Regional | Hone Tūwhare

Wahine Slam Poet to perform in trans-Tasman spoken word event

A spoken word event kicks off today, with 12 young poets performing from three locations in Australia and here in Tāmaki.

Connecting Worlds with Words aims to create a unique opportunity for artists from different communities to share stories and connect with audiences.

Manaia Tūwhare-Hoani (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai) is one of the young poets participating in the event and has written her piece specifically for the occasion.

“The piece that I wrote for this kaupapa talks about connection through tangihanga and one of my lines is that the pōwhiri is the embodiment of connection.”

It’s no coincidence that Manaia excels in the world of spoken word, as she is the great-granddaughter of renowned poet, Hone Tūwhare.

"All my life I've been surrounded by poetry. I've been surrounded by his books, his art, his artist friends. So I've always had that connection with this art form."

The 19-year-old former student at Ngā Puna o Waiōria is a member of Ngā Hine Pūkōrero, a wāhine slam poetry group that was formed at her kura.

Since they formed in 2019, they’ve been inundated with interviews, competitions, and performances – perhaps none more famous than the piece they did at the Black Lives Matter march in June 2020, which Manaia says is her most memorable.

"We were in the crowd before we walked up the stairs to perform and so you could just, I could just feel everything at the time. And so I had a bit of a tangi before walking up onto the steps.

"And I was just so so so nervous, and I thought I was going to pull out and say 'sorry guys, I can't do this'. But I picked myself up and I walked up there with shaky as hands holding the mic shaking."

Manaia's performance will be live-streamed to the world from the Herald Theatre this Saturday from 7pm.