The McGuinness Institute is delighted to announce the winners of the Nation Voices essay competition.
The topic for the essay competition was: What makes a good prime minister of New Zealand? The essays were to focus particularly on the character, personality and skills that make for a good prime minister of New Zealand.


The winning essay was written by Martin Holmes. As the author of the winning essay, Martin will receive a $500 cash prize, have his essay published in the upcoming book titled Nation Voices and receive an all-expenses paid trip to Wellington to attend the book launch.

Second equal runners-up were Brad Olsen and Paul Winter. They will each receive a $200 cash prize.

The essays were judged by Dame Dr Claudia Orange – author and Head of Research at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; Dr Bernard Cadogan – author, Oxford educated policy consultant, political philosopher, historian and poet; and Wendy McGuinness – author and Chief Executive of the McGuinness Institute.

The three unedited essays are published on our Nation Voices website.

Thank you to all of the entrants for their hard work; the standard was high and the essays were a pleasure to read. We look forward to sharing them with the public.

More about Nation Voices
Nation Voices is a McGuinness Institute project that aims to explore what makes a good prime minister of New Zealand. One of the outputs of the project will be a book that will use the lens of character and oratory to examine our nation’s 40 premiers and prime ministers. This book, which will be published late 2016, will be a companion to Nation Dates: Significant dates that have shaped the nation of New Zealand (our signature book). For more details see