Prizes Commemorative of National and Local Occasions
These have stimulated public interest and directed attention to promising writers. One major set of prizes is that associated with the National Centennial celebrations in 1940. First prize in the essay section went to M. H. Holcroft for The Deepening Stream; first prize for a short story went to Frank Sargeson (The Making of a New Zealander) and E. Midgeley. J. R. Hervey won the poetry prize: no first prize was awarded in drama. In the novel section, only one entry later achieved publication, Beryl McCarthy's Castles in the Soil, a third prize winner. Prize money ranged from £150 (the novel) to 20 (poetry).
Some of the Provincial Centennial celebrations subsequent to 1940 also provided literary awards. In 1948, to mark the centenary of Otago, the Otago Daily Times offered a prize of £200 for a work on a New Zealand historical theme. It was won by Georgina McDonald with the novel Grand Hills for Sheep. In 1950 the Canterbury Centennial Association conducted competitions for a one-act play, a radio play, a short story, an essay, and a poem, prizes being in all cases 30 guineas. In 1956 the Southland Provincial Centennial was marked by a competition for an unpublished play, the prize being local production plus £200. It was won by Dorothy Mary Black; Stella Jones's The Tree was placed second.
In 1960–61, the city of Wellington offered prizes as a feature of its festival. £100 was offered for an unpublished short story with a New Zealand background, £50 for a poem or sequence of poems. The winners were Maurice Shadbolt and Fleur Campbell.