Daren Kamali (Fijian, Uvean, Futunan, Samoan and Scottish) is a busy man who has just got home from touring Aotearoa with Mad Doggerel Cabaret so we are lucky to have him with us this month! Daren is bringing his stories and our Pacific stories to the people!
Daren’s inspiration spans from Fiji to Aotearoa NZ, our ocean, family, culture, religion, independent social change, spirituality, his upbringing in Fiji and his subsequent migration to Wellington at age 17. (On arrival he felt both culture and weather shock!)
Daren’s mentor Reverend Mua Strickson-Pua introduced him to the treasures of writing, poetry and performance and this led to studying social work and mentoring youth through Arts with his fellow students “the Toa Tour ‘98.”
From humble beginnings busking on the streets of Auckland Daren has risen to become a poet, curator, artist, musician, researcher and current Heritage Pacific Advisor at Auckland Libraries. Daren uplifts other communities through projects like South Auckland Poets Collective, Niu Navigations and SPACE (Street Artists and Poets Collective Enterprises).
Daren holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts, Manukau Institute of Technology (2014) and Master of Creative Writing (First Class Honours), University of Auckland (2017). He was the Fulbright/CNZ – Pacific Writer in Residence at University of Hawai’i (2012), and attended the International Writers program – Iowa City, USA (2014). His published works include Bringing back the forgotten ((Un) Registered Savages of Aotearoa, 2021); Vunimaqo and Me: Mango Tree Collections (Kava Bowl Media, 2020); (Tales, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World (Anahera Press, 2011) and Squid Out of Water: the evolution (Ala Press, Hawaii, 2014). Daren has also released two albums Bula Aotearoa – Immigrant Story (2000) and Keep it Real (2005).