Māori History Wins the Royal Society Science Prize
25 May 2015
Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History has been honoured with the prestigious Royal Society of New Zealand 2015 Science Book Prize. Authors Atholl Anderson, the late Judith Binney and Aroha Harris, with publisher Bridget Williams, worked for several years with a team of writers, researchers, designers and editors, to produce this new history of the Māori people.
Museums and archives around New Zealand provided thousands of images from which over 800 were selected. The publication was funded through the BWB Publishing Trust, with support from trusts, institutions and individuals that made this remarkable book possible.
Described by the judges as ‘a dazzling work of scholarship’, this magnificent narrative draws on a broad sweep of knowledge. Emeritus Professor Atholl Anderson (Ngāi Tahu) writes a compelling story of Māori origins, drawing on disciplines that range through archaeology, genetics, linguistics, and climate science. The text relies too on information offered by the traditions handed down as oral history through generations. These early chapters offer many routes to understanding a complex and fascinating history.
The two centuries from 1820 to 2014 present a dynamic narrative, based on archival research, oral history and the many published stories of these two hundred years. In the history of the twentieth century by Aroha Harris (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi), the analyses provided social sciences also bring new perspectives to bear.
As Sir Tipene O’Regan has written: ‘This is a rich and authoritative account of our journey from the deep past to the present day… one that will make a significant contribution to a fuller understanding between the peoples of New Zealand of their shared history – and the possibilities of a brighter future’.
Speaking for the Royal Society of New Zealand, Dr Andrew Cleland noted that Tangata Whenua incorporates research from a wide range of disciplines from the sciences, including social science, and the humanities, which mirrors the breadth of scholarship supported by the Society.
Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History is written by Atholl Anderson, the late Dame Judith Binney and Aroha Harris and published by Bridget Williams Books.