Photographic Competition History

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For information on the current year's competition, please follow this link:
Photographic Competition.


 1st Alpine Winner 1936On the Dart Neve: JD Knowles
1st Alpine Winner 1936
In an endeavour to create greater interest in Alpine Photography, and also to obtain better illustrations for the Alpine Journal, the Committee decided to hold a Photographic Competition in 1936. This Competition was divided into two sections - Alpine and Scenic. A total of 55 photos were exhibited. " NZAC Alpine Journal June 1937 pg 125

The first winners were awarded points and it is not clear if a monetary prize was given in the first year of the competition. In 1937 the prizes were: 1st prize £2 2s, 2nd prize10s 6d with prizes of orders with firms supplying photographic goods, or mountaineering equipment.

 1st Scenic Winner 1936In the Hunter Valley: CG Riley
1st Scenic Winner 1936

The 1937 competition was poorly supported, but despite this a further competition was held in 1938, then none in 1939. The Otago Section kept the competition alive during the war years and in 1946 a third category 'general' was added. South Canterbury Section undertook the next competition (1947), but it was not until 1948 that a Club-wide competition was again announced. The return of the competition also saw a new award being offered in the form of "The Guide Alack Challenge Cup" donated by Mr Franck Alack, together with cash prize money of £2/2/- per annum for a period of 10 years. This was the first trophy recorded for the Photo Competition where there had been only cash and goods prizes awarded before.The 'Cup' was to be awarded 'for the most outstanding photograph of a purely mountaineering nature'. The first winner was Frank Newmarch of the Wellington Section. Frank convened and organised the sub-committee for the 1949 competition and they have been a regular event ever since.

In time three other trophies were donated by Club members as listed below. Unfortunately, over the years many disappeared as they were passed from person to person each time they were awarded. In 2009 the Harrison Memorial Trophy was rediscovered in Unwin Lodge Mount Cook and returned to the new Club "Home of Mountaineering" for permanent display. Shortly after the Egmont-Tasman (also known as the Syme Trophy) was discovered in a garage, but minus its pictorial plate. It was subsequently restored, by artist, Corey Koppe, and is also now on display in the National Office Library. The remaining two awards, (the Dorflinger and Guide Alack Challenge Cup) unfortunately appear to be lost for good. However, in 2009 a new Alpine Nature Award was kindly donated in memory of Erica Beuzenberg and now stands in for, the missing Dorflinger Trophy. We hope, in time, a replacement for the Guide Alack Challenge Cup will also become a most welcome addition.

Present Day

The objectives of the photocomp are to stimulate interest in mountain and rock climbing photography and assist members to attain a higher standard of photography. A panel of elected judges determines the winners. The results of the competition are announced and selected winning entries reproduced in The Climber, New Zealand Alpine Club publications and other photographic competition promotions. 

View details on the latest competition and to view winners' photographs.

Competition categories

Currently (2014) there are six categories: Alpine Activity (AA); Alpine Nature (AN); Rock Climbing (RC); Youth (YO); Mountain & Climbing Culture (MCC) (new) and Alpine Landscape (AL) (new). The Journalism, General and Humour categories were discontinued in 2014.

Winning images from past competitions

2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 |


From 2002 until 2008 winning images were printed in poster form. Folded copies were inserted in 'The Climber' magazines listed below. Some magazines are still available for purchase - see 'The Climber Past' for availability. Selected unfolded posters are still available for purchase also. Please view this link Posters for sale. Enquiries can be made via the National Office regarding the availability of a particular year.

NZAC Alpine Calendar 20101st Alpine Calendar 20102002 - issue 41; 2003 - issue 45; 2004 - issue 49; 2005 - issue 53; 2006 - issue 57; 2007 - issue 61; 2008 - issue 65


In 2009 the posters were discontinued and some of the winning images were used to print the first truely New Zealand Alpine Club calendar for 2010. Before this, the annual calendar had contained only stock images.


There are several Champion and Honours awards given out - usually sponsor prizes. The highest awards are listed below and winners also receive sponsor prizes.

John Harrison Memorial TrophyJohn Harrison Memorial Trophy

    • Harrison Memorial Trophy

      A painting by Lois K Cook of Mt D'Archiac donated (in 1969) by friends of the late John Harrison who was killed in an avalanche during the Mt Rolleston rescue attempt 23 June 1966. This painting was missing for some time, but was rediscovered hanging at Unwin Lodge at Mount Cook. It was brought back to Christchurch in 2009 and now hangs in the National Office Reference Library.

