Māori spoken word poet and University of Waikato alumni, Te Kahu Rolleston, will head off to Canada next month to the Banff Centre's Indigenous Writing Programme.
The programme will include two weeks of intensive writing followed by 10 weeks working with a mentor.
Te Kahu will receive one-on-one editorial feedback and will also present an excerpt of his work in a reading and spoken word series.
Te Kahu has been very successful in recent years. Last year he was named winner of the National Poetry Slam Competition and has performed at various events all over the country, spreading messages that are dear to him.
He says "I create poetry that links people to people, and people to places. That’s a big part of our kaupapa because if you have respect for your people and the place you are in, there is nothing greater than that.”
Te Kahu has also done a lot of work with rangatahi and communities and has taught spoken word at universities, schools and community classes.
“I visit schools to help them create mnemonic devices. This involves kids turning their school work into poetry to make it easier for them to learn.”
Although the art of spoken word isn't too common in New Zealand, Te Kahu has spent a lot of time working with adults, often breaking down the misconceptions of poetry.
“There are a lot of people who think poetry is just soft but once they see my poetry they realise that’s not always the case and you see the shift from ‘not interested’ to ‘I want to do that’ almost immediately,”
Every year, Canada's Banff Centre provides a Māori artist with an opportunity to attend the event.
Last month, Te Kāea reporter Wepiha Te Kanawa had the opportunity to speak to Te Kahu. You can view the story below.