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Bert Roth Award

The Bert Roth Award for Labour History is presented annually by the Labour History Project.  It is awarded to the work that best depicts the history of work and resistance in New Zealand published in the previous calendar year. It is named for the late historian Bert Roth.

The cover of Rebecca Macfie's Tragedy at Pike River Mine, text in red and black,. Background image is a background image of smoke coming out of the mine
The Tragedy at Pike River was the inaugural winner of the Bert Roth Award

We take a broad perspective on the definition of labour history, including non-paid work, and pose the following questions:

  • How well does the work reveal exploitation and people’s efforts to challenge exploitation?
  • Does it give voice to those whose histories remain out of view or marginal to mainstream history?
  • Is it well written or presented and is the work accessible to the public?

The committee put together a short-list as well as a winner, and the Bert Roth award reports provide an excellent starting point to vibrant and exciting recent works of Labour History.

  • The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey wins 2022 Bert Roth Award
    The Bert Roth Award for Labour History, named for the late historian Herbert Roth is presented annually by the Labour History Project.  It is awarded to the work that best depicts the history of work and resistance in New Zealand published in the previous calendar year. We take a broad perspective on the definition of labour history, including non-paid work, and pose the following questions: How well does the work reveal exploitation and people’s efforts to challenge exploitation? Does it give voice to those whose histories remain out of view or marginal to mainstream history? Is it well written or… Read More »The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey wins 2022 Bert Roth Award
  • 2022 Bert Roth Award Short List
    The Labour History Project is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2022 Bert Roth Award. The Bert Roth Award is presented annually to the work that best depicts the history of work and resistance in Aotearoa/New Zealand. It is named for the late historian Bert Roth. This was a particularly strong year and we’re excited by the quality of the shortlist. Elinor Chisholm, ‘”Come Quickly! The Bailiffs Are In!”: Resistance to Eviction During the Depression in New Zealand’, New Zealand Journal of History, 55(2), 2021, pp. 32-50.  Brad Flahive & Alex Liu, Once a Panther, Podcast, 2021.  Morgan Godfery, ‘In Kawerau one thing… Read More »2022 Bert Roth Award Short List
  • Tooth and Veil wins 2021 Bert Roth Award
    The Bert Roth Award for Labour History, named for the late historian Herbert Roth is presented annually by the Labour History Project.  It is awarded to the work that best depicts the history of work and resistance in New Zealand published in the previous calendar year. We take a broad perspective on the definition of labour history, including non-paid work, and pose the following questions: How well does the work reveal exploitation and people’s efforts to challenge exploitation? Does it give voice to those whose histories remain out of view or marginal to mainstream history? Is it well written or… Read More »Tooth and Veil wins 2021 Bert Roth Award
  • Dead Letters wins 2020 Bert Roth Award
    The Bert Roth Award for Labour History, named for the late historian Herbert Roth, is presented annually by the Labour History Project. It is awarded to the work that best depicts the history of work and resistance in New Zealand published in the previous calendar year. We take a broad perspective on the definition of labour history, including non-paid labour, and pose the following questions: How well does the work reveal exploitation and people’s efforts to challenge exploitation?  Does it give voice to those whose histories remain out of view or marginal to mainstream history? Is it well written or… Read More »Dead Letters wins 2020 Bert Roth Award
  • ‘Crew Cultures in the Tasman World’ wins 2019 Bert Roth Award
    The Bert Roth award, named for the late historian, is presented annually by the Labour History Project to the work that best depicts the history of work and resistance in New Zealand. The year 2018 was a strong year for labour history in New Zealand. As the shortlist below shows, the history of work and of struggles against exploitation by individuals and movements shows up in a diverse range of publications, innovative uses of social media, novels and film. From whalers in the 1830s Tasman evading and resisting authority to sex workers in the present fighting for decriminalisation, the shortlist… Read More »‘Crew Cultures in the Tasman World’ wins 2019 Bert Roth Award
  • A Striking Truth Wins 2018 Bert Roth Award
    The Labour History Project awards the Bert Roth Award for labour history work – an event, a publication, a film, an article or, conceivably, a sustained body of work over a long period of time – produced in the previous calendar year. We take a broad perspective on the definition of labour history, including non-paid labour, and pose the following questions: How well does the work reveal exploitation and people’s efforts to challenge exploitation?  Does it give voice to those whose histories remain out of view or marginal to mainstream history? Is it well written or presented and is the… Read More »A Striking Truth Wins 2018 Bert Roth Award
  • ‘Poi E: The Story of our Song’ wins 2017 Bert Roth Award
    Each year the LHP gives out the Bert Roth Award to the best work in labour history.  The award was given at our AGM. We highly recommend all the works on the short-list to our members and everyone interested in Labour History. This year’s Bert Roth Award short list shows the strengths of New Zealand labour history.  Over the last twelve months people have written books, directed movies, acted in plays and undertaken theses that explore the history of work and resistance in New Zealand.  The time periods depicted range from 1830 to the present day and describe the lives of… Read More »‘Poi E: The Story of our Song’ wins 2017 Bert Roth Award
  • Panguru and the City: Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua wins 2016 Bert Roth Award
    The 2016 Bert Roth award was announced at our AGM; the judges’ report shows the strength of Labour History in New Zealand today. We awarded the prize to Melissa Williams. Ranginui Walker described Melissa Matutina Williams’ book: Panguru and the City Kainga Tahi, Kainga Rua as a revelation, and we at LHP agree.  Through oral histories, Williams presents the stories of Te Rarawa ki Hokianga whanau who migrated from Panguru to Auckland city in the post-World War Two decades.  Panguru people speak to how they developed new home-places to ‘be Māori’ in the city – first the inner-city and then state housing… Read More »Panguru and the City: Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua wins 2016 Bert Roth Award
  • ‘New Zealand’s ‘Critics of Empire’ wins 2015 Bert Roth Award
    The committee used the same criteria as last year: How well does the work reveal exploitation and people’s efforts to challenge exploitation?  Does it give voice to those whose histories remain out of view or marginal to mainstream history? Is it well written or presented and is the work accessible to the public? One of the pleasures of the shortlist is that many of the creators may not have seen themselves as writing labour history.  Work and struggle over work are present in many different kinds of history. These works draw connections across time and place. While several of the… Read More »‘New Zealand’s ‘Critics of Empire’ wins 2015 Bert Roth Award
  • Tragedy at Pike River Mine wins 2014 inaugural Bert Roth Award
    In 2014, the Labour History Project has awarded the first Bert Roth Award for best work in New Zealand Labour History. Nominations for the Bert Roth award includes any contribution to field of labour history in the 2013 calendar year – an event, a publication, a film, an article or, conceivably, a sustained body of work over a long period of time. We took a broad perspective on the definition of labour history, including non-paid labour as part of our understanding of what could be nominated. There was a wealth of labour history produced in many forms in 2013, which… Read More »Tragedy at Pike River Mine wins 2014 inaugural Bert Roth Award