron Frater, Wellington

Jo Giddens, Whanganui

Ayesha Green, Dunedin

Jacquelyn Greenbank, Christchurch

Thomas Hancock, Lower Hutt

Weilun Ha, Auckland

Arie Hellendoorn, Lower Hutt

Jane Johnson-Matua, Rotorua

Marilyn Jones, Wellington

Jonathan Kay, Wellington

Andrew Keall, Northland

Teresa HR Lane, Auckland

Tim Larkin, Wellington

Jae Hoon Lee, Auckland

Kate Lepper, Wellington

Kate Leslie, Wellington

Christina Little, Tawa

Johnathan Lovering, Wellington

Gina Matchitt, Wellington

Alice McDonald, Whanganui

Julian McKinnon, Auckland

Sam Mitchell, Auckland

Chris Mules, Thames

Ashton Lexie Northcott, Napier

Gerry Parke, Auckland

Robyn Penn, Johannesburg (double finalist)

Oleg Polounine, Auckland

Amy Potenger, Auckland

Andrew Rankin, Auckland

Michelle Reid, Auckland

Danae Ripley, Auckland

Micheline Robinson, Paraparaumu

Mandy Rodger, Auckland (double finalist)

Cathy Tuato'o Ross, Whangarei

Kirsten Smith, Auckland

Matthew Turner, Hamilton

Gene Paul Walker, Gisborne

Laura Williams, Auckland

Jana Wood, Auckland