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New Zealand Institute of Architects










Entries open for 2021 architecture writing competition

09 July 2021

The Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing have been running since 2015 and, in that time, have become a unique opportunity for lovers of writing and architecture to have their voices heard. However, the time has come to change things up to reflect the world we live in now.

This year’s competition will be more open, and will admit more different types of writing. A new category has been introduced to allow younger writers to participate, and our past focus on the essay format will be loosened in favour of all writing – from poetry and fiction to comics, creative non-fiction and humour.

The writing topic for this year is simple: houses and communities, whare and kāinga. You can write anything on this subject that means something to you, as long as it has something to do with architecture.

That might include answering questions such as:
• What makes a whare feel like home?
• How has the history of housing and kāinga in Aotearoa New Zealand impacted on the way we live today?
• What is the best house, whare or dwelling you’ve ever visited, and why? What is the worst?
• How has a house or whare shaped who you are?
• What do you think about the housing crisis, and how would you solve it?
• What are the whare like in your kāinga or community? What makes them good/bad?

If it’s about housing, communities and architecture, if it reflects the world we live in in 2021, and if it’s some form of writing, you can enter it into our competition.

Finally, while we have published a book of winning and highly commended essays in the past, this year we will not be continuing this practice. The essays will be published online, and may be syndicated to external media partners, depending on their subject matter.

Read past years' winning essays in our Awards section

The details

Enter the annual Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing in three categories:
• Tamariki: up to the age of 13. Writing up to 800 words.
• Rangatahi: ages 13-18, or currently enrolled in secondary school. Writing up to 1000 words.
• Open: everyone else. Writing up to 1500 words.

The prizes:
• Winner in the Open category: $2000
• Winner in the Rangatahi category: $1000
• Winner in the Tamariki category: $500
• Highly commended (three prizes across all categories): $200 book voucher
Please note: More prizes may be awarded at the judges' discretion. 

The competition judges:
• Jade Kake (Ngāti Hau, Te Parawhau, Ngāpuhi, Te Whakatōhea,Te Arawa) – writer, architectural designer and director at Matakohe Design and Urbanism Whāngarei
• Teuila Fuatai – NZ Herald columnist and journalist at Re: news
• Jack Tame – an award-winning journalist and broadcaster.

How to enter

• Entries closed on 29 September 2021. 

Conditions of entry

• Entry is free
• One entry per person
• Essays must not have been published elsewhere
• An essay must be wholly the work of the person submitting it
• Writers must be Aotearoa New Zealand citizens or permanent residents
• Writers retain copyright of their essays, but grant Te Kāhui Whaihanga licence to publish essays in its publications (print and online)
• No correspondence with the competition judges will be entered into.

The Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing are a joint venture between the Warren Trust and Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects.

Help spread the word about our competition: download the A4 poster (PDF)