Maori Writers Sought

Kapiti and full moon photo

Kapiti Island writer’s residency up for grabs!

By Minnie Clark

If you’re Māori and you’ve always wanted to write — but could never find the time, space or money — this year’s Tau mai e, Kāpiti writers’ residency might be just the ticket.

The residency will welcome its sixth writer this year and he or she will spend eight weeks living and writing on the northern end of Kāpiti Island.

It’s an area that includes the island’s last remaining Māori-owned land, next to the world-famous predator-free nature reserve.

Since its inception in 2008 it has been supported by Te Waka Toi/Creative New Zealand and hosted by Kaitiaki o Kāpiti Trust.

These sponsors fund a Māori writer, songwriter, playwright or poet to spend

The most recent resident writer, Maraea Rakuraku, says she valued her stay on the island both as a time to write and a time to process after her first and highly acclaimed play ‘Prospect’ premiered in Wellington in August 2012.

‘I will always be grateful for the time spent on Kāpiti. It was hugely productive for shaping, drafting thinking and writing work.’

2008 resident writer Paora Tibble, and Kelly Joseph, who was awarded the residency in 2009, both worked on ideas for future novels on Kāpiti. Nuki Tākao (2010) and Antonio Te Maioha (2011) both said that one of the hardest parts of the residency was having to leave.

‘I would be there still’

‘Going back to the mainland was the most challenging aspect of the whole residency,’ says Nuki. ‘Given the choice, I would be there still.’

Antonio Te Maioha says the residency was a ‘dream come true’ for him, and allowed him to begin a radio play and complete several stories and poems. Antonio also immersed himself in the landscape of Kāpiti Is

‘It was a great mix of mahi on one hand and making the most of the environment on the other. It was a fantastic time of year to witness the birds activities – takahē mating debates, pukeko and weka chicks, the arrival of the spoonbills.’

 ‘Residency is unique’

Trust member John Barrett says the residency is unique in that it is run by Māori, for Māori, and it encourages those who may not have a lot of experience or publication to take that next step.

He adds: ‘The place itself is also a very important part of the residency. There’s so much natural life on the island, and of course the ocean and the elements. It’s that beauty and isolation that people love so much about Kāpiti.’

Applications are now open for the 2014 residency, with a closing date of Friday 18 July. The selection panel’s decision will be announced by the beginning of August. The residency will take place September through October this year. Applications from Māori living overseas as well as those living in Aotearoa are welcomed.

For further details and/or application forms, please contact: Minnie Clark, Residency Manager, Kaitiaki o Kāpiti Trust, (021) 126-7525 (mobile) or (06) 364-5828 (fax). Email: