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New Zealand Arts Icons Honoured

Media Release
Embargoed until 6.45pm June 23, 2011

New Zealand Arts Icons Honoured

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 2011 recipients are writer Barbara Anderson, photographer Marti Friedlander, film-maker Sir Peter Jackson, sculptor Greer Twiss and concert organist Dame Gillian Weir.

The recipients were announced this evening at a function at Government House in Wellington hosted by Their Excellencies, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, Governor-General of New Zealand and Patron of the Arts Foundation, and Lady Susan Satyanand.

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, Hone Tuwhare, Sir Donald McIntrye and many more. Twenty-six artists have been honoured as Icons at previous ceremonies; the 2011 Awards re-establish a living circle of twenty recipients.

“The work of Icon artists represents a legacy to, and a mark on, New Zealand culture. They have made a significant impact on their chosen art form, remain influential and often have achieved amazing international success,” said Arts Foundation chairperson Fran Ricketts. “Each artist is celebrated for their extraordinary achievements and collectively they make a powerful statement about the quality of New Zealand artists,” she adds.

The Arts Foundation has also appointed Sir Eion Edgar and Lady Jan Edgar as Patrons of the Icon Awards after Sir Eion’s retirement as a Trustee in 2010 and their remarkable $500,000 donation to the Foundation.

Sir Eion has long been a champion of the Icon Awards and says too often our most celebrated artists have gone without recognition. “The Icon Awards offer New Zealanders the opportunity to congratulate our most accomplished artists on their achievements and to celebrate their work with them. This is an important function for any developed society and one that Jan and I are proud to be associated with,” he says.

The Arts Foundation is a trust that receives private donations and legacies to support New Zealand artists. More information regarding the Arts Foundation and the Icon Awards is available at

About the recipients:

Acclaimed writer Barbara Anderson has won many awards for her books, in New Zealand and internationally. UK reviewer, Nick Hornby, was so inspired by Barbara’s work that he claimed it was only a matter of time before Wellington replaced New York as the centre of the literary world.

Marti Friedlander began taking photographs professionally in 1964 and is responsible for some of New Zealand’s most iconic photographs. She is very well known for her 1972 collaboration with Michael King, Moko: the art of Maori tattooing.

Film-maker Sir Peter Jackson won international attention early in his career with horror comedies such as Bad Taste and Braindead, before coming to mainstream prominence with Heavenly Creatures, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong.

Greer Twiss has been creating bronze sculptures for fifty years and was a pioneer of bronze casting in New Zealand. His sculptures are included in all major public collections in New Zealand and many private collections here and abroad.

Dame Gillian Weir is a world-renowned concert organist who has performed internationally in the most prestigious concert houses, has sold thousands of recordings and reached an audience of millions as a broadcaster in a BBC series about the organ called The King of Instruments.

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