The first Big 'A' Awards ceremony was held in 2007 in the Grand Hall of Parliament. CS Arts, a creative space in Invercargill, was presented the Big 'A' Creative Space Award.
Each year, the awards have grown. In 2008, Circus Kumarani was presented with the Big 'A' Creative Space Award while Moana Tipa received the Big 'A' Prison Art Tutor Award.
By 2011, there were five award categories and the ceremony had moved from the Grand Hall to the Banquet Hall at Parliament to accommodate the guests. The Big ‘A’ Awards 2011 were hosted by the Hon. Christopher Finlayson, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, and more than 200 guests attended.
The recipients in 2011 were:
- Mairangi Arts Centre, Auckland and the Department of Corrections, awarded the Big ‘A’ Community Partnership Award 2011
- King Street Artworks, Masterton, awarded the Big ‘A’ Creative Space Award 2011
- Makuei Aken, Upper Hutt, awarded the Big ‘A’ Winton and Margaret Bear Young Artist Award 2011
- Sharon Hall, The Learning Connexion, Hutt Valley, awarded the Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Leadership Award 2011
- Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, awarded the Big ‘A’ Creative New Zealand Arts for All Award 2011.