28 Aug 2010
Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Christopher Finlayson tonight honoured historian Judith Binney with the country’s highest literary accolade, the New Zealand Post Book of the Year, for her work Encircled Lands, a book about Tūhoe’s quest for self-government of their lands, granted to them in law more than a century ago.
Tūhoe, represented by kaumatua Wharehuia Milroy and Pou Temara, responded in numbers to the presentation at the gala awards ceremony held in Auckland’s tonight. Last year, Tūhoe bestowed Binney with the name Tomoirangi o Te Aroha (a little cloud of rain from heaven) in recognition of her work.
New Zealand Post Book Awards judge, Paul Diamond, described the winning work as one that will profoundly change our understanding of our shared history.
‘Encircled Lands is an exhaustive, comprehensive history of Te Rohe Pōtae o Te Urewera, the only autonomous tribal district that was recognised in law. Not only does it fulfill the author’s hopes of revealing an almost unknown history to a new audience, it also deftly illustrates why the history of the Urewera and its people continues to resonate.’
Debut novelist, Alison Wong won the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Award for Fiction for her book, As The Earth Turns Silver, ahead of established writers, Fiona Farrell and Owen Marshall.
Charmaine Pountney, who joined Diamond with Elizabeth Smither, Paul Diamond, Neville Peat and convenor, Stephen Stratford on the Awards judging panel, said Wong brings a powerful new voice and new themes to New Zealand fiction.
‘Based on meticulous research, this novel opens new windows on the development of our nation; it also opens our hearts to the anguish caused by racism, ignorance, failures in family relationship and communication, and war. The book is a delight to look at and hold, as well as deeply moving to read,’ says Pountney.
Brian Turner, a leading biographer, essayist, poet and conservationist, was presented with the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry for his collection, Just This, described by judge Elizabeth Smither as a life’s work in its reach, its depth and its deceptive plainness of surface.
He took the prize ahead of fellow Mainlanders Bernadette Hall (Bank’s Peninsula) and Michael Harlow (Alexandra).
‘Just This dares to ask the profoundest questions about place and human existence, how we live now and how we hand the world on. It is dangerous poetry because it addresses ethics but at the same time it is leavened with a sweet and sly self-awareness as it searches for “something you can have faith in, swear by”. The journey from the first poem to the last is a revelation,’ says Smither.
In a tightly fought contest that had judges reaching for superlatives, co-owner of Wellington’s famed Logan Brown restaurant, celebrity chef and passionate fisherman, Al Brown won the Illustrated Non-fiction category for his book Go Fish: Recipes and stories from the New Zealand Coast.
Awards’ judge Neville Peat described Go Fish as a seafood recipe book with edge and attitude.
‘Colourful images pour from the pages and spicing up the illustrative side are busy montages demonstrating how to prepare crayfish, crab and paua, and how to fillet a flounder – no mean feat, any of this. The recipes themselves, easy to follow, employ an engaging mix of type sizes and layout techniques. For a cookbook, it’s a remarkable page-turner,’ says Peat.
Go Fish also won this year’s coveted People’s Choice Award as voted by thousands of readers nationwide.
The full list of 2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards winners is as follows:
- New Zealand Post Book of the Year and General Non-fiction Award winner:
- Encircled Lands: Te Urewera, 1820-1921 by Judith Binney (Bridget Williams Books)
- Fiction Award winner: As the Earth Turns Silver by Alison Wong (Penguin Group (NZ))
- Poetry Award winner: Just This by Brian Turner (Victoria University Press)
- Illustrated Non-fiction Award and People’s Choice Award winner: Go Fish: Recipes and stories from the New Zealand Coast by Al Brown (Random House NZ)
In a substantially increased prize-pool from previous years, the New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award winner received $15,000. Winners of the four Category Awards each received $10,000 and the People’s Choice Award winner $5,000.
This year’s New Zealand Post Book Awards winners will appear at two free events:
- On Saturday 28 August from 11.00am – 12.30pm at the Langham Hotel in Auckland, hosted by Maggie Barry.
- On Sunday 5 September from 1.00 – 2.30pm at Te Papa Marae, hosted by Kim Hill. Go to www.nzpostbookawards.co.nz for more information.
The winners of the 2010 New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards - announced earlier this year - were also honoured tonight. They are:
- NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction: Anna Taylor for Relief (Victoria University Press).
- NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry: Selina Tusitala Marsh for her collection Fast Talking PI (Auckland University Press).
- NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction: Pip Desmond for Trust: A True Story of Women & Gangs (Random House NZ).
Each NZSA Best First Book Awards category winner received $2,500.
New Zealand Post Group’s sponsorship of the country’s national book awards is symbolic of their strong and active support of the country’s literature. As sponsor of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards for 15 years, this new sponsorship highlights the company’s commitment to making literature accessible and promoting literary excellence. Working closely with Booksellers NZ, New Zealand Post and other dedicated segments of the community actively encourage New Zealanders to read and enjoy books.
The New Zealand Post Book Awards 2010 are also funded by Creative New Zealand. The Awards are managed by Booksellers NZ and supported by the New Zealand Society of Authors and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd.
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