Anne Stephenson: NZ Art Show Chair

To celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary, the NZ Art Show  continues a series of stories highlighting some of the significant people who help shape Aotearoa’s favourite art show in a series of stories. Read their stories and view some of  their art collection. This month, we profile NZ Art Show Chair, Anne Stephenson.

Anne Stephenson is a fascinating individual, whose lively personality shines through in various aspects of her life. Her dynamic character is evident in her bold fashion choices and jewellery, as well as her ever-changing, vibrant hair color – from bright pink one week to blazing orange the next. Moreover, her diverse art collection showcases her eclectic taste and appreciation for a range of styles and media, mostly sourced from the NZ Art Show.

Anne is also a brilliant strategist, holding the position of Chief Strategist and a Director at Connected Accountants. She has played a pivotal role in the NZ Art Show since its inception, starting as the show’s accountant and then progressing to become a Friend of the show, Board member, and sponsor. In 2018, she was elected Chair of the show’s board, and her financial expertise has been integral in ensuring the event’s continued success. Anne’s multifaceted talents and unwavering commitment make her a remarkable individual.

ABOVE: In Anne’s living room, a painting by Christchurch artist Min Kim.
IMAGE: photographic print by Jasmine Chalmers.

Anne’s expertise as a strategist allows her to comprehend the necessary deliverables to attain sustainable goals. She recognizes that the NZ Art Show operates on a sound business model, which has contributed to the event’s ongoing success.

‘I am thrilled with the outstanding work that Carla and her team have accomplished in maintaining the relevance of the NZ Art Show for the past 20 years.’ 

ABOVE: from left to right, top to bottom: Tim Christie, 2 works by David Ortega, Sue Lund, Brian Scanlon, Nigel Swinn, Bill Skipwith, Gitte Eklund Short, Blythe Fletcher, and Ben Timmins.
Light-box by Tim Christie
Bird cage with glass birds by Crystal Chain Gang
IMAGE: Other artworks in the hallway – a print by Kevin Roberts, a robot ashtray and painting by Mandy Rodger.

Over the years, Anne has amassed a considerable collection of original New Zealand art, with the NZ Art Show serving as a major source for her acquisitions. Her collection is characterized by its boldness, drama, and eclecticism. When it comes to purchasing art, Anne exudes confidence and conviction.

‘When I see something I love, I just have to have it.’

ABOVE: Anne and artist Kate McLeod with an abstract painting  by the artist which she purchased at the 2022 NZ Art Show.

‘The NZ Art Show is a brilliant source of quality original New Zealand art, something I’m very grateful for. Every year I’m always on the look-out for new artists to add to my collection and, without fail, something always catches my eye.’

‘The NZ Art Show, a major source of income for emerging and established artists, connects those artists to the public, a feature which aligns with our core business practices at Connected Accountants. It’s only fitting that we sponsor the show.’

On the bedroom wall: a photographic print by Catherine Cattanach.
IMAGE: photographic print by Jasmine Chalmers.

As part of her business, Anne assists clients in creating robust strategic plans. She was particularly impressed with the NZ Art Show team’s ability to swiftly pivot and develop a Plan B in response to the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 by taking the show online. Anne believes that being flexible and resilient is crucial in business, and the NZ Art Show has left an indelible impression on her with their unwavering perseverance.

Through weathering storms, earthquakes, recessions, and a global pandemic, the NZ Art Show has proven time and again that they are willing to challenge themselves behind the scenes while maintaining a harmonious structure in the foreground. Anne is in awe of their resilience and adaptability and considers the organization to be a shining example of how to navigate through challenging times while staying true to one’s values.

‘Resilience and problem-solving are not just admirable traits, but invaluable assets that can guide us through life’s toughest challenges.’

ABOVE: In the hallway, a mix of historical family documents, family needlework, a grandson’s drawing and original artworks by Rowland Hilder and Hope Gibbons.
ABOVE: Prints by Susan Hurrell-Fieldes

‘I take great pride in being part of the NZ Art Show whānau. Working alongside such a talented and dedicated team is a privilege, as they possess the ability to innovate, adapt and pivot with remarkable agility, always coming up with creative solutions to overcome any obstacle.’

ABOVE: Artworks by Crystal Chain Gang and Charlie McKenzie
ABOVE: Painting by Ben Timmins
ABOVE: Photograph by Ilan Wittenberg

Some of the artists in Anne’s collection

Adele Souster
Ben Timmins
Bill Skipworth
Blythe Fletcher
Brian Scanlon
Catherine Cattanach
Charlie McKenzie
Crystal Chain Gang

David Ortega
Debbie Pointon
Gitte Eklund
Hope Gibbons
Ilan Wittenberg
Jasmine Chalmers
John Parker
Kate McLeod

Kevin Roberts
Mandy Rodger
Min Kim
Nigel Swinn
Rowland  Hilder
Sue Lund
Susan Hurrell-Fieldes
Tim Christie



2023 marks the show’s 20th anniversary. Come celebrate this milestone with Anne and the rest of the NZ Art Show team.

200 of New Zealand’s finest emerging artists will showcase new work created especially for the show.  Show tickets are $10 online – door sales will be $15 so get your tickets now.
Each ticket can be used on any one of the show days, Friday, Saturday or Sunday


Secure your tickets to the Gala Evening and enjoy the added bonus of attending the VIP Preview.

The Gala Evening is art’s biggest night out with delicious canapés, fine wine, great beer, live music and all art for sale

At the VIP Preview be the first to meet the artists and buy art

The NZ Art Show wishes to thank the following for their support: