Tirohanga Māori at WORD Christchurch 2021 (revised)

Earlier this year I wrote a post about the upcoming WORD Christchurch festival and its great many offerings of sessions with a Māori perspective but then Delta happened and a lot of those sessions have been cancelled. But the festival continues this month (10 to 13 November), albeit in a somewhat cutdown form, and there are still options for enjoying the work, ideas and kōrero of Māori writers, leaders and thinkers.

The living mountains

Nic Low is a Ngāi Tahu writer and also the co-director for this year's festival. He's also written about book, Uprising, about traversing the old mountain trails of the Southern Alps, Kā Tiritiri-o-te-moana - the trails used by Ngai Tahu in days gone by. Kā Huru Manu, Ngāi Tahu's cultural mapping project has been an epic undertaking documenting such trails and sites important to the iwi's cultural history. Low will be discussing both with  someone who knows a thing or two about Ngāi Tahu history, Tā Tipene O'Regan. This is a free event.

Saturday, 13 November
The Piano 156 Armagh St 2pm - 3pm

The is also a livestreaming option for this session


Mark Solomon: Mana whakatipu

Mark Solomon was formerly the chairman of Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu, the official iwi organisation's head. His move into the top job coincided with the iwi's settlement of their Waitangi Tribunal claim and subsequent payout and it was under his stewardship that Ngāi Tahu solidified and grew their holdings and operations. He was knighted in 2013 for services to Māori and business and according to the WORD Christchurch programme his memoir details "his years at the helm of the tribe, his thoughts on leadership and life, the people who influenced him, and his vision for the future of Māoridom, and Aotearoa". He'll be in conversation with Christchurch-raised broadcaster, Miriama Kamo. This session is a must for anyone interested in business, governance or leadership.  

Friday, 12 November
The Piano 156 Armagh St 12pm - 1pm

The is also a livestreaming option for this session

Mana Whakatipu: Ngai Tahu Leader Mark Solomon on Leadership and Life  

Tautitotito whenua: Reciprocal songs of the land

What are the commonalities between the Irish and Māori experiences of colonisation, and our relationships to language and land? In a session that partners with Cûirt International Festival of Literature in Galway, Irish authors will beam in to read new work while Aotearoa-side Hana O'Regan and Charisma Rangipuna will perform a new lament "exploring climate change's impact on ancestral places". There will be English translations of the Māori and Gaelige pieces as well as discussion in English. There are many Māori with "a foot in both camps" (myself included) so this sounds like a special opportunity to immerse yourself in the connections between them.  

Tuesday, 9 November
TSB Space/ Tautoru, Tūranga, 60 Cathedral Square 8.30pm - 9.30pm

The is also a livestreaming option for this session

Kā wai o Tahu: Ngāi Tahu's legal action over water 

Ngāi Tahu has taken the Crown to court over freshwater. Current Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Lisa Tumahai, with Te Maire Tau and freshwater specialist, Mike Joy will discuss the whys and wherefores with Mike McRoberts. Good backrounders, if you want to read up beforehand are Enough is enough: Why Ngāi Tahu is suing the Crown over its waterways, and Water Rights for Ngāi Tahu: a Discussion Paper.

This should be a very interesting and important kōrero coming, as it does, at a time of heightened interest around water quality and climate change. This is a free event.

Saturday, 13 November
The Piano 156 Armagh St 2pm - 3pm

The is also a livestreaming option for this session

Patricia Grace: From the centre

I was lucky enough to attend a similar session with Patricia Grace at the Auckland Writers Festival earlier in the year. Grace has had a long and distinguished career in fiction and her memoir, From the centre: A writer's life allows her the time and space to discuss the story of her own life, the family that she came from, and the struggles that have shaped her. Fellow Māori writer Paula Morris, an experienced interviewer who never fails to elicit the best from other authors, will be guiding the conversation. 

Friday, 12 November
Douglas Lilburn Auditorium, Christchurch Town Hall  2pm - 3pm

The is also a livestreaming option for this session

From the Centre  

Foundation pop-up festival (AKA The not-quite-New Regent Street pop-up festival)

Alert level 2 Covid restrictions make the small, intimate spaces of New Regent Street too hard to manage so this event has relocated to the more roomy Foundation Café at Tūranga. And instead of concurrent events the various events will take place over 5 hours between 5pm and 10pm. Stay for the whole thing or pop in and out as you like. This is a free and unticketed event.

There will be some outstanding Māori writers and performers taking part including Siobhan Tumai, Juanita Hepi, Ben Brown and more.

Saturday 13 November
Foundation Café, Ground floor, Tūranga

He Waiata Hou: Indigenous writers wānaka

This is a unique opportunity for emerging writers to be in the presence of greatness (Patricia Grace! Ben Brown!) but also to connect with other writers, share kai and to explore ways of telling our own stories. This is another free event but there are limited spaces available so get in quick!  

Sunday, 14 November
Te Whare o Te Waipounamu, 15 Show Place, Addington 10am - 2pm

And more!

The above is not an exhaustive list as there are other WORD events that include amazing Māori writers, thinkers, and performers like:

More WORD Christchurch 2021