Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence

About the residency

The Emerging Pasifika Writer's Residency was established in 2019 with joint funding from Te Herenga Waka—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 2021 Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence is Simone Kaho. Simone's residency will run in the second half of 2021, alongside that of Tavita Nielsen-Mamea, whose 2020 residency had to be delayed due to the pandemic and lockdown.

The 2022 Residency will be held in the second half of 2022. This page will be updated and a full role description and application will be made available on the Current Vacancies page of the University's website early next year, when applications open for the 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.

2021 Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence—Simone Kaho

Image of Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence Simone Kaho. (Photo supplied)
Image of Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence Simone Kaho. (Photo supplied)
Born in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Simone is well known as a performance poet and creative non-fiction writer. Her 2016 poetry collection Lucky Punch was called 'brave and beguiling' in the New Zealand Herald, while the Pantograph Punch noted the book's 'affirming joy'. She has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the IIML, which she received in 2010.

Simone directed the E-Tangata documentary series Conversations, which features six Māori and Pasifika women telling their stories. She also wrote the editorial and stories for WAKA, about the battle to continue cultural practices around waka building and way-finding. She now works as a reporter for Tagata Pasifika.

During the residency, she will work on a collection of essays about identity and colonisation in Aotearoa New Zealand, with a special focus on the Pacific diaspora.

Read more:

Lucky Punch: Anahera Press

'Conversations': E-Tangata

2020 Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence—Tavita Nielsen-Mamea

Image of Tavita Neilsen-Mamea (supplied)Tavita, a Dunedin-raised writer of Samoan and Tuvaluan descent, hailing from the villages of Safotu, Safune, Apia, and Nukufetau, used 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 received 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 was 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)

Previous Emerging Pasifika Writers in Residence

All photos by Robert Cross.