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‘Protest Tautohetohe’ wins Ockham New Zealand Book Award

Wed 13 May 2020

Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistence and Defiance, published by Te Papa Press, has won the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction.

We couldn’t all be together in the Aotea Centre in Auckland on awards night, 12 May, but we could watch this year’s live-streamed virtual awards on our devices and could see the thrill on co-author Puawai Cairns’s face during the live cross to her home.

Puawai accepted the award on behalf of her co-authors, Stephanie Gibson and Matariki Williams, and thanked everyone who had been part of this landmark book’s development.

Protest Tautohetohe beat out four other amazing books (including Te Papa Press’s Crafting Aotearoa) in an incredibly strong field.

Here is what the judges said:

‘From a strong pool of contenders, one book stood above the others, not only achieving excellence in writing, illustration and design, but also – crucially – tackling a vast and significant topic worthy of these urgent times.

‘Readers are drawn into Aotearoa’s rich and raw stories from contact to now. Engaging, insightful and incredibly well-researched texts by multiple authors provide a cohesive and strong overall narrative, covering a huge breadth of our history and the themes that define us as a nation.

‘The tactile, hand-hewn approach to design complements the huge variety of assiduously collected objects that are this book’s focus.

‘From the obscure and ephemeral to the well-known and loved, the images allow us to be witness to – and challenge us to learn from – our shared past of resistance, dissent and activism.’

Our warmest congratulations go to Puawai, Stephanie and Matariki. And our sincere thanks go to designer Gideon Keith, to Kerry Taylor, who wrote the foreword, and to all the museums, galleries and archives around New Zealand who so willingly collaborated with the authors in this project.

Congratulations also to the other finalist authors and publishers. We love your work.

Watch the livestream of the Ockhams: