The New Zealand Medallion Group was formed in 1989 through the energies of Betty Beadle and Marian Fountain. It was their belief that medal art should be made, celebrated and championed in this country after the wonderful work of Betty’s late husband Professor Paul Beadle, a lecturer at Elam school of Fine Arts in Auckland who had gained an international reputation in this field.
Marian and Betty invited artists Marté Szirmay, Christine Massey, Wallace Sutherland, Terry Stringer to join them in making and promoting the art form. This original group was called the ‘New Zealand Contemporary Medallion Group’ (NZCMG) later dropping ‘contemporary’. In 2004, the group changed their name to Medal Art New Zealand (MANZ) to better reflect the diverse range of art medal practice within the group.
In May 1989 at Star Art Gallery in Karangahape Road, Auckland, the group had its first exhibition. It featured the work of thirty artists as well as a survey of thirty years of the work of Paul Beadle. The invited artists were from all disciplines, so this was a truly exploratory exhibition revelling in the different approaches and influences that such a variety of artists bring. Over some twenty five years the group has continued to grow, evolve and exhibit.