Patronage Award Recipients Double the Money for High Profile Artists
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Embargoed until 6pm 10 May 2006
Patronage Award Recipients Double the Money for High Profile Artists
Five New Zealand artists will receive a combined $40,000 from Denis and Verna Adam, the recipients of the Arts
Foundation of New Zealand's inaugural Award for Patronage.
At an event hosted by Her Excellency, the Hon Dame Silvia Cartwright, Governor General of New Zealand, at Government
House in Auckland, Denis and Verna Adam were recognised for their lifetime contribution to New Zealand arts.
Denis and Verna Adam established the Adam Foundation in 1975 and during the past 30 years have endeavoured to support
artists through its many programmes including: the establishment of the Adam Concert Room at Victoria University of
Wellington; the Adam Portraiture Award and Exhibition; the Adam Chamber Music Festival, and the Adam International Cello
As part of the award, the couple were given $20,000 by the Arts Foundation, to distribute to artists of their choice.
Denis and Verna announced they would double the fund and distribute $10,000 to artists; Pianist, John Chen; Cartoonist,
Tom Scott; writers Oscar Kightley and David Armstrong ($5,000 each) and to Tanya Ashken to honour her late husband John
All the recipients have relevance to the Adam Foundation activities. "The artists are our personal choices and these
rewards should be regarded as our own expression of gratitude and admiration of their work from enthusiastic, inexpert
admirers," Denis Adam said.
The couple said they felt honoured to be selected as the first recipients of the Patronage Award. "We unreservedly
support the Arts Foundation aim to encourage arts patronage in New Zealand. We started collecting objets d'art in the
1960s but, arts have always been our passion. It is a great feeling to know that we have assisted some young New
Zealanders in their bid to make it in the field of the arts."
The Patronage Awards will be announced annually, honouring those patrons who are making an active contribution to the
arts in New Zealand.
Ros Burdon, Chairperson of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand said: "The Patronage Awards are all about encouraging more
people to give to the arts, to honour those who already show their support and to highlight the difference you can make
by being a patron."
Neil Paviour-Smith, Managing Director of the Arts Foundation's Principal Sponsor Forsyth Barr said: "Denis and Verna
Adam have been committed to supporting the arts over the years - from their contribution to the Adam Art Gallery to
their strong financial support of individual artists, the New Zealand School of Music and the annual Adam Foundation
prize for creative writing.
"As principal sponsor and managers of the Arts Foundation's Endowment Fund, we're pleased that the Adam's will be
distributing the funds to such talented and worthy New Zealand artists," Mr Paviour Smith said.
The Award for Patronage will be presented annually and is the fourth major award programme to be launched by the Arts
Foundation of New Zealand. The Foundation is a national private trust that supports all art forms through identifying
and rewarding artistic excellence via impeccable processes. The Foundation enables New Zealanders to act collectively as
patrons through donations and legacies.
The Arts Foundation of New Zealand
The Arts Foundation of New Zealand is a charitable Trust, independent from government that invests in excellence in New
The Foundation has an endowment fund, which generates income to support the arts. It encourages private individuals to
support the endowment through donations and bequests. The endowment fund was originally set up through donations from
the Lottery Grant Board and a three year loan of $1 million from an anonymous patron.
Forsyth Barr is one of New Zealand's largest independent investment houses. It is a locally owned business with
well-established global connections.
Forsyth Barr offers services in sharebroking and company research, investment trusts, leveraged equities, call deposits,
fixed interest, retirement planning and private portfolio management.
With more than 70 years experience and 11 offices nationwide, Forsyth Barr has the expertise and knowledge to assist
people in their investment needs.
For more information about Forsyth Barr and how they can help people make the most of the investment opportunities in
their lifetime visit www.forbar.co.nz or call 0800 367 227.
The Adam Foundation: Denis and Verna Adam
Denis Frederick Adam CNZM, OBE (also made an Honorary Doctor of Literature, Victoria University, December 2001) and
The Adam Foundation was established in 1975. Initially created to consolidate the ownership of a growing art collection,
in due course be on permanent loan to a public gallery in Wellington, the Foundation's activities gradually extended to
support arts in general. All the funds are endowed by Denis and Verna.
Although there are other factors prompting sponsorships at times, their aim has been to assist talented young persons,
normally resident in New Zealand, in achieving progress in the arts. However, youth is not always a primary requirement.
Born of German-Jewish parents in 1924, Denis's family fled Germany and settled in England, and he was educated there and
in Scotland. He served in World War II as a fighter-bomber pilot in the RAF under a New Zealand commanding officer and
this led him to New Zealand.
Denis is very much a self-made man. He came to New Zealand in 1947 with six pounds in his pocket. He met Verna Ruth
Finlayson in Wellington and decided to stay and seek his fortune in New Zealand. They married in 1953.
He eventually found his business niche and established Adam & Adam which became a specialised insurance broking company. He still maintains an office for Adam Consultants & Administrators and the Adam Foundation.
Verna was born in Ashburton but moved north to take up a secretarial career. She later became a mature student and went
to Victoria University where she remained, after she gained her degree, until she retired, taking up administrative
roles in the economics department and the Institute of Policy Studies.
