The first Māori writers festival will launch in June next year, with well-known writers Sir Timoti Karetu and Dr Rangi Mataamua already secured as speakers for the event.
The festival will run over five days to encourage Māori writers to expand their skills, and to dispel the myth that Māori are not a 'writing' people.
One of the festival organisers, Uenuku Fairhall, said it’s about time such a festival was created.
“In the past we’ve seen a lot of festivals and gatherings and competitions about storytelling, film but nothing for Māori writing. It is for that reason we thought, it would be great to have a Māori writing festival that would be for everyone from writers to readers to publishers.”
Fairhall also believes that a strong emphasis on Māori language is key to developing future generations.
“We don’t want it to stay with writers only. We need to capture and inspire those that read as well, because at the moment the numbers of those that read Māori language books, is relatively small.”
Mcleods Booksellers, which has a long history of supporting Māori authors, will head the project.