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‘Honour’ to be judging 2018 National Contemporary Art Award

15 February 2018

Reuben Cropped2

Image: Reuben Friend.

Judging the 2018 National Contemporary Art Award at Waikato Museum will double as a homecoming of sorts for Pātaka Art Gallery and Museum Director Reuben Friend.

Mr Friend - who has led Porirua’s Pātaka since 2015 - will select the finalists and winners of this year’s award exhibition, showing at Waikato Museum from 4 August to 28 October 2018.

“It is an honour to be judging this year’s National Contemporary Art Award at Waikato Museum,” he says.

“The award plays an important role in the ecosystem of New Zealand arts and creative industries in terms of pushing boundaries and ideas of what human expression and creativity is and can be.”

An artist and curator of Maaori (Ngaati Maniapoto) and New Zealand Paakehaa heritage, Friend worked as the Curator of Māori and Pacific Art at City Gallery Wellington in New Zealand from 2009 to 2013.

He was Co-curator of the 2011 Art in Oceania exhibition, a major survey exhibition of New Zealand and Pacific art exhibited simultaneously across The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and City Gallery Wellington.

“As a person of Ngaati Maniapoto whakapapa, it is great to be welcomed home to Te Rohe Potae by Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham – a place that has a long history of creativity and industriousness,” he says.

Entries for the award open today and close at 1pm on Wednesday 9 May 2018. The winner will receive $20,000 from major sponsors Tompkins Wake and Chow Hill. There is also a runner-up prize of $5,000 from the Hugo Charitable Trust, and merit awards of $1,000 from Random Art Group and the Friends of Waikato Museum. Visitors to the exhibition will decide the winner of the Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award.

“We’re privileged to have Reuben’s expertise, experience and mana as part of this year’s National Contemporary Art Award,” says Ms Meecham.

“The success of the artists who enter and the content of the exhibition are in his hands. I’m excited to see the results of his decisions.”

To enter the 2018 National Contemporary Art Award, go to



Dan Silverton
Waikato Museum Partnerships and Communications Manager
07 838 6956
021 056 9810