Shaw, Tina

Shaw, Tina

In Brief

Tina Shaw is a novelist, short story writer and editor. Most of Shaw’s novels are aimed at adults, though she has also written fiction for children and young adults. She has edited a number of significant collections of New Zealand writing, and her stories have appeared in magazines and teenage anthologies, and have been broadcast on radio. Shaw has received many awards for her work, including the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers Residency.


Shaw, Tina (1961– ), born in Auckland, spent her early years in Matangi, near Hamilton, and Christchurch, before returning to Auckland. She won the Newcomer’s Award in the 1991 Mobil Dominion Sunday Times short story competition, and other stories have appeared in magazines and teenage anthologies, and have been broadcast on radio. Her first novel, Birdie (1996), won praise, particularly for its dynamic portrayal of an alienated young woman working in an Auckland strip club. Her second was Dreams of America (1997).


City of Reeds (2000) tells of three sisters growing up in small town New Zealand. Their mother, dissatisfied with a husband traumatised by service in Vietnam, runs off with a local accountant - and the family savings. The girls are left to deal with the consequences in the claustrophobic confines of a small community.

In a Listener review of City Of Reeds, Heather Murray wrote: 'Dreams Of America showed that she was not a one-novel wonder, and her latest, City of Reeds, consolidates her right to be called a major literary talent'.

Tina Shaw edited A Passion for Travel (1998), a collection of travel writing by New Zealanders. In 1999 she was a Buddle Finlay Sargeson Fellow and in 2001 received the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers Residency.

Shaw's fourth book Paradise (2002) explores the ripple effects of terrorism and the elusive search for utopia. Margie Thomson, in a NZ Herald review of Paradise, called it '...a captivating contemporary allegory about our bid for absolute dominance of the planet, and of sciences infatuation with extending life at all costs'.

In 2003, Shaw was runner-up in the Sunday Star Times Short Story Competition with, 'Coarse Fishing'.

Shaw was the 2005 Writer In Residence at the University of Waikato. Her fifth novel, The Black Madonna, was published in 2005 by Penguin.

Brenda's Planetary Holiday (2006), was published by Puffin. This was her first novel for children followed by Fluff Helps Out (Puffin, 2006). Shaw, with Jack Ross, edited the anthology Myths of the 21st Century (Reed, 2006). Her short story Julia appears in The Best of New Zealand Fiction, Volume Three (Vintage, 2006).

Into the Hinterland (2008) was published by Pearson Education, as part of the 'Nitty Gritty' series. Dogs of the Hinterland (Pearson Education, 2008) is the sequel to Into the Hinterland (2008). Koevasi (2008) was also published by Pearson Education, this time as part of the 'Mainsails' series.

About Griffen’s Heart (Longacre, 2009) is Shaw’s first novel for young adults, and narrates the story of a teenage boy who is waiting for life-saving heart surgery. The work was listed as a 2010 Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book. It was also on the 2010 shortlist for the LIANZA Children's Book Awards.

The 6th edition of the Bateman New Zealand Writer's Handbook by Tina Shaw was released by Bateman Publishing (2013). The classic guide for writers has been revised and updated by Shaw to bring it up to the moment and it offers advice on a myriad of useful subjects.

Tina Shaw's sixth work of fiction, The Children's Pond (Pointer Press Ltd, 2014), is a contemporary crime novel and the first to be set in Turangi, New Zealand. The Children's Pond was shortlisted for the 2015 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel.

Last updated April 2016.


Updated January 2017.