This is a past event from the 2022 festival See the current programme


Pukapuka Talks

Throughout the festival don’t miss our innovative digital commission, which celebrates incredible Aotearoa writers, spoken word artists and storytellers exploring the theme, ‘Belonging’. The series will be headlined by Ko Wai Koe (from whose waters do you flow?), a spoken word/waiata/music performance by Motueka-based collective, Te Oro Hā, and will be presented throughout the festival, for free, via our digital stages and online.

Ko Wai Koe will be performed and filmed at a range of venues throughout the Tasman region, highlighting local Māori literary voices and helping to connect our large festival audience with the multitude of talent on the whenua.  

This opening piece will be followed by a series of performances from six other commissioned authors who have already written and/or published work the explores the theme of belonging.   

The result will be a series of seven short digital performances featuring images and soundscapes.  

This project will be a collaboration between Te Oro Hā and the Nelson Arts Festival, co-curated by Donna McLeod and Kerry Sunderland. The Ko Wai Koe headline video will be produced by Renee Kahukura Iosefa.  

We’re delighted to announce our six other authors are Tusiata Avia, Nathan Joe, Kirsten Le Harivel, Himali McInnes, Maggie Rainey-Smith, and David Trubridge

Buy the pukapuka by clicking here.

Find all Belonging performances on our YouTube channel here:

Donna McLeod 

Donna McLeod (Te Āti Awa) is mana whenua in Te Tauihu and lives on papakainga in Motueka. She is a writer and performer of Te Oro Hā and a member of Te Ohu Whakaari. She is published in Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety (VUP, 2018) and Eastbourne: An Anthology (Mākaro Press, 2013). She has also had poetry published on The Spinoff, includingIhumātao’, which published on the day she visited this whenua. More recently, she curated a selection of visual art and sculpture from more than 20 artists for the new Motueka Library. 


Renee Kahukura Iosefa  

Renee Kahukura Iosefa is a Māori storyteller, journalist, and documentary maker. She won the 2017 Canon Media Award for Best Reporter - Māori and Ethnic Affairs. In 2017, she and her Samoan husband moved to Samoa to provide an opportunity for their children to learn the Samoan language and culture and, during this time, Renee worked for TV1 Samoa as its news manager and news editor. She now lives in Motueka and has been involved in several local film productions. 


Kerry Sunderland 

Kerry Sunderland was born and raised on Bunurong Country in Victoria, Australia, then ‘grew up’ on Minjungbal Country in NSW before moving to Aotearoa in late 2012. In 2016, she completed a Master of Arts (Creative Writing) at Victoria University of Wellington. Since 2018, she has been programme manager of the Nelson Arts Festival’s literary programme, Pukapuka Talks. Her personal essay, ‘Scared to Death’, was published in Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety (Victoria University Press, 2018), and is currently being adapted for the screen. Kerry also works as a freelance journalist, writing features and people profiles for publications including New Zealand Geographic, The Spinoff, North & South, Stuff/Nelson Mail and The Byron Echo. 


Tusiata Avia 

Tusiata Avia was born in Christchurch in 1966, of Samoan descent. She is an acclaimed poet, performer, and children’s book writer. Her poetry collections are Wild Dogs Under My Skirt (2004), which was also staged as a one-woman theatre show around the world from 2002–2008, Bloodclot (2009), Fale Aitu | Spirit House (2016), shortlisted at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and The Savage Coloniser Book (2020), winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry. Tusiata has held the Fulbright Pacific Writer’s Fellowship at the University of Hawai’i in 2005 and the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at University of Canterbury in 2010. She was also the 2013 recipient of the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award. In the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours, Tusiata was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to poetry and the arts.

Nathan Joe 

Nathan Joe is a Chinese-Kiwi playwright and performance poet. He was the 2020 National Poetry Slam Champion and the 2021 Bruce Mason Playwriting Award winner. In 2019, Nathan was the NZ Young Writers Festival writer-in-residence. He was also a 2020 Ursula Bethell writer-in-residence, a 2021 Art Centre resident, and recent 2022 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellow. This year, he released poetry short film Homecoming Poems and his play Scenes from a Yellow Peril premiered at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in June to critical acclaim.

Kirsten Le Harivel 

Kirsten Le Harivel is a poet and fiction writer based on the Kāpiti Coast of Aotearoa. She grew up in Scotland to English, French and Scottish parents and moved to Aotearoa as a teenager. Kirsten’s debut poetry collection Shelter was published in 2021 by The Cuba Press. She has also published work in journals such as Sport, Turbine: Kapohau, Snorkel and The 4th Floor. She works in the creative writing sector, curating and programming creative writing courses, workshops, and retreats in-person and online.

Himali McInnes 

Himali McInnes is a family doctor who works in a busy Auckland practice and in the prison system. She writes short stories, essays, articles, flash fiction and poetry and has been published locally and internationally. She was the inaugural Verb Wellington Writers Resident in Oct 2020. Her writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, often explores the theme of otherness. Himali's debut book, The Unexpected Patient (Harper Collins, 2021), is a collection of medical essays about unforgettable patients and their medics. She is obsessed with dogs and books.

Maggie Rainey-Smith 

Maggie Rainey-Smith is a novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist, and book reviewer. Her novel About Turns (Random House, 2005), was the first New Zealand novel to be chosen by Whitcoulls as a Guaranteed Great Read. Daughters of Messene (Makaro Press, 2015) was also published in Greece, where it was a bestseller. Formica (The Cuba Press, 2022) is Maggie’s first poetry collection. In it, Maggie nods to the lives of all women of her generation – too often defined by their fertility and kitchen appliances – with poems about abiding friendships, granddaughters, travel, sex, and the joy of words.

David Trubridge 

David designs beautiful things: his company in Whakatu makes them and sells them all over the world. He loves boats, sailing and venturing out into the wild places, and aims to bring some of that love for nature back into his work. In 2013, Craig Potton Press (now Potton & Burton) published his autobiography So Far, which is also a design manifesto. In July 2022, he self-published his limited edition illustrated nonfiction opus, The Other Way, a profound meditation on our relationship to the natural world. He and his wife Linda live in Havelock North but they would rather be at the beach in Mahia windsurfing or paddle board surfing. And he is happy now because his two sons are more well-known than he is.

Fri 21 Oct - Sun 30 Oct

Various durations

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