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About The Big Idea I Te Ariā Nui

Nau mai, haere mai - Welcome to New Zealand’s home for creatives.  

The Big Idea's guiding kaupapa is to champion the creative community, to shine a light on the mahi of Aotearoa’s creative practitioners and to help them build sustainable careers.  

We are an online hub, providing news, updates, the latest jobs and opportunitiesevents as well as ideas and inspiration from across the creative industries to help individuals and organisations in Aotearoa create their own success. 

We are proud to be the largest and leading online resource for the arts in New Zealand - our reach includes 50,000+ members; 1.4 million page views, over 42,500 social media followers and 1.8 million email newsletters sent each year.

The Big Idea has been speaking up for and supporting Aotearoa’s creative community since 2001. In that time, we have become a trusted, vital and vibrant part of the community.

As well as celebrating its success, we spotlight the issues that matter most to those who often feel unheard. The Big Idea provided a crucial voice for the creative community during the COVID pandemic - standing up for one of the sectors hit first, hit hardest and hit longest. 

Like all good creatives, we never rest on our laurels - we’re growing still.

The Big Idea’s commitment to the sector includes helping to grow it ourselves. From a concept originally conceived from our successful Mentoring in the Arts programme, The Big Idea runs the in-demand Toipoto Creative Career Development programme to impactful results, supporting both leadership and emerging talent in every way we can with an ever-growing list of alumni taking their careers to new heights.  

We go to the creative community wherever they are. As well as this website and membership portal, creatives regularly engage and share our social media posts through FacebookInstagramX (Twitter) and LinkedIn and stay updated with our regular e-newsletters.  

The true value of The Big Idea can be found in the jobs that are won, the events that are showcased, the imaginations grown, the ideas born, and the partnerships and connections that form through the opportunities we offer.  

We are grounded in collaboration, innovation and community and provide a place for passionate debate.

Our desire is to be the platform to help creatives at any stage of their career journey find tips, tools, talent, information and advice on how to grow their “big ideas” into viable careers, projects and businesses.

Our own “big idea” all those years ago was to provide a platform to promote knowledge sharing, networking and financial independence for professionals in the arts.

Arts and culture is an unnegotiable factor in establishing a nation’s identity. Celebrating the depth and diversity of New Zealand’s arts and creative enterprises which we are able to showcase to the world. In the 2023 Creative NZ Visibility Matters report, The Big Idea was credited as the leading source for Māori art/artists, Pacific art/artists and Disabled art/artists stories in Aotearoa, and highly ranked in most other fields.

Thousands of visits to The Big Idea from offshore can only help raise awareness of the strength of talent here, at home, in Aotearoa.

Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa

Let us keep close together, not far apart

Annie Ackerman

Chief Executive, The Big Idea


Our Partners

All that we achieve as part of the arts infrastructure in New Zealand would simply not be possible without our partners.  We are proud to acknowledge their funding support, and applaud the work they do in helping thousands of New Zealanders gain access to the arts: Foundation North, Auckland Council, Creative New Zealand and the Lion Foundation.

To find out how to join our proud whānau of partners, get in touch with [email protected]


Our Team

We have a tight and passionate team working in locations around the country. We are keen to support emerging and established creatives, businesses in the arts and our best and brightest contributors, writers and columnists.

We are always open to hear from organisations and practitioners involved in the creative community and welcome contributions - advertising inquiries can be sent to [email protected]


Annie Ackerman has been leading The Big Idea since July 2016, and as Chief Executive has helped grow its relevance and reach. Annie has a reputation for driving change in the not-for-profit sector.  Contact for Annie is [email protected]

Scott Pearson is our CFO. You can contact him at [email protected] 

Our writing team is headed by Content Director Sam Ackerman who has spent the past two decades in broadcasting, journalism and storytelling. The team is made up of a wide range of contributing writers across Aotearoa including Andrew Wood, Jack Gray, Verity Johnson, Chris Forster, Dina Jezdic, Kim Meredith, Angela Barnett and George Berry. 

For story ideas or expressions of interest, you can email [email protected]

Mercedes Ackerman is TBI’s Marketing Manager, helping bring businesses and organisations in touch with the creative community and support creative practitioners in promoting their mahi. You can contact her at [email protected]

Our career development service, Toipoto, is headed by Dina Jezdic.  You can contact Dina on [email protected]



Our Trustees

Tina Symmans 

Tina is one of the country’s most sought-after directors. Her ‘make it happen’ approach to governance has been built through a wealth of experience on publicly listed and private company boards including Emirates Team New Zealand and ForsythBarr. She is currently the Chair of America’s Cup Event Ltd.

Philip Clarke 

Philip has extensive experience in the arts sector.  He was the inaugural director of Objectspace and is currently chair of the Blumhardt Foundation and actively involved with a number of arts and cultural organisations.  

Ian Bonnar 

Ian has a background in technology, communications and stakeholder engagement.  Originally a technology journalist in London he has been a senior executive in two leading corporations. Since leaving the corporate world he has become an in-demand consultant for a wide range of organisations, including large corporations, start-up software companies and not-for-profit.

Amy Malcolm  

Amy has held roles in the tertiary sector for over 20 years.  She is a proven strategic thinker and her love of challenge and change has seen her lead many notable creative projects.  


Where it all began  

The Big Idea grew out of a partnership - the Arts Work Project - which was established by Creative New Zealand in 1999 with Auckland City, Auckland New Ventures Inc, Artists Alliance and Work and Income.  

We were officially launched by the Prime Minister of New Zealand on 3 December 2001. The Big Idea Charitable Trust was formed in 2003 to manage the ongoing development of the initiative, build our portal and to launch a range of new initiatives to support the sector.  



"It's where I go when I want to know what's on, what's hot, what's not. I go there when I want to know what's happening in the arts; when I want advice or professional expertise." - Jackie Hay

"The Big Idea is a fantastic place to build a profile and advertise news, exhibitions and events. I have used the website many, many times over the years - it's always the first place I visit. I know the content is current and relevant." - Deanna Gracie

"When I was starting out it let me know that I could become part of this creative industry before I was already a part of it; helping break that Catch-22 that used to seem so hard for up and comers to get past." - Craig Parkes