Leading Otago history researcher Professor Barbara Brookes was last night named as a winner of a major literary honour in recognition of the excellence of her book on New Zealand women’s history.

Professor Brookes’ work, A History of New Zealand Women, won a 2017 Ockham book award in the illustrated non-fiction category.

Barbara Brookes

Professor Barbara Brookes

The judges described the work as a sweeping survey that puts women at the centre of our history, and which shows exactly when, how and why gender mattered.

“It combines deep research, an immensely readable narrative, superbly well-integrated images and it is distinguished by close attention to both Māori and Pākeha women. General changes in each period are combined effortlessly with the particular, local stories of individual women, many not well-known. A wider sense of women’s experiences is beautifully conveyed by the many well-captioned artworks, photographs, texts and objects.”


Other winners. – poetry, Andrew Johnston, Fits & Starts (published by Victoria University Press); general non-fiction, Ashleigh Young, Can You Tolerate This? (Victoria University Press); best first book: illustrated non-fiction, Ngarino Ellis, A Whakapapa of Tradition: 100 Years of Ngati Porou Carving, 1830-1930 (Auckland University Press); poetry, Hera Lindsay Bird (Victoria University Press); general non-fiction, Adam Dudding, My Father’s Island: A Memoir (Victoria University Press); fiction, Gina Cole, Black Ice Matter (Huia Publishers).