Maraea Rakuraku (Scriptwriting, 2016)

You learn so much about yourself, others, ways of working, hearing, listening and crafting.

Maraea writes: 'Applying and being accepted into the IIML programme is one thing. Completing it successfully is another. There is a level of prestige that comes with expectation and, to be honest, a snobbery that's reinforced by the literary world. While I both agree and disagree with these sentiments, the skills I learned, the friendships made, the stretching of my imagination, and the confidence gained mean for me, that while much of that remains true, it's outweighed (at this stage) personally by what I achieved.

'Whether you're starting out, still finding your way, needing a refresher or, you've chucked in a job because you know you're a writer, this is the programme for you. You have access to a school and staff vested in you doing your best. Ken Duncum is the Tim Gunn of the scriptwriting world. He makes you make it work! He trusts you'll figure it out and questions, challenges and supports you all the way through, while imparting industry nous.

'Being based in Wellington is significant with the direct access to practitioners, Toi Whakaairi, the NZ Film Commission, NZ Film School and Theatre and film production houses. It all aids in the reinforcing of classroom learning and networking that is vital for your career.

'If I had a manifesto for the IIML programme it would be something like this:

'Turn up to class. Be present and generous inside it. Respect your classmates by reading and giving feedback on their work. This pays off in all manner of ways because their growth as an artist grows your own artistry. Do. The. Work. Be open to the workshop process. It deserves your attention and your classmates' work deserves your respect. Pace yourself as the time goes so, so fast and towards the end, nearing hand-in, it intensifies. Look after yourself. Listen to Ken. Allow your imagination to soar. Don’t take any of it personally. It's about the work, not you. Unless of course you're being stink. In which case, it's you! Be nice to Katie and Clare. They come through for you, in so many unseen ways. Laugh. Take care of Ken. Creating nations in your head and hoping it all makes sense can be demanding, get outside. Do something physical. Take many selfies with that view. And watch those stairs! But most of all, really enjoy it. It's dope. You learn so much about yourself, others, ways of working, hearing, listening and crafting. It's like the best counselling ever! And, on the last day as you all depart and head your separate ways it's a little bittersweet. Why? because even though you have a completed script, you feel unready. You could do with another 12 months where you hand in the 10th draft not the third. But really, that is the beauty of this programme, whether you believe it or not you are ready! You now have the basics to carry on and to paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut: "jump off cliffs and develop wings on the way down."'

Bio: Nō Te Urewera ahau. He Rakuraku nō te Waimana Kaaku.

Maraea Rakuraku is a proudly indigenous storyteller who is very much shaped by her Tūhoe and Ngāti Kahungunu whakapapa and whānau i te wharua o Te Waimana Kaaku. She has been described as powerful, epic and as a force of nature. All of which is reflected in her writing. She brings truth, intellect and heart, whether reviewing (Theatreview, Pantograph Punch), radio broadcasting (Radio New Zealand, Radio Waatea, Te Upoko o Te Ika), podcasting, playwriting (The Prospect, Tan-Knee, Te Papakāinga) or performance poetry (DuskyMaidensNobleSavages).

2017: Best Play by a Māori Playwright - Adam Award for Te Papakāinga.

2016: Adam Award for Best Play, Best Play by Woman Playwright, Best Play by a Māori Playwright –for Tan-Knee (Part1 of Te Urewera Trilogy).

Founder of Native Agency Aotearoa Ltd, a Boutique Media and Production house focussed on growing Indigenous and minority voice.

2013: Founded DuskyMaidensNobleSavages. A Spoken Word troupe comprised of poet’s representative of Te Moana-nui-a-kiwa, speaking back to issues impacting upon their Nations and respective 21st century identities.

2012: Outstanding New Playwright, Chapman Tripp Awards (now known as the Wellington Theatre Awards) for The Prospect.

Poetry published by Auckland University Press, Hawai’i University Press, Otago University.

Short Stories published by Huia Publishers.