21st Anniversary Lunch NZSA Northland Branch

The Northland branch of the NZ Society of Authors is having its 21st Anniversary Celebration Lunch on Saturday, 2 December 2017

11.30 – 3pm.

The Orchard, Level 1

Corner Cameron and Walton Streets

Entry off Walton Street, opposite Gengys Mongolian.

Tickets: $20 (GST Inclusive) RSVP to Phyll Holroyd, branch secretary, at phyll.margaret@gmail.com with any dietary requirements ie. gluten free, dairy free, etc. before 17 November so we can work with the caterers.

Please pay into the branch account, either through internet banking or at any ANZ branch, before 17 November 2017 to confirm your reservation. Receipts will be issued on the day.

NZSA- Northland Branch

ANZ 06 0493 0251640-00

Code: 21st

Reference: First & Last Name.



The Poetry Posse of Te Tai Tokerau Northland on opening night of NZ Poetry Conference and Festival, November 10

The Poetry Posse of Te Tai Tokerau Northland on opening night of NZ Poetry Conference and Festival, November 10


The Poetry Posse are:

Vincent Nathan

Nga-Atawhainga Manukau

Vivian Thonger

Brett Ruys

Michael Botur

Also pictured:

RikTheMost (UK)

Shane Hollands

Peter Larsen

Jeremy Roberts

Northland’s Olivia Macassey is guest poet in the latest Takahē

olivia macassey website image

The following is reproduced from Takahe and http://www.Macassey.com


Olivia Livingston Macassey is a New Zealand poet whose work has appeared in magazines including Landfall, Poetry New Zealand (especially issue 29)Takahē (especially issue 90),  BriefMagazineTongue in Your Ear; in anthologies such as New New Zealand Poets In Performance, Kaupapa,and NZ Gothic, and online at BMP and Snorkel. In 2013 her work was shortlisted for the Kathleen Grattan Award.

Olivia’s second book of poems, The Burnt Hotel, is out now from Titus Books. Her first collection, Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,was published in 2005.

Olivia was born in Aotearoa New Zealand, in 1975. She spent her childhood on the Coromandel Peninsula, and has lived in Auckland, Wellington, and Whangarei. She holds a PhD in Film, Television and Media Studies from the University of Auckland.

Olivia Macassey has also written on cinema, trauma, & postcolonial theory, and worked as an academic (first as a TA at the University of Auckland and later as a Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington). If you are looking to make contact please email.


The poetry:

Imaginary Postcards

“And because the longing we feel for a place determines it as much as does its outward image, I shall say something about these postcards. And yet – was what they awakened in me longing?”
– Walter Benjamin, ‘Berlin chronicle’, 1932

“I sent you two imaginary postcards. One was of a train…”
– You, personal communication to me, early 21st century

(Vostok Station, Antarctica, December 1963)

There is our childhood of course –
our childhoods. In
one photograph you hold a small bird, the others
cluster round you in close constellation. Our long walk
down to the abandoned house, those days
that went on all day. Grass in the sun.

I have never heard your voice except in dreams.

There are the roughnesses of those years when you were
wild somehow, refusing to break; picture me
hiding under the table during incandescent nights,
timid with love. There are nights I spent under tables,
lying on floors, sliding headlong down wooden stairs,

later there are nights of looking for you in bars, there
are unfeeling dawns on cold
city fire-escapes watching stars leave the sky

There is the frozen lake. Always that, and if


(Lyttleton Harbour, New Zealand, beginning of the 21st century)

They will finish this expedition, or they will not. Disagreements
on method. All these frantic missives, the conference papers,
scientific entreaties – it was naïve to believe that
discovery itself would be enough. And yet…   and yet.

I no longer care to know what they will find.

These two post-cards; blank – imagine flowers filled with snow.

Knowing where you are and wondering where you are:
caught in two versions of the same word, in
sentences I didn’t want to finish

There was only one
letter, to which you never replied. It makes
no difference; nothing could. The cold
sky itself grows apart from

us, gathering light. You caught some for her once
in a carefully folded box, giving me only
the space it described, the way I would put photographs
in books for you to encounter, and then lose them.

There is a flight of migrating geese, dark against the sky
in which I no longer find you.


