There are so many styles of contracts, some contracts if you are working with a gallery as an artist are very informal and trust based. If you are signing a contract, make sure to read it through thoroughly as it is legally binding.

 Contract Checklist:

  • The work you will be getting paid to do and how you will be getting paid

  • What you are expected to do – services that you will provide

  • Where you will deliver these services e.g. at home or a different location

  • How much you will be paid, and when to invoice for this (weekly, monthly, or after certain tasks or projects have been completed)

  • How many hours you’ll work per day / week / month – this could be a range e.g. up to 25 hours per week – and when you’ll work them, e.g. on weekdays between 9am to 5pm

  • How long the contract will last – also called its term – and whether it can be renewed
  • What expenses or allowances you’ll be paid, e.g. will you be reimbursed if you use your own car or your own tools, will you be reimbursed for food and accommodation if you travel?

  • Who your client contact person will be

  • Whether either party has the right to terminate the contract

  • How disputes will be resolved – when you’re a contractor you can’t raise a personal grievance if you and a client you work for have a disagreement

  • Who will own any intellectual property that you may have developed as part of the contract

 Dealing With 

Have a read of Tim Melville’s ‘Dealing with Dealers’ document.

Tim has kindly permitted for us to share it with you here:


 Rate$ of Pay 

AMA advocates for the value of artists and art in the form of more paid roles in the arts and less unpaid, volunteer based internships. We want to help Aotearoa come into step with international best practice.

The art industry has relied on the backbone of volunteer time and we must fight for this labour to be paid and valued in a way that will create more jobs and better quality of life for the creative community.

Creative New Zealand advises that art workers and practitioners are paid a minimum of $25 per hour.

Fair remuneration means pay rates for more experienced artists or art practitioners should be at a level above or well above the minimum wage, be in line with their skills and experience, and recognise the duration or nature of the project (e.g. contract work).

You can read more about pay rates on the new Artists’ Fees page (link below) which was created in consultation with people from the visual art sector, including independent creative practitioners, Art Makers Aotearoa members and the APGDN, and is in reference to international precedence set by W.A.G.E. (United States) and NAVA (Australia). 


 Tax & Gst 

If you are an artist working individually with or without a dealer the best way to manage your tax is through being a sole trader. Sole traders are people who work for themselves, contract out their services or have a small business where they are the sole member.

You do not have to register with a government agency to become a sole trader and unless you make over $60,000 per year you do not need to be GST registered.

Record keeping is key and will allow you to claim back on business expenses and lower the amount of tax you have to pay at the end of each year. Keep GST receipts and a book or leger of what you buy for your business. For example, if you work from home or use the internet for your work a percentage of rent and bills can be claimed back as business expense.

As a sole trader you are responsible for paying your own tax and ACC levy (this is a small annual amount that ACC sends you an invoice for that is determined by the type of business you run). Usually sole traders pay 30% tax so it is helpful to put this aside with each payment you receive throughout the year. At the end of the financial year (31st March) fill out an Individual Tax Return (IR3) through Inland Revenue.

Ways to reduce the amount of tax that you have to pay:

Claim expenses that you have spent on your business (this is where book keeping comes in handy). Make sure you keep all the receipts too!

Accounting software might help you manage your record keeping and keep track of tax. Examples of these are Xero or Henry which allow everything to be stored online. Although you do still need to keep receipts and records for seven years, in case Inland Revenue audits you.

What you need to know if you have multiple jobs:

Making, exhibiting, and selling art doesn’t always cover the bills, so a lot of artists need multiple jobs as a way to get buy. This falls under freelance or gig work. 

You need to pay tax on all of your jobs, and fill out an IR330C for each source of income at the end of the tax year. You are responsible for paying your tax on all sources of income as well as ACC levies, Kiwi saver, student loan, and child support (if these apply).

For more info click link below:



There may be times in your creative career where you come across conflict or dispute, perhaps someone uses an image of your work in a way you are not comfortable with, or there is some wrong-doings occuring at your place of work but you are worried about exposing it. Alternatively you may find the need for some career mentoring or PR at some point in your practice.

Listed here are some people, and links, that can help support you in these areas.



Caroline Stone is a legal advisor who runs Creative Legal Services. Caroline works on negotiating and drafting licensing agreements between illustrators, photographers, visual artists and brands wanting to license copyright content.



Copyright Licensing New Zealand helps everyone who copies and shares anything from books and journals to do so legally. It’s all about doing right by our New Zealand authors, publishers and creators.



If you have a legal issue with someone using your work in an unlicensed way you can use this template to communicate with the person / organisation in question. Click link below to download the ‘Demand Letter’ and fill in the sections highlighted.




Specialises in dispute mediation within the art and creative industries. Hilary helps facilitate communication between participants to discover options that may exist by guiding them to find a resolution and settle a dispute by reaching an agreement before it escalates into a matter for the courts.



Information regarding action that can be taken when wrongdoing by an employer, or within your employer’s organisation, occurs.



Information on a personal grievance process if your employer has fired you unfairly or done something else you think is unjustified. Personal grievances are also available on certain other grounds, like discrimination and sexual harassment.




Anna is an experienced creative impact producer within the industry and arts sectors. A PR maven, social media strategist and memorable event creator. Anna also offers strategy expertise, network facility and talent coaching to help you gain clarity, enthusiasm and direction.



Nicola is the founder of Tanker Creative which offers mentoring, brand, website and social media support. She also facilitates workshops for Wayfind Creative and ArtsLab, and can provide ongoing mentoring and support for creative practitioners and organisations. Tanker Creative operates from Auckland, Whanganui, and Ōtautahi Christchurch.



Emil McAvoy is an experienced, independent consultant and mentor supporting artists to achieve the results they seek, and build rewarding, sustainable long term careers.



We are a community of makers for makers jointly advocating for the arts through grassroots platforms to voice shared concerns. He waka eke noa!