University of Otago history academic Angela Wanhalla was
''just overwhelmed'' when she recently learned she had won
Australia's leading prize for history writing, the Ernest
Dr Wanhalla's book Matters of the Heart: A History of
Interracial Marriage in New Zealand won the prize.
This 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 colonisation.
Dr Wanhalla is only the second Dunedin resident to have
gained the prize, and also becomes a member of an elite group
of about half a dozen New Zealanders, including historian
Anne Salmond, to have received it.
Philip Temple, the novelist, historian and former Otago
University Burns Fellow, became the first Dunedin resident to
win the prize with A Sort of Conscience: The
Wakefields in 2003.
Otago history and art history department head Tony Ballantyne
was short-listed for the award last year, with his book
Webs of Empire.
Dr Wanhalla was recently awarded the prize at the Australian
Historical Association conference in Brisbane for what the
judges termed a ''ground-breaking study of interracial
relationships'' in New Zealand.
The prize is worth about $13,000.
Dr Wanhalla, who joined the Otago department in 2005, felt
''extremely honoured'' to gain the prize and to join such an
illustrious list of past winners.
She thanked the many people who had supported her research,
particularly her Otago departmental colleagues, and the Royal
Society of New Zealand, which had funded he work.
She also praised Auckland University Press for ''producing
such a beautiful book''.
And she paid tribute to her parents, the late Stan Wanhalla,
who was of Ngai Tahu ancestry, and her mother, Coralie
Wanhalla (nee Noonan), who had been ''the inspiration'' for