(Lake Vostok, January 2012)

And now there is our happiness. Our happinesses. A glimpse
of you through glass

laughing with your daughter in a windswept garden,
or your new wife, by a field. These images drift over us

like mirrors:
a flickering old film of a woman near
bare trees, a man moving through the quiet dacha in which
his family have not yet woken; I am glad of these things.

We are both now too old for applause, our histories
all stars and stamping feet, half-diffident in
darkening streets, transient in the derelict
architectures of the heart.

Separately   we

move   towards tablecloths, towards grace:
three apples in a bowl which
glow     in a certain light, moving foliage, a hand
brushing a cheek, these prosaic wonders

and a stranger’s beloved face.

Our nights are days.

There is the lake,
my lost and ever-present one,

the lake always frozen              and never.



A sparse room, very light,
not far from Kálvin tér.
Your helpless face,

Alone in that city I felt its
beauty like a bruise,
and leaving on the
train my heart moved
painfully with the train.


Song of Solomon Street

I have compared thee, O my love, to
a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots,

and sailboats moving on the sea with the speed of toys.

Of all the cars crouched in rush hour solitude yours is finest;
your skin glistens through the window, the hairs on your wrist
glint around your watch to gladden my heart.
Behold, thou art Art.

Behold, my man is beautiful; we drink beer outside
when he gets home. The beams of our house are
freshly painted; swallows dart beneath,
brisk for early mosquitoes.

I seek him whom my soul loveth: I seek
you, but I find you not. When you work late my
heart cries out over aerials and satellite
dishes; dinner is in the microwave,
love turns slowly round in the yellow light.

The others to me are nothing, are last year’s leaves
fallen from the magnolia in the yard:
and see how green I am.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth:
the soft light underside of my breast,
my heels firm in the small of his back.

see tears of joy burn my face, for my love is
headier than wine, sweeter than toast and marmalade,
peanut butter and honey: I have
compared thee.


Girls girls girls

Café, dairy, café…     café, café, bar
and everyone who looks at us
is thinking-how-pretty-we-are.

Walk along stalk along your hat your bag your shoes
Your hands your knees your sunglasses!

And who’s
that man trying to lick your tattoo? What’s
a nice girl like you doing
in a place like was your father a thief did he steal the stars
and so on and so forth, the adulation the hours we spent in
pool halls and cafés and bars bars bars.

A twist of lime and ankle straps, and broken hearts on ice

and everyone who looks at us is thinking how lovely your face;
I’m not a nice girl as if a nice girl
would ever be in this place! But,
oh my god the fun we had when we were doing wrong.
My beer, your vodka lemonades
and the music plays, and you walk through
smoke through the crowded room and
everyone who is anyone is
looking at you –

And I remember we were dancing
but I don’t remember dancing.

Café, dress-shop, café, restaurant hotel bar
when everyone who looked at us was

Crawl along stumble on, your hat your bag your shoes;

the bruises on your neck and thighs   your pretty-flower crying eyes
fishnets corsets petticoats and gloves and scarves and winter coats;
lace and lace-ups, leaves and fires, cherry cakes, and little liars.

I swim through strangers in crowded rooms, through
dreams and mirrors looking for you
and everyone who looks at me is thinking how lonely my face.

And every night I’d find you by the time they played our song

and I remember
we were dancing

but I can’t remember dancing,
I don’t remember the dancing.



Write the sea in your heart, write the rain.
Only that. Words are a poor habit. Let

the wind slide under your ribs let the rain,
for no one will love you the way
you write to be loved,

and your name only a name – but the green
edge of a wave made knifish by light

or some hurtful winter clarity in the water:
a bright sheet of sky against the horizon as if
breathing, as if the air itself
is your own self, waiting. Only there.

And know how your heart is the green deep sea,
dark and clear and untame,

and its chambers are salt and the beating
of waves, and the waves breaking,
and the waves.


Savvy seven year old writes and publishes book. Awesome!

