The University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence
The University of Otago is the only tertiary institute in New Zealand which offers a residency for a children's writer. Begun by the Dunedin College of Education in 1992, it allows writers to work full time in a compatible environment among colleagues who are concerned with the teaching of reading and literature to children. Remuneration of $28,000 is jointly funded by the University and Creative New Zealand.
The residency is open to established children's writers who are normally resident in New Zealand. The annual residency is for a six month period between February and August and includes an office within the College.
The residency is offered in association with the Robert Lord Trust which provides rent-free accommodation to writers in the historic Titan Street cottage bequeathed by the late playwright Robert Lord.
Previous Fellowship recipients since 2008
- Barbara Else, 2016
- Jennifer Beck and Robyn Belton, 2015
- Melinda Szymanik, 2014
- Leonie Agnew, 2013
- James Norcliffe, 2012
- Kyle Mewburn, 2011
- Karen Trebilcock, 2010
- Joanna Orwin, 2009
- Bill O'Brien, 2008
University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence 2017
Dr Mere Whaanga’s knowledge of Māori land lore complemented her studies into Māori land law; she has worked as a professional historian, researcher and project manager on the Treaty of Waitangi claims of the Wairoa area. Amongst her extensive list of publications are four children’s picture books, which she wrote and illustrated, with a fifth due for publication in early 2017.
Mere affiliates to Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Pahauwera iwi.
She is thrilled to be awarded the residency, and says she plans to write a fantasy novel for a young adult readership.
“I am looking forward to the six months of dedicated writing time, especially as I will be based in the College of Education. I am feeling challenged to have committed to so much time away from my home in Mahia, but the sense of being out of my comfort zone is well-balanced by the excited anticipation of being in an academic environment with access to superb facilities such as the University library.”