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Dunedin artist Justin Spiers received the $4000 supreme award for his pigment print work The Garden.
Mr Spiers, who did not attend the award ceremony, was "thrilled" by the win.
Award judge Denise Copland said the more than 360 works offered "huge variety" and talent.
Ms Copland was particularly impressed with the ceramic entries.
The awards were the culmination of two years’ work by the Otago Art Society to establish a national art award that offered opportunities to New Zealand artists of all mediums, Mr Dempster said.
Artists from throughout New Zealand entered the competition.