Steph Matuku (Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama, Te Atiawa) writes stories for the page, stage and screen.
She has generously shared her short story for adults Homesick from the collection Vā – Stories by Women of the Moana (Tatou Publishing 2021) with our shared reading groups this month which we are already loving!
Join us to talanoa with Steph on Wednesday April 26th at 7pm on Zoom.
We were all little readers back in our day- We are really looking forward to hearing from Steph about writing for the little readers of today!
Her junior fiction book ‘Whetu Toa and the Magician’ and picture book ‘The Eight Gifts of Te Wheke (Huia Publishers) were both finalists at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Her screenwriting credits include ‘Mystic’, ‘Under the Vines’ and ‘Shortland Street’.
She is currently working on a Young Adult novel about the indigenous response to climate change.
Steph likes coffee and zombie movies, and has two children who inspire her every day.
Great story. Our group had such a wide-ranging discussion – about what is home and what represents it, about racism and how sometimes it is very subtle, about taonga and how museums treat them – a great evening.
Great story. The story triggered conversations about our senses of place, home and homesickness. We also discussed the different attitudes to the construction of stories, and whether subtlety (in writing) is a value we all share. Our group had a new person in our group this week and she was able to connect quickly through this story. We discussed how people experience taonga differently, what pounamu has at times meant to each of us, and how we feel about the repatriation of museum objects. A great, freewheeling and fun evening.
We had another amazing session with Steph’s story Homesick today! Maori group members could relate to how the characters were expected to carry their team with karakia & waiata. There is often extra cultural work that Maori colleagues do in work places that is unacknowledged & unremunerated! We spoke about how sometimes Pakeha colleagues are afraid to get the Reo wrong and how these anxieties can also be felt if you are Maori – there is more pressure and expectation that you will have Te Reo fluency. We spoke about different types of cultural knowledge and how we look to elders to know what is correct tikanga. We spoke about how racism is processed – how do we deal with it without “hardening our souls”… We had a really deep discussion right from page 1! Thanks Steph! : )
Great story. Our online group enjoyed reading it aloud and had an engaging discussion on the meaning of home. Most of our group are from diverse ethnic backgrounds so we discussed what home meant for each of us. Most of the members of our group have English as a second language and needed clarification on the meanings of ‘tangata whenua’ and the other aspects of Maori culture mentioned in the story, but they enjoyed this story.