Expert Team to Judge the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Librarian Pam Jones, educationalist Trish Brooking, authors Rachael King and Ben Brown, and reviewer Sarah Forster have been appointed judges of the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The awards open for entry today.

The judging team — expanded from the three of previous years — will deliberate over an expected 150 entries in five categories: Picture Book, Illustration, Junior Fiction, Non-fiction and Young Adult Fiction. They will select five finalists, a winner in each category and then the overall winner, the Margaret Mahy Award for Book of the Year.

In addition, Riki-Lee Saua, Anahera Morehu, Te Rangi Rangi Tangohau and Rongo Waerea have been appointed as judges for Te Kura Pounamu – the award that recognises and celebrates books written or translated into te reo Māori. This category winner is also eligible for consideration for Book of the Year.

“This year the New Zealand Book Awards Trust took the strategic decision to increase the number of judges to further strengthen the integrity and excellence of the judging process,” says its chair Nicola Legat. “We are delighted to have such excellent judges for the 2017 awards. They all have huge experience of working across many aspects of children’s literature.”

The finalists will be announced on June 8, and the winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony in Wellington in August. In the week leading up to the awards announcement, finalists will take part in a series of events around New Zealand.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is sponsored by Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Book Tokens Ltd and Copyright Licensing Limited New Zealand (CLNZ). They are also supported by Nielsen BookData. The awards are administered for the New Zealand Book Awards Trust by the New Zealand Book Council.

To find out more about the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, please visit their website.

For further information pleasecontact: Nicola Legat, Chair, New Zealand Book Awards Trust,
ph: 021 958887


Convenor of judges Pam Jones is the South Taranaki District Children’s and Young Adult librarian. She was a judge of the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards from 2013-2015 and she coordinates the annual Taranaki Secondary School Literary Challenge and the Ronald Hugh Morrieson Literary Awards. She is both a registered and an associate member of LIANZA (Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa).

Trish Brooking has an MA in Children’s Literature from Deakin University and teaches at the University of Otago College of Education, where she lectures in Curriculum and Professional Studies at postgraduate and undergraduate level. Trish specialises in Children’s Literature, and in 2015 she received the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for Services to Children’s Literature. Her current research interest focuses on literature that promotes empathy and validates the experiences of child refugees.

Ben Brown lives in Lyttelton and has been writing children’s books for 25 years. He also writes for adults. Ben has been shortlisted for awards in the Ngā Kupu Ora and LIANZA Russell Clark Award categories, and in 2006 he and Helen Taylor won Best Picture Book in the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards for A Booming in the Night.

Sarah Forster has been involved in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults for a decade. She currently works at Booksellers NZ as its media and communications manager, and prior to that ran the New Zealand Book Council’s education programmes. She has been reviewing books for children and young adults for many years, most recently on The Spinoff and the Booksellers NZ blog. She has also been part of the team for Wellington’s Storylines Family Day.

Rachael King is the author of two novels for adults and one for children: The Sound of Butterflies (2006), which was translated into eight languages and won the NZSA/Hubert Church award for best first book (fiction) at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards; Magpie Hall (2009), which was long-listed for the Dublin IMPAC award; and Red Rocks (2012), which was shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards and won the LIANZA Esther Glen Medal. She is currently Literary Director of the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival.

Te Kura Pounamu Award convenor Riki-Lee Saua (Tainui, Ngāpuhi) is the Kaitiaki Māori Librarian for Māori studies at the University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services. Working in libraries for over seven years, her previous roles have included working alongside Māori at Auckland Libraries, Massey University and Manukau Institute of Technology. Riki-Lee is also a member of both LIANZA and Te Rōpū Whakahau, the organisation uniting Māori and information specialists in Aotearoa New Zealand. This is Riki-Lee’s third year as the Te Kura Pounamu convenor and she thoroughly enjoys this work.

Anahera Morehu (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Te Aupōuri and Te Rarawa) works as Library Manager Arts, Māori and Pasifika Services at the University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services. Her role includes advancing the development of Māori and Pacific content; academic information literacy integration and the provision of research and learning support to Māori, Pacific and research clients. An active contributor to librarianship in Aotearoa, Anahera sits on both the LIANZA and Te Rōpū Whakahau national councils. She is a proud grandmother of two, one of whom attends the local puna reo. The other is a newborn baby surrounded by te reo Māori in their reo-speaking home.

Te Rangi Rangi Tangohau(Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Ngāi Tahu, Ngai Tūhoe) is the Principal Librarian Children’s and Young Adult Services at HB Williams Memorial Library, Gisborne. Te Rangi Rangi is proud to be involved with these awards and says “in judging Te Kura Pounamu we are defining what stories librarians value and signify in this moment as worthy of the award and this will set the standard for future authors and illustrators. It is so important to publish quality te reo materials for children. Through consistent basic language repetition children are able to build vocabulary, recognition and sentence structure”.

Rongo Waerea
Ko Moumoukai te maunga
Ko Waitirohia te awa
Ko Takitimu te waka
Ko Manutai te marae
Ko Ngāti Rakaipaaka te hapū
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu te iwi

Rongo Waerea currently works as Māori Services Librarian at Otara Library in Auckland, providing specialist support and knowledge regarding Māori resources to those researching whakapapa or any other kaupapa Māori. Rongo loves books and the art of sharing information and thoroughly enjoys her work, saying “My role in Maori Services allows me to ensure that our hapori whānui get the best rauemi Māori that Auckland Libraries has to offer.”