AUT University’s Professor Paul Moon has been selected as a finalist in the 2014 Ernest Scott Prize – one of only four historians in Australasia in the running for the illustrious literary award.
The literary prize, run by the University of Melbourne and the Australian Historical Association, is awarded annually to the book judged the most distinguished contribution to the History of Australia or New Zealand, or to the history of colonisation.
Judges on the 2014 Ernest Scott Prize panel commend Moon’s book, Encounters: The Creation of New Zealand, as “…a richly evocative study which should be read by all who value the distinctiveness of [New Zealand].”
Moon, a Professor of History at AUT University’s Faculty of Maori Development - Te Ara Poutama, says he spent more than ten years working on the book.
“It is a privilege for me to have been shortlisted for this prize, and I am honoured that the judging panel have recognised it to be a very significant, innovative and unconventional piece of literary work.”
Moon is the first professor from AUT University to be shortlisted for the prize since it was launched in 1952.
Encounters: The Creation of New Zealand tells the story of New Zealand's changing national identity, and how it has emerged and evolved through generations.
“Throughout its human history, New Zealand has been interpreted and experienced in often radically different ways,” explains Moon. “Each wave of arrivals to its shores has left its own set of views of New Zealand on the country – applying a new coat of mythology and understanding to the landscape, usually without fully removing the one that lies beneath it.”
“This book explores the origin of the many and conflicting ideas about New Zealand, and in doing so, delves into forgotten, or hidden, parts of our nation’s character, exposing also some of the mythology of its past and present.”
The winner will be announced on Thursday 10 July at the Australian Historical Association 33rd Annual Conference which will be held at The University of Queensland.