15 Nov 2022
Artistic Director and CEO of Black Grace Dance Company, Neil Ieremia ONZM was the first recipient of this new business award, supported by Creative New Zealand.
The prestigious, biannual Pacific Business Trust (PBT) Awards introduced a new category on Friday night – the Moana Creative Enterprise Award. Developed through the Pacific Arts Strategy 2018-2023, this award was created in collaboration with PBT, and acknowledges excellence in Pacific creative entrepreneurship.
“Black Grace and I were deeply honoured to be the inaugural recipient of this award”, Neil says.
“We certainly feel the considerable strength of the shoulders upon which we stand.”
The Moana Creative Enterprise Award includes $10,000. Following a call for public nominations earlier in the year, both PBT and Creative New Zealand were involved in the selection process, with outcomes aligned with the Pacific Arts Strategy.
Black Grace Dance Company was founded by Neil in 1995 and has developed into one of the leading contemporary dance companies in Aotearoa, achieving both national and global acclaim. Neil draws from his Samoan and New Zealand roots to create innovative dance works that reach across social, cultural and generational barriers.
The PBT Awards were presented to ten Pasifika business leaders for innovation, achievements and success. Over 650 people were in attendance, with speeches from the Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio and Deputy Prime Minister Hon Grant Robertson. The awards celebrate and give visibility to Pacific entrepreneurs and their businesses that are leading the way.
Caren Rangi, Chair of the Arts Council, Creative New Zealand’s governing body, is thrilled to celebrate the immense contribution that innovative Pasifika creative enterprises make towards the economy in Aotearoa.
“We’re excited to extend the Vā from the arts to the business world through this new collaboration with the Pacific Business Trust,” she says.
“Led by Neil’s powerful artistic vision and strong business model, Black Grace Dance Company has employed many creatives over the years and achieved huge success all over the world.
We’re excited about this new collaboration as we continue to find new ways to support and develop the resilience of our Pasifika arts communities.”