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Kapiti Island writer brings links with Te Urewera

Story-teller, poet, playwright and broadcaster Maraea Rakuraku will be 2012’s Tau Mai e Kapiti Writer in Residence. Maraea (Tuhoe, Ngati Kahungunu) will be funded by Te Waka Toi to spend eight weeks writing on Kapiti Island during September and October this year.

Maraea is well known as a co- producer/presenter of Te Ahi Kaa, Radio New Zealand National’s weekly kaupapa Maori programme. She has written and recorded poetry and short stories, and her first play The Prospect opens in August this year in Wellington.

Maraea says among several projects she’ll work on is a film script she hopes to complete to first draft stage – an idea which was originally conceived on Kapiti Island at a writers’ retreat in 2008.

‘For those of us who come from Te Urewera, isolation is something which defines us,’ says Maraea. ‘But this isolation is something which continues to be misinterpreted by society.’

Maraea says she is very much looking forward to regaining some of that isolation during her two-month stint on the island, where she will often be alone with the birds and other wildlife. ‘What a gift,’ she says, ‘to have undisturbed, free time to write. It will be like the years I spent living in the bush in the depths of Matahi valley, for months at a time with only my horse, kuri and occasional whanau for company.’

Maraea is the fifth Kapiti writer in residence and will head to the island at the beginning of September to begin her stay. This year’s judging panel describe her as an exciting writer with an earthy, humorous ‘voice’ that nonetheless expresses serious concerns.

‘In my writing I aim to reflect the diversity of Te Ao Maori as I know it,’ says Maraea. ‘I want to see my experience of being M”ori, rather than an apologetic expectation of what we should be.’

The Tau mai e Kapiti M”ori Writers’ Residency is funded by Te Waka Toi / Creative New Zealand and hosted by the Kaitiaki o K”piti Trust.

“Kapiti has profound spiritual power which has inspired writers and artists for many years,” says the Trust’s Residency Manager, Minnie Clark. “This is the only residency in the country created and run by Maori for Maori writers. We expect as with the last four years, this year’s writer in residence will respond well to the opportunity to spend eight weeks on this beautiful island.”

Last year’s Kapiti writer in residence, Anatonio Te Maioha, said he felt like ‘the luckiest person I know’ walking through the forests of Kapiti Island, and says the residency was ‘a massive privilege.’

Minnie Clark
Residency Manager
Kaitiaki o Kapiti Trust
Ph: 06 362 6606
Fax: 06 364 5828
Mobile: 021 126 7525!

Maraea Rakuraku
2012 Tau Mai e Kapiti Resident Writer Ph: 027 230 5841

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