Paparoa nine year old Brooke Healey has published the book ‘Peacock and the Swan,’ which she wrote when she was just seven.
peacock and swan.jpg
Pretty impressive, right?!
Brooke pencilled in the story on pages of A4 paper and her family organised for it to be printed at Jeff Oliver Print (JOP) in Whangarei. It’s now on sale on TradeMe and in Paparoa.
The book is a tale of derring-do involving the title characters and a wandering South Pole penguin. Brooke’s uncle provided the illustrations.

Read the full story in Northland independent magazine Creative Junction or the Kaipara Lifestyler.

Head to the following site to buy your copy: https://www.trademe.co.nz/books/children-babies/picture-books/other/auction-1438748625.htm

Northlanders at November’s inaugural NZ Poetry Conference + Festival

Northlanders will be at next month’s inaugural NZ Poetry Conference + Festival in Auckland NZ Poetry Conference & Festival

– Piet Nieuwland at the conference, with Dr Renee Liang
– Five Whangarei poets known as the Poetry Posse slamming it at Dirty Wordz Friday November 10

Here’s the complete schedule:

Poetry Posse


DIRTY WORDZ SESSIONZ – Friday November 10
A variety show/ poetry&music collaboration crammed full of local and travelling poets mixed with wordcore musicians.

Performances by the Poetry Posse of Te Tai Tokerau (Nga-Atawhainga Manukau, Michael Botur, Vivian Thonger, Brett Ruys, Vincent Nathan)

…as well as Dubtext (Lawrence Brock, Robert Popovic, Rob Mayo, Peter Larsen), Otis Mace, Harry the Dead Poet, Jeremy Roberts & more.
when: 8 00 – 11 00
where: The Dog’s Bollix, 2 Newton Rd ( just off Karangahape Rd)
directions:The Dog’s Bollix is by the intersection of Karangahape Rd, Great North Rd, Ponsonby Rd and Newton Rd.
From the Ellen Melville Hall, it’s about 10 minutes by car via Hopetoun St or Symonds St, or a 30 minute walk up Queen Street and along Karangahape Rd. If driving, allow time for parking near the venue.

Friday 10 November
The Conference in the Ellen Melville Centre ends for the day at 7 00pm.
book launch
Otago University Press invites you to celebrate the launch of SURRENDER -a new collection of poetry by Janet Charman. The author of many books of poetry, including At the White Coast (2012) and the award-winning Cold Snack (2007), Janet is one of New Zealand’s sharpest and most subversive writers.
when: 7 15 – 7 45pm
where: The Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place, Central City
refreshments available
please RSVP to: publicity@otago.ac.nz

The South Auckland Poets’ Collective are a group of artists who are passionate about poetry and the community.One of SAPC’s values is to use spoken word poetry as a tool for positive social change with a focus on young people. Ken Arkind with line-up t.b.a.
when: 8 00 – 10 00pm
where: The Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place, Central City
***more details to follow

Saturday 11 November
The Conference in the Ellen Melville Centre ends for the day at 6 00pm.

Write a poem, make a small book for your writing, then read word aloud. Learn fun voice warm-ups. Raewyn Alexander has taken arts workshops for decades. Easy, engaging and productive.
when: 7 00 – 9 00pm
where: The Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place, Central City
cost: $30. Materials & tools provided, but bring a craft knife if you have one.
To book email Raewyn: raewynalexandergood@gmail.com

Immerse yourself in collaborations between the moving picture and poetry. See film/poetry creations from Lisa Samuels, Simone Kaho, Genevieve McClean, Kate Kelly, Miliama Tamiano, RikTheMost & more t.b.a.
Plus, hear new work from some of Poetry Live!’s popular poetry exponents Ken Arkind, Jamie Trower, Sophie Procter, Matt Harvey, Rachael Naomi and Bryony Jagger.
when:7 00 – 10 00pm
where: The Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place, Central City
***more details to follow

Shaky Places is the signature concert of the Conference & Festival.It features song and music merged with poems of Aotearoa by Sam Hunt, Riemke Ensing, Bill Manhire, Robert Sullivan, Jenny Bornholdt, Gregory O’Brien, Marewa Glover, Bub Bridger, Lauris Edmond, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Dinah Hawken, Brian Turner & Rachel McAlpine.
Music by Felicia Edgecombe; poetry editor Rachel McAlpine; with the Auckland Youth Choir ( conductor Lachlan Craig). MC and reader Peter Elliott.
when: 7 30 – 9 30pm ( arrive from 7 00pm)
where: St Matthew-in-the-City, 187 Federal St, Central City
cost: concession & conference attendees $25; adult $28. Book at :https://www.stylustrust.co.nz/shaky-places-20
refreshments available
directions:St Matthews is 800 metres from the Ellen Melville Centre. It is an 8 minute stroll up High St, onto Victoria St East then Federal Street.

