About the awards

The inaugural Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards were held in 2009 to mark Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week at Massey University and to celebrate and encourage excellence in Māori literature and publishing. Ngā Kupu Ora is the name of the University’s library collection of Māori resources and translates as ‘The Living Words’. A copy of each of the winning books has been added to the collection held at the Manawatū campus.

Initially a panel of judges selected a shortlist of books and winning books were selected by public online voting. In 2011 a judging panel was convened to review and select a list of finalists and to select winners. For the first four years an awards event was hosted at Te Pūtahi-a-Toi the School of Māori Art, Knowledge and Education at the Manawatū campus in Palmerston North. In 2013 the name of the awards was changed to Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards and the awards event to celebrate winners moved to Wellington.

In 2016 the awards have been expanded to include recognition of Māori journalism. The first Māori Journalist of the Year award will be made alongside a lifetime achievement award and in tandem with five book category awards. The 2016 Ngā Kupu Ora Awards: Celebrating Māori Books and Journalism will be held in Auckland on Monday 3rd of October and will be hosted by the Auckland War Memorial Museum at the stunning Museum Event Centre.

Podcasts about the awards

Darryn Joseph Dr Darryn Joseph

Dr Darryn Joseph is one of the book section judges. He explains the changes to the awards on Radio Waatea’s Manako programme (Te Reo).

Raewyn Rasch Raewyn Rasch

Raewyn Rasch is the Journalism Category organiser. She speaks to Dale Husband of Radio Waatea about the need to encourage Māori journalism.

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