A Tauranga woman has won an award in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults for her tale about the Rena disaster.

Debbie McCauley scopped the Best Non-Fiction category of the awards for her book Motiti Blue and the Oil Spill, translated by Tamati Waaka. It is also a LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards finalist.

Read more: Rena tale makes book awards

The bilingual picture book was Ms McCauley's second book for children.


When she was made a finalist, Ms McCauley told the Bay of Plenty Times: "It's fantastic to be nominated," she said.

The winners were announced at a ceremony at Wellington's Government House yesterday.

Using narrative devices and compelling design, this book tells the story in both English and Maori of little blue penguin Motiti Blue's struggle after being trapped in the Rena oil spill.

The judges praise the story for its power, and for its photography, layout and pertinent factual background.

The awards promote excellence and provide recognition for the best written and illustrated books for children and young adults published by New Zealand authors each year.