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Whale traditions explored

17 Mar 2010

This content is tagged as Literature .


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Waitakere writer Bradford Haami has been selected for the first ever Maori writer’s residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport.

Bradford Haami has written extensively about Maori history and culture, as well as being a documentary and drama writer, a director and producer, and a researcher at Te Papa in Wellington. He has been a university lecturer in Maori studies and drama and is currently working on a major book about Maori traditions of whales.

His latest project, with the working title IKA-MOANA: Whale Traditions of the Maori, will explore the special place whales have in Maori culture from pre- and post-colonial eras, right up to the present day. He has been working on the book for a number of years.

Mr Haami has affiliations with Ngati Awa, Ngati Kahungunu, Kai Tahu and Tuwharetoa.

The residency, which will start on May 14, is for eight weeks. He will receive a stipend of $8,000, together with free accommodation and working space at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Devonport.

The residency has been made possible because of the support of Te Waka Toi, the Maori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand. It is the first time the centre has been able to offer a residency especially for a Maori author.

The centre aims to support New Zealand writers and promote New Zealand literature by providing opportunities for authors to work full-time on a major project. In 2010, the centre has been able to offer supported residencies to four writers altogether.

Michael King Writers’ Centre chairman, Bob Ross, said he was delighted the centre was able to offer a residency for a Maori writer for the first time.

“As part of our commitment to honour the memory of Michael King, supporting Maori writers and celebrating Maori writing are important strands of our activities. All of our residency opportunities are open to Maori writers. However, we believe that a special residency dedicated for a Maori writer will be a positive development for Maori literature.”