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Entrepreneurial creatives celebrated at ART Awards

2016 ART Venture recipients. Photo / Vinesh Kumaran Photography
The talent, passion and drive of 12 creative entrepreneurs was recognised and celebrated at the 2016 ART Venture Awards event in Auckland on 31 August 2016.


The talent, passion and drive of 12 creative entrepreneurs was recognised and celebrated at the 2016 ART Venture Awards event in Auckland on 31 August 2016.

Each was awarded a place worth over $30,000 on ART Venture, the prestigious year-long creative enterprise accelerator programme offered by ART – Arts Regional Trust. 

The 2016 Award Recipients are:

Amber Curreen | Bridget Ellis-Pegler | Deborah Crowe | Donna Brookbanks | Hans Kim | Iulia Leilua | Judy Dale | Mardo El-Noor Martin Hill | Mina Mathieson | Miranda Brown | Sharu Delilkan.

In acknowledging the high calibre of award recipients, Nigel Arkell, Chair of Arts Regional Trust, says that the ART Awards pays tribute to the social, cultural and financial contribution that creative entrepreneurs are making through their work in Auckland’s creative ecology, which in turn is influencing other sectors of the economy too.

“This fantastic group of talented, creative practitioners are already making a very real difference to the transformation and growth of Auckland and New Zealand through their creativity, innovation and talent.”

The theme of the gala awards event was ‘Ma te huruhuru, ka rere te manu’ (‘Adorn the bird with feathers, so it can fly’) and each Award recipient was presented with a huia feather necklace made by jeweller Ross Malcolm. Traditionally, huia feathers were worn by Maori of high status and mana. The principle so beautifully expressed in the whakatauki or proverb is also at the heart of ART Venture and all of ART’s creative enterprise programmes says Nigel Arkell.

“Through its innovative programmes, ART accelerates the development of creative, entrepreneurial people to take off and fly. By backing these creative entrepreneurs and what they do, the effect is generative within communities and Auckland’s economy” he says.

The 2016 ART Venture Award recipients were selected from a pool of over 60 applicants in a robust process led by ART Venture Programme Director Elisabeth Vaneveld and a panel of specialists comprising cultural economic development practitioner, Hinurewa Te Hau; business advisor and investor, Dave Booth; ART Venture 2015 Alumni member Tainui Tukiwaho; and Arts Regional Trust Te Taumata Toi-a-iwi Project Director, Candy Elsmore.

The 2016 participants come from a wide range of arts backgrounds; some have been working in the sector for many years, and some are more emergent or seeking new directions in their work. Such variety isn’t a problem, explains Elisabeth Vaneveld.

“The programme provides a flexible yet intensive action-learning environment that, through peer-to-peer support, specialist coaching, a seed fund pitching process and an innovative curriculum, accelerates the creative enterprise development of each participant.”

She says the ground-breaking ART Venture programme is a unique opportunity. “There is nothing else like it. Throughout the programme, participants receive direct personalised input to help them develop strategies to take their creative enterprises and projects to the next level. “

ART Venture 2016 & the ART Awards are initiatives of Arts Regional Trust Te Taumata Toi-a-iwi (ART) with Delivery Partners The Big Idea. 

More Information:
ART Venture 2016 – Elisabeth Vaneveld , Programme Director, 027 490 7113,
Arts Regional Trust – Candy Elsmore, Project Director, 027 279 0002
About the ART Venture 2016 Award Recipients: There are 12 ART Venture 2016 Award Recipients. Images are available of each from ART. Contact Candy at

Donna Brookbanks // CEO Snort Comedy Ltd “Snort provides a platform for comedians/actors to create and to develop themselves as performers. We are a community and a safe space to explore ideas and we provide an opportunity to advance comedians who are not in the mainstream, for example, women in comedy. Snort also expands comedy audiences by providing an alternative style to stand-up through our weekly improvisational shows.”

Miranda Brown // Artist & Sustainability Designer “My Purpose is to connect people to nature through art and design. As the creator of an ethical fashion brand, I have inspired and engaged audiences and students for the last decade throughout Auckland and New Zealand creating a following for my philosophy and design. It is my intention to enhance this leadership position by creating, modelling and promoting solutions as an ethical designer, manufacturer and inspiring educator.”

