Unveiling the Prepper Subculture: Celebrating Dr Tom Doig's CLNZ/NZSA Writers' Award

6 October 2023

Congratulations to the School's Dr Tom Doig, an award winning author of creative non-fiction, an accomplished investigative journalist, and a dedicated scholar. He has recently received the prestigious 2023 Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) and The New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Writers’ Award, valued at $25,000, in recognition of his outstanding project, tentatively titled 'We Are All Preppers Now: Kiwis Making Plans for the End of the World.'

Speaking of his work Tom says, “I’ve been researching and writing about prepper subcultures in Aotearoa New Zealand since late 2019 – nearly four years now. I find the subject endlessly fascinating: every person I speak to or hang out with teaches me something new, or leaves me with a fiendishly difficult question to ponder. Preppers aren’t “crazies”, and prepping isn’t a joke; it’s a sincere, complicated response to taking an unflinching look at the threats to society, whenua and taiao in our collective future."

"This is the third time I have applied for this award! It just goes to show: hang in there, “try and try again”, all that good stuff. Ngā mihi nui to CLNZ, NZSA and the judging panel for recognising my mahi, and giving me the chance to go hard on the manuscript in 2024. Kia ora!

The CLNZ / NZSA Writers’ Award is one of the annual investments made through the CLNZ Cultural Fund and is open to writers of any genre of non-fiction, including writers of education material. The award enables the successful applicant to devote time to a specific writing project.  

The judging panel of Dr Vanda Symon (convenor), Nic Low, and Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod commented on the 'rich array of projects across many topics. The judge’s decision was difficult in the face of so many quality applications that would add to our understanding and knowledge of New Zealand, it’s history and its environment.' 

Vanda Symon described Tom's proposal as, "a very timely and topical project in a world affected by a pandemic and climate change. It provides a balanced range of views and motivations from a Māori perspective to sustainability, to climate activism, to everyday people concerned about supply of essentials during a crisis. This is a book all New Zealanders could benefit from."

While Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod said that, "Tom's writing is enveloping, bringing the reader into the real fear and pessimism that drives people towards a prepper mentality. He has shown a commitment to writing about climate issues and an ability to deliver books. His publisher is based in Australia, and we hope this award will encourage the publisher to have a proactive Aotearoa book promotion campaign. I personally hope that through books like this one, those who are able to make decisions for our world will take the actions needed to provide a future which is better than the one preppers envisage."

The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ) Inc. was established in 1934 and is the principal organisation representing and advocating for writers’ interests in NZ. A national office supports branches and hubs, administers prizes and awards, offers contract advice and runs professional development programmes among other activities. NZSA works across the sector with other organisations to increase the visibility of NZ writing. authors.org.nz