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NZ writers to showcase Māori and Pacific literature

Five of New Zealand’s leading Māori and Pasifika writers will be showcasing their work in the United Kingdom next month (November) alongside the high profile Oceania art exhibition in London.

Oceania opened to acclaim at the Royal Academy of Arts in September and features around 200 works of art from New Zealand, Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia in the United Kingdom’s first major exhibition of the diverse art of the region.

Māori writers Witi Ihimaera, Paula Morris and Tina Makereti will be joined by Pasifika poets Karlo Mila and David Eggleton for a programme of activity in London, including two public events.

In a panel discussion at the Royal Academy each of the writers will choose an artwork as a starting point to explore the exhibition’s themes and will also talk about the role of Indigenous writers and literature with Senior Curator at the Royal Academy, Adrian Locke.

“Part of Creative New Zealand’s role is to support our New Zealand artists to achieve success internationally. We saw the opportunity provided by Oceania and are delighted to have writers of this calibre participating in this initiative,” said Arts Council Chair Michael Moynahan.

“The profile of Oceania, and the resulting interest in this part of world, is an ideal platform to support and promote our talented literary artists.”

Award-winning writer and journalist Damian Barr will also host one of his renowned Literary Salons with the writers. Glasgow-born, Barr recently spent three months in New Zealand as part of the University of Otago's Scottish Writers Fellowship. He shared his observations on the country, the population and its cuisine in a series of light hearted social media posts which garnered hundreds of likes.

The writers will also participate in a Commonwealth Writers Conversation hosted by the Commonwealth Foundation. This invitation-only event at the historic Marlborough House in Pall Mall will focus on the contemporary perspective of South Pacific writers.

In addition the panels and events the writers will also take part in meetings and networking opportunities within the arts and publishing sectors.

Creative New Zealand will invest $33,000 in travel and accommodation for the writers as well as public relations support.

New Zealand (through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade), Papua New Guinea and the Kingdom of Tonga are partnering with the Royal Academy to present the Oceania exhibition in London. Themes of the exhibition including voyaging, place-making and encounters relate to the past, present, and future of the Pacific.

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