Topics: Education, Te Reo Māori

Finalists announced for 2017 NZ Children & Young Adult Book Awards

By Tepara Koti
2017 Te Kura Pounamu book finalists - Image / File

Thirty-five finalists have been selected for the 2017 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, five of which are up for the Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written completely in te reo Māori.

The finalists are selected across six categories: Picture Book, Junior Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction, Illustration and te reo Māori; and the Best First Book category.  

152 entries were submitted for the 2017 awards, the judges say, "Characters burst off the pages, delighting us at every turn."

A record number of entries were received for the Te Kura Pounamu Award for te reo Māori category.

The te reo Māori entries were judged by -

Riki-Lee Saua (University of Auckland Kaitiaki Māori librarian),

Anahera Morehu (Library Manager Arts, Māori, and Pasifika Services at the University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services),

Te Rangi Rangi Tangohau (Principal Librarian Children’s and Young Adult Services at the HB Williams Memorial Library, Gisborne), 

and Rongo Waerea (Māori Services Librarian at Auckland’s Ōtara Library).

Convenor of the judges for books in te reo Māori, Riki-Lee Saua, says, "Each finalist stood out for their inspiring and relevant content, stunning illustrations and excellence in the quality of Māori language."


The finalists for Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written completely in te reo Māori are:

-  Ngā Manu Tukutuku e Whitu o Matariki, Calico McClintock, illustrated by Dominique Ford, translated by Ngaere Roberts, Scholastic NZ

-  Ngārara Huarau, Maxine Hemi, Illustrated by Andrew Burdan, Huia Publishers

-  Te Haerenga Māia a Riripata i Te Araroa, Maris O’Rourke, illustrated by Claudia Pond Eyley, translated by Āni Wainui, David Ling Publishing (Duck Creek Press)

-  Te Kaihanga Māpere, Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan, translated by Kawata Teepa, Huia Publishers

-  Tuna rāua ko Hiriwa, Ripeka Takotowai Goddard, illustrated by Kimberly Andrews, Huia Publishers

Pam Jones, the convenor of judges for the other categories, says, "This year’s shortlist reminds us that books are powerful vehicles for helping children make sense of their world and gain a better understanding of themselves and others.  At times the vividly descriptive writing was brutal and heart-breaking, providing moving portrayals of life through the eyes of children and teenagers.  All finalist titles are convincing in their realism, skilfully laced with honour and honesty throughout."

Many of the books submitted dealt with serious issues.  “War featured highly, alongside other topical themes like teenage pregnancy, surveillance, abuse, homelessness, racial tensions and bullying. Coming-of-age stories and characters that are living with extended family members highlighted the meaning of family and love,” says Jones.


The other finalists for the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are:

Picture Book Award:

Fuzzy Doodle, Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Donovan Bixley, Scholastic NZ

Gwendolyn! Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton, HarperCollins Publishers (ABC)

My Grandpa is a Dinosaur, Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones, illustrated by Richard Fairgray, Penguin Random House (Puffin)

That’s Not a Hippopotamus! Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Sarah Davis, Gecko Press

The Singing Dolphin/Te Aihe i Waiata, Mere Whaanga, Scholastic NZ

Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction:

Helper and Helper, Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop, Gecko Press

My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point, Tania Roxborogh, Scholastic NZ

Sunken Forest, Des Hunt, Scholastic NZ

The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain, Julie Lamb, Mākaro Press (Submarine)

The Impossible Boy, Leonie Agnew, Penguin Random House (Puffin)

Copyright Licensing NZ Award for Young Adult Fiction:

Coming Home to Roost, Mary-anne Scott, Penguin Random House (Longacre)

Kiwis at War 1916: Dig for victory, David Hair, Scholastic NZ

Like Nobody’s Watching, LJ Ritchie, Escalator Press

Shooting Stars, Brian Falkner, Scholastic NZ

The Severed Land, Maurice Gee, Penguin Random House (Penguin)

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction:

From Moa to Dinosaurs: Explore & discover ancient New Zealand, Gillian Candler, illustrated by Ned Barraud, Potton & Burton

Jack and Charlie: Boys of the bush, Josh James Marcotte and Jack Marcotte, Penguin Random House (Puffin)

The Cuckoo and the Warbler, Kennedy Warne, illustrated by Heather Hunt, Potton & Burton

The Genius of Bugs, Simon Pollard, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa Press)

Torty and the Soldier, Jennifer Beck, illustrated by Fifi Colston, Scholastic NZ

Russell Clark Award for Illustration:

Fuzzy Doodle, illustrated by Donovan Bixley, written by Melinda Szymanik, Scholastic NZ

Gladys Goes to War, illustrated by Jenny Cooper, written by Glyn Harper, Penguin Random House (Puffin)

If I Was a Banana, illustrated by Kieran Rynhart, written by Alexandra Tylee, Gecko Press

Snark: Being a true history of the expedition that discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock . . . and its tragic aftermath, illustrated and written by David Elliot (after Lewis Carroll), Otago University Press

The Day the Costumes Stuck, illustrated and written by Toby Morris, Beatnik Publishing

Best First Book Award:

Awatea’s Treasure, Fraser Smith, Huia Publishers

Like Nobody’s Watching, LJ Ritchie, Escalator Press

The Discombobulation of Summer Rain, Julie Lamb, Mākaro Press (Submarine)

The Mouse and the Octopus, written and illustrated by Lisala Halapua, Talanoa Books

Wars in the Whitecloud: Wairau, 1843, written and illustrated by Matthew H McKinley, Kin Publishing