Te Mūrau o te Tuhi, a discretionary Māori Language Award, was presented at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2019 for the landmark work He Kupu Tuku Iho: Ko te Reo Māori te Tatau ki te Ao by pioneering language and tikanga academics Sir Tīmoti Kāretu and the late Dr Wharehuia Milroy published by Auckland University Press.
The award was a bitter-sweet recognition as Te Reo Māori judge Dr Ruakere Hond acknowledged the very recent passing of Dr Milroy in announcing the award.
“He tai mutunga kore te ranga whai reo e āki kau ana ki te aroaro o te tokorua kātuarehe, ngā ruānuku o te reo o nehe, ki nāianei rangi. He whāiti taua urunga, engari i konei ka wherawhera mai. He maioha tēnei nā Tīmoti Kāretu rāua ko Te Wharehuia Milroy, kia hou mai te tāura ki waenga pū i ā rāua kōrerorero, he kōrero paki, he hokinga mahara o te ohinga, ā, pakeke noa. He puanga rautangi ki te hauangi. Kapohia e te tini. He tatau e puare ana i tō rāua ao.
“Staunch advocates of our spoken reo have relentlessly sought to sit down with these two most influential exponents of reo Māori, from the past and for today. Few have had the opportunity; this book now opens that door. Tīmoti Kāretu and the late Wharehuia Milroy invite the reader into their conversations, their yarns and musings from decades of cultural experience. This book’s value is undeniable. Its language, accessible. This is a doorway to their world,” said Dr Hond.
The General Non-Fiction, Poetry, Illustrated Non-Fiction category and Māori Language Award winners each took home a $10,000 prize.
Project coodinator Professor Tania Ka'ai recieved the the award on behalf of Sir Tīmoti Kāretu and Dr Wharehuia Milroy and shared the great respect and pride we all felt at having worked on such an important book with two such distinguished figures.
Many other authors were recognised in the awards ceremony with Dame Fiona Kidman winning the coveted Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize for her novel This Mortal Boy, a work described by the judges as ‘moving, memorable, authentic and urgently relevant to our times.’
Read more about the awards here.