Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence

About the residency

The Emerging Pasifika Writer's Residency was established in 2019 with joint funding from Victoria University of Wellington and Creative New Zealand. It is open to writers at an early stage of their careers, with a growing body of work in any genre. It includes a writing room, mentorship, and a stipend of $15,000.

The Residency is unique in offering the chance to work within an established community of writers at the University's International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML), with a mentor from the Pasifika arts community.

During the application period, applications are invited from writers in all areas of literary activity, including drama, fiction and poetry (page and performance), devised performance, creative non-fiction and graphic novels.

The 2020 Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence is Tavita Nielsen-Mamea. However, due to the pandemic and lockdown, Tavita's residency has been delayed until the second half of 2021. Unfortunately this means we are not able to host another Resident in 2021.

A full role description and application will be made available on the Current Vacancies page of the University's website when applications open for the 2022 position. Enquiries can be directed at any time to modernletters@vuw.ac.nz.

We also offer the three-month Emerging Māori Writer's Residency, and the full-year Victoria University of Wellington/Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence on an annual basis.

2020/21 Pasifika Writer in Residence - Tavita Nielsen-Mamea

Tavita Nielsen-Mamea (image courtesy of the Court Theatre)
Tavita Nielsen-Mamea (image courtesy of the Court Theatre)

Tavita, a Dunedin-raised writer of Samoan and Tuvaluan descent, hailing from the villages of Safotu, Safune, Apia, and Nukufetau, will use the residency to work on a new theatre project.

His first play Au Ko Tuvalu played at the 2019 Wellington Fringe Festival, where it was awarded Outstanding Ensemble and Tavita the Most Promising Emerging Artist. It has subsequently had successful runs at the Court Theatre and Kia Mau Festival, and will have an Auckland season at TAPAC from 23–26 October 2020.

Tavita will receive a stipend of $15,000 to write and research his new work at the IIML for three months. Due to the 2020 pandemic, this residency will be held in 2021.

Read more:

Tavita Nielsen-Mamea named as 2020 Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence (22 October 2019)

Court Theatre artist profile

Au Ko Tuvalu - I am Tuvalu (Auckland Performing Arts Centre)

2019 Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence - Leki Jackson-Bourke

Image of 2019 Victoria Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence Leki Jackson-Bourke

Leki, a South Auckland-based playwright of Tongan, Niuean and Samoan descent, took up the inaugural Residency in 2019. He used the time to research and complete his play For the Likes—a script about an insecure Tongan girl who seeks validation by attempting to go viral online. He also worked on, or initiated, a number of other projects.

Leki's writing aims to address issues in the Pacific community and has a growing following in schools. His work includes Inky Pinky Ponky (co-written with Amanaki Prescott Faleatau) and Pring It On.

Read more:

Playwright named inaugural Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence (5 September 2018)

Leki's Playmarket profile

The new voice: meet playwright Leki Jackson-Bourke (Viva, 4 January 2019)

Leki interviewed on Standing Room Only (RNZ, 14 April 2019)