“Growing up in Christchurch gave me the pathway to my work that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Starting with drama at Aranui High School then working at What Now? When I was a teenager gave me experience that launched my career and I’m proud to still work with some of those people who taught me in those years.”
How would you describe what you do?
The creativity in some of my mahi may not be obvious but that’s actually part of the art. In broadcasting we craft an approach to seem easy or unplanned but actually there’s an unseen creative structure that’s making it all come together. As a writer of books, columns and sometimes translator – I try to keep the love of language and communication at the core of what I do.
What was your most recent project?
During the Covid lockdown last year my husband Scotty and I were finishing our book Maori Made Fun, a book of Maori language puzzles, games and quizzes to help people learn while having fun. We had three kids following three different lots of online schooling, and our radio and TV work to do albeit in lockdown, so it was busy!
What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?
It’s hard to choose just one but our recent TV show, National Treasures, was such a joy to make and then see shared with the country. The incredible stories New Zealanders brought in with their keepsakes, taonga and objects all provided a snapshot of our nation over the last 100 years and it was a privilege to host that show.
What is essential for creatives to have in their life?
Support of their creativity. That’s in the form of emotional and practical support but of course financially they need to be able to sustain themselves and their whanau through their creative work.
What inspires you about Ōtautahi?
Growing up in Christchurch gave me the pathway to my work that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Starting with drama at Aranui High School then working at What Now? When I was a teenager gave me experience that launched my career and I’m proud to still work with some of those people who taught me in those years.
What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?
One of my mentors, Te Wharehuia Milroy, created a saying: ‘Ko te whakaiti te whare o te whakaaro nui’ – humility is the haven of inspiration – and I think it applies to creativity and so many areas of my life.
What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?
That creativity can be devoid of administration and that admin can’t be creative
What Christchurch artists do you most admire?
I bought a piece from Glen Turner after seeing some of his work in a magazine and love having artwork made from reclaimed timber from Christchurch on my wall in Auckland. You can see his work at studiotwothreefour on Instagram
What artwork/piece of music/performance has taken your breath away?
So many, especially at the Toi Tu Toi Ora exhibition at Toi Tamaki Auckland Art Gallery. I gasped seeing pieces I’d only seen in books before and had tears at some works.
What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?
That it’s really important to affirm and respect your creativity as a part of your soul that deserves nurturing.