NZSA–Auckland Museum Research Grant + Residency

Terms & Conditions


Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira (AM), in association with the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA), is offering a Research Grant + Residency (hereafter “the Grant”) to provide assistance to writers wishing to undertake research for a writing project.

Aim of the Grant

The Grant gives the recipient the opportunity to develop a written project utilising the facilities and resources of the Auckland War Memorial Museum Library Te Pātaka Mātāpuna (hereafter “the Library”). The Grant is open to fiction, non-fiction and academic writers alike.

Key dates

  • Applications open 16 October 2020
  • Applications close 4pm, 31 January 2021. Applications must be submitted by this deadline.
  • Recipients announced March 2021
  • Research must be completed before 31 March 2022


The Grant offers a stipend of $5,000 and is open to any current NZSA member.

Four weeks’ funded accommodation at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Auckland is offered in addition to the stipend.  It can be taken in two blocks of two weeks.

Research must take place at the Library. The Library offers recipients reasonable copying facilities free of charge for the duration of the Grant, as well as guided access to the Documentary Heritage collections.

Auckland Museum Institute membership

The recipient will receive a one-year membership to the Auckland Museum Institute, valued at $50. Benefits of membership include:

  • Exclusive members-only behind-the-scenes experiences and in-depth field trips
  • One free guided highlights tour of the Museum for up to two people
  • A 10% discount at the AM Shop
  • Special member pricing for selected AM events, including LATE and Fazioli seasons
  • Access to our stimulating annual lecture series that includes renowned speakers from New Zealand and around the world
  • A seasonal What’s On guide posted to you quarterly, with regular eNewsletter updates throughout the year
  • A connection with the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi

About the Library

The Auckland War Memorial Museum Library Te Pātaka Mātāpuna is one of New Zealand’s four major research libraries. Its Documentary Heritage collections comprise manuscripts, ephemera, maps, charts and plans, newspapers and periodicals, rare and contemporary books and pamphlets, photographs, and works of art in the form of paintings, bookplates, and sketches and drawings. The Museum’s own business and research archives are housed alongside these.

In terms of content, there is, for example, an overarching emphasis on the commercial and social history of the Auckland province and te ao Māori; an impressive collection of botanical books; academic and general-interest works to do with the natural sciences, as well as a wealth of material covering subjects as varied as applied arts and design, ethnology and human history, and, of course, military history. We have a strong collection of material relating to missions and the establishment of Christianity in the South Pacific.

Chief among our rare-book holdings are publications relating to early European voyaging and travel particularly in the Pacific; one gem is a copy of Alexander Shaw’s book of tapa cloth specimens collected during Cook’s voyages.  We also have a large and important collection of Pacific-language and te reo Māori material such as the only known extant copy of Thomas Kendall’s A korao no New Zealand; or, the New Zealander’s first book, published at Sydney in 1815; and a significant collection of rare Pacific and early Auckland newspapers.

The pictorial collection, which acts as a survey of photographic techniques, contains the works of (amongst others), Robin Morrison, and the Warkworth-based Tudor Collins. Commercial archives of operations such as the Auckland Star and Sparrow Industrial Pictures are also represented.

The Library’s catalogue is available at

Auckland Museum Research Themes

Auckland Museum has identified six research themes that will be our focus over the next five years. The themes are built on our existing research strengths, expertise and collections. Applicants should briefly describe how your research will align with the research themes of Auckland Museum.

Tāmaki Makaurau

Auckland is a unique, rapidly growing and evolving city – home to a diverse population that makes up an increasingly large proportion of New Zealand’s population. This theme weaves together a focus on both natural history and indigenous socio-cultural histories encompassing study on contemporary Auckland communities; landscapes and infrastructure; the development and context of applied arts; our archaeological heritage; stories of significant Aucklanders; and on the ecology and diversity of Auckland’s natural environment, and the past and present health and well-being of Aucklanders.


New Zealand’s long isolation has resulted in a unique biodiversity. Research into biodiversity, taxonomy and biosystematics will aid future conservation of our unique and diverse species, and will help to understand the influences of introduced species. Research into the origins and evolution of New Zealand’s landscapes, flora and fauna is an opportunity to understand significant biogeographic relationships. This includes biodiversity within the Auckland region and its relationship to the upper North Island and the regional Pacific area.

An additional important focus is documenting how and why biodiversity has changed over time as a result of both natural and human-induced changes. Mātauranga Māori will be an important component of this research, with a focus on interweaving a cultural dimension with our natural history collections and combining scientific knowledge with indigenous practices and systems.

Human Impacts

The impacts of humans on the environment are broad and accelerating, which suggests we are now within the Anthropocene – a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth. The aim of this area of research is to undertake studies into the impacts of humans on the composition of landscapes, flora and fauna, and the changes in distribution of species as a result of human–induced impacts within the Auckland region and historical Auckland province.

New Zealand in Conflict and in Peace

The experiences of war and the impact of war on people and society an important focus for Auckland Museum. The research in this area will be directed towards understanding the relationships between war, conflict and peace on New Zealand society and how this has shaped its identity, focusing on the Auckland region and historical Auckland province. This will expand our understanding of the New Zealand Land Wars; the material culture of war; peace and peace-making; and the changing nature of commemoration, reflection and remembrance.

