5 Jul 2016
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Writer, producer and director Mīria George is the first Cook Islands artist to receive the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency at the University of Hawaii.
Mīria is of Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Kuki Airani (Rarotonga & Atiu) heritage and is the co-director of theatre company Tawata Productions. During her three-month residency, Mīria will develop a new work, Fire In The Water, Fire In The Sky, which is a performance piece addressing the effects of colonisation, christianity and climate change in the Pacific.
“This is a uniquely Pasifika journey. It will investigate the outside factors which have had a huge impact on the lives of Pacific peoples and also search for hope for the future of the Pacific and the world,” says Miria.
In June, Mīria closed a sell-out season of her new play The Vultures which premiered as part of Wellington’s Kia Mau Festival of theatre and dance. In the year ahead she will also work on the international collaborations Waka, Ciiman, Vaka and return to Rarotonga to work on the second installment of KIVA: Collection Two, new writing from the Cook Islands.
Creative New Zealand chief executive Stephen Wainwright says the residency provides a significant opportunity for Pasifika writers. “We congratulate Mīria on her selection and look forward to her new work adding to her growing body of achievements.”
Fulbright New Zealand Executive Director Penelope Borland says the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency is an important partnership award and Fulbright New Zealand encourages applications.
“Fulbright New Zealand has a long history of supporting talented creative professionals and artists. We are delighted to welcome Mīria to our community of alumni. I hope she has an enjoyable and transformative exchange experience and we look forward to her work,” Ms Borland says.
The Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency is based at the University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus. Alumni include playwright Victor Rodger, poet Tusiata Avia and filmmakers Sima Urale and Toa Fraser.
Mīria is a poet, and writer for theatre, radio and television. An award-winning playwright, Mīria’s work has toured New Zealand, Australia, Hawai’i, Canada and the United Kingdom.
In 2007, and what remains marked Mīria’s international debut as a playwright. Her other works include Oho Ake, He Reo Aroha, Urban Hymns and Sunset Road. He Reo Aroha, co-written with Jamie McCaskill, has toured extensively internationally. In 2016, Mīria premiered her new play The Vultures, an indigenous satire.
Mīria holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. Also a published poet, The Wet Season is Mīria’s debut collection of poetry, published by the Wai-te-ata Press. Mīria is a co-founder of Tawata Productions and Tawata Press.
Photo credit provided: Image of Mīria George by Louise Hatton Photography. High res copies available on request.
About Fulbright New Zealand
Fulbright New Zealand was established in 1948 to promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchanges between New Zealand and the United States of America. The Fulbright programme offers a range of prestigious awards for New Zealand and American graduate students, academics, artists and professionals to study, research and teach in each other’s countries. Fulbright New Zealand offers exchange awards annually. More than 3,000 people have benefited from a Fulbright exchange between New Zealand and the United States to date. The programme is jointly funded by the US and New Zealand governments with additional funding from award sponsors, private philanthropists and alumni donors. More information is available here.