2014 Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards

Excellence in Māori literature celebrated

Winners in five categories of Massey University’s Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards were celebrated at a ceremony in Wellington on Wednesday 10th December.

More than 100 guests, including authors, publishers and whānau, gathered at Te Papa to recognise the contribution Māori authors make to New Zealand’s literary landscape. University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey spoke about the importance of access to literature through public libraries and the power of the written word.

2014 Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards winners
Dr Selwyn Katene, Te Teira Tawhai, Te Awhimate Tawhai, Nigel Beckford, Michael Fitzsimons, Fred Graham, Maria de Jong, Dr Tina Dahlberg, Ariana Paul, Tama Potaka, Dr Hemi Whaanga, Dr Rawiri Jansen, Te Rina Moke and Steve Maharey.

Guest speaker, renowned author Patricia Grace, encouraged Māori writers to tell their stories – “write about what you know”. She also reflected on her writing background and the moment at which she realised, “I have a voice, I can tell my own story”.

Massey graduate and former staff member Dr Tina Dahlberg won the fiction category of the Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards for the second time. Her debut novel, Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings (Random House), explores the complexities of Pākehā, Māori and Moriori cross-cultural history. Dr Dahlberg, who writes under the name Tina Makereti, previously won the category in 2011 for a book of short stories.

The other category winners announced were a biography about octogenarian Fred Graham, whose artworks can be found all over the world; a bilingual resource book by the late Wiremu Tawhai focussing on the lunar cycle and its importance from a Te Whānau ā Apanui perspective; an edited book about Waikato Tainui rituals handwritten 65 years ago in Māori by the late Pei Te Hurinui Jones; and a book that gives a snapshot of Māori participation and influence in the field of medicine through the stories of 27 medical practitioners and students.

Winners were chosen from a shortlist of 16 books produced by 12 publishers between July last year and March this year. (Books published since April will be eligible for next year's awards.)

University Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori and Pasifika Dr Selwyn Katene says Massey has a long-term commitment to organising the awards for the long term. “These are the only book awards focussed exclusively on Māori literary works, we need Māori authors to keep on writing.”

Dr Katene says this year’s event was supported by Orbit Travel, Te Puni Kōkiri, Athfield Architects and Tohu Wines. He says planning is under way for next year’s awards with the hope of securing a significant awards partner.

Category winners

Te Mahi Toi – Arts: Fred Graham – Fred Graham and Maria de Jong (Huia Publishers)

Te Haurongo me Te Hītori – Biography and History: Te Paruhi a ngā Takuta – Nigel Beckford and Mike Fitzsimons (FitzBeck Creative)

Te Pakimaero – Fiction: Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings – Tina Makereti (Penguin, Random House)

Te Kōrero Pono – Non-fiction: Living by the moon – Wiremu Tawhai (Huia Publishers)

Te Reo Māori – Māori language: He tuhi Marei-Kura – Pei Te Hurinui Jones (Aka & Associates). Edited by Ariana Pau, Tama Potaka and Dr Hemi Whaanga.

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