Deborah Crowe // Founder Crowe Creative “My aim is to advance three strands of creative enterprise as an interrelated sustainable business venture. These stands are: visual art production, minimum-waste textile and fashion design, and tailor-made art services. I want to grow each to their full potential as individual threads and as interconnected elements with potential to enrich the success of each other, while also responding to opportunities emerging in Auckland to create place-related work that is integrated into the fabric, design and construction of the city. “

Amber Curreen // Creative Producer, Te Rēhia Theatre Company Ltd “My focus is to build the organisational capacity and scope of Te Rēhia Theatre Company to better position us to continue the growth of Maori theatre in Auckland. We’ve presented five independent Māori productions in Auckland so far. Right now, we’re concentrating on developing our artistic and strategic vision as well as defining potential service and advocacy roles that Te Rēhia can fulfil for the Māori Theatre sector. “

Judy Dale // Co-Creator & Co-Producer, Wet Hot Beauties “My goals include taking Wet Hot Beauties, our modern Water Ballet company to the next level and in the process becoming an even better producer of arts events. Wet Hot Beauties is where the ordinary becomes extraordinary and by continuing to deliver high-quality popular arts happenings in our region, we’re firmly establishing our work in Auckland’s cultural sector. It’s exciting to see large scale attendance and participation in such a unique theatrical dance experience while also making a solid contribution to increasing body-positivity, leisure/arts involvement, sense of belonging and self-development amongst participants and audiences alike.”

Sharu Delilkan // Performing Arts Producer & Founder, Sharu Loves Hats “I’ve had a deep love of the performing arts since I was a child. Coming from a strong journalism and PR professional background, I’ve brought all my skills and experience together to form my producing company, Sharu Loves Hats – because I do! My current producing focus is to build national touring circuits in small towns that are starved for high quality theatre. Through Sharu Loves Hats I’m committed to identifying and working with local community heroes to tailor theatrical programmes to suit varied audiences, while attracting and building established and new audiences.”

Mardo El-Noor // Photographer & Founder, Martian Studio “Martian Studio is a start-up that provides creative services in photography with a focus on creating unique and engaging visual content of the highest production level. Simply, Martian depicts people in elaborate and stylised scenes that tell their personal stories about passions and causes, families and friends, products and services. A substantial aspect of Martian is to work closely with small-medium businesses, corporations, public figures, agencies and organisations to develop and share their stories with current and new participants, users and audiences. Another goal is to collaborate with and employ Auckland-based arts practitioners to help bring those stories to life, while also keeping a strong focus on developing a sound and sustainable business model for Martian Studio.”

Martin Hill // Founder & Creative technologist, Makersphere “At MakerSphere we are creating to make a difference. We believe that every young New Zealander should have the opportunity to explore their passions through making. We want to create an inclusive space where everyone is encouraged to explore, tinker and create together. Many young people love to create things with their hands. Unfortunately they are not always given the opportunity to do so. Many also struggle to engage with learning in our current school system. This project will engage youth with learning through hands-on projects that stimulate their thinking.”

Hans Kim // Designer “There is a new wave of designers that are pioneering the development and implementation of cutting-edge technologies, through a highly interdisciplinary approach. After two years collaborating with one such premier design studio in Europe, I have come back to NZ with a mission to establish one of my own. ‘Mass’ is a design think-tank / collective engaging in the creation of complete systems in all product categories through technological innovation. Such systems will create unique value for Auckland’s economy, with a long term goal of establishing Auckland as a renowned technological hub in the talent based economy of the future.”

Iulia Leilua // Director, Brown Pages Ltd “Brown Pages is a Maori and Pasifika media, communications and creative company. We offer a range of coaching, consumer insights and creative products and services to help our clients be culturally engaging and inspired. We aim to provide unique and valuable insights into social, cultural & creative trends in Maori and Pasifika media, arts, music, fashion/shopping/tourism, business/environment, language/culture and digital/ICT. We also aim to support the aspirations of Maori and Pasifika creatives, break down stereotypes about our people and celebrate our successes.”

Mina Mathieson // CEO Kia Rewa Foundation Kia Rewa Foundation (KRF) is a strategic collective of like-minded thinkers and doers. With a fundamental charitable purpose and passion to effect positive social change, KRF designs, develops and delivers initiatives that elevate indigenous expression. Our collective strength allows for innovative solutions across digital and traditional platforms.

