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Three Pasifika women named as finalists in the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Lani Wendt Young, Selina Tusitala Marsh and Courtney Sina Meredith are all up for awards.

Three Pasifika women have been named as finalists in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Samoan/Māori author Lani Wendt Young is a finalist for the Young Adult Fiction Award for Afakasi Woman.

Afakasi Woman was re-released in hardcopy form by New Zealand publisher OneTree House last year, featuring a cover illustrated by Nikki Mariner and additional five new short stories. It encompasses many of Lani’s own experiences and that of Afakasi and Samoan women living in the islands. Reporter Alice Lolohea reviewed Afakasi Woman last year calling it a powerful and transformative read.

Former New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh is up for the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction for her graphic memoir Mophead.

Mophead takes us through the special moments of Marsh’s life with humour, simplicity and charm. We see her soar from head girl to becoming one of the first Pasifika women to hold a PhD, to being named New Zealand’s first Pacific Island Poet Laureate – all embracing the possibilities behind the question, ‘Could I do that?’ Marsh also did her own illustrations for the book.

Courtney Sina Meredith, of Samoan and Cook Islands descent, is up for the same award for her book The Adventures of Tupaia, the first book about Tahitian navigator and high priest Tupaia written and illustrated for children.

The book was launched together with Auckland Museum’s exhibition Voyage to Aotearoa: Tupaia and the Endeavour, which documents Tupaia’s journey with Captain Cook around the Pacific. Illustrator Mat Tait is also up for an award for his work on the book, named as a finalist for the Russell Clark Award for Illustration.

Convenor of judges Jane Arthur says of all the finalists, “They might be creating books for children, but our authors and illustrators are unafraid to tackle difficult topics – big things like the unhappy impact of colonisation on tangata whenua and nature, New Zealand’s place in the Pacific, puberty, racism and abuse.”

The winners of the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will be announced in a
virtual presentation, streamed online on the evening of Wednesday 12 August.


The finalists for the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are:

Picture Book Award
Abigail and the Birth of the Sun, Matthew Cunningham, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins (Penguin Random
House)
How Māui Slowed the Sun, written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley (advised and translated by Dr Darryn Joseph and Keri Opai) (Upstart Press)
Mini Whinny: Goody Four Shoes, Stacy Gregg, illustrated by Ruth Paul (Scholastic NZ)
Santa’s Worst Christmas, Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White
(Huia Publishers)
The Gobbledegook Book, Joy Cowley, illustrated by Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press)

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction
#Tumeke!, Michael Petherick (Massey University Press)
Lizard’s Tale, Weng Wai Chan (Text Publishing)
Miniwings Book 6 Moonlight the Unicorn’s High Tea Hiccup, Sally Sutton, illustrated by Kirsten Richards
(Scholastic NZ)
Prince of Ponies, Stacy Gregg (HarperCollins Publishers)
Time Machine and other stories, Melinda Szymanik (The Cuba Press)

Young Adult Fiction Award
Afakasi woman, Lani Wendt Young (OneTree House)
Aspiring, Damien Wilkins (Massey University Press)
The History Speech, Mark Sweet (Huia Publishers)
Ursa, Tina Shaw (Walker Books Australia)
Wynter’s Thief, Sherryl Jordan (OneTree House)

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction
Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Pānia Papa
(Illustrated Publishing)
Mophead, Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press)
Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi, Ross Calman and Mark Derby, illustrated by Toby Morris,
translated by Piripi Walker (Lift Education)
The Adventures of Tupaia, Courtney Sina Meredith, illustrated by Mat Tait (Allen & Unwin, in partnership
with Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum)
Three Kiwi Tales, Janet Hunt (Massey University Press)

Russell Clark Award for Illustration
Dozer the Fire Cat, illustrated by Jenny Cooper, written by Robyn Prokop (Scholastic NZ)
Santa’s Worst Christmas, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and
Bryony Walker (Huia Publishers)
Song of the River, illustrated by Kimberly Andrews, written by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)
The Adventures of Tupaia, illustrated by Mat Tait, written by Courtney Sina Meredith (Allen & Unwin, in
partnership with Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum)
Wildlife of Aotearoa, illustrated and written by Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House)

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written completely in te reo Māori
Arapū Toi, Moira Wairama, illustrated by Austin Whincup (Baggage Books)
Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Ngaere Roberts (Scholastic NZ)
Ngā Hoa Hoihoi o Kuwi, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Pānia Papa (Illustrated
Publishing)
Te Kirihimete i Whakakorea, Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-
White, translated by Kawata Teepa (Huia Publishers)
Tio Tiamu, Kurahau, illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers (Huia Publishers)

Best First Book Award
Michael Petherick for #Tumeke! (Massey University Press)
Weng Wai Chan for Lizard’s Tale (Text Publishing)
Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (illustrator) for Santa’s Worst Christmas, written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and
Bryony Walker (Huia Publishers)
Belinda O’Keefe for The Day the Plants Fought Back, illustrated by Richard Hoit (Scholastic NZ)
Laya Mutton-Rogers (illustrator) for The Smelly Giant, written by Kurahau (Huia Publishers)

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