Smart Alex: Creative-writing competition for secondary school students

Smart Alex – who was he?
Over a hundred years ago in Aotearoa New Zealand, a smart hipster-looking gentleman called Alexander Turnbull – known to his family as Alex – loved collecting stuff: art, artefacts, clothes, coins, maps, photographs and books – especially books about New Zealand and the Pacific. He bought his first book at 17, and didn’t stop. He wasn’t a hoarder, he was a book-hunter, and his passion for collecting books about us turned into something quite extraordinary. When he died, Alexander Turnbull gifted his collection (including 55,000 books!) to New Zealand. That gift became the basis for New Zealand’s largest documentary heritage library, the Alexander Turnbull Library (ATL) and was seen as, “the most generous bequest to the people of New Zealand ever made by a New Zealander”.

Thanks to Alex’s gift one-hundred years ago, New Zealanders today are smarter and more informed about their heritage.

For more information about Alexander Turnbull himself, see his biography in Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of NZ, the Friends of Turnbull Library website, or the Alexander Turnbull Library website.



Winners in the two categories will be announced on 14 September 2018 (which also happens to be Alex’s 150th birthday). 

Years 9-10
: $500
Runner-up: $200

The winner’s school library will receive a $150 book token.

Years 11-13
: $1,000
Runner-up: $300

The two winners’ school libraries will receive a $150 book token.

Students with highly commended entries will receive a certificate and a book token worth $50.