Sunday 12 November
The Conference in the Ellen Melville Centre ends for the day at 1 00pm.

book launch
Hawke’s Bay poet Valentina Teclici has edited and translated a bilingual (English-Romanian) collection of poems Poetical Bridges -Poduri Lirice (Scripta manent 2016) comprising twelve poets from Aotearoa and twelve poets of Romanian origin. Reading with Valentina are fellow contributors Alexandra Balm (Auck), Bill Sutton (Napier) and Mere Taito (Hamilton).
when: 1 15 – 1 45pm
where: the Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place, Central City
free walk-in; refreshments

The NZ Poetry Society Competition Anthology collects the best poems and haiku from the thousands entered into the annual international poetry competition. Includes readings by entrants and place-getters.
when: 2 00 – 4 00pm
where: The Auckland Central Library, level 2 Whare Wananga
free walk-in; refreshments available
directions: The Central Library is 450 metres from the Ellen Melville Centre. It’s a 5 minute walk up High St and Lorne St.

To many, the voices of queer poets, writers and singers are as unsettling as a whirlwind, immersing them in uncomfortable and unfamiliar emotions.Being unsettled is part of the creative process, however, stirring up new thoughts which lead to new understandings and eventually, acceptance. So, the Whirlwind is an apt metaphor for the Queer Voice.
As part of the Poetry Conference and Festival, five queer poets invite you to be unsettled at their free session: Cole Meyer, Verity George, Whaitiri Makaere, Gina Cole and Sandi Hall.
when: 3 00 – 4 00pm
where: One2One Cafe, 121 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
free walk-in; refreshments available
directions: From the Ellen Melville Centre, One2One Cafe is 3km or about 10 minutes by car via Hobson St and Hopetoun St.If driving, allow time for street parking near the cafe.

The Grand Finale of the NZ Poetry Conference & Festival, The Literatti presents One Night in Shanghai, an immersive journey amongst the opulent surroundings of Shanghai Lil’s. Transport yourself to a time of sensuality, featuring pioneering theatre/poetry/music troupe The Literatti, reforming for this one-off extraordinary show. With Miriam Barr, Daniel Larsen, Christian Jensen, Andra Jenkin, Sally Legg & Murray Haddow. Also appearing is “Him”, a mad-shaped curation by Australian artist Jasmine Rose, who draws upon elements of the visionary to create stunning experimental work.
The evening will be woven together by NZ’s premier word-core band Freaky Meat ( Shane Hollands, John McNab, Rod Redgrave, Julian Pettitt) combining elements of jazz/funk & rock with vocal styles inspired by Jack Kerouac, Tom Waits and Capt Beefheart.
when: 8 00 – 11 00pm
where: Shanghai Lil’s Jazz & Cocktail Lounge, 335 Karangahape Rd, Newton
tickets: details to follow
directions:From the Ellen Melville Centre, Shanghai Lil’s is about 10 minutes by car. Allow time for parking. If walking, it’s about 24 minutes on foot, up Queen Street then turning right into Karangahape Rd.

More festival events to be advised as they are shored up…
With poets who respond to the artistic nature of letters, words and symbols of language in their choice of art medium: Maddy O’Dwyer, Miriam Barr, Sophie Procter, Makyla Curtis, Tony Green and Rachael Naomi.
when: t.b.a.
where: the Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place, Central City
Details to follow…

I hope this helps with your planning for the weekend.. In a later update we will have a map for you showing exactly where the venues and places of interest are, including Britomart (Auckland’s main bus and train Transport hub, which is an easy walk), points of interest like the nearby Jason’s Bookstore, Unity Books, Aotea Centre, close-by parking buildings (and their rates), Auckland Art Gallery and the Central Library.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all there, at some or other of the Festival events .
Next update will have more about the daytime Conference, and some Festival updates.

