3 Nov 2015
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The countries thriving spoken word talent has lured world champs to Saturday’s NZ Poetry Slam finals.
The pair will collaborate with NZ Slam founders, Michelle Durey and Michael Rudd, to mentor some of NZ’s leading talent in preparation for international exposure.
“Having world leaders in our midst gives our poets access to develop their practice to compete on international platforms such as World Slam Competitions,” Durey says.
“NZ’s game is ready for international competition and participation. Our mentor’s are excited to help develop the scene here, without influencing their American flavour as they appreciate the distinctive style here and how it sets Aotearoa apart,” she says.
The champ’s will mentor our finest poets over the next two years and prepare our national winner for international exposure.
Durey and Rudd established the competition in 2011 to develop and unite the spoken word culture, which has since been growing strong.
On November 7, Hamilton’s Clarence Street Theatre will host the national finals in search of our top slammer, and before the competition kicks off, youth poets will be showcasing their spoken skill during the day.
The city was chosen in recognition of its regional talent, which has topped winning spots over the last three years.
“Wellington scene has picked up since hosting this comp and we’re keen to see happen here Hamilton too as the talent is incredible,” Durey says.
The current national Slam Champion, Te Kahu Rolleston will now be a judge at the finals in his home town Tauranga.
Since winning, he has had vast exposure here and overseas, returning recently from The Banff Centre’s Indigenous Writing Programme.
Rolleston will also be part of Creative New Zealand’s cohort for the Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam next year.
“My style comes from a fusion of Kapa Haka, mōteatea and Manu Kōrero with a twist of rap. Growing up, I listened to Upper Hutt Possie and Damn Native who both influenced my Haka-Rap style,” he says.
Rolleston uses spoken word as a platform to highlight topical issues, both close to home and challenges faced globally.
“My work is inspired by Damn Natives line ‘Kaupapa Driven, dats how I’m living’.”
Coming from the shores of Matakana Island, the Rena oil spill was a focus expressed through spoken word.
He has also recently submitting alongside his iwi, Ngai Te Rangi, to have it removed.
For ticket information go click here to see where your local heats are being held.
National Slam Finals
Sat 7th Nov, 7pm
Clarence St Theatre
(Youth Performance Showcase during day)
Regional heats have been taking place around the country to select the very best to represent and battle it out with other spoken Wordsmiths.