2015 Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize

Winner of 2015 Science Book Prize

The 2015 Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize has been won by Tangata Whenua: an Illustrated History by Atholl Anderson FRSNZ, the late Dame Judith Binney FRSNZ and Aroha Harris, published by Bridget Williams Books.

Tangata Whenua: an Illustrated History by Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney and Aroha Harris

Judges comments

The winning book brings together physical sciences, social sciences and the humanities in a dazzling work of scholarship.

Tangata Whenua draws on archaeology, anthropology, ethnography,  paleoecology, genetics and climate science, as well as history, to tell the stories of the Māori people, their origins, their journeys to find this country and their stories in Aotearoa New Zealand.

This beautifully published book has broad public appeal and will be read widely by New Zealanders keen to discover who we are and where we come from.

Shortlist for 2015 Science Book Prize

The other titles shortlisted for the 2015 Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize were:

The Wandering Mind: What the Brain Does When You’re Not Looking by Michael Corballis


Judges comments

Neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary biology are helping scientists to learn more about our brains. In this scientifically rigorous and quietly humorous book, Michael Corballis, one of the leaders in this field, explores what happens in our brains and to our minds when we are not paying attention. He takes us on a meandering and enlightening exploration of our wandering minds.

Gathering Evidence by Caoilinn Hughes

Judges comments


From Johannes Kepler to Marie Curie, and from genetics to nuclear physics: in this book, which is rich with scientific themes, scientific words and phrases become poetry. Caoilinn Hughes gives readers new and unexpected perspectives on science in her lively and powerful poems that explore and communicate science with an emotional intensity that makes for a memorable read.

Dolphins of Aotearoa: Living with New Zealand Dolphins by Raewyn Peart

Judges comments


New Zealand’s five resident dolphin species are among the most-loved and cherished of our native fauna. In this beautifully produced book, Raewyn Peart goes beyond the traditional illustrated natural history book to tell a scientifically-grounded, moving and engaging story of the relationship between humans and dolphins in New Zealand.

Manuka: the Biography of an Extraordinary Honey by Cliff Van Eaton

Judges comments

Manuka Honey_Cover

Manuka honey is a uniquely New Zealand product, valued here and internationally for its rich taste and therapeutic properties. In this delightful and surprising book Cliff Van Eaton tells the captivating story of the science behind the discovery of the antibiotic effects of manuka honey, with a focus on the scientists and beekeepers who have brought this product to the world.

About the 2015 Science Book Prize

This award was open to all books by New Zealand authors published in 2013 and 2014 which communicate scientific concepts in an interesting and readable way for a general audience.

The prize

The winning authors were announced by science writer Philip Ball at the Auckland Writers Festival on 15 May 2015 and received a cash prize of $5,000.

The judging panel

  • Emeritus Professor Jean Fleming CRSNZ, University of Otago
  • Emeritus Professor Ken Strongman FRSNZ, University of Canterbury
  • Dr Rebecca Priestley, Victoria University of Wellington

Browse assorted entries and winners of the Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize.