2013 Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Awards Media Release
Embargoed until 6pm 02.08.13
2013 Arts Icons
Five of New Zealand’s most acclaimed artists have today been honoured for their extraordinary artistic achievements at
the Arts Foundation’s prestigious Icon Awards. The recipients are architect Ian Athfield, painter and writer Jacqueline Fahey, film maker Geoff Murphy, Opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and visual artist, heritage advocate and teacher Cliff Whiting.
The recipients were announced at Government House in Wellington at a ceremony hosted by His Excellency, Lieutenant
General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor- General of New Zealand and Patron of the Arts Foundation.
The Icon Awards are limited to a living circle of twenty stellar New Zealand artists and are the Arts Foundation’s
highest honour. Previous recipients of the Awards include Janet Frame, Ralph Hotere, Sir Peter Jackson, Margaret Mahy
and many more. Thirty-one artists have been honoured as Icons. Following this year’s ceremony there will be eighteen
living Icon Award recipients, with the next ceremony planned for 2015.
“We know that the arts are fundamental to society and that New Zealand artists are world class”, said Arts Foundation
Chair, Fran Ricketts. “The Icon Awards are established so New Zealanders can recognise the extraordinary talent we have
in our county and to celebrate their achievements with them. We are honoured to have the acceptance of the 2103 Icon
Award recipients, each of them adding significantly to the collective mana of the group”.
There are twenty Icon medallions, each one hand-crafted and designed by stone sculptor John Edgar. When a medallion is
presented, the name of the recipient is inscribed on the back. Each recipient also receives a pounamu and silver pin.
The pin is kept in perpetuity and, in time, the medallion is presented to a future Icon Award recipient. The mana of the
medallions grows as they are passed through generations of New Zealand artists.
The Arts Foundation is a patron’s organisation that specialises in philanthropic support for the arts. In honour of a
significant donation from Sir Eion and Jan, Lady Edgar, the Arts Foundation named them as Patrons to the Icons. Sir Eion
said “collectively and individually, Icon Award recipients have made an extraordinary contribution to our nation. Jan
and I are very proud to be assisting the Arts Foundation to acknowledge the important contribution artists make to New
Zealand on a global stage”.
Icon Award recipients are major contributors to New Zealand. 2011 recipient Sir Peter Jackson’s film The Hobbit was
credited for a spike in the number of international visitors to the country with 13% of tourists participating in a
Hobbit-themed tourist activity. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sang the British national anthem at Buckingham Palace opening
celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation in July. 2003 recipient Sir Miles Warren gifted
Ohinetahi, his world-renowned house and garden in Canterbury, to the people of New Zealand.
Marketing Director of the Arts Foundation’s Principal Partner, Macquarie Private Wealth New Zealand, Kathryn Bruce said,
““The Icon Awards are a fabulous celebration of the achievements of New Zealand artists both here and overseas.
Macquarie Private Wealth is proud to support the Arts Foundation and the role it plays in honouring our most talented
2013 Icon Award Recipients
Ian Athfield (Architect), Wellington, is the founding principal of Athfield Architects Limited. He has headed this practice since its inception in 1968 and
has been responsible for the majority of design direction in office through this period. As well as his contribution to
the design of a broad range of projects throughout New Zealand, in 1976 Ath won an International Design Competition for
housing in Manila, the Philippines. He has been involved in a teaching fellowship with Victoria University of
Wellington, has been a keynote speaker at various international conferences and has judged numerous architectural /
urban design competitions. Under his directorship Athfield Architects has won well over 100 design awards and has also
been the subject of an exhibition and a number of books, magazine articles and films. In 2004 Ath was the recipient of
the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ highest honour, the Gold Medal, and from 2006 – 2008 he was President of the
NZIA. In 2006 he became the first New Zealand Architect to be registered as an APEC Architect. Ath has recently been a
member of the Auckland City Property Enterprise Board, advisor to Auckland’s Aotea Square development and a member of
the Assessment Panel for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery master plan. He is currently serving on the Board of the
New Zealand Historic Places Trust and was made NZIA Architectural Ambassador to Christchurch soon after the September
2010 earthquake to provide advice and coordination during the rebuild and restoration process.
Jacqueline Fahey (Painter/Writer), Auckland, is a trail-blazing Auckland writer and artist known for her paintings of domestic and suburban life. She was one of the
first New Zealand artists to work explicitly from a woman’s perspective. Highly unconventional in the late 1950s, for
example, she was already dramatically revealing the crippling isolation of women in the suburban family home. In later
years, she moved on to urban subjects and into the overtly political. In the late 1980s she became an influential
lecturer at Elam School of Fine Arts at Auckland University. Jacqueline is now the only survivor of a group of renowned
Canterbury women artists that included Rita Angus and Evelyn Page. She has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows
throughout her career. She was selected to represent New Zealand at the 1985 Sydney Perspecta and her work was included
in the 2007 exhibition 100 Feminist Painters at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Jacqueline is also a writer publishing the novel Cutting Loose (David Ling, 1998) about the 1987 coup in Fiji, best-selling memoir Something for the Birds (AUP, 2006) and, most recently, Before I Forget (AUP, 2012). Jacqueline lives in Auckland.
