Fresh poetry from Northland’s Briar Wood

Briar Wood is an internationally published poet and is an experienced creative writing teacher. She tutors Poetry and Cultural Studies at NorthTec. briar wood picture larger

Her poem Kuramārōtini is published on The Spinoff this week. In Maori mythology, Kuramārōtini is the wife of Hoturapa, with whom Kupe once went fishing in Hawaiki.

You can find some of Briar’s recorded work online at The Poetry Archive. Here’s the link ([0]=sm_field_poet%3Anode%3A192628 )

Briar’s debut poetry collection,  Rāwāhi, is to be published by Anahera Press in October. Rāwāhi is a radiant work where sky-borne sealines are inspired by earthly encounters, Anahera says. Rāwāhi will be produced with a gorgeous front cover image by artist Reuben Paterson.




Northland writer crowdfunds young adult novel

creative northland news image

A Whangarei writer is trialling crowdfunding to get a young adult novel published independently.

Author Michael Botur launched a Boosted campaign for the sci-fi dystopian thriller ‘Moneyland’ on August 15 to raise a target of $3000 to print copies of the book which will ideally be sold and read firstly in Northland, then promoted nationwide. Botur said it is hoped the fanbase and following generated by the Boosted fundraising campaign can pique the interest of a conventional publisher.

Boosted is a platform from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand which operates on a donations-only model instead of pledges. The Arts Foundation says Boosted exists “To remove every possible barrier between artists and backers.”

Botur said the money raised from the Boosted crowdfunding campaign will be spent on printing copies of the book – which has already been written – ideally using a Whangarei publisher to keep the printing work local and high quality.

Botur said ‘Moneyland’ is aimed at readers Year 12 and up (readers 16-25.)

The plot:

It’s 2037. Humans worldwide are losing their jobs to artificial intelligence. People will do anything to survive, to keep their jobs, their homes, their mana, including a 17 year old Eden, who agrees to spend a year inside a biodome experiment with 11 popular kids from her high school, plus Adam Turing, an embarrassing nerd loser geek.

Eden and her friends are each paid one million dollars cash up front to stay inside the biodome for a year. Who wouldn’t say yes?

The trouble is, inside the dome there are no supermarkets, no electricity, no food or drink when the snacks run out. In Moneyland there is no bank for Eden to keep her million in cash safe from her enemies – or her friends. There is no panic button when the group descends into anarchy and Adam’s crew of outcasts violently establishes a new pecking order – with cool kids like Eden at the bottom.


To read about the campaign and show your support, head to:

To read sample chapters, head to


Bay of Islands Poet Book Giveaway – Bio and Quiz Question

Jeremy Roberts is a Kiwi poet with a strong connection to the humble town of Russell in the Bay of Islands. JEREMY ROBERTS (4)

Jeremy’s most recent poetry collection is Cards On The Table (Interactive Publications 2015).

Read about Jeremy’s wild Russell days then have a crack at the quiz competition below and enter the draw to win.



In ‘83 I lived up in Russell, working on an Oyster farm located in Orongo Bay. Not long back from a post-Uni journey to Canada & Europe, I was at a bit of a ‘loose end’ & owed my bank what seemed like an enormous sum of $2000. Having some trouble adjusting back to life in Dorkland (as I called it) I took a job ‘up north’, with hopes of getting out of debt. I achieved my goal, gradually slipping into a ‘Northland-state-of-mind’ – minus the dak. I really can’t remember anyone offering anything. The oyster-harvesting team consisted off a seemingly miss-matched American couple who I quickly fell out with, a young local Black Sabbath fan who suffered from severe migraines, & a lazy Aussie ‘supervisor’ called Noddy. We worked the tide-timetable. At low tide, we put on big rubber waders & walked between rows of fat ‘ripe’ Pacific oysters, heaving hundreds of the asbestos sticks upon which they were grown, onto a flat steel barge which we pushed along. After building a hill of sticks, we’d start up the outboard motor & move closer & closer to shore, on the incoming tide. Using axes, we’d chip the oysters off the sticks & shovel them into sacks. I chipped my ass off! The oysters were then loaded into a refrigerated truck & most of them were flown out of the country straight away, to Hawaii. The owner of the oyster farm was doing very well. It was one of the very best jobs I ever had – the ultimate outdoor job in the ‘winterless North’. I learned to drive a tractor & used a chainsaw – no safety gear in those days! In the months there, my hair grew quite long & was bleached pure blond by the sun. ‘You look like Jesus’, people said. You had to put up with constantly cut fingers & in fact I once had a piece of oyster shell trapped inside a healed gash, which required a trip to the hospital at Kawakawa to remove it. I stayed in a caravan on Brumby farm – 2 or 3 kms from town. Sometimes at night, big sheep would rub their coats against the corners of the caravan, making a steady earthquake-like motion. On days off, I loved to walk along the winding road through gorgeous mangroves, to pick up the latest New Musical Express, buy a beer at the local tavern, order volumes of Sylvia Plath at the local stationers, or just stumble around, trying to write poems. One day I was hitch-hiking & Sam Hunt’s controversial publisher Alistair Taylor gave me a ride, but I was too shy to try to get him to look at my stuff. Caravan life suited me. I had Watties Baked Beans. I had a radio/tape deck. I loved hearing ‘Sierra Leone’ by NZ’s own Coconut Rough. I had no TV & was starved for Radio with Pictures. My cassette tape of Siouxsie & The Banshees’ album ‘A Kiss in the Dreamhouse’ made me dream about being back on the streets of London. Friends would drive up from Auckland to visit me, & they were always greeted with a huge buckets of oysters. They cost me nothing, of course, & the fact that I could eat them directly out of the sea, meant that I could never pay money for oysters ever again. At some stage I returned to Auckland. Thinking about it now, there were many reasons why I could have stayed in Northland, permanently. There were many good friendships to be made & many good times to be had. Kia ora




