29 Jun 2015

Author: Nation needs more Māori writers

7:58 pm on 29 June 2015

Well-known writer Hinemoana Baker is encouraging more young Māori to consider taking up writing as a career.

Hinemoana Baker

Hinemoana Baker Photo: Robert Cross

The award-winning poet - of Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa and Te Āti Awa descent - said the country needed more Māori writers, especially young writers.

Ms Baker said, while writing and other creative arts have a reputation as not being particularly lucrative, they could be incredibly rewarding.

She said it was important to have Māori writers of all ilks and genres to share their viewpoints.

"Māori stories and Māori perspectives, as diverse as they are, should be on the pages, on the screens, they should be in our cinemas, on our televisions. I mean the world is richer and we as a nation is much richer, if that's the case."

Ms Baker said she encouraged rangatahi to take courses, apply for scholarships and writing residencies.

"Don't be afraid, don't think that's something that someone else does, if you're interested then just do it."

Ms Baker herself is a testament to what trying new things brings.

Last week, she was awarded Creative New Zealand's Berlin Writer's Residency, worth more than $40,000.

The award gives her accommodation in a Creative New Zealand apartment in Berlin for 11 months to work on a writing project.

It wasn't the first time the writer had applied for the award, but she said she's glad she tried a second time.

Ms Baker has a long list of achievements to her name, including a stint as the Arts Queensland Poet in Residence in 2009 and writer-in-residence with the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa in 2010.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs