Big day yesterday as we opened the New Zealand pavilion to the media and had the official opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and everywhere you turn, even in this giant machine, New Zealand is in the spotlight.
This morning arriving at the Messe (the fair grounds where the book fair is taking place) we were greeted with free copies of the special edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine supplement that is produced each day of the book fair. On the cover is the enigmatic Joe Harawira who along with Haniko Te Kurapa led the blessing of the New Zealand pavilion yesterday. The caption alongside Joe's pukana is Face it! The Frankfurter Allgemeine is one of the most influential newspapers in Frankfurt and if you are at this massive event you'll really need to have your eyes closed not to be seeing New Zealand everywhere!
You'll also have to have your ears closed at the moment because in the Agora (the gigantic courtyard in the middle of the fair ground), Te Mātārae I Orehu are performing to hundreds of onlookers, here they are at the opening of our pavilion yesterday. What has this got to do with the books you might ask? The performances, the writer sessions, the activities happening all over Frankfurt, are part of the big presentation here. The message is: Look our way, experience our culture, read our books, meet our writers. New Zealand is squeezing this opportunity for all we've got and it will be interesting to see how the week unfolds.
It's hard not to be caught up in the optimistic wave of enthusiasm, the mood is bright and buoyant, there's writers everywhere sharing ideas, making connections, speaking to media. VIP visitors are having special tours through the pavilion alongside trade visitors who are keen to see what all the fuss is about. German volunteers who have been exchange students in New Zealand are eager to share their experiences of living in Aotearoa with pavilion visitors.
While you were sleeping in New Zealand, the sun was shining on all our creative talents here in Frankfurt.