About The Big Idea

The Big Idea | Te Aria Nui is New Zealand’s online hub for creative people. Our aim is to support talented, innovative individuals and organisations, back the creative industries and advocate for creativity as an essential ingredient in the cultural and economic wealth of New Zealand.

The Big Idea provides resources for the whole creative sector, including those seeking to turn their ‘big ideas’ into viable projects, careers and businesses. We are the go-to destination for work opportunities, event listings, arts stories and creative inspiration.

The Big Idea is a not-for-profit trust started in 2001 and is New Zealand’s longest running creative sector website. To find out more about our history, explore our Decade Report

The Trust’s three strategic goals are:

  1. Promote vocational pathways for enterprising creative people and increase public awareness about the role of creativity in New Zealand’s cultural and economic wealth.
  2. Develop and expand the skills and competencies of people and organisations. 
  3. Link, network and broker opportunities that enable enterprising people in the creative industries to grow their projects.

As the delivery partner of ART – Arts Regional Trust, The Big Idea delivers ART Venture, an acceleration programme, for experienced creative entrepreneurs who are leading projects that contribute to Auckland’s reputation as a strong, creative city.

Chief Executive - Annie Ackerman

Annie started with The Big Idea in July 2016. Annie is probably best known for her three year stint as inaugural CEO of the Spark Foundation, where she negotiated the purchase of the award winning crowdfunding generosity platform, Givealittle.


Patrick Snedden (Chair)

Patrick accepted the Chair in early 2017. No stranger to creative entrepreneurship, he was a founding director of Mai FM, and in 2011 he helped to establish the Manaiakalani Educational Trust, a new educational trust devoted to accelerating improvement in Maori and Pasifika educational outcomes.

Patrick has a pedigree in governance having been Chair of the Housing New Zealand Corporation, the Auckland and Counties District Health Boards, and is a current director of Ports of Auckland and a former Director of Watercare Services.

Leesa Tilley

Leesa has extensive experience in the music industry where she works as a promoter, publicist, marketer, project and artist manager, consultant and writer. She has worked in radio, film, television and print media including reporting for London based Audience Magazine. Leesa, and her companies Agent X and Publicity+, have promoted numerous events and live music shows such as Fleetwood Mac, the Who and Def Leppard and was instrumental in the successful development and launch of Rotorua's Raggamuffin Music Festival.

Julian Andrews

Julian is a communications and engagement expert who has spent 20 years creating media and building communities for clients across sectors including design, architecture, food, telecoms, education, healthcare and tourism. After training to become an architect, he worked on PRODESiGN and Urbis magazines. Then he set up his own publishing business, becoming this country’s most experienced practitioner of customer publications.

The Team 

Behind The Big Idea is a charitable trust and a team of creative sector specialists whose work is influenced by innovation, the arts, business, technology and culture.

Chrissy Irvine
Operations Manager

Chrissy is on the case running day to day ops of The Big Idea, helping our team and clients get what they need, and quickly! She's also a photographer - her preferred camera is a Polaroid SX70 but she shoots on a Canon too (when the budget for film runs out). She's based in Christchurch and always keen to grab a coffee with our southern members. You can reach her at chrissy.irvine@thebigidea.co.nz.



Contact Details

Annie Ackerman E: annie.ackerman@thebigidea.co.nz M: 0274738637