      Awarded for the overall champion photograph, irrespective of category. Initially this award was for the 'champion monochrome print', but colour is now included in the judging.

      List of winners: Harrison Memorial Trophy Winners (PDF, 1MB)

    • Guide Alack Challenge Cup

      In 1948 Frank Alack donated a Challenge Cup to encourage a higher standard of mountain photography. Its whereabouts is currently unknown. (No image of this award is available) Clarification on judging of this award was received from Frank in August 1953 as follows: "The landscape photos can be ruled out. I would really like competing photos to be those taken during the act of mountaineering, but if you interpret that as I do, that is requiring some equipment, footprints, or figure. It eliminates some really satisfying close-up views in actual climbing, so that I feel the rules must be slightly flexible to include this type of entry."

       Sefton Priestley and Peter GarrettGuide Alack Challenge Cup (replacement): Sefton Priestley and Peter Garrett
      In 2014 Peter Garrett, on behalf of Alpine Risk Management, kindly donated a replacement cup for this award.

      Awarded for the most outstanding photograph of mountaineering not purely depicting alpine scenery (as judged by a mountaineer).

      List of winners: Guide Alack Challenge Cup Winners (PDF, 885KB)  

    • Dorflinger Trophy

      In 1980 Wally Dorflinger (1918-1998), who was a keen photographer of alpine flowers, donated a wooden carving of the native New Zealand flower of the (Dactylanthus Taylorii), or Wood Rose as it is commonly called. The 'Natural History Trophy' was the intended title of this award, but the committee vetoed this idea and instead went with the 'Dorflinger Trophy'. This trophy's whereabouts has been unknown for many years, therefore the award has been replaced by the Erica Beuzenberg Memorial Award in time for the 2009 competition. (No image is available for the Dorflinger Trophy)

      List of winners to 2008: Dorflinger Trophy Winners (PDF, 6KB)

      Erica Beuzenberg TrophyErica Beuzenberg Trophy 

    • Erica Beuzenberg Memorial Award

      Kindly donated by NZAC members Paul Corwin and Sally Widdowson for the 2009 Photo Competition. This new award is of the New Zealand native parrot (Nestor notabilis), or Kea as it is commonly called. Carved in wood (Photinia), with wings outstretched. The carving was created by local sculptor Andrew Lyons from Christchurch, New Zealand.

      Erica Beuzenberg (PDF, 443KB) was a well-known New Zealand Climber and guide, who was tragically killed on the Ball Pass, Mount Cook in the Southern Alps of New Zealand on March 3rd, 2005.

      Awarded for the most outstanding Alpine Nature photograph.

      List of winners: Erica Beuzenberg Memorial Award (PDF, 652KB)

Egmont Tasman TrophyEgmont Tasman Trophy

    • Egmont-Tasman Trophy

      Also known as the "Syme Trophy" after Rod Syme the person who donated it in about 1985/6 and who was most associated with these two peaks. It originally depicted the two mountains etched on a metal plate attached to a timber plaque. The trophy went missing in the late 1990's and when it was rediscovered in 2009, some metal plateing was missing and no pictures could be found showing how it orginally looked. The remaining plated aluminium was found to be poorly cut and engraved.

      In time for the July 2009 Photo Competition, local artist, Corey Koppe, recreated the award with all new graphics on gold dyed anacoil aluminium. An updated Section winners list engraved in this metal shows through as raised silver. The trophy will now remain on display in the Club's National Office Reference Library, Christchurch.

      Awarded as the inter-section competition prize, to the section with the most winner points.

      List of winner s: Egmont-Tasman Trophy Winners (PDF, 707KB)

Alpine Recreation Award

  • Alpine Recreation Youth Award

    For the 2009 competition a new Youth category was created in memory of Gottlieb Braun-Elwert (PDF, 464KB). The first prize awarded for this new category was a Ball Pass Crossing (or credit to the same value towards an Alpine Recreation climbing course). This was donated by his family who continue to run Gottieb's Alpine Recreation guiding company.

    List of winners: Alpine Recreation Award (PDF, 95KB)