Judges comments

Ka Mau te Wehi - Taking Kapa Haka to the World Te Haurongo | Biography

Bradford Haami (2013), Ka Mau te Wehi: Taking Kapa Haka to the World. Published in Auckland, Ngapō and Pimia Wehi Whānau Trust.

An inspirational story –about the life of Ngapō (Bub) and Pimia (Nen) Wehi who formed award winning kapa haka groups across the country group.

This story is written by Bradford Haami who says it comes two years too late and should have been written when Bub and Nen were in their prime. Nen passed away in 2011 and this story is a tribute to her and Bub for their work in kapa haka.

In collaboration with the Wehi whānau and told through the eyes of Bub Wehi, Bradford Haami writes a love story like no other, with a kapa haka twist. As well as waiata and whakapapa and various black and white photos there are some wonderfully vibrant and colourful photos of Bub and Nen that add that extra special element to the book. This is definitely a must read for any kapa haka enthusiast, Māori historian or readers who just like a well-written book.

White Lies - Tuakiri Huna Te Pakimaero | Fiction

Dana Rotberg and Witi Ihimaera (2013), White Lies: Tuakiri Huna. Published in Auckland by Random House.

White lies: tuakiri huna is based on Ihimaera’s original story Medicine Woman published in Ask the Posts of the house in 2007. This 2013 version contains not only the original story, but a revised version to complement the masterful screenplay written and directed by Dana Rotberg that has captivated cinema critics and patrons nationally and internationally. The inclusion of a photographic montage of the making of the movie assists to make a strong link between the novella and the film. Witi Ihimaera’s background notes on the writing of the two versions of the novella explain succinctly why there are distinct differences in the ending of the three different versions (novellas and screenplay). Witi Ihimaera views fiction as a continuum rather than a static work of art, White lies is therefore not the first of his stories to be rewritten and it may yet take another twist with the promise of a sequel. Ihimaera’s willingness to re-engage and re-invent his stories makes him an innovative and inspirational author. White lies: tuakiri huna is therefore the very worthy winner of the Te Pakimaero – Fiction Award in the 2013 Ngā Kupu Ora Book Awards.

He Puna Iti i te Ao Mārama - A Little Spring in the World of Light Te Kōrero Pono | Non-fiction

Henare Tate (2012), He Puna Iti i te Ao Mārama: A Little Spring in the World of Light. Published in Auckland by Libro International.

Pā Henare Tate presents a compelling and passionate description of the the role that tikanga and kaupapa play in the construction of a Māori Christian theological framework. Pā Tate contextualises and links the role that the concepts of tapu, mana, pono, tika, aroha, tūranga and kaiwhakakapi, whakanoa, hohou rongo and te wā have in the construction of a theological framework. This scholarly text joins other seminal works on tikanga Māori by Barlow (Tikanga Whakaaro: key concepts in tikanga Māori) and Mead (Tikanga Māori: living by Māori values) and provides a solid foundation for Māori Christians to practice their faith. He puna iti i te ao marama is therefore the very worthy winner of the Te Korero Pono – Non-Fiction Award in the 2013 Ngā Kupu Ora Book Awards.

He Papakupu Reo Ture A Dictionary of Maori Legal Terms Te Reo Māori | Māori language

Mamari Stephens and Mary Boyce (2013), He Papakupu Reo Ture: A Dictionary of Māori Legal Terms. Published in New Zealand by LexisNexis.

In recent years in the field of immersion education several curriculum dictionaries have been developed, Te Reo Pāngarau - maths, Te Reo Pūtaiao - science, and Te Reo o Ngā Toi – the arts is currently being written. They all signal change in the growth of te reo Māori as an academic subject. Similarly, this book, He Papakupu Reo Ture: A Dictionary of Māori Legal Terms signals a growth of the Māori language in the legal domain. The editors refer to it as a ‘dictionary of usage’ where it is designed ‘for those who wish to use Māori in any New Zealand legal context’. The audience are Māori speakers who want to ‘use Māori terms correctly when writing or speaking in Māori about a legal topic.’ 

The editors, Māmari Stephens and Mary Boyce, use Māori sources from the last 181 years within the Legal Māori Corpus to create this ‘bilingual dictionary of Māori legal terms and law-related vocabulary’. There are 2114 entries with an English to Māori finder list. Yes, the book is prohibitive in cost for many if not most speakers of Māori, retailing for more than $100. And yes again, it is aimed at a very narrow band of linguistic usage. But it is this development of a branch of professional Māori language usage that is to be applauded. If Māori is to be a truly an official language then other professions – such as medicine, education, broadcasting - should take up the challenge laid down by the legal team assembled here to contribute to a canon of professional literature aimed at contemporary usage.

Maumahara - The Memories of Te Onehou Phillis Te Tohu o Kupu Ora | Special award

Te Onehou Phillis (2012), Maumahara: The Memories of Te Onehou Phillis. Published in Otaki by Kapohia Ltd.

If you want to step back in time to taste a little of what life was like in small rural Māoridom in the early 20th Century then Maumahara is a book that can take you there. Maumahara is an autobiography by Te Onehou Phillis. Te Onehou was born on 19th of June 1926, the daughter of Te Pareake, a renowned weaver, and Eruera Riini Mānuera, chief and recognised leader of Mataatua. In Maumahara Te Onehou talks about her family, her childhood, her schooling, her marriage and her return home to work for her people, Ngati Awa. Not all Māori life was as idyllic as that of Te Onehou Phillis but similarities of a hardworking Māori community, of being a whāngai, to makutu, to Māori medicine and doctors medicine, to going to school with a Māori name and ending up with a Pākehā one, is something in which other rural communities can relate. In the mihi at the end of the book it says,

“She never intended for her biography to be published; rather she said she wrote it for her whānau, “so that they would know about how I was brought up.”

However, without books such as Maumahara being written, and published then Māori history would be lost and ‘inference’ would take its place. Without books being written by Māori who have lived in a time and place many of us have only heard about then our history is definitely left to interpretation. Maumahara will remain an invaluable representation of Māori social history. We are fortunate Te Onehou agreed to have her story published for everyone to read.

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