Kaihautu Māori (Māori library services manager) and Judge Sheeanda Field says the Ngā Kupu Ora, Māori Book Awards celebrate Māori literature in New Zealand. “I think it’s absolutely fantastic Māori literature is being showcased and made prominent within our communities and that Massey University is the one to lead this.”
The event recognises writers who have a Māori perspective and who give Māori a voice, she says.
”It acknowledges people who write where we come from, where we are going, and how we are going to get there.“
The Ngā Kupu Ora, Māori Book Awards first began in 2009 as an event to celebrate Māori Language Week, and is named after the University’s library collection of Māori resources – Ngā Kupu Ora, which translates as the “living words”.
It is now an annual event and entrants were of a high standard “There were a lot of fabulous works this year each with their own uniqueness which made judging in some areas quite difficult,” says Ms Field.
This year’s ceremony will also include a Lifetime Achievement award honouring the late Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira (Ngāti Porou), the leading Māori language pioneer, who passed away last year.
Dame Kāterina wrote a number of ground-breaking novels in Māori including, Te Atea (1975), Makorea (2002) and Rēhua (2006) as well as award-winning picture books in Māori for children - Maui and the Big Fish, Marama Tangiweto and Ngā Mokonui a Rangi.
The Lifetime Achievement award acknowledges Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua, a publication published posthumously. The award also recognises Dame Kāterina’s outstanding contribution to Māori literature, the Māori language, but most importantly to Māori, and will be presented to her family who will attend the ceremony.
Past winners from all categories include Emeritus Professor Ranginui Walker, Patricia Grace, Derek Fox, Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Dr Monty Soutar, Robyn Bargh and Chris Winitana. Last year’s fiction award winner Tina Makereti, author of Once upon a time in Aotearoa, is attending the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, where New Zealand is this year’s guest of honour. The book fair is the world’s largest and attracts up to 300,000 people from the international publishing world.
Winning authors, publishers, potential writers, distinguished guests and University staff and students will attend the fourth annual Māori book awards ceremony on October 25 at Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, the School of Māori Studies at Massey University in Palmerston North.
CATEGORY WINNERS ARE:
Awhina Tamarapa (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Pikiao), Whatu Kakahu: Māori Cloaks, Publisher: Te Papa Press
TE HĪTORI – HISTORY
Marina Sciascia (Ngāti Kahungungu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tahu), Hilary Pedersen (Pākehā) and Brian Morris (Ngāti Kahungungu, Rongowhakaata), Matatoa: Fathers & Sons, Publisher: Te Hanganui Partnership
TE KŌRERO PONO – NON-FICTION
Alison Jones (Pākehā) and Kuni Jenkins (Ngāti Porou), He kōrero: Words between us – First Māori-Pākehā coversations on paper, Publisher: Huia
TE REO MĀORI – MĀORI LANGUAGE
Hēni Jacob (Ngāti Raukawa), Mai i te Kākano, Publisher: Te Tākupu, Te Wānanga o Raukawa
TE TOHU O KUPU ORA – LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira (Ngāti Porou), Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua, Publisher: Huia