Helen Zwartz Scholarship

The Helen Zwartz Scholarship provides funding to enable a librarian or staff member working in a public library serving one of New Zealand’s smaller communities, to undertake an internship at the National Library of New Zealand.

Professional development tailored to you

The internship gives the recipient of the Helen Zwartz Scholarship the opportunity to experience working at the National Library and receive mentoring from National Library staff.

The internship programme is tailored to the recipient’s professional development requirements and can either be of a general nature, covering the range of work carried out at the library or focused on an area of interest to the recipient such as cataloguing, digitisation, conservation, digital preservation, literacy promotion.

Recipient's responsibility

The National Library aims to award one scholarship of $3000 each year and reserves the right to withhold an award on any given year if suitable applications are not received.

At the end of the scholarship, the recipient of the award will either:

  • produce a research article on a relevant topic, or
  • present at a meeting or conference on a relevant topic.


Applicants must be a staff member working in a New Zealand public library serving one of New Zealand’s small communities. Helen Zwartz’s home town was Nelson, a small community.

A small community would usually refer to an urban area of up to 15,000 people or a Territorial Authority of up to 50,000 people, based on Stats NZ population estimates as at 30 June 2012, or as subsequently updated.

In selecting the recipient, the National Librarian shall take into account the overall objectives of the donor; that is, to benefit librarians serving small communities, who would not otherwise be able to access professional development of this nature.

Apply for the 2020 Helen Zwartz scholarship

Applications for the 2020 scholarship open on 30 September 2019 and close at 5pm on 1 November 2019.

To apply complete the application form and return it to us with the all the requested documentation.

Download the Helen Zwartz Scholarship application form (pdf, 185KB)

Send your application to:

Helen Zwartz Scholarship
National Library of New Zealand
PO Box 1467
Wellington 6140

Or email your application to info@tepunafoundation.org.nz.

Use of the award

The award is to be used for travel, accommodation, and other direct costs involved in undertaking an internship at the National Library in 2019/2020. The length of the internship will be determined by the funds available, the costs involved and the recipient’s availability and area of interest.

When the recipient is announced, the Library will contact them with further information about the timing for payment, the internship’s topic, the nature of the research article or presentation, and contacts and mentors they will work with.

Awarding the scholarship

Applications will be assessed by a panel appointed by the National Librarian. Recommendations from the panel will be referred to the National Librarian or his or her delegate for approval. The National Library may delegate approval authority to a committee or individuals from the National Library. The National Librarian will sign off the final recommendation for the award.

About Helen Zwartz

The late Helen Zwartz was a librarian who joined the National Library on Waitangi Day 1956 (as Helen Pavitt). She went on to gain her library qualification at Ealing Technical College in London and returned to the Library until January 1965. Later, she returned to library work at Victoria University of Wellington and then the Commission (which became the Ministry) for the Environment until her retirement.

Helen brought to her library work a strong sense of social responsibility and service to the users of the libraries she worked in. During her career, Helen had the opportunity to spend time at the National Library of New Zealand, to further her professional development. She greatly benefited from the experience and in her memory, Helen’s husband David Zwartz, has funded this scholarship, to give other librarians the same professional opportunities that Helen enjoyed.

Portrait of Helen Zwartz
Helen Zwartz