9 Nov 2011

Maori book awards mark milestone

8:17 pm on 9 November 2011

Maori authors are preparing to attend the Nga Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards being held at Massey University in just over two weeks' time in Palmerston North.

The awards were established in 2009 by the university to mark Maori language week and to celebrate and encourage excellence in Maori publishing.

At the time, it was felt that Maori books were being overlooked by mainstream competitors.

This year marks a milestone for Nga Kupu Ora 2011, because it is the first time the awards will honour a winner for fiction, and a book written entirely in the Maori language has taken out the Te Reo Maori category.

An awards judge and Massey University senior lecturer, Spencer Lilly, says it is particularly satisfying to have a fiction category because, in previous years, there had been a shortage of Maori fiction published for sophisticated readers.

She says the calibre of this year's te reo finalists also impressed the judges.

The awards take place on 29 November.