Creative Fellows

Our Work / Media Grants / Creative Fellows

KLomathBetween 2007 and 2010, 16 artists, writers, playwrights, filmmakers, musicians or poets were awarded a NZ Mental Health Media Grant. Projects ranged from poetry collections and art exhibitions, to music albums, plays and books.

In 2015, the creative grants were relaunched with new funding from the Health Promotion Agency and three creative artists were awarded a grant for their projects.

  • 2015 Rob Mokaraka, Caren McLean, Rachel Ross
  • 2010 Dylan Keys, Georgie Tutt, Helena Chan, Rob Mokaraka, Patricia Deavoll
  • 2009 Michelanne Foster, Sam RB, Stephen McCurdy, Graham Bishop
  • 2008 Karlo Mila, Jenn Shelton, Kristian Lomath, The Silk Tent Company
  • 2007 Jessica La Bas, Jo Randerson, Debbie Hager

Featured projects

Rachel Ross: Have you tried, maybe, not worrying

Freelance Director, Rachel Rosstook her passion for visual storytelling and developed a short film about anxiety to reduce some of the stigma and encourage openness and discussion around the disorder.

The film's title Have you tried, maybe, not worrying refers to those who you can just will anxiety away, or conquer it by eating, sleeping and exercising properly. She hope watching the film will encourage people to discuss all aspects of anxiety and for those who are struggling to reach out and talk to someone.  

Rob Mokaraka: Shot Bro

Writer and actor Rob Mokaraka took his highly publicised encounter with the police - outside his own home in Point Chevalier on 27 July 2009 - and developed it into a one-man show: Shot Bro: confessions of a depressed bullet.

Rob describes the performance as a “serious black comedy about a real fight with depression”. The inaugural season ran over four nights in Whangarei, in June. The show has since debuted in Wellington as part of the Kia Mau Festival, and in Wainuimata by special request.

Rob hopes to bring Shot Bro to other communities around New Zealand as funding allows.

Sam RB: Seems I Might Be Human

Singer-songwriter Sam RB launched her debut album Seems I Might Be Human, in September 2010. The album is a collection of songs written over 20 years, describing her journey and experiences.

Two of the singles from the album, made it onto the sound track for NZ film, The Insatiable Moon (2010). Sam went on to pen the winning song for the Olympic Songwriting competition. Stand Tall became the official anthem of the 2012 New Zealand Olympic team.

Sam has continued to follow her passion and released her second album, Queen Street Acoustics in 2013 and her third album, Finding Your Way Home in 2014.

Follow Sam's progress on Facebook or http://samrb.com/


Kristian Lomath: Seclusion circle series

Rotorua-based artist, Kristian Lomath (pictured above), created an installation of original art that explores his experience of depression, self-discovery and recovery as an artist.

Visitors physically engage with the exhibition pieces by walking through, around and into twelve, three-metre-high, double-sided, painted panels.

Five other local artists - computer analyst/writer Malcolm Hore, potter/sculptor George Andrews, photographer Yvonne Westra, writer, artist and musician Barbara O'Reilly and designer Anna Revell - each contributed a panel that reflects their own experience of mental illness.

"What I would like people to walk away with," says Kristian, "Is the knowledge that it is possible to live with mental illness - and that you can pursue your dreams and be successful."


The Silk Tent Company: Girl with no Words

The Silk Tent Theatre Company of Wanaka - Gilly Pugh, Lizzi Yates, and Lucy O'Hagan - developed a script for a multi media theatre performance exploring a community's responses to mental distress.

Girl with no Words - listening to the language of cutting tells the story of a young woman's experience of self-injury by cutting, and the experience of the people around her; family, health care professionals and the wider community.

Set in any town, in the present time, the work uses a variety of story-telling conventions in performance, music, visual art and film. "We want our audience to think about understanding, support and compassion in the face of mental distress."

Girl with no Words plumbs a difficult subject with energy, intelligence and feeling. An exploration of the human condition, it is provocative, informative and ultimately hopeful.


Jessica Le Bas: Walking to Africa

Jessica Le Bas wrote a collection of poetry, Walking to Africa, that explored mental health issues in adolescents.

The finished collection forms a narrative providing insight and understanding into the journey a mother takes when the health of her child is compromised by illness. It's about coming to terms with a whole new world - the world of mental health: diagnoses, care and treatment.

Jessica describes the numerous visits to doctors, the treatments that don't work and the people who suddenly have answers and their own stories to tell. She says, "the challenge was keeping the narrative accessible and honest and still make an impression on readers' perceptions of mental illness."

Walking to Africa (Auckland University Press) was launched on 9 October 2009 and topped the Nielsen BookScan for best selling NZ fiction a week after its launch. It was referenced as one of the best reads of the year in NZ Listener, Canvas and the Dominion Post -and awarded second place in the 2010 Aston Wylie Charitable Trust Book Awards.