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Major New Prize Announced For Aotearoa’s Live Performance Industry

In partnership with The FAME Trust (Fund for Acting and Musical Endeavours) and the Acorn Foundation, PANNZ (Performing Arts Network of New Zealand) is honoured to launch a significant new prize for Aotearoa’s exceptional live performance artists - The FAME Mid-Career Awards. The awards will be launched on Monday 28 February at the 2022 PANNZ Arts Market with a presentation for the inaugural recipient - renowned dancer and performer Rodney Bell (Ngāti Maniapoto.) 

Every year, PANNZ works with so many incredible artists working across Aotearoa’s creative sector. We’re excited to launch this new initiative in acknowledgment of the artistry, determination and tenacity that it takes to forge a career in the arts, and to encourage and enable these artists to continue to work in their chosen field. Rodney is a talented artist who has boldly forged his own career path and, in doing so, has inspired countless artists and audience members through his work. We’re honoured to acknowledge his ongoing contribution to Aotearoa’s rich and diverse performing arts landscape.
Louise Gallagher, PANNZ CEO

A wholehearted thank you to PANNZ and the FAME Trust. We are all affected by something and I thank you for affecting me with this award. It’s going to allow me to affect others throughout Aotearoa and whoever else I can outside of our waters to enhance their mana through performing arts.
Rodney Bell

The FAME Mid-Career Awards will provide three established and inspiring mid-career artists* with a one-off award of $15,000. The prize money will be to support activities like touring overseas or within Aotearoa, collaborating with other arts organisations, or carrying out further study and/or development. As one of the largest prize grants made available to the performing arts community, it is a privilege to facilitate these awards - made possible by the generosity of private philanthropic donors who make up The FAME Trust.

The announcement of the award couldn’t come at a better time for a sector that is facing its third year of COVID cancellations. The grant will allow artists in the live space some freedom to continue to develop their craft and build their career. This freedom and acknowledgement of talent comes from the pockets of some generous patrons, who are still an integral part of the support system for artists in Aotearoa.

Expressions of Interest are now open for The FAME Awards and will be assessed by a panel assembled by PANNZ. Artists will need to provide information about themselves and their work, as well as a bit about what they would like to do with the prize grant. Recipients of the awards will be announced in April 2022.

Founded in 2007, The FAME Trust has long provided support for young and mid-career artists, plus funded national organisations like the



Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School

and the

NZ School of Dance

, and local groups such as

Opus Orchestra


Youth Philharmonic


BOP Symphonia

. The FAME Trust has partnered with the Acorn Foundation to manage these awards. The Acorn Foundation is a community foundation based in the Western Bay of Plenty, which encourages people to leave a gift in their wills and/or their lifetimes to support their local community forever. Since it was established in 2003, Acorn has distributed over $10 million.

For more information and to nominate yourself or somebody else for The FAME Mid-Career Awards,

click here


The FAME Awards focus on these major creative disciplines:


: instrumentalists, operatic singers, composers, producers, conductors, taonga puoro players

Contemporary Dance

: dancers, choreographers, producers, kapa haka leaders


: actors, directors, playwrights, story-tellers, stage designers, theatre technicians

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