Huia Publishers is an award-winning independent publishing company based in Wellington, New Zealand. The company was established in 1991 by Robyn Bargh to bring Māori voices in New Zealand literature by promoting Māori writers, Māori language and Māori perspectives.
Many of the company’s books feature the Māori language or the experiences of Māori. Huia published the first Māori monolingual dictionary in 2006 Tirohia Kimihia.
Huia publishers, in conjunction with the Māori Literature Trust, started New Zealand’s first Māori writers awards in 1995 under the name of the Māori Literature Awards, it was later changed to E Tuhi! and is now called the Pikihuia Māori Writers Awards. The awards are held biennially and aims to encourage Māori writers to publish their work.
The Pikihuia Awards have helped raise the profile of authors such as James George who wrote Hummingbird, a finalist in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best book in the South Pacific region. Other authors that have won Pikihuia Awards are Kelly Ana Morey and Paula Morris.
The Huia Spasifik Short Story Awards
The Huia Spasifik Short Story competition was held in 2005 and again in 2006 to support and develop Pacific writers. The awards was a joint initiative by Huia Publishers and Spasifik magazine. Finalists for the first awards were published in Niu Voices.
The Huia was a native bird to New Zealand that became extinct in the early 20th century. The bird was valued by Māori and considered sacred, their feathers were restricted only for people of high status. The bird’s distinct wattle colour and tail feather pattern, along with the female’s unique curved beak was such a curiosity for Europeans that hundreds of birds were killed and sent overseas to be displayed in exhibitions, as a result of its valued and habitat destruction the bird became extinct. The Huia bird symbolises how unique treasures can be destroyed if left unprotected. Many Māori songs (waiata) and proverbs (whakataukī) describe how the Māori language is a treasure to be protected.
- Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka by Hilary and John Mitchell. Montana New Zealand Book Awards, History Book Award 2008.
- Oh Hogwash Sweet Pea! by Ngareta Gabel, illustrations by Ali Teo and Astrid Jensen. New Zealand Post Book Awards, Children and Young Adults category, Children’s Choice Award 2004.
- Eruera Manuera by Te Onehou Phillis. Montana New Zealand Book Awards, Honour Award 2002.
- Te Wao Nui a Tane by Hirini Melbourne, illustrations by Te Maari Gardiner. New Zealand Post Book Awards, Children and Young Adults category, Non-Fiction Award 2000.
- The New Zealand Writer's Handbook
- Writers & Artists' Yearbook