Helen Zwartz Scholarship

The Helen Zwartz Scholarship provides funding for librarians or staff working in a public library serving one of NZ’s smaller communities or Māori and Pacific communities, to undertake a residency at the National Library of New Zealand.

Professional development opportunities

The residency 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 week-long programme will explore the breadth of work undertaken by the National Library including cataloguing, digitisation, conservation, digital preservation, literacy promotion, emerging library practices and public engagement.

Read blogs of past Helen Zwarts scholars

Recipient’s responsibility

In return for being awarded the scholarship valued at $3000, the recipient is required to either:

  • produce a report on their time at the National Library 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 smaller communities or Māori or Pacific communities. Helen Zwartz’s home town was Nelson, a small community.

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.

Use of the scholarship

The award is to be used for travel, accommodation, and other direct costs involved in undertaking a residency at the National Library. The residency will run for one week during the month of November. When the recipient is announced, the Library will contact them with further information about the timing for payment and who they will work with.

Awarding the scholarship

Applications will be assessed by a panel. Recommendations from the panel will be referred to the National Librarian 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.

Apply for the Helen Zwartz scholarship

Applications for the 2022 open on 2 May and close at 5pm on Friday, 10 June.

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

Download the form and save it before you fill it out.

Apply for the 2022 Helen Zwartz scholarship (pdf,235KB)

Send us your application

Send your application to:

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

Email — info@tepunafoundation.org.nz

About Helen Zwartz

The late Helen Zwartz was a librarian who joined the National Library on Waitangi Day in 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.

Smiling woman.
Helen Zwartz