Last night Te Ara won a prize at Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards, which are organised by Te Pūtahi-a-Toi at Massey University. Te Ara (part of Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage) won the non-fiction category for our book Te taiao – Māori and the natural world, published by David Bateman last year.
The book itself was the product of a number of entries written for various themes. The book is structured around Māori conceptions of the natural world – for example Ranginui for the sky and Papatūānuku for the earth. An assortment of writers, editors, resource researchers and copyright staff, along with the publishers, all worked to put the book together.
This team effort is encapsulated in the proverb:
Mā tini mā mano ka rapa te whai.
By the multitudes the work will be accomplished.
Myself and Jock Phillips, Te Ara’s senior editor, spoke at the awards. Jock made the point that in many ways the ceremony was a homecoming for Te Ara. He noted that Professor Sir Mason Durie had organised at hui at Te Pūtahi-a-Toi in 2001 to give advice on how to formulate Māori content for Te Ara. One of the results was Te Ara Wānanga, Te Ara’s Māori Advisory Committee. Professor Durie was one of the founding members of the committee.
Also pleasing was the award for biography, which went to Joseph Pere for his work on his grandfather, Wiremu Pere: Wiremu Pere: the life and times of a Maori Leader, 1837–1915. Joseph Pere is a former recipient of the Māori History Fellowship at Manatū Taonga.
Other recipients were Robert Jahnke for Tirohanga o mua: looking back, Tina Makereti for Once upon a time in Aotearoa, Chris Winitana for Tōku reo, tōku ohooho, and a special award to Derek Fox for Mana magazine.
Nā reira he mihi nui tēnei ki ngā kaiwhakawhiwhi, i riro i a koutou tēnei honore. He mihi hoki ki Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, heoi anō ki Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa mō tēnei kaupapa nunui.