Witi Ihimaera, Tina Makereti and Hemi Kelly with Paula Moris
In his early short story collection, The New Net Goes Fishing, Witi Ihimaera cast his voice into the flow of history. The lines of that net now flow forward into the greater world of light, to catch new voices, carrying with them the voices of the past, acknowledging history and language, te reo rangatira and whakapapa. Two new books embody this tradition: Black Marks on a White Page is a new anthology of indigenous writing edited by Witi and Tina Makereti; and Sleeps Standing, by Ihimaera and Hemi Kelly, which recounts the Battle of Orakau in both English and te reo. Using these books as an entry point, the writers explore the nature of mentorship and collaboration, in conversation with Paula Morris.
Witi Ihimaera is one of New Zealand's leading writers. His memoir, Maori Boy won best non-fiction at the Ockham Book Awards 2016. His publications in 2017 are Sleeps Standing, a book about the Battle of Orakau (introduction and te reo by Hemi Kelly), and Black Marks on the White Page, an anthology of Maori and Pacific fiction, co-edited with Tina Makereti. Forthcoming in 2018 is Flowing Waters, a theatrical and musical event about the Waikato River, composed by Janet Jennings and co-written with Tom Roa. He is currently writing Native Son, volume two of his memoir.
Hēmi Kelly is of Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whāoa descent. He is a full time lecturer in te reo Māori at the Auckland University of Technology and an assistant researcher at Te Ipukarea, the National Māori Language Institute. Alongside the Māori language, Hēmi has a passion for waiata composition, writing, translation and Māori visual and performing arts. Hēmi is a licensed translator and a graduate of Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo, the Institute of Excellence in the Māori language.
Tina Makereti is a creative writing lecturer and writer, her work includes the novel Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings (Vintage, 2014), and the 2016 Commonwealth Pacific Prizewinning short story Black Milk. She is the recipient of two Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards for Fiction, the RSNZ Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing (non-fiction), a Pikihuia Award for Best Short Story, the 2014 Randell Cottage Writer in Residence and the 2016 Beatson Fellowship. Black Marks on the White Page (Vintage, 2017) is an anthology of Māori and Pasifika fiction she edited with Witi Ihimaera. Her second novel, The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke, will be published in 2018.
Paula Morris (Ngati Wai, Ngati Whatua) is the author of the story collection Forbidden Cities (2008); the essay On Coming Home (2015); and seven novels, including Rangatira (2011), fiction winner at both the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards and Nga Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards. She teaches creative writing at the University of Auckland and is the founder of the Academy of New Zealand Literature. A new essay and story collection, False River, will be published in November.