Pātaka Museum Director to Judge the Inaugural Richard T Nelson Awards for Sculpture

Reuben Friend (Ngāti Maniapoto, Pākehā), director of Porirua’s Pātaka Art + Museum, is to judge the inaugural Richard T Nelson Awards for sculpture.

Reuben Friend, judge of the inaugural Richard T Nelson Awards for Sculpture

Carla Russell, the Executive Director of the awards, is excited to have Friend as a judge.

‘We are honoured to have Reuben as the judge,’ says Carla. ‘With fifteen years of experience in the arts, he brings insight and a wealth of knowledge to these awards.’

Friend is a father, husband, artist, writer, curator and is currently the Director of Pātaka Art Gallery and Museum in Porirua. Prior to working at Pātaka he was Exhibitions Manager at Logan Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia, and from 2009-2013 he was a Curator at City Gallery Wellington.

‘It’s a privilege to be invited to judge these awards, ‘says Friend. ‘Wellington has long prided itself as the Arts Capital of Aotearoa, and it is great to see nationally significant awards offered here in our city. We are very thankful to philanthropist and arts patron Richard T Nelson for his passion and support of small-scale contemporary sculpture. This is important for New Zealand art and I can’t wait to see the finalists. Looking at some of the names, I know my job is going to be hard.’

83 artworks from 60 finalists are up for a premier award of $15,000 and five highly commended awards of $1,000. They will all be on display at the NZ Art Show 2021, at the TSB Arena over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, June 4 – 6.  The winners will be announced on Thursday June 3, at a special VIP preview of the show.


These awards aim to recognise excellence in New Zealand sculpture and seek to foster a market for small scale sculpture, so collectors can enjoy them at home.

These inaugural awards are valued at $20,000 with a premier prize of $15,000 rewarding creative talent and craftsmanship, with five highly commended prizes of $1000 each.

The finalists will be on display and for sale at the 2021 NZ Art Show, June 4-6, Queen’s Birthday Weekend, at the TSB Arena on Queens Wharf. Tickets to the show will be available on the door.

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