The Māori Literature Trust is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021 Pikihuia Awards. The short story awards, which occur every second year, have become an institution in New Zealand literature in paving the way for aspiring Māori writers.
The judges were impressed by the quality and quantity of entries. Carol Hirschfeld, judge of the Emerging Writer in English category, said this ‘is a strong indication that more Māori writers than ever are finding their voice and are ready to be heard.’
Hirschfeld commented that the themes in the writing ‘remained serious and familiar – cultural dislocation, social inequality, dealing with mental health illness and suicide’. Similarly, judge of the First-time Writer in English category, Emma Espiner said ‘journeys home to our ancestral land, social justice, our longing for our tūpuna, our reo and our tikanga, and the importance of our nannies and koro featured in more than half the stories that made the shortlist – highlighting the relevance these narratives continue to hold for our writers.’
Espiner also noted the innovation of writers in this year’s awards, ‘there were breathtaking experiments with language, setting, plot and dialogue, which demonstrate the breadth and ambition of our writers’ creative efforts.’ Judge of the Emerging Writer in te Reo Māori category, Maiki Sherman, also commented on the writers’ ‘traditional take on modern concepts, which is exciting not only for kaupapa Māori but Māori literature as well.’
Vini Olsen-Reeder, judge of the First-time Writer in te Reo Māori category, acknowledged the effective use of Māori language to tell a compelling story that would appeal to a Māori speaking reader, 'ko tāku i rapu ai, ko te reo kua eke ki tētahi āhuatanga e mōhio ai au ka mārama ki te kaipānui kōrero Māori, kia Māori ai tōna whai, nōna e pānui ana.'
The Pikihuia Awards are one of two programmes by the Māori Literature Trust designed to support Māori writers by identifying new talent, developing their skills and providing opportunities to be published. 'Congratulations to all the finalists for putting your passion onto paper. The world needs more Māori authors and the best way to achieve this is for aspiring writers to simply start,' said Sherman.
A total of 150 entries were received and the judges have selected 22 stories from 18 finalists. The short stories were judged across four categories: two for first-time writers and two for emerging writers in both Māori language and English language. The winner of each category will receive a cash prize of $2000, and two highly commended finalists in each category will receive a cash prize of $500 each. Selected entrants will be published in the collection Huia Short Stories 14.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke in Wellington on Saturday, 25 September 2021.
The finalists for the 2021 Pikihuia Awards are:
First-time Writer in te reo Māori
Judged by Vini Olsen-Reeder (Ngā Pōtiki a Tamapahore, Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Arawa), author, poet, songwriter, translator and te reo Māori lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington.
- Bonice Ropiha (Ngāti Kahungunu), Napier – Ngā Hoa Hoariri
- Jordanah-Lee Hohipa (Tūhoe), Napier – Ki hea Noa Iho
- Maia Thompson (Ngāi Tahu, Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe), Wellington – Te Uaua o te Kimi Hoa
- Panitahi Howe (Ngāti Manawa), Napier – He Rūkahu Rānei
First-time Writer in English
Judged by Emma Espiner (Ngāti Tūkorehe, Ngāti Porou), broadcaster, award-winning political commentator and doctor.
- Anthony Pita (Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Ranginui), Auckland – Marble Pills and Raspberry Vodka
- J. Wiremu Kane (Ngāpuhi),Thames – Argentine Ants and My Search for Hawaiki
- Leeann Ramsay (Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu), Invercargill – The Weather Man
- Merryn Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa),Hastings – Food Porn for the Incapacitated
- Sean Ogden (Ngāti Tūkorehe), Levin –Te Atakura
- Te Ariki Wi Neera (Ngāti Toa Rangatira), Kāpiti Coast – The Skinhead
Emerging Writer in te reo Māori
Judged by Maiki Sherman (Ngāpuhi, Te Whakatōhea) award-winning journalist and translator who has worked for major broadcasters including Māori Television, Newshub, and TVNZ.
- Atakohu Middleton (Ngāti Māhanga), Auckland – Wairua
- Iraia Bailey (Ngāti Tūwharetoa), Tūrangi – Kahukura: te Tama nō te Māra Taro
- Zeb Tamihana Nicklin (Ngāti Pāhauwera, Tūhoe, Ruapani, Ngā Tokorima a Hinemanuhiri, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri), Palmerston North – Te Māra a Tangaroa, Te Māminga a Tamanuiterā rāua ko Takero i a Mauī, Pōhutukawa me Tāna Āporo and Iti te kupu, nui te kōrero
Emerging Writer in English
Judged by Carol Hirschfeld (Ngāti Porou), award-winning journalist, documentary maker, broadcaster, producer and media executive.
- Ashlee Sturme (Ngāti Awa, Te Arawa, Tūwharetoa), Edgecumbe – The Label Machine is Broken
- Chris Reed (Ngāti Porou), Auckland – Let it be. Waiho.
- Emma Hislop (Kāi Ngāi Tahu), Taranaki – Mangrove Heights
- Miriama Gemmell (Ngāti Pāhauwera, Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa), Raumati Beach – The Bus Driver
- Nadine Anne Hura (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi), Porirua – Two Letters and The Trouble with the Bubble