A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
– Jelhaadin Rumi
This is the quote that will appear in the front of the chapbook of poems called ‘Moments’, I have printed for National Poetry Day. Since my new neighbour Madeline Slavick has moved to the Wairarapa from Hong Kong via Wellington, things have been humming for poets in our district. Some of us are stepping out. Madeleine is a much published poet and photographer. Her book titles and photographs can be seen on her blog, ‘Touching What I Love.’ Google it and have a nice reflective time.
National Poetry day is August 16th and Madeleine has rallied 16 poets to contribute to a small chapbook called 16 and organised a number of events to bring poetry to the attention of the public. Each poet has given a handful of chap books (see above) to a bookshop of their choice to be given away to interested customers, and printed on the windows of each shop will be the poem of the poet whose books reside within. On ‘the day’ we will be reading to the student body at Masterton Intermediate School and in the evening we are issuing an invitation to anyone who enjoys poetry and wine to come to Gladstone Vineyard at 6pm to hear our poems and share a glass of wine. Admission is free. We would love to see YOU there.
With all her energy, skills and enthusiasm, you can see why I would cajole, persuade and co-opt Madeleine onto the Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival Committee which I chair, especially as some other dynamic younger women were calling for entries to Kokomai Creative Arts Festival, in the Wairarapa, in October…. here’s a quote from their website Kokomai.co.nz…
Soaring across the beautiful Wairarapa, our brand new KOKOMAI Creative Festival celebrates the landscape and people of this rich area of New Zealand with song, dance, theatre, art, film, literature, comedy, music, food and family events. KOKOMAI flies across vineyards, homesteads, townships and pa’s, wheels overseas and hilltops and brings ten days of fantastic events to all corners of our very special region…
Sounds fantastic doesn’t it? I thought it another opportunity to do something different.
So, earlier this year, Tanya Batt an internationally renowned storyteller, Madeleine and I had lunch in Greytown and talked about what Tanya might offer for the festival. Tanya was already preparing a body of stories and activities around water and the Tuna or Longfin Eel which is endemic to New Zealand and has recently been found to be under threat as a population. The eel’s story is a romantic one. They live in streams and rivers and can grow to as long as two metres. Sometime between their 34th and 80th year they transform into an ocean going fish, even their eyes change and turn blue.
They swim down the streams into rivers and out through our Lake Wairarapa (Onoke) to the Pacific Ocean and up to somewhere near Tonga it’s thought, and spawn millions of eggs which drift down on the current turning into wee glass eels as they do. These tiny eels come back here, up our rivers and streams where they live and so on and so on. They have been doing this for millions of years but are now over fished and affected by pollution in streams and rivers. There are many stories associated with the history of the eel and we want to honour the eel by telling their tales.
Here’s our information sheet. Have a look at how we’d like you to join us to honour the eel past, present and future
T Ū N A! @ kokomai @ www.dashtickets.co.nz
NGA TAONGA TUKU IHO-TE TUNA Tūna (Long Fin Eels), unique to New Zealand, are about 80 years old before they mate. They travel 6,000km along the Ruamahanga River through Lake Onoke and out to the deep sea to spawn, and their eyes turn sea-blue for the journey. Months later, if all goes well, the young eels return to the Ruamahanga.
TŪNA – THE RETURN OF THE EEL A round-trip performance
26 October Saturday, 9am – 3pm. Limited to 53 seats Tickets $12.50 Plus optional fish’n chips/lunch at Lake Ferry Pub.
We invite adults and children to join a symbolic journey, by bus, to Lake Onoke to celebrate this ancient animal, mihi/greet the elvers as they arrive at the Lake, with eel-viewing at Papawai Marae, poetry, and stories from internationally acclaimed performer Tanya Batt and Wairarapa tellers. After fish’n chips by the sea, the bus returns to town, with a visit to the eel-making Dirty Fingers Pottery Studio on return. A collaboration with Rangitane, Ngati Kahungungu o Wairarapa, and the Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival, with Mike Kawana, Joe Potangaroa, Tanya Batt, Mick Ludden, Gaye Sutton, Ali Foster, Clare McLennan-Kissel and Madeleine Slavick. Meet: 9am, Car park, Queen Elizabeth Park (near skate park) Masterton Members of the public are also invited to travel independently to Lake Ferry – the programme at this location will start from approximately 12 noon.
STORIES FROM THE ISLAND – A solo performance by Tanya Batt
24 October Thursday 7:30pm Gladstone Vineyard, 340 Gladstone Road, Carterton.
Tanya Batt, author and internationally acclaimed artist, has a flair for the fantastic. A writer arrives to live on Waiheke Island and begins a manuscript. With the woman starting a new life, and her writing beginning another, this is a story within a story. Batt, with roots in northern Europe, is struck by the incongruity between the landscape she inhabits as she writes and her immediate surrounding environment of the island. The performance considers the traditions that migrants inherit, their experiences as new ‘New Zealanders’, and that lingering sense of otherness.
Tickets $15 includes wine/coffee & cake Dinner is optional, from 6pm, bookings required. Tel 379 8563
FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA…TO ME Story-Art Workshops with Youth
24 October Thursday, 10am-12 noon, for ages 4-6. 25 October Friday, 10am-12noon, for ages 7-10. 25 October Friday, 1-3pm, for ages 10-13.
Education Centre, 22 Dixon Street, Masterton. Register with Wairarapa REAP. Free.
Consider the magic and mystery of that life-giving essential – water – through stories of wai tapu. Hear the story of Tuna Roa, discover the origins of water, and explore our place in the flow from the river to the sea. Storyteller and arts educator Tanya Batt leads these workshops on water, and the history and legends of tūna, the long-fin eel. Participants will also make an artwork as part of the workshop.