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‘Think of every word like a pounamu’

A writers' workshop held at TaiTech at the Kaiti Hub had two published authors for special guests.

New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera, along with Stan Pardoe, were at last week's meeting.

Witi said his whole life he had been collecting words, and one of those he wanted to focus on was “polished”.

“Think of every word like a pounamu.”

At first, a piece of writing may be not shaped, it is raw,” he said.

“But the beauty is in there. When you go to shape it you find the layers, which is why I called my first book Pounamu.

“As Maori we don't want to polish through too much.”

The essence of the story was important, he said.

The workshop is a meeting of minds for lovers of words that has been going for eight weeks. It is led by tutor Katrina Reedy, also known as Bubbles.

“It's an obsession, words, and we are all going to share the journey,” she said.

Katrina, the teacher and an Arts graduate in Creative Writing, wanted to form a group to make writing accessible. It was something she felt she could do for the community.

As well as working full-time toward a master's degree in education through Massey University, Katrina leads this group every week in writing.

“A major aim of the workshops is “inside out”, to bring the stories hidden inside participants to the outside, and then to support the igniting and nurturing of a regular writing habit.

“The speakers are getting more and more amazing. We haven't asked for any of them. I feel our tipuna sitting next to us and inspiring us.”

Every workshop, which has attracted about 10 Tairawhiti writers, starts with a waiata and a karakia.

Anyone who would like to find out more can contact Katrina on paapere@gmail.com.

Writer's Hub: Every week a writer's workshop introduces participants to a set of writing tools and techniques that help writers develop. Last week's class also had special guests New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera and recently published author Stan Pardoe. Back row from left are Polly and Barney Crawford, Robyn Rauna, Trudy Meredith, Carol Haapu, Vicki Carr and Katrina Reedy. Front row from left are Stan Pardoe, Kira Broughton, Witi Ihimaera, Molly Pardoe, and Katrina Porou. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell