A gladiator has been named Kapiti Island’s writer in residence and hopes to write a children’s series.
Actor Antonio Te Maioha was chosen for the eight-week residency starting later this month.
Te Maioha, who formerly played Barca, a gladiator on US television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, said it was fantastic news and it would be a privilege to be on the island. The emerging writer and ‘‘street’’ poet is also a co-presenter on Maori Television series Kiwi Maara about Maori gardening practices.
Te Maioha is the fourth writer to be chosen for the residency and will receive a $4800 stipend, funded by Te Waka Toi/Creative New Zealand, and be hosted by Kaitiaki o Kapiti Trust. Trustee John Barrett said he enjoyed the writers coming to the island.
‘‘They all bring something new and vibrant with them, each one of them has been great in their own way, so we’re looking forward to forming a relationship with Antonio and watch him make a contribution and hopefully receive something from the island as well.’’
Te Maioha plans to work on a series of stories for children featuring adventurous characters, Pango and Puki. ‘‘I’m pretty open to whatever the influence of being over there brings up for me as well.’’
Judging panel member Mei Hill said Te Maioha’s strengths were his appeal to audiences of all ages and his fluency in Maori language. ‘‘He has energy and versatility both as a writer and a performer – a combination that is not easy to achieve.’’
Trustee Minnie Barrett said it was the only residency created and run by Maori for Maori writers in New Zealand.
‘‘Kapiti has profound spiritual power which has inspired writers and artists for many years,’’ she said.
Last year’s writer Nuki Takao, who wrote two short stories in Maori for young adults about Kapiti, said the residency was ‘‘a dream come true’’ and going back to the mainland was the hardest part of the residency.
From: Kapiti Observer 8 August 2011 (New Zealand)