Bilingual Māori literature journal launches online

This week the literary community celebrates the online launch of the new bilingual Māori literature journal Te Whē – te hau o te whenua. Featuring poetry, short stories, and essays in Te Reo Māori and English, the journal includes work from some of Aotearoa’s most talented Māori writers. 

“We wanted to flip Western notions of publishing and writing on their head and discover what could be created if we used Kaupapa Māori as our structure and inspiration,” explains Anahera Gildea, co-editor of the journal with Nadine Anne Hura. “Lots of energy can go into the often-dispiriting work of getting published by mainstream methods so we decided to chuck that all out the window and see what happens when we, as Māori writers, define the terms.” 

The writing in the journal began with a wānanga at Ngāti Tukorehe marae in January. Writers were asked to respond to stories from the haukāinga, to the experience of being together in wānanga and to the whakataukī E kore au e ngaro, he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea. 

Nadine adds, “It was significant to wānanga and then return to launch this kaupapa first at Tukorehe, a place where several of our writers whakapapa to, and also to be launching a bilingual journal in Ōtaki which has been the site of staunch language revitalisation.” 

A small print run of 200 was returned to the haukāinga ki Tukorehe, so that the stories that began in the land, are returned to the land. Te Whē rōpū are grateful for the support of Creative New Zealand, Toi Māori, the International Institute of Modern Letters, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, IDIA and the Horowhenua District Council. 

Te Kāhui Ruruhau (the kaumātua guiding our work in this edition) are Patricia Grace, Renee, Haare Williams, Joe Harawira, Mike Ross and John Huria. 

Contributors: Anne-Marie Te Whiu, Anne Waapu, Annette Morehu, Arihia Latham, Ataria Sharman, Becky Manawatu, Cassandra Barnett, Emma Espiner, Kahu Kutia, Kirsty Dunn, Michelle Rahurahu, Miriama Gemmell, Nicole Titihuia Hawkins, Renée, Ruby Mae Hinepunui Solly, Sinead Overbye, Te Kahureremoa Taumata, Nadine Anne Hura and Anahera Gildea 

The journal is available for free online here: www.tewhe.nz, and media are welcome to join the celebration with readings Unity Books on Wednesday 21 October, from 6 pm. 

For more information, contact co-editor Anahera Gildea, anahera.gildea@gmail.com, phone 021 940 957