Maori authors win inaugural book awards

Books about Maori written by Maori were the resounding choice of hundreds of voters in Massey’s I


Books about Maori written by Maori were the resounding choice of hundreds of voters in Massey’s Inaugural Nga Kupu Ora Book Awards.

Kaihautu Maori (Maori library services manager) Spencer Lilley says the idea for organising book awards recognising Maori literature was as a result of other major book awards consistently failing to include Maori items in their awards.

“The overarching trend across the six categories was that books about Maori written by Maori were the most popular. This is a reflection of how far publishing has come in this country in the last 20-30 years, back then you will have been very hard pressed to find a book about Maori written by a Maori author,” Mr Lilley says.

Despite missing out on an award at the Montana Book Awards announced earlier in the week, Nga Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship by Massey graduate Dr Monty Soutar was a clear favourite in the history category.

The result of the te reo Maori category also differed to the Montana awards with Tahuhu korero : The sayings of Tai Tokerau written by Dr Merata Kawharu narrowly winning ahead of He Pataka Kupu te kai a te rangatira compiled by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori (the Maori Language Commission).

Massey’s Te Reo Professor Taiarahia Black praised He Pataka Kupu as it represents “an important tool in the continuum of te reo Maori immersion and regeneration and sets the benchmark for iwi to develop their own Maori language dictionaries”.

Massey researcher and honours student, Malcolm Mulholland’s Beneath the Maori Moon was the popular winner of the sports and recreation category. “The importance and popularity of Maori rugby to New Zealand’s national game has been captured by Mulholland and his win in this section reinforces the positive reception the book has received from reviewers and commentators,” says Mr Lilley.

Other category winners were: Art, Architecture and Design – Dr Deidre Brown, Maori Architecture: from Fale to Wharenui; Biography – Professor Ranginui Walker, Tohunga Whakairo: Paki Harrison, the story of a Master Carver; Book of the Decade – Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Mau Moko: the world of Maori tattoo.

An awards presentation will be held on Maori Language Day September 14 to celebrate the success of the winners and acknowledge their success and the contribution of the other finalists to Maori publishing.

The complete list of the Award winners follows:

Nga Kupu Ora Winners 2009

Art, Architecture and Design
Maori Architecture: From Fale to Wharenui and Beyond – Deidre Brown

Tohunga Whakairo: Paki Harrison: The Story of a Master Carver – Ranginui Walker

Nga Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship – Monty Soutar*
Sports and Recreation

Beneath the Maori Moon: An Illustrated History of Maori Rugby – Malcolm Mulholland*

Te Reo Maori
Tahuhu Korero: The Sayings of Tai Tokerau – Merata Kawharu and Krzysztof Pfeiffer

Book of the Decade
Mau Moko: The World of Maori Tattoo – Ngahuia Te Awekotuku

Massey University 

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

4 Aug 2009

The Big Idea Editor Cathy Aronson is a journalist, photo journalist and digital editor.

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