After much anticipation, the finalists for the 2017 Pikihuia Awards for Māori Writers have been selected.

Writer Whiti Hereaka judged the Best Short Story written in English and was impressed with the standard of writing. ‘It was a pleasure to judge this year's Pikihuia Award for Short Stories in English’ she said. ‘I was impressed by the diversity of the stories, reflecting the many experiences of being Māori in our society. The stand out stories for me subverted my expectations: unexpected points of view, or twists on familiar story lines.’

For Poia Rewi, the judge of the Best Short Story written in Māori, the expansive nature of the stories along with their language proficiency was striking. ‘From the interpretation of dreams to earthquake experiences, rugby world cup to rugby on the marae ātea, Iron Māori to Māori emigration and repatriation, boarding school and disobedience to mythical kaitiaki, there is diversity and creativity across the board’ he said. ‘The level of Māori Language proficiency is admirable and likewise, the application of dialect, synonym and metaphor are also worth noting – we compliment the authors, their whānau and their teachers, and Huia for affording the opportunity to writers to engage their literary potential.’

The 24 finalists are:

Best Short Story written in English, judged by Whiti Hereaka

  • Pere Durie - The Manu, the Coffin and the Old School
  • Lauren Keenan - A Portrait of Sandra Dee
  • Lauren Keenan - In the Shadow of Monte Cassino

Best Short Story written in te reo Māori, judged by Poia Rewi

  • Iraia Bailey - Rākei me te Taraute Nui
  • Zeb Nicklin - Kaitiaki
  • Genesis Te Kuru White - Tūātea

Best Film Script, judged by Julian Arahanga

  • Aroha Awarau - Clenched 
  • Pere Durie - Te Mura o te Ahi 
  • Nathaniel Hinde - Hawaiki 

Best Novel Extract, judged by Paula Morris

  • Olivia Aroha Giles - Till We Kissed 
  • Kelly Joseph - Obsidian Dream 
  • Steph Matuku - The Crystal Cave 

Best Short Story Written by a School Student in English, judged by Robyn and Brian Bargh

  • Te Raina Durie, Tauranga Girls College - Boys-In-Arms 
  • Rosa Hibbert-Schooner, Middleton Grange School - The Many Stories of my Koro 
  • Lucy Matehaere, Otago Girls’ College - The Final Cut 
  • Maia Kirikiri, Queen Margaret College - Long Journey Home
  • Jacqueline Elizabeth Te Kani Nankivell, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whatatutu - Luna the Peacemaker 
  • Nikau Wi Neera, Kapiti College - The Couple 
  • Keimarire Tibble-Brown, Bethlehem College - Calm After the Storm 

Best Short Story Written by a School Student in te reo Māori, judged by Kawata Teepa

  • Anipātene Biddle, Te Kura o te Koutu - Te Mate ō te Pūreitanga 
  • Katarina Havekamp, Te Kura o te Koutu - Pi... Pi... Pi... 
  • Tahu Potiki Te Maro-Doran, Otaki College - Haututu 

Stories from selected finalists will feature in the latest short story book HUIA Short Stories 12. The book will be launched and the winners will be announced at the 2017 Pikihuia Awards to be held at Te Wharewaka o Poneke, Wellington on Saturday 9th September 2017.