Asia awaits for New Zealand arts practitioners

Thirteen New Zealand-based arts practitioners have been awarded funding to undertake opportunities in Asia thanks to the return of Asia New Zealand Foundation’s Arts Practitioner Fund.

The purpose of the Foundation’s arts programme is to bring Asia into the mainstream of New Zealand arts by inspiring New Zealand arts professionals to grow their connections and knowledge of the region. One way of achieving this is through the Arts Practitioner Fund. 

The fund supports individual New Zealand-based arts practitioners (artists and other arts professionals) to deepen artistic and professional connections with Asia through the likes of residencies, work placements, research tours and exchanges.

As a result of the pandemic and international travel restrictions, this latest round of arts practitioners funding is the first the Foundation has offered since 2020. 

Previous recipients of the fund have shown that the deeper understanding of Asia that arts practitioners develop thanks to their experiences in the region is amplified to a wider audience through their works and connections in New Zealand. An example of this is previous funding recipient Show Me Shorts Film Festival director Gina Dellabarca who created a Japan-focused film programme for the 2020 festival in New Zealand after returning from her Practitioners Fund-supported experience at the 21st Short Shorts Film Festival in Tokyo.

Another example is recipient artist and writer Lipika Sen who exhibited the works she created during her 2019 residency at Belgadia Palace in Mayurbhanj Odisha, India, after returning to New Zealand.

Foundation director Arts Craig Cooper says the return of the Arts Practitioners Fund is a key element of the Foundation’s support of artistic connections between New Zealand and Asia.

“We are thrilled to have the Arts Practitioners Fund back up and running after a challenging period for the arts industry.

“The fund can once again provide support for New Zealand artists and practitioners to engage with Asia, enabling them to continue producing meaningful and impactful work.

“The arts are essential for deepening our understanding across cultures, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact the fund has on the New Zealand arts sector.”

The second round of applications for the art practitioner fund will close on 1 May 2023. For more information visit

About the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono

Established in 1994, the Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono is New Zealand’s leading authority on Asia. The Foundation is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to provide experiences and resources to help New Zealanders build their knowledge, skills, connections, and confidence to thrive in Asia. 

For more information:

Shireen Shariff
Communications Adviser
(04) 815 8436  

Find out more about the funding recipients:

This round of grants includes funding for 13 arts practitioners across eight different opportunities.

Rosabel Tan, Sums Selvarajan and Steph Walker:

Attendance at Asia Producer Platform Camp 


Dates:  22 –26 March (BIPAM) & 01 – 09 April (Asia Producer Platform) 2023 

This delegation consists of three of New Zealand’s leading performing arts producers. Sums Selvarajan is a commercial and arts producer with SquareSums&Co, Steph Walker is CEO of WORD Christchurch Festival, and Rosabel Tan is Director of Satellites. The three artists will attend the Asia Producer Platform Camp, an international gathering of arts producers from across Asia to extend and deepen international connections in Bangkok. In addition, Selvarajan and Tan will attend the Bangkok International Performing Arts Market (BIPAM), meeting Southeast Asian artists. 

Abby Cunnane, Amy Weng, Mel Oliver, Sophie Davis:

Attendance at 14th Gwanju Biennale 


Dates: 01 –15 April 2023 

Consisting of four of New Zealand’s leading public gallery curators, this delegation will attend the 14th Gwangju Biennale, one of the world’s leading arts events, in order to develop greater knowledge of contemporary Asian arts practices and the potential to exhibit works in New Zealand.

Sophie Davis is Manager and Curator of Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga Hastings Art Gallery, Melanie Oliver is Curator at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and Abby Cunnane and Amy Weng are Director and Curator respectively of The Physics Room, Christchurch. 

Ufitia Sagapolutele:

Residency at Rimbun Dahan Arts Centre


Dates: 8 – 26 May 2023 

Ufitia Sagapolutele is an Aoteaora-Samoan creative artist, producer and co-founder of arts collective TULOU. Ufitia's arts practice interweaves Siva Samoa, Contemporary and Street Dance accompanied with digital art. Ufitia will be undertaking a 3-week residency at Rimbun Dahan Arts Centre in Malaysia.

Allan Xia:

Research Tour of Indie Arts Sector


Dates: 18 May – 18 June 2023

Allan Xia is a multi-disciplinary creative working across illustration, comics, and videogames. He is also founder and director of Chromacon Indie Arts Festival. Chromacon celebrates original works and creative IP from New Zealand's leading illustrators, comic artists, animators, sculptors, game developers and more.

Allan will be participating in a research tour to connect with a range of creative arts organisations across Taipei, Taitung, Kaohsiung and Tainan, exploring opportunities for future collaborations. 

Chye-Ling Huang:

Residency at CEAC, Xiamen 


Dates 01 June - 31 August 2023 

Chinese-Pākeha theatre maker Chye-Ling is a co-founder of Proudly Asian Theatre, a company dedicated to the presentation of Asian works for New Zealand audiences. Chye-Ling will be undertaking a three-month residency at Chinese European Arts Centre (CEAC), Xiamen, to develop a new theatre work and network with Chinese artists.  

Daniel Belton:

Residency with Idiot Savant Theatre Company


Dates: 22 June – 08 July 2023 

Daniel Belton is a Dunedin-based internationally awarded multi-media artist, working across film, choreography, performing arts, digital arts, sound and design. Daniel will take up a residency with Idiot Savant Theater Company, as well as a research tour to various other arts organisations in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Nara. These will include Nichido Contemporary Art Gallery, Bunraku puppet theatre, Gallery OUT of PLACE in Nara and planetariums of Konica Minolta Tokyo and Miraikan - The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. 

Georgie Hill:

Research Tour to Tokyo 


Dates: 01 October – 01 November 2023 

Georgie Hill is an Auckland-based artist working primarily with watercolour painting. Georgie will be embarking on a four-week research tour to Tokyo where she will examine culturally specific practices to support a planned project of work.

Guy Howard Smith:

Residency with All-India Anglo-Indian Association, Kolkata 


Dates: 19 November - 22 December 2023

Guy Howard Smith is a Dunedin-based artist of Anglo-Indian heritage who works primarily in painting and drawing and has both studio and mural practice. Guy will be undertaking a four-week residency focused on the illustration of a book on Anglo-Indian history for young readers.