Plain English Awards

celebrate New Zealand's clearest communicators

Plain English Awards

The Plain English Awards are a public pat on the back for plain English champions and help raise the bar for clear communication.

Nominate the best and the worst for an award in 2016

The Awards

Independent panels of plain English experts and advocates judge the entries and decide on the finalists and winners in each category.

The Awards are organised by the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust.

The Awards aim to:

  • improve government and business documents so that all New Zealanders can understand them
  • raise public awareness of the need for, and benefits of, plain English
  • create a public preference for organisations that choose to communicate in plain English.

What’s plain English?

Plain English is a style of writing in which the language, structure, and presentation of a document all work together to help the reader. A document written in plain English is easy to read, understand, and act on after just one reading.

Plain English allows people to participate in government, commercial, legal, and leisure activities more effectively because they can understand the information presented to them. Plain English also has proven benefits for organisations that use it in their publications — including significant cost savings.

The movement to replace ‘gobbledygook’ in official and business documents with plain English began in Britain in the 1970s. The plain English movement now involves government agencies, public- and private-sector businesses, corporations, consultants, voluntary organisations, and networking groups throughout the world.

WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust

Purpose of the Trust

The Trust helps bring plain English into wider use in New Zealand by publicly acknowledging the efforts of organisations that use plain English. The Trust was formed in 2008 and organises and hosts the WriteMark New Zealand Plain English Awards.

Registration with the Charities Commission

The WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust was registered as a charitable entity under the Charities Act 2005 on 9 September 2009. The Trust’s registration number is CC42158.

Visit the Charities Commission website for more information about the Trust.

Charities Register

Donee organisation status

The Trust has approved donee status from Inland Revenue. It operates on a not-for-profit basis, supported by sponsorship and donations.

Tax credits or deductions for donations to the Trust

Organisations that make donations to the Trust will be able to claim tax credits or a deduction.

Non-corporate donors and Maori authorities can claim a tax credit for one-third of the amount they donate, up to the level of their annual net income. Corporate donors can claim a tax deduction for the amount they donate, up to the limit of the company’s net income (income, less expenses, but before the donation is deducted)

Sponsor the Awards

We rely on sponsorship and donations to run the Awards. Your generosity is appreciated!

Please contact Lynda Harris at, or call 04 384 6447, if you’d like to sponsor the Awards.