Michael Te Arawa Bennett

Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao

1964 -

Michael Te Arawa Bennett was awarded 'Best first novel' in the Ngaio Marsh 2023 Awards with his novel "Better the Blood." He is 'an award-winning New Zealand screenwriter and author whose films have been selected for numerous festivals including annes, Berlin, Toronto and New York. In 2008 Michael was the inaugural recipient of the Writers Award from the New Zealand Film Commission, and in 2005 he ws awarded the British Council/New Zealand Writers Foundation Award. In 2011 Michael's feature film Matariki won Best Feature Film Screenplay at the New Zealand Screenwriting Awards, and in 2013 his documentary on the Teina Pora case, The Confessions of Prisoner T, was awarded Best Documentary Screenplay. He went on to publish In Dark Places in 2016, which won Best non-Fiction Book at the Ngaio Marsh Awards and Best Biography/History at the Ngā Kupu Ora Awards 2017. In 2019 his graphic novel Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas, a collaboration with acclaimed artist Ang Sang, received an intrnational White Raven Award. Michael lives in Auckland, New Zealand, and is Head of Screenwriting at South Seas Film School.'

Biographical sources

  • https://www.penguin.co.nz/authors/michael-bennett


  • In Dark Places, 2016
  • This publication won the Best Non-Fiction Book award at the Ngaio Marsh 2016 Awards and Best Biography/History at the Ngā Kupu Ora Awards in 2017.
  • "TV co-creators Michael and Matariki Bennett on whānau, fantasy and the art of letting go." The Spinoff, 4 April, 2022. https://thespinoff.co.nz/pop-culture/04-04-2022/tv-co-creators-Michael-and-Matariki-Bennett-on-whānau,-fantasy-and-the-art-of-letting-go.
  • Michael and Matariki Bennett are the guest writers for this article.
  • Other

  • Matariki.
  • This feature film won Best Feature Film Screenplay in the New Zealand Screenwriting Awards of 2011.
  • The Confessions of Prisoner T.
  • A documentary on Teina Pora's case whcih was awarded Best Documentary Screenplay in 2013.
  • Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas
  • This graphic novel is a collaboration with artist Ant Sang and was awarded an international White Raven Award.
  • Better the Blood. London: Simon & Schuster, 2022.
  • Won the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Award for crime writing.


    Better the Blood
  • Kelvin McDonald. "Māori author's thriller featuring a detective based on the 'incredible' women' in his life wins NZ book award." Rev. in www.teaonews; 30 Nov 2023.
  • A review of Michael Bennett's "Better the Blood" which was awarded 2023 Ngaio Marsh Award for crime writing.