Wellington author, Roberta McIntyre, author of The Canoes of Kupe: A History of Martinborough District (Victoria University Press, 2002) and Whose High Country: A history of the South Island high country of New Zealand (Penguin 2008), learnt last week that her earlier book had won the J. M. Sherrard Award in New Zealand and Local History. Her first thought was that she was the subject of a joke: whoever got an award ten years after publication? The Canterbury Historical Association letterhead looked genuine, but she made further checks. Sure enough it was real and three days later a certificate arrived. Anticipating her cheque in the mail, Roberta went shopping!
The J.M. Sherrard Award, the only national award for local and regional history in New Zealand, has been almost a decade in abeyance. Valued at $1,000 (divided among recipients when they are more than one), Roberta shared her happy surprise windfall with Colin Amodeo, who with Ron Chapman wrote Forgotten Forty-Niners: Being an account of the men and women who paved the way in 1849 for the Canterbury Pilgrims in 1850 (Christchurch, Caxton Press, 2003) and Deborah Dunsford for Doing it themselves: The Story of Kumeu, Huapai and Taupaki (Auckland, Kumeu District History Project, 2002). Congratulations to all.