Paemanu began as a group of art professionals coming together to create and drive events associated with Ngāi Tahu arts practitioners at all stages of their career development. Over time, as events became larger and more complex, funding was needed to assist Paemanu to achieve its goals. To aid in future growth, resilience and accountability, it was decided to form a trust. Paemanu Charitable Trust: Ngāi Tahu Contemporary Visual Arts was granted Charitable Trust status in July 2013.
Paemanu can mean collarbone, waka seat or a perch for a bird. This name was chosen for the Trust as a perch represents a point to launch a manu into flight. The icon is based on Ross Hemara's artwork Paemanu. In the logo the single sculptural form has been rotated to represent the wings of a manu in flight.
Neil Pardington was a founding trustee of the Paemanu Charitable Trust: Ngāi Tahu Contemporary Visual Arts.