New Zealand History – but not as we know it.

Well known Maori historian, Hazel Petrie and successful author David Veart (left) have each been presented with a 2012 CLNZ Writers’ Award at a ceremony held at the Auckland Town Hall tonight.  The largest monetary prize of its kind, they both receive $35,000 so they can dedicate their time to their non-fiction projects.

David Veart’s first book First Catch Your Weka was a double finalist in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards and his second book Digging up the Past won an Honour Award in the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards this year.  David’s submission for his next book Hello Girls and Boys: A New Zealand Toy Story “will bring out the child in all of us and appeal to a wide audience” said the awards selection panel. “Veart has a very colourful style to his books and this one promises to be no exception.”

Hazel Petrie has an equally interesting story to tell from days gone by. Her book, to be titled ‘Into the Darkness’ “will break entirely new ground on how Maori war captives were treated and how Maori ‘slavery’ is perceived today” says Petrie. Having completed her PhD in Maori Studies in 2004, Petrie has a wealth of knowledge and published a number or articles on related topics.  Her book Chiefs of Industry: Maori Tribal Enterprise in Early Colonial New Zealand was a finalist in the 2007 New Zealand Book Awards.

The selection panel agrees, “this outstanding and original work will uncover a controversial subject little have touched on in New Zealand’s history.”  Petrie’s opening paragraph “was stirring and will be a must-have for academics, teachers, historians and the general public” the panel said.

Other projects recognised by the selection panel and presented as 2012 finalists were:

                                    Michael Corballis: The Wandering Mind
                                    Vincent O’Malley: The Waikato War 1863-64
                                    Geoff Chapple: Terrain: North Island

Last night's event was a superbly run, entertaining and most enjoyable affair. Special mention must be made of Finlay Macdonald's superb chairmanship.