$25,000 Writers' Award for 2021 has been awarded to writer, architectural designer, and housing advocate, Jade Kake

Jade Kake (Ngāpuhi, Te Whakatōhea, Te Arawa) has been awarded the 2021 Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) and New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ) inc, $25,000 Writers’ Award for her project on the legacy of Professor Rewi Thompson (1953-2017; Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Raukawa).

2021 CLNZ/NZSA Writers' Award recipient Jade Kake (Ngāpuhi, Te Whakatōhea, Te Arawa)
2021 CLNZ/NZSA Writers' Award recipient Jade Kake (Ngāpuhi, Te Whakatōhea, Te Arawa)

Working with Jeremy Hansen, Jade's book will focus in on some of Professor Thompson's most memorable projects, from his own home in Kohimarama to the Anawhata studio he designed for world-renowned artist Katharina Grosse.

"Professor Thompson applied Māori design principles to prisons and social housing projects such as an urban papakāinga at Wiri in the belief that architecture could return a sense of well-being and belonging to people estranged by colonialism. Thompson believed architecture could heal the wairua and mauri of people broken by their circumstances, and created designs for the Mason Clinic, a forensic psychiatric facility, and Ngawha Prison in order to try and prove this," says Jade.

The CLNZ / NZSA Writers’ Award is one of the investments made through the CLNZ Cultural Fund and is open to writers of any genre of non-fiction, including writers of education material. The award enables the successful applicant to devote time to a specific writing project.

Selection panel members commented that Jade's application stood out among a very strong field. Gigi Fenster said its "breadth of vision and insight that takes the project beyond a narrow look at Thompson’s work and into a more wide-ranging look at Māori architecture, art, and education."

Vincent O’Malley agreed, saying "this exciting and timely project also promises to shed light on Māori contributions to the creative sector more broadly."

Diana Wichtel said that the "quality of the applications made them a delight to read and a real challenge to judge," but that Jade's proposal stood out as immediately engaging.

Jade was an emerging Māori writer-in-residence at the Michael King Writer’s Centre in 2019, and in 2020-21 she was a participant in the Te Papa Tupu Māori writer development programme. She is a two-time winner of the Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing (2018 and 2019) and is a judge for the competition in 2021. Her first book, Rebuilding the Kāinga: Lessons from Te Ao Hurihuri was published by Bridget Williams Books in 2019, and the manuscript for a novel developed through the Te Papa Tupu programme is currently being assessed by Huia Publishers.

The selection panel also highlighted Jane McCabe's project The Pine Hill Book: My Grandmother’s Story, and Tom Doig's project We Are All Preppers Now, which were shortlisted for the Award.

The 2021 CLNZ/NZSA Writers’ Award selection panel members were Diana Wichtel, Vincent O’Malley, and Giovanna Fenster.

NZSA was proud to administer the grants and award this year. CLNZ and NZSA would like to thank all the writers who took the time to apply.

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