Ngāi Tahu writer wins award

HinemoanaLast week, Hinemoana Baker (Ngāi Tahu) was named as the Victoria University Writer-in-Residence for 2014. Hinemoana is best known as a poet and has published two poetry collections, “matuhi/needle” and “koiwi koiwi.” She has travelled nationally and internationally performing her work. We caught up with her to get her thoughts on her latest success.

Your reaction to receiving the residency – what it means for your work?
When I got the call I was elated and relieved. I’ve had residencies before but the longest has been three months. It can be hard to snap out of daily life to be able to get into that ‘trance’ that’s so necessary for creative work. Having the opportunity to do that for a whole year is just amazing.

Do you have a specific project that you intend working on during your Victoria University residency?
Yes, I do. It’s a longer work, to do with my Dad’s young life in an orphanage in Nelson, and to do with my own journey with infertility. It could be a collection of poems or it might be something else.

What poems, gigs, travel etc have you been working on lately?
I’m just tidying up the manuscript for (what I hope will be) my third book of poems. Working title ‘Umpteen’. Last weekend my partner Chris and I were filmed for a little video to promote our new duo ‘Girlie Gershwin’. Book us now before we get really famous.

Is this like winning Lotto for a writer/creative artist?
Yes – in that it feels like a massive windfall for which I am truly grateful – and no – in that Lotto is purely about luck. It certainly will make it easier for me to afford a ticket. Perhaps I will end up winning Lotto as well. Excellent.

Will you be interacting/tutoring/lecturing university students during your residency?
Again, yes and no. The position isn’t a teaching position, but by the same token, I will probably be called upon to make the odd appearance in classes and impart words of wisdom etc. I should start composing them right now…….