Māori authors shine at rangatahi book awards

By Mare Haimona-Riki

There was no shortage of Māori winners at the 'New Zealand book Awards for Children and Young Adults.  One of those was Tania Roxborogh (Ngāti Porou) who took out the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award.

‘Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea’ is a fictional tale that follows the story of a disabled Māori boy who finds himself caught in a tangle between the Gods Tāne and Tangaroa when he discovers a mermaid on the beach.

Roxborogh is a teacher at Lincoln High School and says the idea for the book came from a question posed to her students to help them think up ideas for their own stories.

"What would you do if you saw a mermaid washed up on the beach?"

"So I was at a cafe in Gisborne and I was asking some questions in Te Reo and I felt like the story just fell on my lap," she said.

Ben Ngaia author of Ngake me Whātaitai was in disbelief when he heard he won the Wright Family Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori. "It was quite unexpected," he says. 

"It was my first writing. I had done articles before in school journals but this was my first stand-alone book."

"Just to be able to submit this kōrero for consideration was a privilege, so coming away with the award was a bit of a shock to be fair," he added.

Māori winners

Shilo Kino (Ngāpuhi, Tainui) The Pōrangi Boy, Huia Publishers

Young Adult Fiction Award

Ben Ngaia (Te Atiawa) – Ngake me Whātaitai, Huia Publishers

Wright Family Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori

T K Roxborogh – Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea, Huia Publishers

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction

Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award