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Only 20 living artists can hold the award, which recognises significant artists for their extraordinary lifetime achievements and mark on the arts.
Neill accepted an Icon Award in 2003 on behalf of unwell artist Ralph Hotere.
‘‘And now - one for me. I cannot but feel this is some extraordinary fluke.
"But to be in the company of all these distinguished New Zealanders, these artists like Ralph, makes me extraordinarily heartened, and very touched indeed.”
Also to receive the award this year is visual artist and Maori art educator Dr Sandy Adsett and novelist and writer Joy Cowley.