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Whiti Hereaka wins the $60,000 Ockham e-book award

Three cheers to Whiti Hereaka – if truth be told extra like 60,000 cheers – because the winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at this night’s Ockham New Zealand nationwide e-book awards. She collects $60,000 for Kurangaituku (Huia Publishers), judged the most efficient novel of the yr.

The e-book merits it. Kurangaituku is an creative retelling of the traditional delusion or pūrākau of Kurangaituku, the bird-woman of Mokoia Island. There are two techniques to learn it – from one duvet to the center, or flip it the wrong way up and browse it from the opposite duvet to the center. The radical thought is standard of the e-book’s bold method. You may simply regard it as belonging to the fable style, making it the primary time the rest like this has gained the most efficient novel award in New Zealand. (It was once a nasty yr for writers of literary fiction, with judges with the exception of two very good novels from the shortlist, She’s A Killer through Kirsten McDougall, and Loop Tracks through Sue Orr.)

Whiti Hereaka (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi, Pākehā) joins a choose band of Māori writers (Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, Paula Morris, Alan Duff, Becky Manawatu) to win New Zealand’s primary fiction prize. Her novel Kurangaituku went into the 2022 awards as one of the crucial two shortlisted books maximum anticipated to win. That different novel, Greta and Valdin through Rebecca Ok Reilly, gained the award for easiest first novel.

The different class winners this night have been Tumble through Joanna Preston (poetry), Dressed: Fashionable Dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840 to 1910 through Claire Regnault (illustrated non-fiction), and Voices from the New Zealand Wars | He Reo nō ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa through Vincent O’Malley (common non-fiction).

But the respect and the massive prize cash went to Whiti Hereaka, who went to the rite on the Q Theatre wearing persona, a preferrred and avian imaginative and prescient in brocade and feathers as Kurangaituku. I interviewed her in some element about her gown in an previous tale at ReadingRoom. I additionally requested wider questions on her e-book and her artwork, and her lengthy fascination with the Arawa tale of Kurangaituku.

Like maximum New Zealanders conscious about the Kurangaituku delusion, she most effective knew of it by the use of its inclusion within the 1957 Reed anthology, Maori Tales of Long Ago. But that telling was once European. She stated, “It’s colonisation isn’t it, really. That kind of break in the tradition of oral storytelling, of people moving away from their rohe and a break in the way it was told.”

Her tale, too, is a retelling. It’s from the point of view of Kurangaituku, who in Arawa legend performs a minor position within the epic saga of the warrior Hatatapu. Te Ara supplies a pithy abstract: “After arriving from Hawaiki, the Arawa hero Hatupatu settled on Mokoia Island in Lake Rotorua. He escaped from Kurangaituku, the fearsome bird-woman, by jumping over hot springs. Kurangaituku tried to wade through them, but was burnt to death. Hatupatu also avenged the destruction of the ancestral waka Te Arawa by dispatching the enemy chief Raumati, from Tauranga, in a battle.”

“I really love to make things,” she stated. “It’s part of my creative process.” Sewing, knitting, portray and carving additionally helped her determine “knotty narrative problems” in her novels. She sees writing and craft as parallel arts, as bodily workouts.

As she places it, “Usually when you tell Hatatapu stories it’s kind of like Maui stories, it’s a cycle of stories, rather than just like discreet things. Kurangaituku is just a small part of Hatatapu’s larger story, and because of his experience with her, he came I guess to be respected in his iwi and went off to lead his people to victory and things like that.”

No one in those tales, even though, is made from paper. Kurangaituku isn’t a fiction, one thing made-up. “Yes,” she stated. “A lot of people whakapapa to Kurangaituku. So yeah I feel that she is a presence.” (Actually so: the Rotorua Kurangaituku Netball Tournament is in its 87th yr.)

There’s a charged more or less dynamic between Kurangaituku and Hatatapu. It’s no longer essentially heterosexual and even human – Whiti described the identify persona as “gender and species fluid” – however was once her e-book in anyway a love tale? She laughed, and stated, “Well – it’s not a very healthy love story. It’s not a very fulfilling love story. I actually do think it’s a love story, but I think the biggest love for Kurangaituku is the love of being. She’s learned how to live. That’s the actual crux of the love story, by learning how to be in the world.”

She spoke about entwining the tales of Kurangaituku and Hatatapu as threads, and stated, “It’s like rope. You need many little threads to make a strong rope.” I had the sensation she knew precisely what it took to make rope. She labored with numerous other fabrics (leather-based, bone, chiffon, and so on) to craft her gown for the Ockham rite, and he or she’s making craft, too, whilst researching her subsequent novel, with the operating identify of Ariā (which contains some other look through Kurangaituku).

“I really love to make things,” she stated. “It’s part of my creative process.” Sewing, knitting, portray and carving additionally helped her determine “knotty narrative problems” in her novels. She sees writing and craft as parallel arts, as bodily workouts.

“When I’m within the drawing board of writing issues, I want to jot down issues down on index playing cards and if truth be told bodily put them on my wall and transfer the plot issues round, so like bodily strolling via it.

“I have a standing desk simply for the reason that when I was sitting down to write, I’d get up every five minutes to walk around. So I think it’s a very physical thing for me. I need to move my body to get my mind moving.”

There are instances whilst you communicate with a novelist and also you get an overly sensible sense of what it takes – table, index playing cards – and there are different instances whilst you get the sense of an artist, a visionary, somebody present in some other realm. One model of the Kurangaituku tale describes the nature as an “enchantress”. I put that to Whiti and he or she fairly appreciated the sound of that. She stated, “I’ve actually been thinking about novels and stories as a form of enchantment, as spells. I mean as a reader you go into a story and hopefully fall into it and are beguiled by it.”

And then she stated, “One of the ideas I had with Kurangaituku is that when the reader is reading her story, she is making a nest in their head.”

Congratulations to an artist, a visionary, an writer in her personal realm of the creativeness. Congratulations, additionally, to Huia Publishers, who have a good time their thirtieth yr within the e-book business in taste. Congratulations, in the end, to all of the winners of the 2022 Ockham New Zealand nationwide e-book awards.

JANN MEDLICOTT ACORN PRIZE FOR FICTION

Kurangaituku through Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers)

BOOKSELLERS AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND AWARD FOR ILLUSTRATED NON-FICTION

Dressed: Fashionable Dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840 to 1910 through Claire Regnault (Te Papa Press)

GENERAL NON-FICTION AWARD

Voices from the New Zealand Wars | He Reo nō ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa through Vincent O’Malley (Bridget Williams Books)

MARY AND PETER BIGGSY AWARD FOR POETRY

Tumble through Joanna Preston (Otago University Press)

THE HUBERT CHURCH PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST BOOK OF FICTION

Greta & Valdin through Rebecca Ok Reilly (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Wai) (Te Herenga Waka University Press)

THE JESSIE MACKAY PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST BOOK OF POETRY

Whai through Nicole Titihuia Hawkins (Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa, Ngāti Pāhauwera) (We are Babies Press)

JUDITH BINNEY PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST WORK OF ILLUSTRATED NON-FICTION

The Architect and the Artists: Hackshaw, McCahon, Dibble through Bridget Hackshaw (Massey University Press)

EH McCORMICK PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST BOOK OF GENERAL NON-FICTION

The Alarmist: Fifty Years Measuring Climate Change through Dave Lowe (Te Herenga Waka University Press)



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