Māori storytellers honoured at the Ngā Kupu Ora Awards

Winners and finalists - Renee Kahukura Iosefa, Ripeka Timutimu, Maiki Sherman, Wena Harawira, Heeni Brown, Oriini Kaipara







Māori storytellers were honoured last night at Massey University’s Ngā Kupu Ora Awards: Celebrating Māori Books and Journalism.

While wahine dominated the journalism awards, it was another bumper year for non-fiction writers with five of the six categories dedicated to the genre.

The newest category, Te Kōrero Tōrangapū - Non-Fiction Politics, was won by Carwyn Jones for his book New treaty, New Tradition: Reconciling New Zealand and Māori Law, published by Victoria University Press. Judges described this book as one of the most important written on treaty policy and Māori law in the last 30 years.

A book currently being adapted for screen, In Dark Places: The confessions of Teina Pora and an ex-cop's fight for justice, written by Michael Bennett and published by Paul Little Books, won the Te Kōrero O Mua/Te Haurongo - Biography/History section.

In the Māori journalism awards, Renee Kahukura Iosefa was named Māori Journalist of the Year for her 2016 story on Māori Television’s Native Affairs that saw the then-New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd out himself as a recovering racist, sparking a national debate on racism.

Pioneering journalist Wena Harawira was awarded Te Tohu a Tanara Whairiri Kitawhiti Ngata – Lifetime Achievement. Ms Harawira was only 19 in 1980 when she became the first woman to work on TVNZ’s fledgling Māori news service alongside the legendary Whai Ngata in whose name this award is bestowed. She’s since worked in nearly every aspect of the industry and is respected not only for her great storytelling abilities but also for the many journalists she has nurtured and inspired.  Presenting the award Associate Minister of Māori Development Willie Jackson said even as a young reporter Ms Harawira had been impressive and he praised her dedication and storytelling skill.

The Ngā Kupu Ora Awards were established by Massey University in 2009 to celebrate and encourage excellence in Māori literature and publishing and last year were extended to include journalism.

A full list of winners can be found here


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