Judges for the 2024 NZCYA Awards announced

judges announced 2024

Public and school librarians, teachers, booksellers, award-winning authors and illustrators, as well as passionate advocates of te reo Māori and te ao Māori, make up the two panels appointed to judge entries in the 2024 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Quintin Te Maari

Mihi Te Rina Henare

Lawren Matrix

Mat Tait

Kitty Brown

Helen Wadsworth

Belinda Whyte

Maia Bennett

Wānaka secondary school and public librarian Maia Bennett (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Tūwharetoa), who was a judge of the 2023 awards, will convene the English and bilingual panel in 2024. She is joined by literacy teacher Belinda Whyte of Levin, Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop co-owner Helen Wadsworth of Tāmaki Makaurau, bestselling author and publisher Kitty Brown (Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, Ngāti Kahungunu) of Ōtepoti, and award-winning illustrator, author and artist Mat Tait (Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Rangitāne o Wairau, Ngāti Kuia), who is based in the Motueka area. Mat was the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year winner at the 2023 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and will bring his knowledge of te ao Māori and te reo Māori to both the English/bilingual and Te Kura Pounamu judging panels.

Maia says she was delighted to be asked to return as convenor this year. “It is such a privilege to be part of this important mahi celebrating our local literature for children and young adults. This year’s panel of judges bring a wide range of expertise and experiences in a variety of fields, while sharing a passion for books and reading,” she says. “We look forward to the collaboration and spirited discussion that will no doubt ensue as we deliberate to collectively determine the very best children’s books from a highly competitive and innovative field of entries.”

The panel judging the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written or translated into te reo Māori will be convened in 2024 by experienced librarian Lawren Matrix (Tūhoe), who is the Whānau Learning Specialist for Auckland Council Libraries. In addition to Mat Tait, she is joined by kaitiaki pukapuka Mihi Te Rina Henare (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui), who works at Archives New Zealand in Tāmaki Makaurau, and support teacher and entrepreneur Quintin Te Maari(Ngāti Porou, Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa).

“This year’s kaiwhiriwhiri for Te Kura Pounamu award offer a breadth of skills, knowledge of te ao Māori, and belief in the importance of reading for literacy,” says Lawren. “We come from various backgrounds in arts, education, information management and business, which will bring a depth and richness to the judging process. Mihi Te Rina and I have had the privilege of serving on this panel previously, and we welcome Mat and Quintin into the space. I look forward to working alongside these talented fellow judges, who all share my passion for our culture and reo, and for books.”

The 2024 judges will read and appraise an expected 160 or more entries in six categories: Picture Book, Junior Fiction (the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award), Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction (the Elsie Locke Award), Illustration (the Russell Clark Award) and te reo Māori (the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award). They will select up to five finalists in each category, as well as up to five finalists for the NZSA Best First Book Award, and then a winner in each category. The overall winner, the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, will be decided by both panels from the six main category winners.

Submissions for the 2024 awards are open to books published between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024. The first deadline, for books published up to 30 November 2023, is Wednesday 13 December 2023. Entries for books published between 1 December 2023 and 31 March 2024 will be accepted from Thursday 14 December. More details about how to enter can be found here:

Category finalists will be announced on 6 June 2024 and the awards ceremony will be held in Wellington in mid-August 2024, preceded by a programme of finalist author events under the Books Alive banner.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are governed by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa. They are made possible through the generosity, commitment and vision of funders and sponsors Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Wright Family Foundation, LIANZA Te Rau Herenga o Aotearoa, Wellington City Council, The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa, and Nielsen BookData.

For more information about the 2024 judges, see: