Awards 2020 celebrate diversity and the arts

14 October 2020
An award-winning performing artist, arts projects and creative spaces nurturing mental health and wellbeing, a pioneer of accessibility in children’s theatre, and leadership in delivering arts programmes in prisons were celebrated at Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020, presented online for the first time by Arts Access Aotearoa on Tuesday 13 October.

Judith Jones, recipient of the Arts Access Accolade 2020 Executive Director Richard Benge says access to the arts is a fundamental human right. “During these difficult times of a global pandemic, we know that the arts and creativity offer a valuable pathway to mental health and wellbeing.

“Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of people and communities who provide these pathways and make Aotearoa New Zealand a rich, diverse and creative country.”

This year’s Arts Access Accolade was presented to Judith Jones, who has worked closely with Arts Access Aotearoa over the past six years, and is a champion of accessibility and inclusion in the arts. Judith is an experienced audio describer and offers sensory tours at Te Papa Tongarewa, where she works as a host.

The Arts Access Accolade is chosen by Arts Access Aotearoa’s staff and board. Executive Director Richard Benge says Judith is “generous of spirit, has a deep knowledge and desire to learn more, and is always going the extra mile to support Arts Access Aotearoa’s mahi”. READ JUDITH'S STORY 

The six other recipients, selected by judging panels, are:

  • Arts For Health Community Trust, Hamilton, awarded the Arts Access Holdsworth Creative Space Award 2020, for its impact in the community over 30 years. The arts programmes of this grassroots organisation touch the lives of diverse people: youth, hospital patients, senior citizens – in fact, anyone wanting to use creativity as a means of empowerment and wellbeing. READ MORE
  • Rue-Jade Morgan, Dunedin, awarded the Arts Access Corrections Māui Tikitiki ā Taranga Award 2020, for his leadership in sharing his skills and life experience as a former prisoner with others in his Te Hōkai Manea Tīpuna The heartfelt feedback from the men in Otago Corrections Facility is testament to the value of his work. READ MORE 
  • MIX and Arts on High (Hutt City), Pablos Art Studio and Vinnies Re Sew (Wellington) and The Shed Project (Kapiti Coast) for their project Get A Hat, Get A Head, awarded the Arts Access Creative New Zealand Community Arts Award 2020, for an outstanding collaborative exhibition at Wellington Museum with high-quality artistic outcomes and an impressive public programme of events held during Mental Health Awareness Week 2019. The 40 exhibiting artists from the five creative spaces created work that spoke to their vulnerability and helped reduce stigma. READ MORE 
  • Tim Bray Theatre Company, Takapuna, Auckland, awarded the Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2020, for its leadership and long-term commitment to accessibility since 2004, when it started to provide NZSL interpreted theatre performances to children. Its accessibility policy drives its pioneering work in making theatre more accessible to disabled children and their families. READ MORE
  • Duncan Armstrong, Northland, Wellington, awarded the Arts Access PAK’n SAVE Artistic Achievement Award 2020, for his outstanding artistic achievements across a range of artforms. Duncan has demonstrated enormous perseverance in overcoming obstacles and pursuing his career, and his list of achievements is thoroughly deserved. He has transformed perceptions about disability and in doing so has created a pathway for others. READ MORE 
  • Redemption Performing Arts Whānau and Redemption Arts Tuakana Teina Mentors, Northland Region Corrections Facility, Bay of Islands, awarded the Arts Access Corrections Whai Tikanga Award 2020, for taking leadership roles and mentoring other prisoners, including during the COVID-19 lockdown. The group works collaboratively and autonomously, using the pillars of Corrections’ Hōkai Rangi Strategy as its guide. The positive impact of this group of men provides an example for other prison sites to follow. READ MORE 

Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020 logo Trophy by: Hedy AnkersThe annual Te Putanga Toi 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.

Highly Commended certificates

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

  • Kākano Youth Arts Collective, Auckland, Arts Access Holdsworth Creative Space Award 2020, for being a beacon of positive change, and using art and creativity to develop and empower rangatahi.
  • Leonie Aben, Hawkes Bay Regional Prison, Arts Access Māui Tikitiki a Taranga Award 2020, for her outstanding commitment, innovation and leadership in driving the use of the arts and culture as a powerful rehabilitative tool, the standard of her art and education programmes in Hawkes Bay Regional Prison, strengthened through Whanaungatanga, and her award-winning work with the Youth Unit.
  • WIDance for The Art of Observation, Wellington, Arts Access Creative New Zealand Community Arts Award 2020, for a collaborative, innovative and inclusive project delivered with deep insight and integrity in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery as part of the NZ Fringe Festival 2019.
  • Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2020, for its innovative use of technology to make its music more accessible to autistic people.
  • Pelenakeke Brown, Auckland, Arts Access PAK’nSAVE Artistic Achievement Award 2020, for her achievements both in New Zealand and internationally. A founding member of Touch Compass Dance Company, she has returned to the company as its first disabled artistic director.
  • Liz Manson, Dunedin, Arts Access PAK’nSAVE Artistic Achievement Award 2020, for her award-winning achievements and her creative out-of-the-box ideas that provoke and challenge perceptions of mental health.
  • Home Ground programme, Wellington, Arts Access Whai Tikanga Award 2020, for its use of creativity to encourage women in the justice system to get in touch with who they are and deal with the difficult, often traumatic things that have happened in their lives.

Read more about the Highly Commended recipients.

 Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020 were presented online at 6.30pm Tuesday 13 October.

Hedy Ankers recreates stories in clay

Hedy Ankers with her five award trophiesRobert Rapson, the previous trophy-maker, died earlier this year. Hedy Ankers knew Robert and had occasionally helped him load his trophies into the kiln. She was “thrilled” when Arts Access Aotearoa asked her to create individual trophies for five of Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards recipients.

Hedy works out of both the Wellington Potters Association in Thorndon and Vincents Art Workshop. Te Papa’s shop stock this line.

The trophies are magnificent: four large round pots with handles, and a tall urn for the Arts Access Accolade. Each is decorated quite differently – an eagle, an unfolding fern, a frigate bird, a candelabra – but common to all is a flower and a grid image. Read more







Judith Jones, Arts Access Accolade recipient Photo: Monique Ford/StuffArts Access Accolade

The Dominion Post/Stuff: Making arts accessible

Arts Access Creative New Zealand Community Arts Award

Creative New Zealand

Duncan Armstrong in Drumming Is Like Thunder
Arts Access PAK'nSAVE Artistic Achievement Award

Sunday Star Times/Stuff

Arts For Health artistArts Access Holdsworth Creative Space Award
Hamilton’s Arts For Health Community Trust wins national award

Rue-Jade Morgan, Otago Corrections FacilityArts Access Corrections Māui Tikitiki a Taranga  Award
Award for programme 'sewing seeds' to help Maori inmates
RNZ’s Kim Hill’s Saturday Morning programme

Redemption Arts musicianArts Access Corrections Whai Tikanga Award

Standing Room Only: Art and redemption in Bay of Islands prison

Northern Advocate: Ngawha prison inmates stoked with award for art and mentoring programme

Tim Bray Theatre CompanyArts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award
Creative New Zealand  

The Big Idea website 

Celebrate wellness and mental health through an arts lense

Art Behind Bars


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