Topic: Judges Report for the 2012 Memoir and Local History Competition

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The overall standard of all entries submitted were above average, and while it would have been great to award all the prizes to Bay of Plenty writers for their superb accounts of the region’s history, other wonderful and often humorous accounts came from all over the country. Choosing winners from nearly a hundred stories was by far the hardest task I’ve attempted for a long time - and here they are:



Judge’s Report by Gwyneth Jones

 1st Prize: A Hollow Victory by Jonnie Rutherford (Waimate)

A well-structured account where the economical use of words made for easy reading. The first sentence immediately captured my interest and made me want to know more. While I read I felt I was actually there and participating in the battle strategy. The clever tie-up between the story title and the ending was satisfying.


2nd Prize: My Father-the Hunter/Gatherer by Patricia Simpson (Tauranga)

This account appealed because it summarised refreshingly not only some Tauranga history, but also extended to areas further afield, with sometimes amusing descriptions of daily living in the past.


3rd Prize: Boots an’ All by May Gaskin

A pleasing account by a 91-year old of a much-loved grandmother that emphasises the hardiness of the womenfolk in those early days before the advent of the mod cons that make our lives so much easier today. A delightful story.


Special Prize for a Bay of Plenty Memory:

Rotorua Recollections by Eileen Shapley (Rotorua)

Another great narrative that relates sixty years of development on Otonga Road in Rotorua. The writer is 88.


Young Writers:

As only four entries were submitted in the Young Writers category, all excellently done and all from Katikati College, it was decided not to chose a winner, but to award each entrant with a $25 book token for their gumption. Let’s hope we get more entries from young writers next year!


Highly Commended:


  1. A New Life in a New Country by Ivan D. Taylor (Kaiapoi)
  2. A Ride on H204 by Mike Beckett (Featherston)
  3. Cabbage Tree Ned: Coachman Extraordinary by Ivan D Taylor (Kaiapoi)
  4. Camping in our House by John Ewen (Christchurch)
  5. Childhood Memories of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic by Antonia Jones (Hamilton)
  6. Crossings by Janet Pates (Franklin)
  7. From Horse to Helicopter: Logging at Tikitapu, Rotorua by Alison Brown (Rotorua)
  8. Home is Somewhere Far Away by Peter Farrell (Wellington)
  9. Man of War, Man of Peace by Tony Walsh (Waimana)
  10. Road to the Rainbow by Tony Walsh (Waimana)
  11. Sawyer’s Bay by Graeme Pratley (Rangiora)
  12. The Big Celebration by Peter Henson (Turangi)


I very much enjoyed reading all the entries, as did our Competition Secretary, Jenny Argante - so many different styles and approaches, but none without its focus of interest. A real treat for us both. They will prove a valuable addition to the National Kete for historians.

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