Meet our July Author: Nicole Titihuia Hawkins
When: Tuesday 26 July, 7.00 – 8.00pm
Where: Online – click the Zoom link below.
Join us to meet the fabulous Nicole Titihuia Hawkins at an online shared reading event at the end of the month! Nicole will read from her work and we will all have an opportunity to reflect and respond together as we go along.
This month we read Nicole Titihuia Hawkin’s fantastic poems from her new book Whai. Nicole says that “Whai” has many meanings which is really exciting for us as we always bring multiple interpretations to a work in our shared reading groups!
“I’d much prefer people who are keen read the pukapuka and decide for themselves what Whai means to them. For some the connotations of following, chasing, searching, wooing and pursuing will ring true. For others Whai could mean a karakia to cure wounds. Others might think of a stingray. One of my hopes for Whai is that it shares a message that we aren’t ever just one thing. We are as expansive as Te Moana Nui a Kiwa and beyond.“
Excerpt from an interview with Verb Wellington
Nicole Titihuia Hawkins (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Ngāti Pāhauwera) is an emerging writer, avid home-baker, red lipstick enthusiast, pro-level aunt and proud māmā to a newborn. She lives in Te Awakairangi, hosts Poetry with Brownies and runs side hustles with her besties. Before she began spending her days breastfeeding and changing nappies, she was most commonly found teaching English, Social Studies & Māori Activism at a local High School.
“Whai is your pocket aunty, your best friend who knows what to say when you call her drunk at 3am and your hard ass kuia eyeballing you from the corner of the wharekai. He pau tēnei. In this collection Nicole Titihuia Hawkins breathes life into our secret selves and lights up the dark with her fire.” – Emma Espiner.
Lovely first session with these poems. Lots of people could relate to “The Separation of Rangi & Papa” We talked about grandad teaching you to roll smokes for him and heard a funny story about cooking cans of baked beans on the fire but forgetting to poke ventilation holes in them so they exploded beans everywhere! One lady’s auntie home made their dresses and even underwear, complete with lace panels! We decided we needed baked potatoes for our next meeting! We had a great time talking about relationships with “Gold” and “Burning the candle at both ends…” We felt that a firey drama filled relationship isn’t as good long term as a “water” one … calm, peaceful, healing… “She acknowledges and respects the mana of fire then asks the burning question: What is what you really need in this lifetime is water?” We really felt the power and emotion when we listened to a beautiful reading by a group member of the poem “Titihuia’s moko”.
Beautiful session this morning with the ladies! There were lots of different thoughts about the poem “Companion Planting” Was it describing a relationship developing with a garden, a partner or a child? Our gardeners loved the “planning to plan” and “nurturing the hypothetical” and spoke about the quiet winter days of the garden when you are plotting what is to come… We thought maybe the poet feels cautious and wants to take this new relationship slowly “my heart on the precipice of full bloom.”
We also really enjoyed all the wordplay in the poems “Gold” and “Burning the Candle at both ends” We felt in the poem Gold that the woman was smart to leave the new relationship when she felt devalued. We also felt that she kept fond memories of it “precious kupu into keepsake.” We talked a lot about all the fantasising we do in new relationships that things will be fabulous and last forever… We enjoyed talking about various aspects of weaving in the poem Rainbow Piupiu and the pull of our ancestors and connection even though we may not have met in person or they have passed on.
What a privilege to meet and talk to Nicole – albeit on zoom. Our reading group loved the poems when we read them. Hearing Nicole talk about her purpose for writing them and the story of how they evolved made them all the more juicy and plump!!!! Thank you Nicole for sharing them and for sharing your process in writing them.