Skip to page content
Home / About us » News

Entries close soon for National Contemporary Art Award

24 April 2023

Less than two weeks remain to enter the National Contemporary Art Award, hosted by Hamilton’s Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato. The 2023 call for entries will close at 1pm, Monday 8 May.

Now in its 23rd year, the National Contemporary Art Award (NCAA) attracts hundreds of original entries every year from Aotearoa New Zealand artists based in this country and overseas.

The prestigious competition’s blind-judging process keeps entrant identities confidential, enabling the annual guest judge to focus solely on the art.

“Each year the NCAA brings cutting edge contemporary art to Hamilton Kirikiriroa, and blind-judging is the ultimate wild card,” said Liz Cotton, Director Museum & Arts.

“It provides a unique opportunity for artists at all stages of their careers to be seen side by side, whether they’re newcomers, well established, or experimenting with a new direction. We’re looking forward to what 2023 has in store.”

A digital judging platform is used to review artwork images or videos with anonymous artist statements, allowing the guest judge to select the finalists without knowing their names. The final round of judging is done in the gallery once the exhibition has been installed, without identifying labels.

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

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.

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. 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

For more information visit



Please note

For te reo Maaori, Waikato Museum uses double vowels (uu) in place of vowels with a macron (ū) to represent a long vowel sound. This spelling approach is the preference of tangata whenua in Hamilton Kirikiriroa and Waikato iwi for te reo Maaori words. Artists’ titles are shown in their original form.