May 14, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Nga Kupu Ora Maori book award winners announced

2 min read

Awards organiser University Kaihaut Mori (Mori Library Services Manager) Spencer Lilley says the idea for book awards to recognise and celebrate Mori literature was a result of other major book awards failing to do so.

Its heartening to see the growing interest and the continuing high calibre of finalists, Mr Lilley says. Although there were fewer categories then the six included at the inaugural awards last year it was pleasing to see that voting figures more than doubled.

Winners of the University’s second annual Ng Kupu Ora Mori Book Awards have been decided by public vote and include a Massey PhD candidate, a internationally-renowned author and a book commemorating the Taranaki land wars.

Voting in the awards, held to coincide with Mori Language Week, closed last night and attracted more than double the number of votes as last year.

Books on Mori topics published between June last year and May 30 were selected as finalists in four categories: art, architecture and design; biography; history; and te reo Mori.

Massey PhD candidate and graduate Julie Paama-Pengelley is the winner of the award for Art, Architecture and Design for her book Mori Art and Design: Weaving painting, carving and architechture, which traces the origins and evolution of art and design in historic Mori culture.

Internationally-acclaimed fictionwriter Patricia Grace took out the biography award for her book Ned and Katina, the love story between Ned Nathan, a soldier in the 28th Mori Battalion solider, and his wife Katina, whom he met in Crete in 1941.

Two of the winning books, the history and te reo Mori award winners, were published by Massey alumni Robyn and Brian Bargh of Huia Publishers in Wellington.

The history award was won by Contested Ground: Te Whenua i Tohea, The Taranaki Land Wars 1860-1881 edited by Kelvin Day and published to coincide with an exhibition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the wars.

The te reo Mori award was won by People of the Land: Images and Mori Proverbs of Aotearoa New Zealand written by Sir Hirini Moko Mead and Lady June Te Rina Mead. The book contains pepeh and imagery and is aimed at those wishing to gain an insight into Mori wisdom and values.

Winners will be celebrated at a ceremony to be held at the Manawatu campus on Mori Language Day, September 14.


  • Art, Architecture and Design Maori Art and Design: Weaving, painting, carving and architecture by Julia Paama-Pengelly (New Holland).
  • Biography Ned & Katina: A True Love Story by Patricia Grace (Penguin).
  • History Contested Ground: Te Whenua i Tohea. The Taranaki Wars, 1860-1881 by Kelvin Day (Puke Ariki New Plymouth District Council/TSB Community Trust/Huia Publishers).
  • Te Reo Mori People of the Land: Images and Mori Proverbs of Aotearoa New Zealand by Sir Hirini Moko Mead and June Mead (Huia Publishers).

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