Geoff Murphy (Filmmaker), Wellington, has made an outstanding legacy to New Zealand filmmaking. His first film Tankbusters (1969) was a 30 minute drama which was played on television both in New Zealand and Australia. A founding member of
legendary 'hippy' musical and theatrical co-operative Geoff Murphy’s debut feature, was Wildman (1976) but he really made his name with the classic and road-movie Goodbye Pork Pie; one of the first New Zealand films to attract large-scale local audiences. This was followed by Utu which has been re-released in digital in 2013. The Quiet Earth became another Kiwi classic and gained an international cult following. These films were all seen by over 100,000 people
their New Zealand releases. In the late 80’s and 90’s Geoff worked largely in America as a Hollywood director on such
films as western Young Guns II, starring Mick Jagger and Antony Hopkins and Steven Seagal's train thriller Under Siege 2. He returned to New Zealand as second unit director on all three movies of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Geoff Murphy has also worked as a scriptwriter, assistant director, special effects man, school teacher
and trumpet player. With John O'Shea, Bill Sheat, Roger Donaldson, and John Reid among others, Geoff was involved with
the establishment of the New Zealand Film Commission in 1978.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Opera Singer), United Kingdom. After winning the major vocal prizes in New Zealand and Australia Kiri Te Kanawa went to London and within four years
was engaged by the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, as principal soprano in Marriage of Figaro. The debut rocketed her into international fame, with contracts in every major opera house in the world for the next 40
years. Highlights include singing at Prince Charles’s wedding in St. Pauls Cathedral to an international viewing
audience estimated at 600 million, and performing a major concert with full orchestra in the desert Outback of
Australia. In 2000 she sang from Gisborne – the first place in the world to see the sun each day - in the Millennium
telecast, and was the first singer seen by countless millions world- wide. Her recordings include 16 full operas, plus
oratorios, song cycles, lieder, Broadway musicals, a chart-topping collection of Maori songs, and the Rugby World Cup’s
theme song “World in Union.” Created a Dame in 1982, Kiri Te Kanawa has honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge
Universities plus nine other universities; the British Recording Industry’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award and the
International Achievement Summit award. She has also been invested with the Order of New Zealand and the Order of
Australia and named ‘Iconic New Zealander of the Year’ (2012). Dame Kiri established the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation to
assist and mentor young New Zealand singers. She continues to perform in concert halls throughout the world. During 2013
Dame Kiri will appear in Downton Abbey playing Australian diva Dame Nellie Melba, and commitments in 2014 include a guest appearance during the Covent Garden
Cliff Whiting, ONZ, Northland. Te Whanau-a-Apanui (Artist, heritage advocate and teacher).Ko Cliff Whiting tetahi o nga tohunga ringatoi Maori matua
o roto i nga rima tekau tau kua pahure ake nei. Nana, otira na ratou ko etahi o tona reanga i para te huarahi hou mo nga
toi Maori, a, mohoa noa nei. He kaha nona ki te hapai i nga mahi toi o te marae i nga kainga maha puta noa i te motu,
ara, te hanga wharenui hou me te whakarauora wharenui tawhito. He uri a Cliff no roto i nga kawai rangatira o tona hapu,
o Te Whanau-a-Kaiaio, ko tona iwi, ko Te Whanau-a-Apanui. Kua mau i a Cliff nga tuku ihotanga o tona whakapapa hei
tuakiri mona, hei kawe i a ia ki roto i te ao whanui, i tu pakari ai ia i roto i nga akinga o te wa.
Cliff Whiting has made an outstanding contribution to New Zeland Arts and Culture over a career spanning more than fifty
years, in the fields of art education, art administration,
marae building and renovation, and as an individual artist. He has developed a recognisable style of contemporary Maori
art, based firmly on his Te Whanau-a-Apanui tribal traditions, which can be seen in his meeting house design, and his
public and individual artworks. Cliff has contributed his expertise and time to a large number of marae development and
renovation projects, has served on numerous national arts committees, and was the first Kaihautu of Te Papa Tongarewa,
Museum of New Zealand, working tirelessly to establish a fully bicultural kaupapa as a foundation stone for the
institution. His many large scale works are displayed in numerous locations around New Zealand