The New Zealand Book Awards celebrate excellence, identifying the very best books for adult readers written by New Zealanders. From 2016, in a partnership between the New Zealand Book Awards Trust and the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival Trust, they will be held annually as part of the Auckland Writers Festival. This enables a valuable synergy between an event that attracted over 60,000 attendances in 2015 and New Zealand writers.
Books are judged in four main categories:
Illustrated Non-fiction, and
Books submitted in the four main categories, written by first‐time authors, are also eligible to win the Best First Book awards for Fiction, Poetry and Non-Fiction.
Books written entirely in te reo are eligible for the Māori Language award.
Winners of the Acorn Foundation Literary Award, for fiction, win $50,000. Winners of the other three category awards each receive $10,000, the Māori Language award $10,000, and each of the winners of the three Best First Book awards, $2,500.
Four panels of three judges each are selected to judge each category.
The New Zealand Book Awards are supported by Ockham, the Acorn Foundation, Creative New Zealand and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd. The awards are administered by the Auckland Writers Festival on behalf of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust. If you are interested in supporting the New Zealand Book Awards, please contact the Awards Administrator on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before 1996, there were two major New Zealand literary prizes, the New Zealand Book Awards (1973‐1995) and the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards (1968‐1993). Montana took over the sponsorship of the Wattie Awards in 1994, and the Awards became the Montana Book Awards (1994‐1995). In 1996, the two Awards merged to form the Montana New Zealand Book Awards (1996‐2009). In 2010, sponsorship of the Awards was assumed by New Zealand Post, who had been supporting the children’s book awards for the previous 14 years. Ockham became the principal sponsor in 2015 and the name of the awards changed to the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
The 2016 awards cover the 19 months of books published between 1 June 2014 and 21 December 2015. From 2016 on, the awards will be held each year in May, as part of the Auckland Writers Festival.
The New Zealand Book Awards Trust
The Trust was established as a charitable trust in 2014 to govern and manage the awards and to ensure their longevity and credibility. Its members are Nicola Legat, Karen Ferns, Paula Morris, Kyle Mewburn (representing the New Zealand Society of Authors), Stella Chrysostomou (representing Booksellers New Zealand), David Bowles and Julia Marshall (representing the Publishers Association of New Zealand).
It is also responsible for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults (held in August each year) and National Poetry Day (held in late August each year). Sponsorship is still being sought for both of these events.