Aotearoa New Zealand: Evolving identities

In 2018, Aotearoa New Zealand has a diverse population, resulting from many different stories of migration and identity. This diversity is particularly evident within the Auckland region. Issues such as identity, social relations and social context will be explored, along with how objects are used to understand the past, their meaning and how they influence current cultural perceptions. This theme will encompass research into the human population of Aotearoa New Zealand, focusing primarily on the Auckland region, and how this has influenced the evolution of identities, cultures, lifestyles and everyday experiences of contemporary New Zealanders, at home, at work and in the community.

Indigenous Cultures and Knowledge Systems

Auckland Museum’s collections and research methodologies contain significant Māori and Pacific taonga. The interpretations of these items are strengthened and informed through indigenous culture and knowledge systems. The research focus of this theme will be on the incorporation and inclusion of indigenous knowledge systems into research, as well as the research that enriches our understanding of the indigenous cultures that Auckland Museum serves – particularly focusing on Māori and Pacific. We will also investigate contemporary expressions of indigenous culture, including how these have been shaped by acculturation processes.

Eligibility criteria

  1. Applications are open to writers of fiction, non-fiction, creative non-fiction, biography, memoir and history. Children’s writers may apply; however the grants are not available to picture-book texts. Self-published projects are also eligible.
  2. Applicants must demonstrate how their proposed project will best utilise the facilities and resources of the Library. For further details, visit com/discover/library
  3. Applicants must be New Zealand citizens OR have a New Zealand Permanent Residence Certificate.
  4. Research into the Sir John Logan Campbell Archive requires the agreement of the Cornwall Park Trust Board. We recommend applicants seek agreement of the Board prior to making their applications.
  5. Applicants must be current members of the NZSA.
  6. Applications must be received by 31 January 2021.

Conditions of acceptance

  1. Successful recipients of the NZSA Auckland Museum Research Grants + Residency must use the Grant for research at the Auckland Museum Library within 12 months of being awarded the Grant.
  2. Recipients must produce a report on the progress of their project and send it to the NZSA within 18 months of being awarded the Grant.
  3. Accommodation support for the Grant is available only at The Michael King Writers’ Centre, Signalman’s House, Takarunga, Mt. Victoria, Devonport, Auckland.
    1. If the Grant recipient does not stay at the Michael King Writers’ Centre, the accommodation support will be forfeited.
    2. The recipient should liaise directly with the Michael King Writers’ Centre regarding booking details immediately after being awarded the Grant. This residency may be taken in two 2-week blocks or as a single 4-week block and must be completed within 12 months of being awarded the grant.
    3. Booking as early as possible is recommended in order to get your preferred dates. Contact Jan McEwen, ph. 09 445 8451, email, and see for more information.
  4. Successful recipients must invoice Auckland Museum for the amount of the Grant.
  5. If GST-registered, the applicant must provide an invoice stating their registration number, and GST will be added to the amount of the Grant.
  6. Recipients must notify NZSA and AM about relevant future publications produced (or competition success) as a result of the Grant. The Grant must be acknowledged in any relevant future publication produced using output generated under the auspices of the Grant.
  7. All personal information will be collected, stored and used by the NZSA and Auckland Museum in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993. These companies may use entrants’ personal information supplied in entries to conduct this competition. Entrants have the right to access, and request correction of, any personal information held.

Judging criteria

The main purpose of the Grant is to provide an opportunity for writers to utilise the resources and facilities available at the Auckland Museum Library to advance a project in development.

Judges will consider the following:

  • How the research will benefit and advance the project.
  • How the applicant plans to utilise the Auckland Museum Library.
  • That examples of writing demonstrate a high standard.
  • That the project is well thought through, with realistic timelines.
  • That the synopsis is well-written, accurate and engaging.
  • How the work aligns with or connects to the Auckland Museum research themes.
  • That the project and writer would clearly benefit from access to the resources available at the Library.
  • That the writer demonstrates commitment to completing the project within the stated timeframe and has a planned publication approach.
  • That the writer can identify the social, cultural, academic and or literary value of the proposed research and any publication that might result from it.

If, in the opinion of the judging panel, no application is worthy of a Grant, no Grant will be awarded. The decision of the judging panel is final; no correspondence will be entered into.

The eligibility and judging criteria, and terms and conditions of entry and acceptance are final and non-negotiable.

How to apply

Applications need to be completed using the online application form on the NZSA website.

Entry validation

To be valid, a completed application form must include:

  • Synopsis of the project (no more than 300 words)
  • A sample of writing from the proposed work (no more than 5 pages). If a sample of an alternative work is offered instead, it must be written in a style similar to that proposed for the project
  • The writing sample should be A4, with wide margins and 1.5 to 2 line spacing
  • A curriculum vitae with a list of main published works (no more than 3 pages)

Application fee

An application fee of $25 must be paid. Please make cheques payable to The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc.). Internet banking: BNZ account 020112 0045385 00. Please put your name and “Museum Grant” in the reference.


These documents explain the conditions for using the Library’s collections, and for ordering images of objects in the Museum’s collections.

If you would like further information about the NZSA Auckland Museum Research Grant + Residency contact Claire Hill, Programmes + Operations Manager at