The awards have been held annually since being initiated in 2009 to formally recognise Māori literature.
Massey University director Māori Associate Professor Te Kani Kingi says six years on it is even more important for the awards to be held given the recent announcement about the future of the New Zealand Book Awards being under threat.
This year 16 books are finalists in the arts, biography and history, fiction, non-fiction, and te reo Māori categories. “It is heartening to see such a strong line-up of finalists and also a growth in the number of publishers,” Dr Kingi says.
“Books by 12 publishers have been shortlisted this year including two universities, one in New Zealand – Otago – and one overseas, the University of Minnesota. Two of the books are self-published.”
The shortlisted books are on Māori topics published between July 2013 and March 2014. Dr Kingi says the four-member judging panel has been impressed both with the number of books published and in the quality and scope of them. The panel is headed by Te-Pūtahi-a-Toi (School of Māori Art, Knowledge and Education) senior lecturer Dr Spencer Lilley and includes kaihautū Māori (Māori library services manager) Sheeanda Field, Te-Pūtahi-a-Toi lecturer Dr Darryn Joseph and an external judge, Alexander Turnbull Library chief librarian Chris Szekely.
The winners of each category will be announced next Thursday. Winning authors and publishes will be invited to an awards celebration event to be held at Te Papa in Wellington on November 13.
Two books by Massey staff feature in the non-fiction category shortlist in this year’s Ngā Kupu Ora Awards. He Kōrero Anamata: Future Challenges for Māori edited by Massey Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori and Pasifika Dr Selwyn Katene and Massey Research Development Adviser Malcolm Mulholland. The spirit of Māori Leadership another book by Dr Katene is also a finalist. One book by Massey graduate Tina Dahlberg has been selected as a finalist in the fiction category.
Publishers in the finalists list this year are Aka & Associates, Anahera Press (two books), Common Ground Publishing, Fitzbeck Publishing, Hastings City Art Gallery, Huia Publishers (three books), MTG Hawkes Bay, Pearson, Pihopa Kingi, University of Minnesota, University of Otago Press and Vintage.
The short-lists in each category (with Massey student and staff denoted by an asterisk) are:
Te Mahi Toi – Arts
• E Kata te rakau – Phil Belcher (Hastings City Art Gallery)
• Fred Graham – Fred Graham and Maria de Jong (Huia Publishers)
• Kia Ronaki – edited by Rachael Ka'ai-Mahuta, Tania Ka'ai and John Moorfield (Pearson)
Te Haurongo me Te Hītori – Biography and History
• Inez Kingi – Pihopa Kingi (Pihopa Kingi)
• Te Paruhi a ngā Takuta – Nigel Beckford and Mike Fitzsimons (Fitzbeck Publishing)
• Ukaipo – Eria Migoto (MTG Hawkes Bay)
Te Pakimaero – Fiction
• Between the Kindling and the Blaze – Benjamin Brown (Anahera Press)
• Night Swimming – Kiri Piahana-Wong (Anahera Press)
• Where the Rekohu Bone Sings – Tina Makereti* (Vintage)
Te Kōrero Pono – Non-fiction
• Ara Mai he Tētēkura: Visioning our Futures – edited by Paul Whitinui, Marewa Glover and Dan Hikuroa (University of Otago Press)
• He Kōrero Anamata: Future Challenges for Māori – edited by Selwyn Katene* and Malcolm Mulholland* (Huia Publishers)
• Extinguishing Title – Stella Coram (Common Ground Publishing)
• Living by the moon – Wiremu Tawhai (Huia Publishers)
• The Fourth Eye – edited by Brendon Hokowhitu and Vijay Devadas (University of Minnesota)
• The spirit of Māori Leadership – Selwyn Katene* (Huia Publishers)
Te Reo Māori – Māori language
• He tuhi Marei-Kura – Pei Te Hurinui Jones (Aka & Associates)