Whiti Hereaka (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa) will take up the Māori Writer’s Residency to work on the final draft of a new novel for adults Kurangaituku which retells the story of Hatupatu from the bird woman’s point of view.
Whiti holds a Masters in Creative Writing (Script writing) from the International Institute of Modern Letters. She is the author of two novels: The Graphologist’s Apprentice and the award-winning YA novel Bugs.
In 2012, Whiti was the recipient of the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. Her play Rewena,written during her residency at the Michael King Writers Centre in 2012, has been performed nationally and was published in the anthology Here/Now in 2015.
Whiti says, ‘I started the research for the novel here, so it feels like a sort of homecoming for the project. Time away from my usual routine has allowed me think about my manuscript anew – what am I trying to say? How do I tell the story I want to tell? How do I invite the reader into the story?
I’ve been working on the project for a few years now so thinking about starting afresh is both terrifying and exciting.”
Update: Whiti was awarded the 2022 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for fiction at the New Zealand Book Awards for Kurangaituku.
(Photo by Greg Bal)