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National Contemporary Art Award

Brave, colourful, and never shy. The art of now.

Each year the National Contemporary Art Award brings the best in Aotearoa contemporary art to the Waikato. The finalists on display are selected via a blind-judging process by the annually appointed judge.

This year's exhibition will be open from Saturday 29 July to Sunday 12 November. Entry is free.

Winners of the 2023 National Contemporary Art Award

The winner of the 2023 National Contemporary Art Award was announced at the opening gala by this year's guest judge, highly respected arts curator and commentator Melanie Oliver.

  • 2023 National Contemporary Art Award, $20,000 prize sponsored by Tompkins Wake
    Tawhai Rickard for Scenes from a Victorian Restaurant (reclaimed wood, enamel/acrylic paint).

  • 2023 Runner Up and winner of the $7,500 Hugo Charitable Trust Award
    Sung Hwan Bobby Park for BTM 조상 초상화 Ancestor Portrait (digital photograph). 
  • Friends of Waikato Museum $1,000 Merit Award winner
    Hannah Ireland for Stained Cheery Wine (watercolour, ink and acrylic on found window).
  • Random Art Group $1,000 Merit Award winner
    Sara (Hera) Tautuku Orme for Darling, Tēnei Au (photograph).

Find out more.


Finalists for the 2023 National Contemporary Art Award

The finalists for the 2023 National Contemporary Art Award are:

  • Brett a'Court, Northland Te Tai Tokerau
    Thomas Kendall’s Affair (oil on prepared woollen blanket on canvas support)

  • Rachel Hope Allan, Dunedin Ootepoti
    Tuesday (photograph)

  • Colleen Altagracia, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    A kiss (electric cable, embroidery thread, magnet, crocodile clips, air)

  • Naomi Azoulay, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Tehlor II (oil on stretched canvas)

  • Debbie Barber, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    When I rub the rocks on my jeans they polish differently. (clay, denim)

  • Jordan Barnes, New Plymouth Ngaamotu
    Adam (after Michelangelo) (graphite on paper)

  • Tori Beeche, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    The Daily Cosmic Order (oil on linen) 

  • Deborah Body, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    The remains of the day. (acrylic and oil on unstretched canvas)

  • Emily Brown, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Final Fantasy (toner print on silk) 
  • D Milton Browne, Dunedin Ootepoti
    Recycle Day (photograph - archival giclée inkjet print) 
  • Esther Bunning, Greytown Te Hupenui
    The gilded shift (photograph) 
  • Cathy Carter, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Liquid Gold (Fujiflex Crystal Archive C-type silver halide photographic print) 
  • Cathy Carter, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Plunge, Klein Blue (giclée print on Hahnemühle Ultra Smooth paper) 
  • Katherine Claypole, Whanganui
    Tears of Gabrielle (hand stitched metallic thread on painted stretched canvas) 
  • Antony Densham, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    C15.2023 (acrylic on canvas) 
  • Kim Fifield, Tauranga
    The Wrack Line (algae-based bioplastic, shell, macro-seaweed, barnacles, driftwood, plastic, leaves, feathers, sand, aluminium panel) 
  • Alastair Floyd, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Heavy Industries (acrylic paint, pigment ink, acrylic ink on Fabriano Artistico acid-free cotton rag) 
  • Hannah Ireland, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Stained Cheery Wine (watercolour, ink and acrylic on found window) 
  • Bena Jackson, Wellington Te Whanganui-a-Tara
    Flipping skateboards (pale) (mosaic - ceramic tiles, cement board, adhesive, grout, steel) 
  • Reece King, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Se’i ou va’ai (oil and enamel on canvas) 
  • Cecelia Kumeroa, Whanganui
    Manu Tioriori (digital media) 
  • Theo Macdonald, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Light of the Pacific (digitised 16mm film, looped 1 minute duration) 
  • Leanne Morrison, Hastings Heretaunga
    11 (acrylic and enamel on canvas, stretcher, wooden sticks) 
  • Ella Grace Nicol, Hamilton Kirikiriroa
    Tears of Ranginui (Dew on the Emerald Dagger Moss) (glass beads, sterling silver, palladium, pewter, nylon thread)
  • Shannon Novak, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Two Lovers in Fiordland (digital print on paper) 
  • Mark O'Donnell & Cameron Rey, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Cheese and Onion (yellow plastic, black foam, clear adhesives, pins, paint, varnish) 
  • Sara (Hera) Tautuku Orme, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Darling, Tēnei Au (photograph) 
  • Maria O'Toole, Wellington Te Whanganui-a-Tara
    Poems to Oceania: Vanuatu, April 2023 (crayon on Fabriano paper) 
  • Sung Hwan Bobby Park, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    BTM 조상 초상화 Ancestor Portrait (digital photograph) 
  • Marilyn Rea-Menzies, Westport Kawatiri
    Lichen 2 (handwoven tapestry) 
  • Tawhai Rickard, Tauranga
    Scenes from a Victorian Restaurant (reclaimed wood, enamel/acrylic paint) 
  • Naomi Roche, Hamilton Kirikiriroa
    Cold Comfort for the Contemporary Human (textile) 
  • Warisara Thomson, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    I think I’m homesick (single channel, moving image) 
  • Jenny Tomlin, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    All my ghosts (photograph) 
  • Hannah Valentine, Tauranga
    New Routine (If there’s pleasure in action, there’s peace in stillness) (cast bronze and cord) 
  • Anja Vallis, Taupoo
    Granny’s trippin’ (wool and acrylic yarn mix, black calico) 
  • Rīhari Warnock, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Moemoea (ink on Arches cold press, 600gsm paper) 
  • Amanda Watson, Raglan Whaaingaroa
    In the sun near the kohekohe (ink, pigment, and glue size on canvas) 
  • Siniva Williams, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Nanna’s wairua (digital photograph, digitally painted on Hahnemühle German Etching 310gsm Textured Matte paper) 
  • Benjamin Work, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    I look above to where my help comes from (acrylic on canvas) 
  • Cora-Allan, Auckland Taamaki Makaurau
    Kai Paraoa (whenua (pukepoto and karangahape blush) on hiapo)


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
  • Judge's floor talk: 10.30am Saturday 29 July


In Partnership With

Principal Sponsor

Runner Up Award Sponsor

hugo roundel green RGB009A49

Merit Award Sponsors

Random Art Group

Friends of Waikato Museum

People's Choice Award Sponsor

Family of former Waikato Museum Director Campbell Smith


Past Winners - a History

National Contemporary Art Award past winners and judges


Past Exhibitions

Please note: The award was not held in 2020 due to disruption caused by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.