November 3, 2010


The Arts Foundation has announced its five 2010 Laureates. They are: Stuart Devenie (Actor), Gareth Farr (Composer/Percussionist), Leon Narbey (Cinematographer/Film Director), John Parker (Ceramicist/Theatre Designer) and Michael Parmenter (Choreographer). 

Each of the five Laureates receives a $50,000, no-strings-attached donation to celebrate their past achievements and to invest in their future.

“The Laureate Awards are about recognising senior New Zealand artists who have a substantial track record of excellence, and will make great work in the future,” says Foundation chairperson Ros Burdon.

Laureates must be New Zealanders, but they can practise in any arts discipline, and they can be located anywhere in the world.

The recipients do not apply for the Awards. They are selected without their knowledge by a panel of peers and art experts, and are called “out of the blue” with the news. Members of the 2010 panel were: Jack Body, Elizabeth Caldwell, Colin McColl, Anne Rowse and Deborah Shepard. The panel was convened by a non-voting chair, Lloyd Williams, who is an Arts Foundation Governor.

This year’s Laureate Awards were held on November 2 in Dunedin for the first time. The Foundation has now awarded 54 Laureateships, worth a total of $2.37 million, since it was founded in 2000 to help grow private support for the arts.

Following the ceremony in Dunedin, the 2010 Laureates will be celebrated at events in Wellington on Nov 10 and Christchurch on November 16.

The Arts Foundation is now one of New Zealand’s largest arts patronage organisations.  It has an endowment fund of just over $6 million which is growing through the support donors. The Foundation is expecting $15 million in legacies.

As well as the Laureate Awards, the Foundation administers six other awards: the Icon Awards; the Governors’ Award; the Award for Patronage; the New Generation Award; the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award, and the Harriet Friedlander New York Residency. By the end of this year the Foundation will have distributed $3.165 million to support the arts.

“This is just a start”, says Arts Foundation Executive Director, Simon Bowden. “Our awards are providing a much needed boost to some of our most precious artists, but with the support of donors we can do so much more”. The Arts Foundation was established to channel private donations into the arts. Simon says “every New Zealander with an interest in the arts should register at our website and make a donation. Even the smallest amount counts”.

2010 Arts Foundation Laureates 

Stuart Devenie’s theatrical and television career stretches back to his first performance as Mr Dungbeetle in The Insect Play at age twelve in Hastings.  During his career as an actor he been the lead in many well loved plays and television dramas. Stuart was a founding member of Circa Theatre in Wellington and has been an Associate Director at The Court Theatre in Christchurch and Artistic Director at Centrepoint Theatre in Palmerston North. As well as being a leading stage performer, Stuart has also had roles in numerous television dramas, is one of the country’s top voice-over artists and has also directed a number of plays.

Gareth Farr is a composer and percussionist. At the age of 25, he was appointed composer-in-residence by Chamber Music New Zealand, the youngest-ever composer to hold that position, resulting in three substantial works.  There have been many highlights for Gareth, including the inclusion of works in four events at the1996 New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, which kick-started his career as a dedicated freelance composer.  Since then, his music has been heard at, or especially commissioned for, high-profile events including the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Symphony the opening of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. In addition to his music for the concert chamber, Gareth has written music for dance, theatre and television and the Royal New Zealand Ballet toured the country with The Wedding, featuring a score by Gareth.  He also has an alter ego, Lilith Lacroix. She has performed at various venues in New Zealand and overseas, to sold-out houses, and has even won a fashion award at the Trentham Races.

Leon Narbey is a master cinematographer recognised in New Zealand and internationally for his beautiful, artistic and intelligent camerawork. A sculpture student at art school, specialising in light/sound installations, his work is distinguished by an aesthetic feel for the colour, light, movement and formal composition of every frame. Leon Narbey has produced many of the finest and most memorable images in New Zealand film.  Some definitive films Leon has worked on as cinematographer, include: Desperate Remedies, Whale-Rider and No. 2. He has also worked on political and visual arts documentaries, short films and television dramas. His own feature film Illustrious Energy, which he co wrote with Martin Edmond, won eight national and two international awards for its poetic and visually stunning portrayal of the experience of Chinese goldminers in the 1860s Central Otago landscape.  

John Parker began his career in pottery aged 19, learning skills through evening classes with Margaret Milne, helping build a kiln and joining potters’ cooperatives. Through his subsequent work, and his international connections, John has helped form the direction ceramics have taken within the country.  His work has been exhibited around the world and is held in many collections.  He now exhibits in close to three solo exhibitions within New Zealand annually, and in many local and international group shows.   He has received numerous commissions and won a number of awards for his ceramics. At the same time as John was developing his interest in ceramics, John also became a theatre designer, undertaking briefs for theatre, ballet and musicals. Credits are numerous including a long history of designing for the Auckland Theatre Company.

Michael Parmenter (MNZM) developed his dance skills both in New Zealand and overseas. He studied and danced with Erick Hawkins in New York and Min Tanaka in Japan.   He has created a wide range of dance-works, from innovative solo and duo shows to full-length pieces for the opera-house stage. He has choreographed many of these for his own Commotion Company, in addition to numerous works for the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Footnote Dance. Michael is also recognised as a teacher of distinction and an engaging and challenging writer and speaker.  In recent years Michael has been developing one of the distinctive features of his choreography – intricate partner dancing – into two partner-improvisation forms, Piloting and TACTICS, which are continuing to expand the performing skills of New Zealand contemporary dancers. Early this year he was named a Distinguished Alumni of Auckland University and appointed to the position of Adjunct Professor of UNITEC Department of Performing Arts.

The 2010 Laureates join:
2009: Lyonel Grant, Witi Ihimaera, Chris Knox, Richard Nunns, Anne Noble
2008: Shane Cotton, Ngila Dickson, George Henare, Lloyd Jones, Teddy Tahu Rhodes
2007: Michael Houston, Sarah-Jayne Howard, Colin McColl, Moana Maniapoto, Merilyn Wiseman
2006:  Alun Bollinger, Alastair Galbraith, Oscar Kightley, John Reynolds, Ian Wedde
2005:  Neil Ieremia, Bill Manhire, Julia Morison, Simon O’Neill, Ronnie Van Hout

2004:  Barry Barclay, Jack Body, Derek Lardelli, John Pule, Ann Robinson 
2003:  Jenny Bornholdt, Neil Dawson, Michael Hurst, Humphrey Ikin, John Psathas 
2002:  Warwick Freeman, Shona McCullagh, Don McGlashan, Helen Medlyn, Jacob Rajan
2001:  Phil Dadson, Kate De Goldi, Michael Parekowhai, Gaylene Preston
2000:  Briar Grace-Smith, Elizabeth Knox, Peter Peryer, Gillian Karawe Whitehead, Douglas Wright  

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