Angela Wanhalla wins Australiasia’s most prestigous History award, the Ernest Scott Prize

18 July 2014
Matters of the Heart cover image

Congratulations to historian Dr Angela Wanhalla who has won Australiasia’s most prestigous History award, the Ernest Scott Prize, for her groundbreaking history of interracial relationships in New Zealand. Matters of the Heart reveals much about how Māori and Pākehā have lived together in this country and our changing attitudes to race, marriage and intimacy.


The Ernest Scott prize, worth approximately $13,000, is given annually to the book judged to be the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonization. It was awarded last night at the Australian Historical Association Conference in Brisbane.


Dr Angela Wanhalla, who teaches at the University of Otago, won the prize for her groundbreaking study of interracial relationships in New Zealand. On hearing the news Dr Wanhalla responded, “I feel extremely honoured to be awarded the Ernest Scott Prize and to join such an illustrious list of past winners. While this is an individual award, I wish to acknowledge and thank the many people who supported my research, particularly my colleagues in the Department of History at the University of Otago, the Royal Society of New Zealand, which funded my work, and Auckland University Press for producing such a beautiful book. I also wish to acknowledge my family, particularly my parents who were the inspiration for Matters of the Heart so I thank the judges of the Ernest Scott Prize for honouring them, as well as the many other couples who feature in the book, in this way.”


Judges Professor Paula Hamilton from the University of Technology, Sydney, and Professor Tom Brooking from the University of Otago described Dr Wanhalla’s book as a ‘study of intimacy [that] makes an important contribution to overturning simplistic paradigms of race relations on the frontier and beyond.’ The judges also commended the ‘beautifully written, clearly structured’ book and praised Wanhalla for wearing ‘her extensive scholarship lightly so the reader has the pleasure of reading fascinating personal stories combined with sharp analysis.”