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Bone People author Keri Hulme's final wish was for manuscript to be sold to help Māori writers

Photo credit: David Alexander/Stuff

Māori author and poet Keri Hulme's (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe) final wish was to help other Māori writers, her nephew has revealed.

Hulme, 74, who died in December last year, was the first New Zealander to win the prestigious Man Booker literary award in 1985 for her novel, The Bone People.

Now, her nephew Matthew Salmons has told RNZ that Hulme's final wish was for the original manuscript of the book to be sold so the funds could be used to assist Māori writers.

"This was something that was discussed between her and my mum and my other aunty, Diane. The only reason it's being sold at auction is it's basically raising money to go towards a trust which will give out grants to Māori authors," Salmons said.

"I think Keri was over the moon to think her manuscript could support that in the future. As a family, we're very pleased to be able to see that."

Auction house, Dunbar Sloane, estimates the manuscript will likely fetch between $35,000 to $50,000 in its rare books auction in August.

The Bone People has sold more than a million copies worldwide and been translated into nine languages.