Reflections from Auckland’s Readers and Writers week


“Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything whether it’s a relationship, a business or a hobby.”
Neil Strauss

What struck me about Auckland’s Readers and Writers week was the generosity of this programme.  There were many free events alongside paid-for events. Each was packed.

I went to Siobhan Harvey’s launch of her new poetry book ‘Ghosts’ and heard 5 poets including my friend Maris O’Rourke recite her riveting poem Kintsugi.

I met and had a chance to talk with Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle I now have my eye out for her upcoming book being published in Australia.

I endured the chilling play ‘Blindness’, revelled in the luxury of Masu to hear Guarded by Dragons with the eloquent Rick Gekowski, and was enthralled by seven writers and their ‘True Stories told live’. What a feast this was.

And to be together, socially careful and occasionally masked to experience this enhanced every moment. I met friends, clients, and my brand new great-nephew with his very proud and happy parents.

I discovered that Aotearoa New Zealand writers are also intimate, visceral, insightful, and inspiring speakers. I laughed in meeting 8 of Tom Sainsbury’s alter egos including Fiona, the delightful Waiheke wine reviewer who had recently been to the Gibbston Valley with her talents.

I was moved to tears of recognition, pain, and hope in several productions. The experience of four of Witi Ihimaera’s wahine joining four actors on the stage of ‘Witi’s wahine’, the women who influenced his early years, touched me deeply. They stood behind the actors, each of the eight on stage had black river stones in their fingers.

They clicked in unison with simple repetitive movements – the click of typewriters, the ticking of time, the sound of insects beating out life’s rhythms. Ihimaera joined them on the stage and was immediately grabbed and soundly kissed on his cheek by one of his aunties. He was a teenager again in the moment. There was not a dry eye in the house

What are you doing to find depth in relationships and uplift your spirits? 

© Diana Jones

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