Ockham Retains Front Row Seat at NZ’s Literary Oscars

The national book awards are our cornerstone partnership. Today Ockham renews its commitment to the Ockhams.

In the literary circles of Aotearoa, where debates over the precise positioning of a comma has seen the formation of armoured columns outside Waiouru, one thing’s for sure ­– Ockham Residential is here to stay.  The Auckland urban regenerator, who have sponsored the nation’s book awards since 2015, have just announced they’re back for more.

“For the past eight years we’ve been joyfully entangled with the Book Awards whānau with whom we share our name,” Ockham captain, Mark Todd says. “Today I’m delighted to announce that we’re renewing our commitment for five more years.”

Mindful of the significance of the announcement, the captain illustrates his point through an extended – though on-point – cultural metaphor.

“For Ockham, having front-row seats at New Zealand’s literary Oscars is a bit like being handed an air guitar at the latest AC/DC farewell concert, headbanging exchanged for fervent nodding over subtext, debates over the merits of a semi-colon, earnest conversations about the Oxford comma,” Mark says. “It’s wonderful.”

It’s a vividly apposite parallel: the image of our nation’s writers channelling Angus’s Thunderstuck hammers-offs as they pound away on their laptops does have a certain charm.

From its inception, Ockham has had the ‘High Voltage’ ambition to give back to those organisations and individuals who enrich us as a society, ensuring our cultural richness doesn’t just roll down a ‘Highway to Hell’. “Critical thought and enquiry – extending the joy of thinking and learning to all Kiwis – is the driving rhythm section of the Ockham symphony,” Mark says.

“To play a small part in radiating what seems like the ‘Back in Black’ magic of books, making ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’ feel just a step away, means the world to me – and to Ockham.” 

The Ockhams have become a beloved part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s cultural tapestry, offering the delicate stitch of prestige, coupled with the pragmatic thread of financial aid...

Ockham captain, Mark Todd

Three Special Cheers

NZ Book Awards Boudicca, Nicola Legat, chimes in with her delight. “We are beyond thrilled that Ockham Residential – our cornerstone funder – has re-pledged its commitment. We have enjoyed a very warm relationship with Ockham for eight years now and their ongoing belief in the value of the awards is so affirming.”

For the Ockham captain, there are three particular pleasures the partnership brings him. “First, it’s not about us – it’s about being part of a divine family of sponsors and supporters,” Mark says. “Here’s to the late Dr Jann Medlicott MNZM – radiologist, arts fan, cat worshipper – and fairy godmother of New Zealand literature, whose $65,000 Acorn fiction prize ensures our future Mansfields and Manhires, Grimshaws and Graces never run out of ink or inspiration.”

With Jann’s astonishing legacy, the captain highlights two ripples of magic: an unprecedented interest in New Zealand books across all genres, and a renaissance led by a mesmerising array of new Māori voices.

“The luminous Becky Manawatu, the poetic prowess of Whiti Hereaka, and the seemingly out-of-the-blue wonder of Airana Ngarewa are not only transforming our bookshelves but giving Aotearoa a whole new rhythm.

“What a time to be alive, air guitars in hand. And what a time to be reading!”

Ockhams Announcement 2024

Ockhams Announcement 2024