Launch of inspiring new award for Aotearoas freelancers and creatives

By The Big Idea NZ | Posted: Monday February 17, 2020

The Big Idea is proud to be partnering with the new Hnry Awards to celebrate creativity and independence. With $25,000 in prize money on offer, freelancers all over the country have a month to get their entries in.

Backing Kiwi creativity, independence and the gig economy

On World Creativity and Innovation Day (21 April, 2020) the inaugural winners of the Hnry Awards will be announced, aimed at recognising creative talent and self-employed freelancers. Creatives are challenged to submit a piece of work around the theme; ‘what does independent earning mean to you?’

Forget cover letters, formal applications and box-ticking - this is the opportunity to let your talents loose. Entrants have full creative choice over their platform for submissions - anything from song to video, illustration, design, sculpture. You are only limited by your imagination.

The new award is the brainchild of James Fuller, CEO. Many creative freelancers work with Hnry, an award-winning company known for making financial administration easier for independent earners. Fuller hopes this award will showcase the country’s top talent, give independent earners a chance to win some financial freedom, showcase their work and raise awareness of the creative industries. Hnry’s mission is to give freelancers, contractors and the self-employed their freedom back by being their trusted financial sidekick - enabling them to focus on what they do best.

“We want to hear and share the good, bad and the ugly of freelancing, contracting, or working several side hustles or gigs. Whether you’ve been a creative or freelancer for 10 years or 10 minutes, all entries will be considered equal,”

James Fuller, Hnry CEO.

The Judges

The entries will be judged via a blind judging process, with the panel including The Big Idea’s CEO Annie Ackerman, and Brendon McLean, Group Business Director at FCB.

McLean, who says he “stumbled” from an engineering degree into small business ownership then into advertising, says self-employment is fraught with difficulties. But with over 400,000 New Zealanders classing themselves as self-employed, he believes this growing segment deserves recognition.

“One of the challenges for freelancers is the confidence to actually take the leap and do it, or if you unexpectedly find yourself there, the confidence and support to embrace it. Anything that celebrates and helps build confidence is a good thing, I’m looking forward to seeing the creative entries come in and raising awareness of creativity in New Zealand,” says McLean.

Ackerman has herself contracted for most of her working life, and says the gig economy is “abuzz” at the moment, and that freelancing should be celebrated more.

“When you look at the creative arts, the kinds of people we engage with at The Big Idea, it’s largely populated by freelancers. They’re the classic role models for how to make extraordinary things happen; people come together for a project, they know their roles, they blur boundaries, essentially working towards the end goal of making magic.

“One of the challenges freelancers face is how to stand out in a crowd. Word of mouth really matters and this award will give recognition and enhance the winners’ reputations.” says Ackerman.

How to enter

Submissions open on 24 February and close on 21 March. The panel judges will name the 10 finalists on 30 March before opening it up to public voting, leaving it to peoples’ choice to decide the top three. The winner will be announced on 21 April.

The Winner receives $15,000, First Runner Up $7,500 and Second Runner Up $2,500.

Entries are open to New Zealanders over 18. One entry per person. Entries are free. Detailed entry instructions can be found at

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