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About The Big Idea I Te Ariā Nui

About The Big Idea I Te Ariā Nui

Welcome to New Zealand’s home for creatives.  

The Big Idea's kaupapa is to help creatives make sustainable careers.  We are an online hub, providing news, updates, the latest jobs and opportunities, events as well as ideas and inspiration from across the creative industries to help individuals and organisations in Aotearoa create their own success. 

With over 50,000 members; 1.4 million page views, over 35,000 social media followers and 1.8 million email newsletters sent each year we are the largest, and the leading online resource for the arts in New Zealand.

The Big Idea has nurtured New Zealand’s creative community since 2001.

We have grown with the community and just like our sector – we are growing still.  Our Toipoto Career Mentoring Programme and Mentoring in the Arts are two of our initiatives to support both leadership and emerging talent in every way we can.  

Our vibrant online channels include this website and membership portal; active Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and our regular e-newsletters.  

In reality, it is offline where much of 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.

Spend some time looking through our site and you will see it is rich in content from contributors that generously share their hopes, opinions and their wisdom.

People can 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 a key ingredient, if not the key ingredient, in establishing a nation’s identity.  “I believe the arts and creativity are integral and inseparable parts of what it is to be human.” - Jacinda Ardern

This is a place where we are able to celebrate the depth and diversity of New Zealand’s arts and creative enterprises which we are able to showcase to the world.

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.


Our Team

There is no cast of thousands, but 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 thrilled to hear from you and welcome any 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 is [email protected]

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

Joy Golding is our Relationships Manager.   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 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 writers across Aotearoa.  We have a host of contributing writers including Mark Amery,  Kate Powell, Dina Jezdic, Kim Meredith, Graham Reid, George Berry, Kirsten Matthew, Annette Morehu, Jessica Carr Thompson, Courtney Rose Brown and Nigel Malthus. Mercedes Ackerman is our graphic designer and social media lead.  

To contact the writing team you can email [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