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American Libraries' Association Notable Book - Jellybean


Choysa/QE11 Arts Council Bursary for Children's Writers


NZ Children's Book of the Year - Alex

NZ Library Association Esther Glen Medal - Alex

American Libraries Association Notable Book (Young Adult list)
- In Lane Three, Alex Archer (American title of Alex)


QE 11 Arts Council Travel Grant, for American convention of International Reading Association, New Orleans/research in Italy.

AIM Children's Book of the Year - Alex in Winter

NZ Library Association Esther Glen Medal - Alex in Winter


New Zealand Commemorative Medal

Queen Elizabeth 11 Arts Council Special Writing bursary


First Writer-in-Residence at University of Waikato, Hamilton


AIM Children’s Book of the Year - Alessandra - Alex in Rome

NZ Library Association Esther Glen Medal - Alessandra - Alex in Rome


AIM Children's Book of the Year (Senior Fiction) - Songs for Alex

LIANZA Esther Glen Medal - third - Songs for Alex

Australia-New Zealand Literary Exchange Fellow - 4-week promotional tour
of eight Australian cities


AIM Children's Book of the Year (Non-Fiction award) shortlisted - The Making of Alex: the Movie

O.B.E. in New Year's Honours List


Margaret Mahy Medal - NZ Children's Book Foundation award for a distinguished contribution to children's literature


NZ Post Senior Fiction Award - The Tiggie Tompson Show (Penguin)


LIANZA Russell Clark Award to illustrator Anton Petrov for A Book of Pacific Lullabies, edited by Tessa Duder

Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship, 2003, awarded November 2002


Gaelyn Gordon Award

Night Race to Kawau (Oxford University Press, 1982, currently Puffin) was the 2005 winner of the prestigious Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-Loved book given by Storylines: Children's Literature Foundation of New Zealand.

The award, much prized by authors, goes annually to a book which did not win a New Zealand award at the time of publication but has proved itself with children and the market place by remaining in print for more than five years. Night Race to Kawau has remained in print for 25 years so far, mostly as a paperback with Penguin New Zealand. Previous winners include Elsie Locke, Joy Watson, Pamela Allen, David Hill and Betty and Alan Gilderdale.


Artists to Antarctica Fellowship. 

This fellowship is made annually to two artists from all disciplines (writers, painters, musicians etc) to visit Scott Base and environs for two weeks during early summer.

It is sponsored jointly by Antarctica New Zealand and Creative New Zealand. Applicants submit outlines of proposed work, and require medical clearance to travel. 

Other writers since the instigation of regular awards in 1997 have been Margaret Mahy, Steve Braunias, poets Bill Manhire, Chris Orsman, Bernadette Hall,  and novelist Lawrence Fearnley.


Honorary Doctorate, University of Waikato. 

This award, for Tessa’s contribution over 30 years to literature, youth and the community, was conferred by the Chancellor of Waikato University, the Rt Hon Jim Bolger and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Roy Crawford, at a graduation ceremony at the Founders Theatre, Hamilton.


Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit

For services to literature in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours.


2020 Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement (Fiction)

Presented by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a delayed ceremony at Premier House, Wellington, in March 2021. 

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