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Winners of writing competition announced

20 October 2021

An elegiac essay about the changes seen in the Auckland neighbourhood of Westmere over the past 30 years has won the top prize in the Warren Trust Awards for Architecture Writing.

Celia Mahon-Heap won the Open category of the competition, which was themed around the subject of homes and whare, kāinga and communities, with her essay 'A long rope ties me to home'. 

The runner-up in this category, which is open to anyone over the age of 18, was Lydia Chai, who wrote about her experience of living in Waikohanga House on Auckland's Symonds Street. 

In the Rangatahi category, the winner was Western Springs College student Alice d'Andrea, whose story 'Still home' recalled the feeling of revisiting a childhood home.

The Rangatahi runner-up was Catholic Cathedral College student Waiata Carter, who wrote a thought-provoking piece about her experience of living in a bus. 

In the Tamariki category, which was newly introduced for this year's awards, the winner was Balmoral Intermediate student Sophia Mangham, whose story 'The villa' was a beautiful recollection of a heritage home. 

The Tamariki runner-up was Richmond Road School student Penelope Petersen-McNeil, whose story 'My dream home' was an interesting insight into apartment living, contrasted with the writer's hopes for her future home. 

The 2021 competition judges were writer, architectural designer and director at Matakohe Design and Urbanism Jade Kake (Ngāti Hau, Te Parawhau, Ngāpuhi, Te Whakatōhea,Te Arawa), NZ Herald columnist and journalist at Re: news Teuila Fuatai, and award-winning journalist and broadcaster Jack Tame.

The winners in each of our categories receive cash prizes, and the runners-up receive book tokens.

This year's awards

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. 

This year’s competition admitted more different types of writing, and we received entries that ranged from poetry and fiction to comics, creative non-fiction and humour.

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 will be syndicated to external media partners.

Read past years' winning essays in our Awards section.

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