Wellington Scoop

Damien Wilkins, Megan Wraight and Jane Campion – Wellington’s newest Laureates

Author Damien Wilkins was one of three Wellingtonians who received Laureate Awards at the New Zealand Arts Awards last night in Auckland. Laureate Award recipients receive $50,000 each and a statuette designed by Terry Stringer.

Damien Wilkins is a writer of novels, short stories and poetry. His books have been published in New Zealand, the USA and the UK, and he has won and been nominated for a range of prizes and awards. Damien is the Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University in Wellington.

A Laureate Award was also presented to Megan Wraight, the internationally acclaimed Wellington landscape architect, who is founding principal of Wraight + Associates Limited, Landscape Architects (WA). Megan has been the lead or co-lead landscape architect on a wide variety of large scale public and private space works including Waitangi Park, Taranaki Wharf, Centreport and Cobblestone Park in Wellington, Hood Street in Hamilton, Waitomo Caves Visitors Centre, Christchurch Coastal Pathway, and Jellicoe Street, North Wharf and Silo Park in the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland.

Also receiving a Laureate award last night was Wellington-born film director and screenwriter Jane Campion. She is the first and only woman director to receive the Palme d’Or at Cannes (1993) and also only the second of four women ever to be nominated as Best Director at the Academy Awards (1994), both for The Piano. Her feature on the life of Janet Frame, An Angel at My Table (1990) won a major award at the Venice Film Festival.

The other Laureate Award winners are:

Laurence Aberhart (photographer) a visual artist of the highest order. He educates our emotions, showing us who we are and how we might see; how we see ourselves as citizens of New Zealand and beyond. For close to 40 years he has produced an astounding body of work that is unrivalled in its intensity, richness and the layers of cultural and photographic history.

Dean Parker (screenwriter/playwright) who grew up in Napier and in his 20s spent time in London where he began a long involvement in socialist and Irish republican movements. He has worked as a writer for much of his life and been prominent in his union, the NZ Writer’s Guild. He has written for movies (Came A Hot Friday), stage (Midnight In Moscow), TV and radio.