posted by MicheleDrums are beating, email is running hot and phonecalls are criss-crossing the land as the folk at the National Library coordinate the first Laureate event for 2008 in Hawkes Bay. NatLib, Te Mata Estate Wines, Matahiwi Marae, Scott Design, Creative Hastings and the Hawkes Bay Opera House are all working towards Saturday 23 February when the new matua tokotoko (carved speaking stick) will be presented at Matahiwi Marae in a ceremony that will also honour the achievements of Hone Tuwhare. Laureate Elizabeth Smither will be there, as will a host of readers and speakers with words, stories and songs for Hone. This is Poetry at the Pa, Matahiwi-style, 10 am to 2 pm.
In the evening the focus shifts to the Opera House in Hastings for I Say Te Mata: Poets at the Assembly Room. Keith Thorsen and I will co-host, starting at 8 pm with a glass of Te Mata and processing through the line-up of poets in town for the event. Some young Hawkes Bay talent should give laureates and others a taste of the poetic future and we’re expecting to have a very good time indeed. Anyone left standing will be directed to Dancing on the Green, running till midnight at nearby Kohupatiki Marae.
So we’re fine-tuning our offerings and packing toothbrushes and sleeping bags here in Auckland in anticipation of the Great Poetic Hikoi to the Bay. Some are flying, others driving; but we’ll all be there as the action gets underway. Look, isn’t that the National Library bus pulling in from Wellington with a bunch of poetry-loving librarians hanging out the windows?