At some point or another, most of us have had a crack at Where’s Wally?, systematically searching through each page and attempting to unearth the stripey-topped hitchhiker in the pom-pom hat. Within Where’s Waari? A History of the Māori through the Short Story, there is a similar game to play, however instead the reader is searching for, as editor Witi Ihimaera puts it, “the Māori as he or she has been seen in the eyes of the beholder.”
Ihimaera’s selections make for an intriguing journey, for not only has he opted to include stories from both Māori and Pakeha authors, but he has also ordered them chronologically, which allows the collection to chart the evolution of “Waari.” Waari’s ever-changing image is constantly problematic, with brazen cunning and a willingness to deceive others being held up as inherent Māori qualities in Alfred A. Grace’s “Te Wiria’s Potatoes” and Blanche Baughan’s “Pipi on the Prowl,” although a cheeky humour does shine through in Baughan’s portrayal.
The chosen stories of Katherine Mansfield and Frank Sargeson (“How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped” and “White Man’s Burden” respectively) naturally are far more sympathetic and, dare it be said, realistic, with Mansfield’s usual withering satire of commonplace attitudes lending her story extra resonance.
These stories compliment the later entries by Maori writers such as Briar-Grace Smith (“Rongomai Does Dallas”), Patricia Grace (“Ngati Kangaru”) and Ihimaera himself (“The Affectionate Kidnappers”) which allow Māori to speak for themselves, and while the image of Waari is at times dubious and elusive, taken as a whole this collection serves as a fantastic introduction to portrayals of Māori within our literary history.
Boy oh boy there are a lot of writing competitions at the moment. Go to the websites to find out the terms and conditions, then do your thing, and good luck!
And if you are into winning books, hop on to the Booksellers NZ competitions page.
If you know of any other writing competitions on at the moment, add your comment below.
Hot off the press – you can read the ten finalists in the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards online and cast a vote for your favourite. What a cool initiative. I’m keen to have a read – the opening lines featured definitely draw you in – check out these two examples (and then read them and the rest):
“A good turnout isn’t it?”
K B Fleet wasn’t much to look at. He was overweight and sported an unbecoming military buzz-cut but his voice, with its gentle Scottish lilt, had talked many a woman into bed and, from what Simone had heard, few had regretted it. (from The Competition)
Hearing the commotion I rushed to answer the door. Nobody was there. Costumed as a seven-foot ghost with flickering red eyes, I had an elaborately wired headdress – a polystyrene mannequin’s head and shoulders painted black – the base of which sat on the top of my head and was lashed to my shoulders. Embedded into the mannequin’s face were a pair of red light bulbs that could be operated by a switch in my pocket. (from Samson and Delilah)
Information from the site states that The People’s Choice Award is a new addition to the Short Story Awards, with the winner being decided entirely by public vote. The writer of the story which receives the most votes will receive $750 in cash, $250 worth of books from Random House, and their story will be published in the Sunday Star-Times alongside the judge’s choices. Voting opens Sunday, October 11, and closes on Friday, October 23.
The Christchurch Art Gallery is currently promoting a short story competition. It will be judged by Kate De Goldi, Gavin Bishop and Sally Blundell and is open to two age-groups.
13–17yrs: 1500 words max.
First prize $250 and publication of short story in The Press.
18+yrs: 1500 words max.
First prize $750, publication of short story in The Press, one night at the Classic Villa, dinner for two at the Curator’s House and tickets for the Court Theatre.
9.30am: Register at the Gallery and get an information pack, which includes four of the twelve story triggers from within the Cultural Precinct to get your story started.
4.30pm: Entries handed in (late entries will not be accepted).
On the day of the competition all entrants will receive a pack containing:
- a registration form
- a blank CD on which to burn your entry
- a list of 12 story triggers from within the Cultural Precinct. At least four must appear in your story
- a unique registration number.
Save yourself time on the day by pre-registering. Email email@example.com with your name and category. You can then simply pick up your pack from the Gallery on the day.
Find out more: Short story competition: Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.