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Arts Access Awards celebrate artistic contributions

Arts Access Awards celebrate artistic contributions

A performing artist who has returned home to New Zealand after many years dancing with a renowned dance company in California, a partnership that resulted in a large tape art mural in central Wellington, a creative space providing a pathway from isolation to social inclusion, and leadership in delivering arts programmes in prisons were recognised on Tuesday 4 July at the Arts Access Awards 2017, presented at Parliament by Arts Access Aotearoa.

The Arts Access Awards 2017 were hosted by Hon Nicky Wagner, Minister for Disability Issues, in the Banquet Hall of Parliament. This year’s Arts Access Accolade was presented to Olivier Lacoua, General Manager of CQ Hotels Wellington by Accolade patron Dame Rosie Horton. It recognises Olivier’s support for Arts Access Aotearoa’s work and the artists for whom it advocates.

Unlike the six other award recipients, selected by a judging panel, the Arts Access Accolade is chosen by Arts Access Aotearoa’s staff and board. Executive Director Richard Benge says it is particularly fitting that Olivier should receive this acknowledgement on the eve of his departure to take up a new role in Christchurch.

“Olivier has demonstrated the mutual benefits of a private business partnering with a not-for-profit organisation,” Richard Benge says. “His confidence in Arts Access Aotearoa as an organisation of merit and his personal support of our purpose that everyone has the right to be creative confirms his place in the heart of our organisation. We salute you, Monsieur Lacoua, and wish you well on your new adventure in Christchurch.”

The six other recipients are:

Pablos Art Studios, Wellington, awarded the Arts Access Holdsworth Creative Space Award 2017, for its focus on artists and the pathway it provides from isolation to social inclusion; its innovative programmes and community outreach; and the opportunities it offers for artists to showcase and sell their work.

Bedtime Stories programme, Wellington, awarded the Arts Access Corrections Community Award 2017, for its partnership with Arohata Women’s Prison and Cleanslate Press. Prisoners gain literacy, communication, creativity and performance skills as they read and record stories for their children, grandchildren or other whanau members to listen to. Feedback shows that the programme is having a positive impact on both the women and the children.

Ennoble, Tape Art NZ and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, Wellington, awarded theArts Access CQ Hotels Wellington Community Partnership Award 2017, for an outstanding partnership that provided tape art workshops for Deaf and disabled participants during Disability Pride Week 2016. This was followed by the creation of a stunning mural on the windows of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

The Court Theatre, Christchurch, awarded the Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2017, for its commitment to developing new audiences and making theatre accessible to diverse audiences – from front-of-house and discounted tickets through to its programming and community outreach.

Rodney Bell (Ngāti Maniapoto), Te Kuiti, King Country, awarded the Arts Access Artistic Achievement Award 2017, for his outstanding artistic achievements and contributions to Māori culture and Aotearoa New Zealand. His international career, leadership and advocacy as a disabled performing artist are exemplary.

Christchurch Men’s Prison, awarded the Arts Access Corrections Leadership Award 2017, for its commitment to arts education and artistic expression as a tool supporting the rehabilitation process of prisoners across the prison; the strength of its community partnerships; and its focus on artistic expression with offenders in the Youth Unit.


The annual Arts Access Awards are the key national awards in New Zealand celebrating the achievements of individuals and organisations providing opportunities for people with limited access to engage with the arts as artists and audience members. They also recognise the achievements of an artist with a disability, sensory impairment or lived experience of mental illness.

Richard Benge, Executive Director of Arts Access Aotearoa, said that one in four people in New Zealand – more than one million – live with a disability or impairment.

“That’s a lot of people, who all have the right to enjoy the arts as artists, participants, audience members and gallery visitors,” he said. “Tonight, we celebrate the achievements and contributions of people and communities who make Aotearoa New Zealand a rich, diverse and creative country.”

Highly Commended certificates

Highly Commended certificates were also presented in several of the award categories. These were:

Duncan Armstrong, Wellington, Arts Access Artistic Achievement Award 2017, for his many artistic achievements as a dancer, musician and actor, and his contribution to the arts and disability sectors.

Tim Bray Productions, Auckland, Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2017, for developing an accessibility policy; pioneering regular sign interpreted performances for Deaf children; providing audio description for blind and low vision children; and addressing other barriers to attendance.

Orchestra Wellington, Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2017, for developing an accessibility policy; engaging with the blind community to provide audio described performances; and building partnerships to help achieve its objective of being the most accessible orchestra in New Zealand.

Mix, Hutt City, Arts Access Holdsworth Creative Space Award 2017, for its strong presence in the Hutt community, and the many partnerships and opportunities it provides for artists to showcase their work.

Alpha Omega Playback Theatre Company, Petone, Arts Access Holdsworth Creative Space Award 2017, for its outreach into the community and the way it provides a voice for the participants, who all have intellectual or physical disabilities.

Toi Ora Live Art Trust and University of Auckland, Arts Access CQ Hotels Wellington Community Partnership Award 2017, for a partnership between grassroots practice and research expertise. It was a catalyst for other partnership initiatives aimed at strengthening the community arts sector

Creative Spaces Capsule Project, Pablos Art Studios, Wellington and Studio2/Margaret Freeman Gallery, Dunedin, Arts Access CQ Hotels Wellington Community Partnership Award 2017, for an innovative touring exhibition that connected, promoted and empowered creative spaces throughout New Zealand.

Write Where You Are, Wellington, Arts Access Corrections Community Award 2017, for providing a voice for prisoners at Arohata Women’s Prison and Rimutaka Prison, enabling them to express themselves, and gain confidence, literacy and communication skills.

Whānau Manaaki, Hawkes Bay, Arts Access Corrections Community Award 2017, for delivering tikanga Māori to prisoners in Hawkes Bay Regional Prison. This includes kapa haka, waiata, mau rakau and karakia – all enhancing the men’s identity, wairua, mana and confidence.


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