kia ora from your NZPC & F organising team

Anita, Shane, Rachael & Bronwen

PS:Remember, check out the website for updates as we lead up to the Con/Fest weekend 10-12 November: www.stylustrust.co.nz;

And here’s the Con/Fest facebook page too:https://www.facebook.com/events/299460997085195/

Pretty choice news from Northland writers

zana bell image

September 2017 Members’ Announcements – from Northland Authors, the Tai Tokerau branch of NZ Society of Authors

  • Zana Bell completed her PhD in Creative Writing through AUT University, focusing on Zimbabwe/Rhodesia and issues of race, feminism and colonisation. The thesis was accompanied by a novel called Finding Billy. Check out Zana’s impressive website.
  • Barbara Unković completed her Master of Creative Writing from Auckland University with honours.
  • Karen Phillips has received a preprint copy of her short story collection, A Question of Blood.
  • Justine Payen has been sent a preprint copy of All Dressed Up, a reader for six-to-eight-year-old children published by Wendy Pye.
  • Piet Nieuwland has had more success with his poetry: ‘Koru Kangaroo’ appears inForty Years of Titirangi Poets, edited by Ron Riddell and launched at Going West Festival Auckland 2017.  His poem ‘Crossing Crossings’ appears in Truth Serum Vol.2 WISER 2017 (Adelaide, Australia). Several of his poems and flash fiction have been accepted for issues of OtolithsCordite and Bonsai Fiction, to be published later in 2017 or 2018.

21st Anniversary of Northland Branch

The Northland Branch 21st Anniversary will be held on Saturday 2 December 2017 at The Orchard in Whangarei. It will be a catered lunch and registration forms will be going out to members soon. Please contact Di if you have any old photographs of branch activities to share.


Poetry Events

  • Poets at TahiTahiOno will be held at 116 Bank Street, Whangarei, on Thursday 19 October, at 5pm. Gold coin door entry.
  • Dirty Word open mic will be held at the Old Stone Butter Factory, Whangarei, on Wednesday 11 October, at 7pm.

Hokianga Film Festival 20–23 October

The Hokianga Film Festival will be held in Rawene from 20-23 October. Full details are available here.

NZ Book Week 23–29 October 2017

This year the Proctor Library in Kerikeri will once again focus on Northland authors for New Zealand Book Week. There will be a display of local authors and their books in the foyer.

You can use this link to check whether your book is in the FNDC library system. If you aren’t on the list, you can search the library catalogue. If you are in the catalogue but not on the Northland list, contact Kathy and she will pass your name on to the librarian. If members’ books aren’t in the catalogue, they should contact their publisher or distributor to ask if the FNDC Library has been approached with their books.

To celebrate New Zealand Book Week, the Proctor Library is hosting a talk by Alison Jones, author of Tuai: A Traveller in Two Worlds, on Thursday 26th October at 11am.


Takahē Short Story Competition 2017

This year the Takahē short story competition will be judged by Eileen Merriman. Maximum length for each story submitted is 2,500 words and entries must be submitted no later than Thursday 30th November 2017. The results and the winning story will be published in Takahē 92 (April 2018), and all entries will considered for publication. To find out more, visit the website: www.takahe.org.nz

NZ Poetry Society Conference and Festival 10-12 November

The NZ Poetry Society is holding a conference and festival from Friday 10 November to Sunday 12 November in Auckland. Full details here.

Competitions and Awards for Writers

For information on other competitions and awards please use NZSA’s Death by Deadline on the members-only page of the NZSA website.

Pride, panic and publishers wanting payment – Mike’s crowdfunding crisatunity

Mike reading at WHG public library 2 cropped

nb. An abridged version of this story appears in The Spinoff.


Update October 9 – Mākaro Press publisher Mary McCallum repeatedly phoned me when I was having dinner with my whanau tonight and demanded I change the title of this story.

I hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism Studies and have worked as a journalist since the end of 2013. It is against the ethics of journalism to bow to bullying. However, a good journalist will occasionally let things slide to keep upset people happy.