Profiles of Artists
In July 2004, as an 18 year old, New Zealand pianist John Chen became the youngest ever winner of the Sydney
International Piano Competition, also winning prizes for his performances of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chamber Music,
and 19/20th century Concerto. This followed his win in the 2003 Lev Vlassenko Australasian Piano Competition, where he
swept all the special prizes.
John began his piano studies at the age of three. From age eight, he studied with Rae de Lisle for eleven years, and
under her tutelage, gained his Master of Music from the University of Auckland aged 18. John has performed concertos
with most of the major orchestras in New Zealand and Australia. His official orchestral debut was at age 15 with the New
Zealand Symphony Orchestra. To date, John has performed in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, USA, and Germany (at the
prestigious Ruhr Festival).
John has a particular passion for 20th century French music. He has recorded the complete solo piano works of Henri
Dutilleux for Naxos, to be released this year, and will soon record a selection of Debussy and Ravel for ABC Classics.
John is also deeply committed to New Zealand music, and has given the world premieres of works by New Zealand composers
Jenny McLeod, Ross Harris, and Claire Cowan (a work he commissioned himself). He has also given the world premiere of
the second piano concerto of Australian composer Roger Smalley.
Now 19, John currently studies at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, under John Perry.
Born in 1947 London, England, Tom Scott migrated in 1949 with his family to New Zealand. In 1972, Tom
graduated from Massey University with a BSC in Physiology.
Tom is best known for his cartooning and his abilities as a writer for stage and screen. He has won the Qantas Award for
Cartoonist of the Year five times and also the Qantas Award for Political Columnist of the Year twice.
Tom also won New Zealand Film and Television Awards for Footrot Flats (cartoon feature film), Fallout (drama script) and
View from the Top (Sir Edmund Hillary documentary). Tom also won a Silver Award at the
International Film and Television Festival of New York for Our Future Generation energy documentary.
Oscar Kightley was born in Samoa and emigrated to New Zealand with his mother when he was four years old. Oscar first
recognised his ability to make people laugh when he was a school boy, and at Rutherford High he developed his skills in
humour and English further. Following a cadetship at The Auckland Star Oscar moved into working in radio and television
starting behind the scenes and then moving to a presenting role with Life in The Fridge based in Christchurch.
A Qantas award winning journalist, Oscar also co-founded Pacific Underground and the Island Players theatre company
which has produced critically acclaimed work. Oscar won the Bruce Mason playwrights' award in 1998 and has worked as a
performer and writer for a number of television shows including Skitz, Telly Laughs, The Panel, Sportzah and TV3's rugby
coverage. His plays include A Frigate Bird Sings which he co-wrote with fellow Naked Samoan, Dave Fane, Dawn Raids,
Island Girls, and Niu Sila co-written with Dave Armstrong.
Oscar is also one of the Naked Samoans, who've taken their anarchic brand of comedy around the country and even to
Scotland. Oscar is currently working with the Naked Samoans and Firehorse Films on the third series of bro'Town.
Currently Oscar's time is fully committed to bro'Town, Sione's Wedding, current TV3 projects, co-hosting Niu FM's
breakfast show...and perhaps just a little bit of socialising when time permits.
Dave Armstrong - Co-writer of Niu Sila
Dave Armstrong has written extensively for stage and screen. His stage plays include King and Country, a musical play
about the First World War, has been performed at festivals throughout the country including the 2006 NZ International
Festival of the Arts in Wellington where it had a sell-out season and received rave reviews.
The Tutor - commissioned by Wellington's Circa Theatre - had a successful season at Circa Studio in 2005
and won best new New Zealand Play at the 2005 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. Dave's 'Westie' adaptation of Charles
Dickens' A Christmas Carol had successful seasons at Downstage (1998) and Auckland Theatre Company (2004). Dave is
currently completing commissions for the Auckland Theatre Company and Downstage Theatre.
Dave's screen credits include Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby, which he co-wrote and co-created as well as The Semisis,
the Pacific Island family from Skitz. Dave was script editor for first series of bro'town, and wrote for four series of
the PR political satire Spin Doctors, for which he won a BAFTA television award (along with Roger Hall and James
Griffin) for best comedy script. Other TV credits include Project Q - a children's science show and Jandals Away. Dave
has written one book - True Colours - an account of the 1996 New Zealand General Election.
John Drawbridge (1930-2005) was an acclaimed Wellington printmaker, who produced over 200 editioned
mezzotint prints, etchings and lithographs during his career. Denis and Verna Adam have made this award to John's wife
Tanya Ashken to celebrate John posthumously. The grant is intended to assist Tanya and her son Cameron Drawbridge to
continue John's work and make his art available to a wider audience.
John Drawbridge was born in Wellington in 1930. In 1957 he won a National Gallery Travelling Scholarship,
which allowed him to study in London and Paris. While in London, he was commissioned to paint a mural for the reception
hall of New Zealand house, which is now housed in the National Archives in Wellington.
He was later commissioned to produce a mural for the New Zealand pavilion at Expo 70 in Osaka.
In accepting the award, Tanya said Denis and Verna, "have felt the magic in John's work and we thank them hugely for
this recognition." She would like to see John's work reach a wider public, and is considering putting the grant towards
the publication of a book on his art.