Book Trade Industry Awards celebrate sector achievements online

Hawkes Bay bookshop Wardini Books and Allen & Unwin were the big winners in last night’s NZ Book Trade Industry Awards, an annual event that would normally be held during the Booksellers conference but was moved online after Auckland’s recent change to Covid Alert Level 3 meant that event had to be cancelled.

Wardini Books (with stores in Havelock North and Napier) were named Nielsen NZ Bookshop of the Year and Allen & Unwin won Nielsen NZ Publisher of the Year at a Zoom ceremony hosted jointly by Booksellers NZ chair Juliet Blyth and PANZ president Julia Marshall.

Other winners named last night included Paul Stewart from Mākaro Press and The Cuba Press as NZ Young Publisher of the Year. Mākaro Press published this year’s winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, Auē by Becky Manawatu. Kit Lyall from Scorpio Books in Christchurch was named NZ Young Bookseller of the Year, Hachette NZ won the NZ Marketing and Publicity Strategy of the Year for “The Year of Mahy” and Hachette’s Sharon Galey was named NZ Sales Person of the Year.

The NZ Book Industry Innovation Award for Verb Wellington was accepted by festival director Claire Mabey from her home as she simultaneously prepared her toddler for bed and ran the online launch of this year’s event (which will take place in Wellington from 6 to 8 November)!

Commending Wardini Books as Nielsen NZ Bookshop of the Year, judge Chris Szekely noted:

“As judges we saw abundant evidence of resilience, innovation, kotahitanga, manaakitanga, whanaungatanga. Reading the entries in this category was uplifting and pure pleasure. It was also challenging, because every finalist in this category was outstanding.

In choosing a winner, we were drawn to an entry where there were indisputably-strong bonds between bookshop team members and their diverse customers, with numerous examples of going the extra mile, reaching out and caring for one another, caring for – and within - the community.”

Allen & Unwin won a closely run contest for Nielsen NZ Publisher of the Year with judging panel Chair Ka Meechan noting:

“The shortlisted publishers bring award winning NZ stories to New Zealanders and take those stories and their authors to the international audience – through rights and export sales.

Each publisher was hitting above 100% across the award criteria. But there can be only one. For reaching a milestone goal of $10m in turnover; for adding new staff members to support the publication of NZ titles; for increasing its revenue for NZ published titles by 42%; for a strong environmental policy and innovations such as #turnardern this year’s Nielsen NZ Publisher of the Year is Allen and Unwin NZ.”

The final award of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award to Tilly Lloyd from Unity Books Wellington, an achievement that merits a media release of its own.



Chris Szekely is the Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library, with a library career spanning nearly 30 years. He is a Fellow of the Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA), and a Life Member of Te Rōpū Whakahau, the professional association for Māori in the library and information sector. He is also an award-winning children’s author, with titles published in both English and Te Reo Māori. He currently serves on the Wellington region committee of the New Zealand Society of Authors. Chris’s role at the Turnbull is a statutory position within the National Library in Wellington with responsibility for ensuring that every New Zealand publication is collected and preserved as part of the nation’s documentary heritage and held in perpetuity. For someone who loves books and reading, it is the best job in the world.


Ka Meechan has extensive knowledge of the international book trade from working in New Zealand, the UK and Australia. She has travelled widely during her career working with clients and partners across the globe.

Since leaving Nielsen Book Services, where she was Managing Director for the Asia Pacific region, she has worked with PANZ on the Taipei International Book Exhibition Guest of Honour Programme and the annual Book Design Awards. She is credited with the ‘Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Books’ banner under which New Zealand’s artists and publishers told the New Zealand story at TIBE 2015.

She was Executive Director at the Michael King Writers’ Centre and has contracted with Citizens Advice Bureau on Migrant Find-a-Job courses. Ka is currently Recruitment and Rostering Manager for the Epsom Electorate and is a volunteer driver for Red Cross Meals on Wheels.


Rob Kidd has been the books editor and a reviewer at the Otago Daily Times for the last three years. He covers crime and justice for the newspaper and has worked as a journalist at the New Zealand Herald, Sunday Star Times and Waikato Times over the last 12 years. Rob is also a trustee of the Ignition Children's Books Festival in Dunedin.