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No. 34 (March 1961)
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TE AO HOU LITERARY
AND
ART COMPETITIONS
1960

JUDGES' REPORTS

SECTION A
STORIES IN ENGLISH

Judge's Report. There were thirteen entries in this section of the competition and some of them were of an extremely high standard, both in thought, and in power of expression. Every story was concerned in some measure with the basic problem of Maoridom today—adaptation to a new and sometimes bewilderingly complex way of life. Sometimes the adjustment proves successful after initial difficulties, as in The Brothers by Gwen P. Howe; sometimes it involves a return to the basic principles of Maoritanga, as in Back to the Mat by Mikaere Worthington, but a Maoritanga transformed by its adaptability to the modern world, related directly to the fruitful and harmonious development of the Maori people. Somewhere, either directly or by implication, every writer insists that the Maori must learn to take his rightful place in the pakeha world, and more significant—that such a place is waiting for him.

I was impressed in many places by the authors' control over and command of the English language, which they do not hesitate to use in a lyrical and sometimes passionate manner, which can put many of their more reserved pakeha colleagues to shame. The Maori writer seems instinctively to understand that the English language is one of unrivalled majesty and richness, not, as many pakehas demonstrate, a convenient method of shorthand. I expect—I say this in full confidence —that the next ten years will produce a Maori novelist of outstanding talent; already the ground is being prepared for him.

After much deliberation, I have awarded the prize of £10.0.0 in this section to Peter Sharples, for his story The Fledgling, which appears in this issue. It was written while the author was still a 6A student at Te Aute College. Of all the stories, it showed the most mastery over form—the understanding that a short story must move logically and inevitably to its end, without swerving to right or left, and leaving an impression of some action or experience completed. The unexpected ironical ending had the justice and rightness of the born writer. The conclusion that one must draw from the story—that Maoris are very easily seduced by the superficial side of European civilisation—is not comforting, but such things must be pointed out, and Mr Sharples has done so with a beautiful economy of expression. The following stories have been retained for later publication. Between two worlds and Te Ao Hou by Hinauri Strongman Tribole, of Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A., Back to the Mat by Mikaere Worthington—this story was a close finalist; Look Wider, Little One, by Dorothy Connell, The Vision of Hiahia, by Errol T. Raumati, Honour and Friendship by Aileen Simpson, Big Joe by B. A. Olsen, Country Girl by Hirone Whikiriwhi and The Brothers by Gwen P. Howe. Altogether, I regard the entries in this section to have been most satisfying and illuminating.

SECTION B
STORIES IN MAORI

Judge's Report. None of the entries was of a sufficiently high standard to warrant either a prize or publication, and my comments will be communicated to the three entrants privately.

SECTION C
DRAWINGS IN BLACK AND WHITE

Judge's Report. There were seven entries in the competition and at once there was no doubt whatever of the winner. I recommend that the prize of £10.10.0 be awarded to Duel on the Rock by Meretiana Reihana, of Masterton. (See pages 3233.) This drawing has great strength and vigour in its design, and a primitive strength in the figures. (Let me explain that I use the word ‘primitive’ in a sense which means drawn directly from the artist's experience and not based on any second-hand model.) Of the other entries, I would

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commend An Old Woman's Dream of Long Ago by Pahetepa Munro of Hawke's Bay for the thought and tenderness which have gone into it, but I have the feeling that the artist has worked too much from photographs as models, instead of drawing her inspiration from her own mind and thought. Of the other entries, I would say nothing individually but address these remarks to the artists as a whole. You are relying on photographs, on copies, on what I would call secondhand inspiration. Put nothing down on paper that you do not strongly feel draw it from inside yourself, if I may put it that way, not from reproductions in magazines. How do you learn to ride a bike? By getting on it, setting off, and facing the spills. It is the same with art—try it, jump on, never mind if at first you fall down. If your desire to communicate is strong enough, you will find all the technique you want. You will learn your craft, not from models, but by constant practice in finding the easiest, the truest, the best way to put down what you see in your mind's eye.