Māori journalism recognised in expanded awards

Finalist books in the 2015 Ngā Kupu Ora Awards held at Te Papa.

Massey University’s Māori book awards are being expanded this year to celebrate excellence in Māori journalism. The 2016 Ngā Kupu Ora Awards, Celebrating Māori Books and Journalism will include the first national Māori journalism award.

Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori Pasifika, Dr Selwyn Katene, says the move will provide long overdue recognition of the role Māori journalism plays in developing the bi-cultural fabric of New Zealand society. “Māori stories, told by Māori, in a Māori voice and in a Māori way has always been at the heart of Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards and the addition of a category to honour Māori journalists will provide encouragement to another important area of writing and storytelling.” 

Dr Katene says in another exciting development the 2016 Ngā Kupu Ora Awards ceremony will move to Auckland where it will be held in partnership with the Auckland War Memorial Museum on October 3rd. 

Roy Clare, Auckland Museum director, says: “We warmly welcome Ngā Kupu Ora to Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum. We see synergy and feel privileged to support these awards to recognise excellence in Māori journalism and publishing.

“He Korahi Māori – a Māori dimension – is central to our ‘Future Museum’ vision. Māori language and voices underpin our role as a kaitiaki reconnecting taonga with iwi and hapū. We are delighted to celebrate success in Māori books and journalism and we congratulate our partners in Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa, Massey University for their initiative.”

Ngā Kupu Ora started at Massey University in 2009 as a way of recognising and encouraging excellence in Māori writing and publishing. It has grown from an awards ceremony held at Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, at Massey University in Palmerston North, to a major event on the publishing calendar, held for the past couple of years at Te Papa in Wellington.

While the book finalists are chosen from the catalogue of Māori books published each year, journalists will be invited to nominate their own work. Nominations for Māori Journalist of the Year are now open to journalists in any media to submit a portfolio of three stories published in 2015. A special Lifetime Achievement Award in Māori journalism will also be announced at this year’s awards event. 

Massey University will also host a Māori journalism hui at its Auckland campus in conjunction with the awards. Dr Katene says: “There are many challenges facing Māori journalism and we believe these awards provide an opportunity for the media and interested groups to come together to tackle some of those issues and to encourage a new generation of Māori journalists.”

The initiative has received backing from Māori Development Minister, Te Ururoa Flavell, who says the National Hui on Māori Journalism is an important step forward. 

“In Aotearoa we’re blessed with some excellent Māori journalism and it’s great to see that being celebrated by Massey University. I look forward to seeing how these awards help grow the valuable work being done by journalists throughout the country.”

Massey University Assistant Vice Chancellor, External Relations and Development, Penelope Barr-Sellers says: “One of Massey’s big goals is Te Aronga Manaakitanga – or responsibility – which means we seek to contribute to understanding of cultural and environmental issues, including those that affect tangata whenua.

“Ngā Kupu Ora is a wonderful example of Massey University providing an innovative response to the needs of Māori and all New Zealanders to celebrate te reo Māori, the literary success of Māori authors, and now news media writers and broadcasters." 

Finalists in the 2016 Massey University Ngā Kupu Ora Awards will be announced in September.

Information and online entries for the Journalism Award can be found at Massey.ac.nz/nko



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