Whanganui historian Danny Keenan has scooped a prestigious Māori Book Award.
His book Te Whiti O Rongomai and the Resistance of Parihaka, published in 2015, was honoured at the Ngā Kupu Ora Awards ceremony held last week at the Auckland Museum.
The awards are sponsored by Massey University and Te Puni Kokiri, along with the Auckland Museum which provided the striking venue. The awards were first presented eight years ago and this year, for the first time, Māori journalists were also recognised.
Dr Keenan's book on Te Whiti O Rongomai was judged best in the non-fiction/biography section.
"I was really surprised to get the award because there are so many awesome Māori writers out there doing great writing," Dr Keenan said.
He felt his subject matter - the compelling Parihaka story of hurt, dispossesion and loss - might have struck a chord with the judges.
"As kaumatua often pointed out to me during myv reasearch, the story is now also for the young people," he said.
"Their world was a post-settlement world of cultural recovery and economic success, but they are coming home, wanting to know their histories."
Dr Keenan said Māori had many powerful stories to tell and he paid credit to Massey University offering awards to which all Māori writers could aspire.
The creative writing awaed went to acclaimed novelist, Patrica Grace for her first book in 10 years, Chappy, while the best work in te reo was won by TV personality Scotty Morrision for his self-help guide to clearning Māori, Māori Made Easy.
The top journalist for 2016 was Maiki Sherman from TV3's Newshub, with Native Affairs reporter Iulia Leilua highly commended.
A special award for achievement in journalism was presented to Tini Molyneaux for outstanding work of over 30 years reporting Māori issues for TVNZ.
Dr Rangihiroa Pānaho won the award for best book on Māori art with his illustrated Māori Art: History, Architecture, Landscape and Theory. The award for best general work of non-fiction went to Dr Jessica Hutchings for Te Mahi Māra Hua Parakore: A Māori Sovereignty Food Handbook.