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Acclaimed New Zealand children's writer Margaret Mahy, 75, has won New Zealand's premier children's book award with her book, The Moon and Farmer McPhee.

The book, illustrated by David Elliott, also won the award for the best picture book. It tells the story of Farmer McPhee and the effect the moon has on him and his animals.

Ms Mahy, who wrote her first story when she was 7, has won numerous awards and honours for her contribution to New Zealand and children's literature.

She has written more than 120 books which have been translated into 15 languages. She has also won many of the world's premier children's book awards, including the Carnegie Medal and the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Her book A Lion in the Meadow, published in 1969, launched her global career and she became a full time writer in 1980.

Winners in the awards, sponsored by NZ Post, and announced in Auckland tonight, were:

Book of the Year: The Moon and Farmer McPhee, by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by David Elliot.

Best first book: Hollie Chips by Anna Gowan.

Picture book: The Moon and Farmer McPhee by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by David Elliot.

Non-fiction category: Zero Hour: The Anzacs on the Western Front by Leon Davidson.

Junior fiction: Finnigan and the Pirates: A Fine Fandango by Sherryl Jordan.

Young adult fiction: Fierce September by Fleur Beale

Children's choice awards
Overall winner: Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark Sommerset, illustrated by Rowan Sommerset

Non-fiction: Who's Cooking Tonight? by Claire Gourley with Glenda Gourley

Junior fiction: Hollie Chips by Anna Gowan

Young adult: Smiling Jack by Ken Catran

Picture Book: Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark Sommerset, illustrated by Rowan Sommerset.