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Finalists selected from record-breaking number of entries for National Contemporary Art Award

24 May 2023

From hundreds of entries, 41 artworks have been selected as finalists for the National Contemporary Art Award, hosted by Hamilton Kirikiriroa’s Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.

Now in its 23rd year, the National Contemporary Art Award (NCAA) attracted more than 420 original entries from Aotearoa New Zealand artists based in this country and overseas.

“We are thrilled at the unprecedented number of people who shared their creativity by entering the 2023 National Contemporary Art Award. This reflects the vibrancy of New Zealand’s art scene and the essential role art plays in our society, as well as the importance of our philanthropic partners who enable us to offer such generous prizes” said Liz Cotton, Director Museum & Arts.

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

“The range and ambition of the entries this year was extraordinary, from artists addressing critical issues like climate change to those reflecting on identity and culture,” said Oliver.

“This made the selection process very challenging, and I congratulate all those who submitted works, as well as the finalists.”

As well as a record-breaking number of entries, the National Contemporary Art Award has achieved another milestone - leading New Zealand law firm Tompkins Wake celebrates its 10th year of support for the competition. Tompkins Wake is the Award’s principal sponsor, generously providing the career-defining cash prize of $20,000 to the Award winner.

The runner up will receive $7,500 thanks to the generosity of the Hugo Charitable Trust, and two Merit Awards of $1,000 are gifted by the Friends of Waikato Museum and Random Art Group.

The $250 Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award winner will be decided by public votes during the exhibition season.

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 Saturday 29 July to Sunday 12 November 2023. The winner of the 2023 National Contemporary Art Award will be announced at an opening gala on Friday 28 July.

Finalists for the 2023 National Contemporary Art Award

  • Brett a'Court, Northland Te Tai Tokerau
  • Rachel Hope Allan, Dunedin Ootepoti
  • Colleen Altagracia, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Naomi Azoulay, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Debbie Barber, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Jordan Barnes, New Plymouth Ngaamotu
  • Tori Beeche, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Deborah Body, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Emily Brown, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • D Milton Browne, Dunedin Ootepoti
  • Esther Bunning, Greytown Te Hupenui
  • Cathy Carter, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Katherine Claypole, Whanganui
  • Antony Densham, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Kim Fifield, Tauranga
  • Alastair Floyd, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Hannah Ireland, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Bena Jackson, Wellington Te Whanganui-a-Tara
  • Reece King, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Cecelia Kumeroa, Whanganui
  • Theo Macdonald, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Leanne Morrison, Hastings Heretaunga
  • Ella Grace Nicol, Hamilton Kirikiriroa
  • Shannon Novak, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Sara (Hera) Tautuku Orme, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Mark O'Donnell & Cameron Rey, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Maria O'Toole, Wellington Te Whanganui-a-Tara
  • Sung Hwan Bobby Park, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Marilyn Rea-Menzies, Westport Kawatiri
  • Tawhai Rickard, Tauranga
  • Naomi Roche, Hamilton Kirikiriroa
  • Warisara Thomson, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Jenny Tomlin, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Hannah Valentine, Tauranga
  • Anja Vallis, Taupoo
  • Rīhari Warnock, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Amanda Watson, Raglan Whaaingaroa
  • Siniva Williams, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Benjamin Work, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
  • Cora-Allan, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau


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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.