Bridget Ellis-Pegler // Originator & Creative Director, The Zingoshi Chronicles “My dream is to bring The Zingoshi Chronicles to the world. This ground-breaking transmedia project spans numerous industries and represents two target markets, the 8-12 year old girls for whom we are creating the content, and their parents and caregivers. So far my team spanning New Zealand and United States has achieved a tremendous amount and we have an exceptionally strong creative infrastructure in place. We need a rock-solid business structure too, to harness this project’s full potential and this will be my focus over the next two years.”

About ART Venture

ART Venture is a unique acceleration programme that brings together the arts, business, education and investment communities to back creative entrepreneurs and producers working in the Auckland region who are keen to contribute to Auckland’s arts, cultural and economic development.

The Programme provides start-up and experienced creative entrepreneur participants with a flexible yet intensive learning environment that through peer-to-peer support, specialist coaching and customised content accelerates the creative, professional and enterprise development of each participant.

Now in its seventh year, ART Venture has firmly established itself as a vital and sought after development programme for creative entrepreneurs drawn from across all disciplines of the arts, culture and creative industries sectors who are serious about growing their skills, projects and enterprises.

Previous Participants in ART

Programmes 81 creative entrepreneurs already have benefited from their participation in the 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015 ART Venture and ART Source programmes:

Alex Lee | Alix Whittaker | Allan Xia | Andrew Malmo | Andrew Whiteside | Arani Cuthbert | Beth Kayes | Bhavesh Bhuthadia | Billie Paea | Carol Stainton | Caroline Robinson | Celia Harrison | Charlie McDermott | Charmaine ‘Ilaiu | Chris Chetland | Chris White | Claire Cowan | Corinne Te Whata | Dan Shanan | Deborah White | Duane Wichman-Evans | Deborah Lawler-Dormer | Dominika Marcisz | Ella Mizrahi | Esther Cahill- Ciaroni | Frances Kelliher | Georgia Wood | Gina Dellabarca | Grace Taylor | Gus Simonovic | Huia Hamon | Isaac Katzoff | James Wilson | Jamie McLellan | Janette Howe | Jenni Heka | Jill Rawnsley | Justin Lewis | Karl Sheridan | Katrina Hard | Kylie Sealy | Kyra Clarke | Laura Forest | Leilani Kake | Margaret-Mary Hollins | Marcus Winter | Marshall Smith | Matt Smith | Mem Bourke | Phil Evans | Philip Patston | Qiujing Wong | Quentin Roake | Rachelle Pedersen | Renee Bevan | Renee Martin | Richard Reid | Robin Kelly | Ross Liew | Sally Greer | Sam Snedden | Sarah Graham | Sarah Lancaster | Serena Stevenson | Shirley Allan | Shona McCullagh | Siliga Setoga | Sophia Elise | Stan Wolfgramm | Sums Selvarajan | Tainui Tukiwaho | Tamati Patuwai | Te Rongo Kirkwood | Terry Kolomatangi Klavenes | Theo Ah Wong | Tim Bray | Vela Manusaute | Vinesh Kumaran | Wilhemeena Monroe (Gordon) | Yee Yang ‘Square’ Lee.

About the Arts Regional Trust, Te Taumata Toi-a-Iw

Through its unique and innovative programmes and approach, ART is growing entrepreneurship in the Auckland Region’s arts, culture and creative sector to generate cultural, creative and economic outcomes that benefit the Region.

ART’s creative enterprise development programmes back high-achieving creative people intent on growing Auckland’s cultural capital into rich creative, social and economic outcomes. ART’s programmes accelerate and maximise business and career development outcomes for participants, creating a confident and prosperous creative sector and wider community benefit, now and into the future.

ART: Background

The City Councils of Auckland and Manukau created the Arts Regional Trust: Te Taumata Toi-a–iwi (ART) in 2000 to manage and grow their combined share of funds ($6 million) provided through the disestablishment of Auckland Regional Services Trust.

Since then ART has invested $4 million in the Auckland Region’s arts, culture and creative industries through groundbreaking ART programmes such as ART Venture and ART Enterprise. The capital fund has grown to over $10.3 million (20 June 2015) under ART’s stewardship.

Written by

Arts Regional Trust

31 Aug 2016

The Arts Regional Trust : Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi is an arts and creative industries development agency and a leading investor in growing entrepreneurship in Auckland’s creative sector.