The FAME Mid-Career Awards 2022 Winners!


The FAME Trust (Fund for Acting and Musical Endeavours), the Acorn Foundation and PANNZ (Performing Arts Network of New Zealand) are honoured to announce the final two recipients of The FAME Mid-Career Awards for 2022. Each taking home the title and a cash prize of $15,000 are Amanaki Lelei Prescott-Faletau and Tupe Lualua.

With over 100 submissions received across the performing arts disciplines, these two Pasifika artists impressed the selection panel with their artistic excellence, ambition, and commitment to bringing diverse voices to our stages.

The artists both have bold plans to use the funds to assist with funding tours which will ensure more audiences both locally and internationally will have access to their ground-breaking work.

Amanaki Lelei Prescott-Faletau is an actor, writer, dancer, choreographer, producer and director of Tongan descent. She has had work published and has won awards for her writing. As an actor she was awarded Best Performance at the 2015 Auckland Fringe Festival for Victor Rodger’s Girl on the Corner,and has appeared in The Breaker Upperers (2018), SIS (2020), The Panthers (2021), The Pact (2021) and Sui Generis (2022), on which she is also a writer for the TV series.

In 2013, Amanaki co-founded the performing arts collective Fine Fatale with collaborator Mario Faumui, to provide a platform that highlights and amplifies the voices of Māori and Pasifika Trans and Queer artists. Fine Fatale have gone on to perform at Urbanesia Festival, Auckland Pride Festival and the Auckland Live Cabaret Season. The group was also selected to be part of the delegation representing New Zealand in Hawai’i for the Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture in 2020. It is her work in this space that will benefit from The FAME Mid-Career Awards prize money to assist funding a national tour of Fever: Return of the Ula. Alongside F’INE PASIFIKA AOTEAROA, Amanaki has also launched the Tāmaki Makaurau based F.I.N.E Festival.

Tupe Lualua is a Samoan dancer, choreographer, actor, theatre-maker and educator. She is currently the tutor in Movement and Creative Practice at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, the Artistic Director of Le Moana, and Producer for dancer and choreographer Tupua Tigafua. She was most recently awarded the Contemporary Artist Award for the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards 2021.

Tupe identified a significant gap in the arts sector for services and resources dedicated to emerging Pacific artists, which resulted in establishing the Measina Festival in 2014, which is hosted annually by Le Moana. Today, Le Moana serves as an integral springboard for cutting-edge theatre.

The FAME Mid-Career Awards prize money awarded to Tupe will go towards international touring costs for Tupua Tigafua’s critically acclaimed dance work, Shel We. Previously touring to Kia Mau Festival in Wellington, Festival of Cultures in Palmerston North, Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival in Gisborne, Hawkes’ Bay Arts Festival, and the Pacific Dance Festival 2021 at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland – Shel We will soon be presented at the prestigious BIBU 2022 Performing Arts Biennial in Helsingborg Sweden, as well in Stockholm for Sámi, Pacific Island and New Zealand communities. Le Moana also have a Boosted campaign to raise funds for this incredible opportunity.

The FAME Mid-Career Awards offers recipients one of the largest prize grants available to the performing arts community. The awards are made possible by the generosity of private Tauranga-based philanthropic donors who make up The FAME Trust. The FAME Trust has partnered with the Acorn Foundation and PANNZ to manage these awards.

Earlier in the year, renowned dancer and choreographer Rodney Bell (Ngāti Maniapoto) was announced as the first recipient of The FAME Mid-Career Awards for 2022.

Founded in 2007, The FAME Trust has long provided support for young and mid-career artists, plus funded national organisations like the NZSO, Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School and the NZ School of Dance, and local groups such as Opus Orchestra, Youth Philharmonic and BOP Symphonia.

The Acorn Foundation is a community foundation based in the Western Bay of Plenty that enables generous people to make a bigger impact in their communities, by investing the funds and distributing the returns to causes that matter – forever. Thanks to the generosity of local donors, since Acorn was established in 2003, the foundation has distributed more than $10 million to the community. Find out more about the Acorn Foundation at: