Ground-breaking Māori publisher recognised for her life’s work alongside cream of Book Trade

3:06 PM, 25 August 2018

Robyn Bargh CNZM (Te Arawa) was tonight honoured with the 2018 Book Industry Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of her foundation and directorship of Huia Publishers, and her continuing leadership in Māori literature. The Book Trade Industry Awards were announced at a celebratory dinner at The Rydges in Auckland.

Booksellers NZ Chair Juliet Blyth says Bargh is notable for her tremendous contribution to the industry over many years. ‘Already honoured by the Queen, the Book Industry is honoured to be able to recognise Robyn Bargh’s many talents, as publisher, director and chair of many organisations both within the book  industry and in the wider community of literature, theatre and television.’

Book Trade Awards Judges Copyright NZ CEO Paula Browning, Australian Booksellers Association CEO Joel Becker and former Publisher Bob Ross, were delighted by the depth of talent shown across the seven judged awards.  

VOLUME in Nelson, owned by Stella Chrysostomou and Thomas Koed, was awarded Nielsen NZ Bookseller of the Year. This is an extraordinary achievement for a bookstore that opened in December 2016.

Browning notes the difficulty of judging big against small, ‘We chose the one that is proud of its minimalist décor, because this makes the shop its own display… We chose the one whose owners have over 30 years experience in the book trade, who are highly engaged with their customer community in both the physical and the online world.’

Nielsen NZ Publisher of the Year, went to Allen and Unwin New Zealand, for achieving stunning market growth in every major group of New Zealand booksellers, and for their prominence in the local publishing scene. In the submission it was noted, ‘Booksellers can be confident that here you have a publisher that is continuing to invest in the local market and who is committed to finding the opportunities that we know are out there, and to creating great books that will sell throughout the country.’

The Book Industry Awards also celebrated some inspiring younger members of both the Bookselling and Publishing industries. Sophia Egan-Reid was the winner of Young Publisher of the Year, for her fantastic leadership of Mary Egan Publishing, which has gone from strength to strength in recent years. And Fern Hubball, book buyer from University Bookshop Canterbury, wins Young Bookseller of the Year, for her book knowledge, flair, energy and enthusiasm.

Integral to any sales industry is the marketing and sales team. This year, the MediaR Marketing Strategy of the Year was awarded to Hachette NZ, for their stunning effort in marketing Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, by Australian author Jessica Townsend. This book drew the media’s attention – TV, news, print, and radio working alongside digital channels seeing sales soar. And Sales Rep of the year goes, for the second year in a row, to Tammy Ruffell of HarperCollins NZ, sales rep for the Lower North Island, ‘an exceptionally strong advocate for the needs of bookshops,’ notes Becker.

Two books were recognised for achieving number one on the Nielsen charts in 2017. Nielsen Bestseller of the Year went to Eat, by Chelsea Winter (Penguin Random House NZ), and Nielsen NZ Independent Bestseller of the Year was awarded to The Wish Child, by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press).

Children’s book website The Sapling was also recognised, winning the New Zealand Book Industry Special Award. This award recognises a company or individual for innovation, or for an important contribution to the book trade in Aotearoa over the past year. Browning notes, ‘Our winner has achieved both. They use a highly engaging website, supported by an active social media presence to reach a large and diverse audience.’

A full list of the winners:
Nielsen Bookshop of the Year – VOLUME, Nelson
Nielsen Publisher of the Year – Allen & Unwin NZ Ltd, Auckland
Sales Rep of the Year – Tammy Ruffell, Lower North Island Rep, HarperCollins NZ
Publishing Marketing Strategy of the Year – Hachette NZ for Nevermoor
Young Publisher of the Year – Sophia Egan-Reid, Mary Egan Publishing
Young Bookseller of the Year – Fern Hubball, University Bookshop Canterbury
Special Industry Award-winner – The Sapling
Lifetime Achievement Award: Robyn Bargh CNZM
Nielsen Bestseller of the Year: Eat, by Chelsea Winter (Penguin Random House NZ)
Nielsen NZ Independent Bestseller of the Year: The Wish Child, by Catherine Chidgey (VUP)   


For media enquiries, please contact Sarah Forster, 021 1767684, or email

Sponsors Notes:
Nielsen BookData is the leading provider of book-related data services to more than 110 countries worldwide. Nielsen BookScan provides the world’s only continuous retail monitoring service for English-language books in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Italy, Brazil and Spain.

MediaR is an integrated communications agency delivering strategic, media, digital and creative solutions. At mediaR we develop and value partnerships where we can make a difference, and our overriding philosophy is that our clients come first.