Who is the current NZ poet laureate? 

Email your answer to Jeremy at with ‘Writers Up North book giveaway’ in the subject line and Jeremy will pick a winner


National Poetry Day in Whangarei Friday August 25 – ‘Lingo’ youth poetry slam

Lingo poetry slam

10am – 2pm
Lingo+Learn: An open writing and poetry workshop designed for anyone wanting to learn and engage in Poetry and writing, Hosted by Whangarei collective Poetry Posse at NYT (86 Bank Street – upstairs). Bring lead or ink, paper or pad, water and snacks and an open mind.

From 6.30pm
Lingo+Love: The Old Stone Butter Factory will be an epicentre of eccentric eclecticism as the open mic explodes with Lingo from all corners of the universe. We then succumb to the voice of youth in a final Youth Poetry Slam. Hosted by Poetry Posse member Vincent Nathan. Be prepared for an linguistc feast of words.





Kings Theatre Creative Poetry Open Mic – Warm-down event
Get together with your family and friends at Kings Theatre Creative in Kawakawa to be moved by an afternoon of diverse, compelling, engaging and outrageous poetry. Feature poets include Olivia Macassey, Martin Porter, Piet Nieuwland and many others who are in the freshly launched Fast Fibres Poetry 4. Unleash your creativity and perform your poetry live at the open mic session.
Entry Details: $5 koha, all ages welcome
Date /Time: Sunday 27 August 1.30pm to 4pm
Location: Kings Theatre Creative 80 Gillies Street Kawakawa
Contact: Piet Nieuwland 0274805548
Further Information: |


An open writing and poetry workshop designed for anyone wanting to learn and engage in Poetry and writing, Hosted by Whangarei collective Poetry Posse at NYT (86 Bank Street – upstairs). Bring lead or ink, paper or pad, water and snacks and an open mind.
Entry Details: Free, open to all. Register by 24th August at The Old Stone Butter Factory or by email to
Date/Times: Friday 25th August – workshop 10am – 2pm.
Location: Northland Youth Theatre
Contact: Vincent Nathan email: Txt: 0212147714
Further Info

Lingo+Love – Open Mic & Slam
The Old Stone Butter Factory will be an epicentre of eccentric eclecticism as the open mic explodes with Lingo from all corners of the universe. We then succumb to the voice of youth in a final Youth Poetry Slam. Hosted by Poetry Posse member Vincent Nathan. Be prepared for a linguistic feast of words!
Entry Details: Free, open to all. Sign up to read on the open mic on the night. To register for the slam competition, please email your details to
Date/Times: Friday 25th August. Slam starts at 6.30pm.
Location: The Old Stone Butter Factory
Contact: Vincent Nathan email: | Txt:0212147714
Further Info

‘Dirty Chick’ by Antonia Murphy of Purua, Northland

(words courtesy of

dirty chick.jpg

An uproarious memoir chronicling the misadventures of a born-and-bred San Franciscan who leaves city life to become an artisanal farmer in New Zealand

After a traumatic experience caring for her father’s chicken, Antonia Murphy vowed to never again take responsibility for a living creature besides her children. That all changed when Antonia uprooted her urban family and moved to Purua, New Zealand, a small rural community where many of the residents lived as their forebears had done for centuries, raising livestock, growing their own food, and making cheese.

It was an odd place for American yuppies to settle, but after Antonia’s five-year-old son was diagnosed with a developmental delay, she feared that he would struggle at a fast-paced city school. She and her husband wanted him to grow up in a place where he could thrive and be part of a community. How great it would be to get back to the land! How responsible and progressive and eco-friendly, she thought. So what if she had zero farming experience? How hard could it be?

As Antonia later noted, “You don’t see dairy farmers moving to the city with big ideas about being cardiologists for fun.” Soon, she found herself carrying poop in her purse, trying to wrangle a rogue dairy cow, and impregnating a goat. But Antonia soldiered on, slowly becoming addicted to farm life—even if she’ll never be a natural.

Part touching story of a family starting over and part raunchy send-up of the burgeoning artisan farming movement, Dirty Chick will make readers laugh, cringe, and root for its incredible, unlikely heroine.

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NZ Secondary School Writing Competition – let’s get Northlanders represented