20 September 2019
The winners of the Pikihuia Awards for short stories were announced on Saturday at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke.
On a wet Wellington afternoon whānau, friends and supporters of Māori literature and arts came together to celebrate and acknowledge the success of 23 Māori writers.
The judges had the important job of selecting the winners in six categories: First-time Writer, Emerging Writer and Published Writer, in te reo Māori or English. They were impressed by the confidence in the writing, the diversity of stories, and the courage of the entrants to submit and share their stories.
‘There was a confidence in the writing this year — writers who knew how to create vivid worlds and characters which created engaging stories. I was excited by the writers who were willing to push the boundaries of what a short story can be,’ says judge Whiti Hereaka.
First-time judge Carol Hirschfeld said, ‘It was incredibly exciting to be included. It’s clear a new generation of confident, young Māori storytellers are emerging and they are speaking with authenticty and authority. I look forward to seeing how they challenge our literary assumptions here in Aotearoa.’
Many of the writers used their stories to speak about significant social issues such as identity, colonisation, sexual abuse, mental illness, and incarceration.
The winning stories were memorable and beautifully told with authentic characters. ‘I chose the stories that burrowed into my mind — the characters I couldn’t shake, the ones that kept coming back days after I had read their stories,’ says Whiti Hereaka.
The Pikihuia Awards is part of a staircase programme organised by the Māori Literature Trust – Te Waka Taki Kōrero to nurture and grow Māori writers. ‘One of the winners [today] spoke of finding her voice in writing when education failed her. That is the kind of breakthrough this work highlights,’ said Carol Hirschfeld.
All finalists and selected entries from the competition have been published in the book Huia Short Stories 13 which was also launched at the awards ceremony. All winners and finalists receive a monetary prize as well.
The winners and highly commended writers for each categories are as follows:
First-time writer in te reo Māori, judged by Scotty Morrison
Winner: Whakaurupā Taku Aroha by Amiria Stirling (Te Whānau-a-Apanui), Wellington
Para Pounamu by Pine Campbell (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa), Tokomaru Bay
Tangaroa Pūkanohi Nui! by Hineteahurangi Mere Nape Durie-Ngata (Ngāti Kauwhata, Te Aitanga-ā-Hauiti, Ngāti Porou, Rangitāne), Palmerston North
First-time writer in English, judged by Robyn Bargh
Winner: White Sheep by Penny Smits (Ngāpuhi, Te Rawara, Urban Māori, Aboriginal Bunganditj –Poturuwutj/Tatiara), Melbourne, Australia
Murray’s Special Day, by Tracey Andersen (Ngāti Porou), Richmond
Nō te Uku – From the Clay by Bronwyn Te Koeti (Kai Tahu), Timaru
Emerging writer in te reo Māori, judged by Tuehu Harris
Winner: Tiakina! Tiakina! by Tīahomarama Fairhall (Te Arawa, Mataatua), Rotorua
Emerging writer in English, judged by Whiti Hereaka
Winner: Aunty’s Teeth by Annette Morehu (Te Aupōuri, Tūhoe), Ōrākei
Tunneling by Cassandra Barnett (Raukawa, Ngāti Pākehā), Wellington
Tina’s Coming on Tuesday by Lauren Keenan (Te Ātiawa), Wellington
Published writer in te reo Māori, judged by Poia Rewi
Winner: Te Kurī Hīroki o te Āporo Nui by Zeb Nicklin (Pāhauwera, Tūhoe, Tāmanuhiri, Rangitāne), Palmerston North
Ko te Ao tō Marae by Hēmi Kelly (Ngāti Maniapoto) Auckland
Te Kai a te Rangatira by Zeb Nicklin
Published writer in English, judged by Carol Hirschfeld
Winner: Kōkiri ki Mua – Charge Forward by K M Harris (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau, Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou), Wainuiomata
Rocket Ship Pyjamas and Plum Jam and Mumsy by Olivia Giles (Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Hau Nui-a-Pāpārangi, Te Whānau-a-Apanui), Ōtaki
Additional stories in Huia Short Stories 13:
Botched by Marino-Moana Begman
Storked by Paipa Edmonds
My Three Friends at School by Josh Hema
The Pledge by Nadine Anne Hura
Dust by Kelly Joseph
The School of Life by Lauren Keenan
Just Holden Together by Colleen Maria Lenihan
One of the Good Ones by Moira Lomas
The Guises of Death by Kahuru Pumipi
The Bartender by Michelle Rahurahu Scott
The Pikihuia Awards would not be possible without the unwavering support of the two major sponsors Creative New Zealand and Huia Publishers.
Image credit: Huia Publishers