Sunday, May 19, 2013

Auckland Readers and Writers Festival, May 2013

Petra and Matt.
13,500 people attended this year's festival - the largest ever. There was a buzz and intellectual stimulation for 5 days as we listened to New Zealand and international writers. There was a tribute on the last day to one of the Pacific's finest writers and intellectuals, Albert Wendt. In 50 years of writing, Wendt has championed many causes. 

New Zealand's writers of note were Jane Tolleton, Stephanie Johnson, and Witi Ihimaera, to name a few. The photos published are a cross-section of Auckland folk. One small criticism is that there was little of attraction for young people. In saying this, 3,000 students came and attended talks and workshops. A bit more could be done to attract writers of appeal to this demographic. There was also a lack of working class writing and this could also be addressed. These should be regarded as positive comments and should in no way detract from what was a most wonderful festival. It is truly New Zealand's leading literary festival and long may it live.

Margaret Crozier

Apprentice Photographer Original Sin

Tricia, Sally, David and Kirsten.

David, Frances and Cathy

Cathy and Sally

Masha Gessen and interviewer.

Sally making tough decisions about who to hear.

Sally well-satisfied after 5 days of stimulation.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Horomia: One Of A Vanishing Breed

This  post  was published in the New Zealand Herald, Saturday May 4, 2013 as their letter of the week.

It is unlikely that we shall see the likes of people like him in our parliament again.

Parekura Horomia had many influences that shaped him into the impressive man and minister who he became. Perhaps his greatest experience came through his life. He was not born of privilege or wealth and his major education came through the school of hard knocks.

Less than a generation ago our parliament had people like him in all parties. Their experience bought real benefits to our parliaments and also to legislation.

Parties then also made and campaigned for policies and no one had heard of focus groups. No locals electorate race would have been trivialized as to the battle of the babes.

It is difficult to see any of our current parties selecting candidates for winnable seats or top list positions who in anyway are like Parekura.

Today our parliament is in the main, full of people who lack his life experience. They have a very different experience often coming through working for minsters, or in party research and  media offices.

Our parliament which has always had people of real ability and thankfully this situation remains. The loss of members who have not come through the school of hard knocks is a loss of humanity and considerable talent.

Rest in peace Parekura, you will rest with giants