Big winners at the New Zealand Post Book Awards

Last night was a big booky shindig – the New Zealand Post Book Awards. I stayed up past my bedtime following the  #nzpba hashtags on Twitter last night – and there is still action on it this morning as people discuss the winners.

Take a gander at the 2013 winners and get them out of your local library – top notch reads one and all:

Cover of The big music Cover of Nga Waituhi o Rehua Cover of Patched Cover of The Darling North Cover of Hanly Cover of Shelter from the storm Cover of Civilisation

New Zealand Post Book of the year and Fiction winner

The big music Kirsty Gunn (Faber & Faber)

Māori Language Award

Dame Katerina Te Heikōkō Mataira for Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua (Huia Publishers)

People’s Choice Award



Illustrated non-fiction

Nielsen Booksellers Choice

Shelter from the Storm: The story of New Zealand’s backcountry huts Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint (Craig Potton Publishing)

General non-fiction

New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards

Cover of I got his blood on me Cover of Graft Cover of Moa

NZSA Hubert Church Award for Fiction: I got his blood on me Lawrence Patchett (Victoria University Press)

NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry: Graft Helen Heath (Victoria University Press)

NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction: Moa: the life and death of New Zealand’s legendary bird Quinn Berentson (Craig Potton Publishing)

New Zealand design has no bullshit and a twinkle in its eye: Michael Smythe

The Design of delight? at The Press Christchurch Writers Festival was a smörgåsbord of New Zealand product design spanning the 1800s through to the modern-day, the sublime and the mundane: Edmond’s “Sure to rise” baking powder, Christchurch ceramist Mark Cleverley’s Crown Lynn designs, David Trubridge’s unique lighting and furniture, the Fisher & Paykel SmartDrive and DishDrawer, the Mountainbuggy, John Britten’s V1000, the Zespri “Cut and Scoop” designed by Peter Haythornthwaite and the undisputed champion of Kiwi design, Buzzy-bee designed by Maurice Scheslinger circa 1940.

The range, for a design ignoramus such as moi, was astonishing but this litany of design achievements was also tinged with nostalgia. The glory days seem to be locked in the “Pavlova Paradise” of the past and the challenges facing modern-day New Zealand product designers operating in the global marketplace are massive. Michael Smythe’s prescription for Kiwi design success was to foster “a self-confidence with minimal self-consciousness” and to remember New Zealand’s secret weapon, our unique capacity for cross-disciplinary team-work.

Smythe identified design personalities unique to their country of origin i.e. clean and wholesome Scandinavia, Italian flair and style , German rationality, robustness and reliability and The Dutch? Dry and wry! But what of New Zealand design? He characterised it thus:

  • Neither opulent nor sterile
  • With a light touch, not a heavy hand
  • Direct and honest
  • No bullshit with a twinkle in the eye
  • With a delight in what it is, who it is for and how it is made

Smythe also linked in the Maori tradition of ihi, wehi and wana; utility, impact and physical thrill or awe. Smythe looked in some detail at early Maori design, identifying a basalt toki as being one of the first Maori design pieces to give him a tingle up his spine.

While Smythe has put much deep thought into how to frame New Zealand’s design persona, as evidenced by his NZ Post Award winning title New Zealand by design, he was clear that he wanted to generate discussion and the question mark attached to the phrase “Design of delight?” leaves room for alternative encapsulating concepts.

This was a lovely, low-key session with a very engaged audience which included high school students, industry professionals (I saw my first hi-vis vest and hard hat of the festival!) and interested lay-people. The Q&As at the end of the session both expanded and rounded off the topic nicely.

Go Fish goes large at the New Zealand Post Book Awards

Here are the winners from tonight’s New Zealand Post Book Awards ceremony, congratulations to the authors and the publishers and all those involved:

CoverIllustrated non-fiction winner: Go Fish: Recipes and stories from the New Zealand Coast by Al Brown, Random House NZ is the night’s big success – winning the People’s Choice Award and the Illustrated non-fiction category.

The other double winner is General non-fiction winner: Encircled Lands: Te Urewera, 1820-1921 by Judith Binney, Bridget Williams Books which took out the prestigious Book of the Year award.

Find out more about the finalists and winners of the best first book awards.

Thanks to those livetweeting the event including and for all the up to date information.

New Zealand Post Book Awards – winners announced tonight

Tonight is the big night in New Zealand’s literary calendar – the New Zealand Post Book Awards awards ceremony.

If you want to get all the gossip and hot of the press awards news, Noel from the New Zealand Book Council will be live tweeting from the event via

Here are the finalists in the running:

Continue reading

New Zealand Post Book Awards 2010 – have your say

The New Zealand Post Book Awards (formerly the Montana New Zealand  Book Awards) have just been announced.
We’ve got a page listing the finalists.

The Best First Book Award winners have already been revealed:

  • NZSA Hubert Church Best First Book of Fiction Award winner: Relief Anna Taylor, Victoria University Press
  • NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book of Poetry Award winner: Fast talking PI Selina Tusitala March, Auckland University Press
  • NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book of Non-fiction Award winner: Trust: A True Story of Women & Gangs Pip Desmond, Random House New Zealand

Search the catalogue for Relief Search the catalogue for Fast Talking PISearch the catalogue for Trust

It looks like New Zealand non-fiction is getting the nod with five finalists in the general and illustrated non-fiction categories, and only three each for fiction and poetry.

The famed Bookman Beattie has revealed his picks on Beattie’s Book Blog. He chooses Alison Wong As the Earth Turns Silver for the fiction category, saying “For me it was not only the best NZ novel in 2009 it was also one of the best I read from any quarter.” High praise indeed.

See also: First novel in line for award, New Zealand Herald

The People’s Choice Award offers you a chance to vote for your favourite finalist and be in to win $1,000 of Booksellers Tokens! So have a vote,  and have your say…