The inaugural Te Reo Māori category winners were announced at the 2020 Book Awards this week.
Among the many award categories, two new categories were introduced this year; books written in Te Reo Māori and children's books. The inaugural Te Reo category winners were first equal, 'Whakarongo ki ō Tūpuna' by Darryn Joseph (Oratia Books) which won the Tamariki section, and 'Haare Williams: Words of a Kaumātua', edited by Witi Ihimaera (Auckland University Press) in the Pakeke section.
Judge Dr Hana O'Reagan said, "Not only will they undeniably add to the richness of literature available to those hungry for Te Reo, but they will almost certainly help inspire others to follow suit."
The Children's winner was 'The Adventures of Tuapaia' by Sina Courtney Meredith and Mat Tait (Allen and Unwin) and the runner-up was 'Lost Wonders: Vanished Creatures of Aotearoa' by Sarah Ell, with illustrations by Phoebe Morris (Allen and Unwin). Commenting on the range and diversity of the books submitted, judge James Norcliffe said, "This has been a valuable and overdue innovation."
The short prose winner was 'The Tearooms' written by Mandy McMullin, runner-up 'A Season of Seven Summers' by Nod Gosh. This category was judged by 2020 NZ Book Awards Winner Becky Manawatu who said, "the most compelling stories for me were those which brought characters and an event to life on the page, quickly and unpretentiously."
The Poetry Winner was 'Hiruhārama' by Gregory Dally. The runner-up was 'Reg Lee' by Kay McKenzie Cooke. Judge of the Poetry section, Teoti Jardine said, "Under the kaupapa of heritage, a wide range was covered, from distant past to present day, revealing each poet’s memories, influences, and disposition."