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New Zealand Institute of Architects









2021 Writing Awards: overview

The 2021 Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing were opened up to more age groups and different types of writing.

These awards have been running since 2015 and, in that time, have become a unique opportunity for lovers of writing and architecture to have their voices heard. 

This year’s competition was more open, and admitted more different types of writing. A new category was introduced to allow younger writers to participate, and our past focus on the essay format was loosened in favour of all writing – from poetry and fiction to comics, creative non-fiction and humour.

The writing topic for this year was: houses and communities, whare and kāinga. We encouraged entrants to consider questions such as:

• What makes a whare feel like home?
• How has the history of housing and kāinga in Aotearoa New Zealand impacted on the way we live today?
• What is the best house, whare or dwelling you’ve ever visited, and why? What is the worst?
• How has a house or whare shaped who you are?
• What do you think about the housing crisis, and how would you solve it?
• What are the whare like in your kāinga or community? What makes them good/bad?

While we have published a book of winning and highly commended essays in the past, this year we will not be continuing this practice. The essays will be published online, and may be syndicated to external media partners, depending on their subject matter. 

The winners

Winner: ‘The villa’ by Sophia Mangham
Runner-up: ‘My dream home’ by Penelope Peterson-McNeil

Winner: ‘Still home’ by Alice d’Andrea
Runner-up: ‘Living in a bus’ by Waiata Carter

Winner: ‘A long rope ties me to home’ by Celia Mahon-Heap
Runner-up: ‘Waikohanga House’ by Lydia Chai

The judges

Jade Kake (Ngāti Hau, Te Parawhau, Ngāpuhi, Te Whakatōhea,Te Arawa) – writer, architectural designer and director at Matakohe Design and Urbanism Whāngarei
• Teuila Fuatai – NZ Herald columnist and journalist at Re: news
Jack Tame – award-winning journalist and broadcaster.