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The Fuller Picture

Hnry CEO James Fuller
Photo by Alice Dietrich via Unsplash
Hnry Awards will celebrate World Creativity Day
The man behind the new $25,000 awards explains why they are backing creativity - and how they hope to kickstart careers.


James Fuller is the first to admit he’s not a professional creative. But he does profess to having a “creative spark.” 

That spark ignited the flame that could help a Kiwi earn $15,000 for potentially less than an hour’s work. 

The inaugural Hnry Awards, the brainchild of Hnry CEO Fuller, have been set up to celebrate creativity and independence - two attributes Hnry have been trying to foster as an award-winning service for freelancers and contractors. 

“As a business, we are very close to a large part of the creative community,” Fuller explains. “We see first-hand the sorts of things that independent earners - some of whom are professional creatives - experience when they’re freelancers and contractors. We love hearing their stories. The idea behind this was to encourage people to use a creative way to share their thoughts on the topic.” 

So, they’ve posed the question - “what does independent earning mean to you?”. With one in five New Zealanders earning some or all of their income independently from salaried work, there are many of us who can relate. 

Entries Flooding In 

Entries have only been open for a few days but Fuller has been taken with how quickly they’re coming in, from the broadest spectrum of people and industries. “They’re having great fun taking photos and videos of themselves carrying out their work, writing poems about what being a freelancer is like, and we’ve even had someone record a short song about how they continually put off doing their accounts! 

“We’ve been hearing some really cool stories from people who have found it interesting to take a step back from their day-to-day work and think about what being a freelancer or contractor actually means to them.” 

Entrants Retain Creative Control 

There are some in the arts community that remain skeptical of competition style creativity.  But Fuller feels Hnry have set up a structure to keep the power in the creators’ hands, whether they win a share of the $25K prize pool or not.

Photo by Alice Dietrich via Unsplash.

“We don’t intend to ‘do’ anything with any of the entries, and we won’t be using them for any commercial purposes or as part of any advertising whatsoever,” he says adamantly. “All the entries remain the exclusive property of the creator themselves. 

“This isn’t about us gaining some sort of commercial benefit from people’s entries, we’re just creating a fun competition where anyone in New Zealand can enter by submitting something like a photo or a short video or a drawing, and have the chance to win a prize.”

"We’ve already had entries come in from people intending to sell their work as prints - and we love the idea that we can help people earn more"

Fuller continues “we’re asking people to submit things that are rough and raw - and we’ve deliberately made it clear that we don’t want people to spend a lot of time or money on their entry. 

“We’ve already had entries come in from people intending to sell their work as prints - and we love the idea that we can help people earn more from anything they create by being part of these awards.” 

And while the creative aspect of the award should lend itself nicely to the arts industry, Fuller is expecting strong entries from across the board. “It’s open to anyone in New Zealand - not just freelancers, or contractors, or one particular community or group. Uber drivers, midwives and project managers have just as much opportunity to win prizes in this democratised competition as a professional artist with 20 years’ experience - it’s about encouraging and making an equal playing field for creativity for everyone.”

Hnry Awards will celebrate World Creativity Day

Going Public

The judging panel will narrow down the entries to a top 10 through a blind judging process. From there, the finalists are thrown into the hands of the New Zealand public.

“The purpose isn’t necessarily to find the ‘best concept’, it’s about asking the public to vote for the entry they think best represents the theme, or that appeals to them the most. We’ll be showcasing and publicising the Top 10 equally during the voting period, all presented without names attached, as we’re trying to encourage as many people as possible to pick their favourite.

someone who wins might decide to use the prize to pursue a creative career, or further their existing creative career.

“I don’t doubt that some finalists will encourage their friends to vote for their entry. We just see that as a normal part of any competition that is open to a public vote."

Fuller confirms the plan is to “absolutely'' make the Hnry Awards an annual event to celebrate World Creativity Day. “We’re hoping that these Awards will inspire people to get creative, particularly those who wouldn’t consider themselves to be ‘trained’ in a creative discipline. Perhaps someone who wins might decide to use the prize to pursue a creative career, or further their existing creative career.” 

This article is written in partnership with the Hnry Awards 2020. 

How to enter Submissions are open now and will close on 21 March. The panel judges will name the 10 finalists on 30 March before opening it up to public voting, leaving it to people’s choice to decide the top three. The winner will be announced on 21 April. The Winner receives $15,000, First Runner Up $7,500 and Second Runner Up $2,500. Entries are open to New Zealanders over 18. One entry per person. Entries are free. Detailed entry instructions can be found at

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

3 Mar 2020

The Big Idea Editor