The judges said Catton's book, which beat five other contenders, is an exuberant and dazzling homage to Victorian sensation novels. 'The Luminaries' is a murder mystery set on the West Coast of the US during the 1860s gold rush that relies on an astrological narrative
Catton is only the second New Zealander to win the award. The first being Keri Hulme with 'The Bone People' in 1985. She is also the youngest short-listed writer in the competition's 45-year history.
The prize, announced at a ceremony in London, carries a cheque for NZ$95,000 ($78,000).
It follows in the footsteps of 'Pip' by Lloyd Jones, which was short-listed in 2007, and Hulme's 'The Bone People'. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said Wednesday that winning the Booker Prize is a hugely significant achievement on the world stage for a New Zealander.