After some reflection, I went ahead and made Mary’s suggested change. I also suggested to Mary that normal professional publishers correspond by email or post…


Pride, panic and publishers wanting payment – Mike’s crowdfunding crisatunity

by Michael Botur


Here’s the story of my crowdfunding rollercoaster from impostor syndrome to impresario…

Moneyland is a YA dystopian sci-fi novel about having the food supply interrupted and having to live off the land in suburbia. The first youngsters to have read the manuscript were impressed. The book is thrilling and it has messages about sustainability and food scarcity. Still, in early 2017, Moneylandsat unread or rejected in the slush piles of publishers around the world. Mākaro Press said after I had paid $172.50 for  the assessment of a manuscript reader (whose phone number and email address they wouldn’t provide) I might be eligible – if chosen for publication- for the following deal. They don’t like to call it hybrid publishing or vanity publishing. In the words of Mākaro Press:

“For our children’s books we publish them under our Submarine imprint (our author contribution imprint) and ask the author to pay for the cost of the print run – s/he takes most of the net returns as a result rather than the usual 10%. We print 500, which is around $3,500.”

Pretty average deal, in my opinion.

From January to July I despaired over publishers’ rejections. Then I started thinking about Hinemoana Baker’s Boosted campaign, and Dominic Hoey’s, and James Mahoney’s. I applied to run my own campaign. Boosted rang me up to talk it over. I interpreted the phone call as dare, like “Mike, do you REALLY believe in yourself?”

I supposed so. Maybe? Sorta. I took a deep breath, and a Lorazepam, and on August 15 we rolled out a 45 day campaign to raise $3000 to print some demos of the book and create a buzz around it.

Boosted suggested Dominic ‘Tourettes’ Hoey be my mentor for Moneyland. It was a great match – I’ve looked up to Dom for ten years. Moneyland launched… then crashed immediately. Two weeks into the project, I took a holiday on remote Great Barrier Island and switched off my cellphone for seven days. Before I left, I sent a Mailchimp letter to 70 people. It took hours to compose that letter. I’d shaken the tree 70 times – surely some donations were going to fall out?

A week later, I switched my phone on, convinced a tumult of donation emails would be waiting for me.

There was not a single new donation.

I was 33 percent of the way into the campaign and I’d raised just 5 percent of what I needed. I got stress migraines. I kept waking up at 3am. I went to work exhausted. I looked for a way out. I asked if I could lessen the amount I was seeking to raise. The answer was no. The whole thing was going to fail. I’d failed myself. Legendary NZ author Alan Duff responded AFTER I’d sent out my Mailchimp letter with four words of wisdom: “Resend with smaller font.”

Cheers for that, Duffy. Really helpful.

I begged a friend in public relations to help me find a corporate sponsor. A local millionaire with an interest in sustainability said he had nothing to spare. I pitied myself for a couple of days, got over it then resolved to do everything Matua Dom advised. He shared his own experience crowdfunding to get Icelandwritten. Dom told me 70 wasn’t enough people to ask. “In general 3-6 percent of people give so you need to really pull out all the stops,” he said.

Thanks, Tourettes, I thought. You could’ve told me that at the start, then I could have stayed in my shell, resenting the writing world.

I parked my self-pity and went back to Dom’s advice. You have to approach people 2 or 3 times and keep creating fresh content and news to keep going back to them with, he told me, so I spent four hours messaging people on Facebook I hadn’t spoken to in years, asking for their email addresses, buttering them up before the cringe-inducing spammy email demand for money.

I swallowed my pride. I did interviews in paper and radio. I stayed up late designing shitty handouts. I spoke to poetry crowds who didn’t care. I performed at Whangarei Library to a crowd of five. 40 percent of people in the library audience were my children; 20 percent were my wife. I did a second mailout. My best friends each put in a hundred bucks. The despair dried up. On a Thursday (Payday? Dole day?) the heavens aligned and my phone kept beeping with fresh donation messages as I drove home. I pulled over and emailed each donor my heartfelt thanks immediately. A petrol station owner from Maungatapere slipped me a hundy and wrote, “I can’t wait to see it published.”


Boosted is all about self-confidence. Identify exactly why your project is good for your artistic community, then go for it. Believe that the people you love will be there for you. Then apply at Boosted.org.nz… and trust in Tourettes.