Eight New Zealand writers told eight New Zealand stories and wove together a single narrative of the Māori/Pakeha relationship in New Zealand.
Here the audience browses New Zealand books during the interval.
Cathie Koa Dunsford – author of Kaitiakitanga talked about tangata whenua: the people and the land.
Joe Harawira – told the Māori legend of Rata. It is the story of a boy who grows up knowing it is his sacred duty to avenge his father’s death. For this he needs a waka, so he fells a tall tōtara, but in the morning when he returns to adze the tree, to his astonishment it is standing upright. Realising he is being tricked he hides to see who is playing the trick. It is the insects of the forest, who reproach him for not following the right protocol and ritual. Shamed he corrects things, performing the proper rituals and when he comes back in the morning the creatures of the forest have carved a beautiful waka for him.
Hamish Clayton – author of Wulf, is from Havelock North in Hawkes Bay, where the Māori legend of the sleeping giant Te Mata originates, a story Clayton grew up with. Clayton shared how growing up in a land rich with legend influences his stories and how he was able to write Wulf, a Māori story by 3rd party and 4th party telling.
James Belich is the author of The New Zealand Wars, which is the major revisionist account of historical conflict between Māori and Pakeha. He also talked about globalisation and the settlers of the Pacific. Here he is before the event began.
Peter Walker – author of The Fox Boy, told the story of William Fox Junior and Sir William Fox Senior – a story of family and conflict, and therefore great drama.
Witi Ihimaera – read from his book Whale Rider and spoke about the story as book and film, and would you believe, Whale Rider the musical?
Alan Duff – author of Once Were Warriors, a story of family and violence, told the story of his own violent and conflicted childhood. Perhaps part of the healing of his life experience has been the success of his 'Duffy Books in Homes' scheme that has seen over 10 million books into homes.
Paula Morris – author of Rangatira told the story of Te Manu, the central character in her book. Te Manu's story is one that is woven around Māori New Zealand, settler New Zealand and Māori abroad, and his experiences highlight the similarities and differences between our cultures. Paula sits here between Tanea Heke, our Project Director and Knut Elstermann who moderated the evening together.