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Respected arts curator to judge cutting edge National Contemporary Art Award

22 February 2023

Entries are open now for the National Contemporary Art Award 2023.

With a cash prize pool of more than $27,000, the annual National Contemporary Art Award (NCAA) competition brings the best in Aotearoa New Zealand contemporary art to Hamilton’s Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.

The judge for 2023 will be highly respected arts curator and commentator Melanie Oliver, who is a Curator at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.

“The National Contemporary Art Award provides an opportunity to experience the extraordinary breadth of contemporary practice in Aotearoa,” said Oliver.

“It’s an honour to be invited to judge this year’s award and I’m looking forward to seeing the exciting and challenging works that artists are making in response to our social, cultural and political milieu.”

Previously, Oliver was Senior Curator at The Dowse Art Museum in Te Awa Kairangi Hutt Valley and was Director of The Physics Room in Ootautahi Christchurch.

She has held curatorial roles at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth and Artspace Sydney, and has a background of working in artist-run initiatives. She has also recently completed a PhD in Curatorial Practice at Monash University in Melbourne.

2023 judge Melanie Oliver

“Every year the National Contemporary Art Award is full of eclectic, bold, and original work from artists at all stages of their careers. It’s a highlight of our calendar here at Waikato Museum,” said Liz Cotton, Director Museum & Arts at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.

“I am very much looking forward to working with Melanie this year, seeing her process for the selection of finalists, and celebrating the winning selection for 2023 with the artists and our sponsors.”

The National Contemporary Art Award was launched in 2000 by the Waikato Society of Arts and has been facilitated and hosted by Waikato Museum since 2006. Leading New Zealand law firm Tompkins Wake and nationally-renowned architects Chow:Hill have been its co-sponsors since 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Now in its 23rd year, NCAA attracts original entries every year from New Zealand artists based in this country and overseas. This year’s exhibition will be held at Waikato Museum from Friday 28 July to Sunday 12 November 2023.


Key dates for 2023

  • Call for entries: Wednesday 22 February
  • Entry closes: 1pm, Monday 8 May
  • Finalists announced: Week commencing Monday 29 May
  • Winners announced/Awards ceremony: Friday 28 July
  • Exhibition open at Waikato Museum: Saturday 29 July - Sunday 12 November


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