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Winners of The Warren Trust Writing Awards Announced

03 November 2022

A moving essay that combines the origins of creation with a te ao Māori world view has won The Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing Open category for 2022. The winning essay and all other winning and highly commended works will be included in a book, to be released in the coming months.

Nga Wharerangi Turnbull won the Open category of the annual competition, run by Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects, with his essay, The Creation of Space. Written with a korero introducing Rangi and Papa, it describes a condensed version of the Māori origins of creation. 

The topic for this year’s awards was What does architecture mean to you? Writers were invited to write anything on this subject, so long as it had something to do with architecture. The judges were Dr Karamia Müller, architecture lecturer at the University of Auckland; writer Alex Casey, senior writer at The Spinoff; and writer and curator Cameron Ah Loo-Matamua. Together they assessed 68 entries across three categories. The winners in each of the categories received cash prizes and the Highly Commended book vouchers”.

The winners’ essays will be posted in the Awards section of the Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects website. You can read past years’ winning essays in our Awards section now.

The 2022 Results

Open Category

Nga Wharerangi Turnbull – The Creation of Space the judges said “drew parallels between the creation intrinsic in architecture to the original creation story and placed modern architecture in a historic and cultural context.”

Highly Commended

Celia Mahon-Heap – As Part of Myself described by the judges as “a life told through different spaces” and “very compelling”.

Abigail Spence – Hoa Mahi: Speaking New Worlds into Being. The judges felt this work “spoke to them in a cultural context”.

Mikayla Exton – The House That Isn’t Ours outlines a family’s return to a holiday home and is a “great slice of life.”

Rangatahi Category

William Dickson, 16, What Does Architecture Mean to Me? A contemplative piece of writing set in south China during the pandemic, described by the judges as “beautifully contemplative, profound and sublime.”

Highly Commended

Evana Chan, 18, Scavenger Hunt, described by the judges as having “great structure and kept them engaged to the end.”

Elizabeth Kuschel-Young, 18, What does Architecture Mean to You? The judges found the poem “moving and captivating”.

Abbie Mackay, 16, Epsom Girls Grammar School, The Storybook, a piece that the judges found “transports the reader to the scene, like you’re right there.”

Tamariki Category

Beau Te Orite Maiti, 13, in Rumaki (Māori immersion) at Pasadena Intermediate School, What does Architecture Mean to You? The judges found the te reo writing “extraordinary and startling”.

Highly Commended

Harry Inglis, 7, He Mapara Mautauranga Elmwood Normal School — Poem of Architecture. Based on the experience of watching architects working on designing a new family home, the judges found this a “wonderful read”.

Matilda Grainger, 13, Hutt Intermediate — The Christchurch Cathedral. The judges found the description of the bustle around the earthquake damaged building “moving but also contrasting to the metaphor of the cathedral being in hibernation”.

Camila Puricelli Callau, 13, Dunedin North Intermediate wrote ‘What is Architecture to You?, deemed by the judges an engaging narrative about how architecture is woven into the ongoing chatter at home.

Sincere thanks to The Warren Trust for their continued support of this popular and inspiring initiative.