The Treasury Interviews: Rose interviews Belinda Wong


The interviewer: My name is Rose Ahern, I’m told that my name has to be one the most Scottish names ever. I was born in a little place called North Connel In Scotland on July 1st 2001 at 12:16am. That fact has always annoyed me because I was late, if I hadn’t been late I would have been put up a year… My best friend is 2 days older than me and I live in her old house.
I love art, writing and anything creative. When I’m older I really want to be a youtuber, it just seems so much fun!
I am basically in love with dogs and animals. I’m totally an animal rights activist. I have never really been considered “popular” and honestly I don’t want to be. I would rather have a small group of friends that love me than a big one where no one cares about anyone but themselves.

The interviewed:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’m Belinda Wong. I was born in Timaru. My parents came from China. We owned a fruit and veggie shop that was on the main road in Timaru. My siblings and I ( I have five sisters and one brother) used to help out in the shop after school. At home we were brought up respecting our Chinese culture especially with food and special celebrations. But essentially we had a very ‘Kiwi’ upbringing. I have happy memories of Timaru – going to Caroline Bay, family picnics, holidays, riding my bike, roller skating, playing netball and going to movies.

I’m married now and live in Tawa in Wellington. We have two children. Two of them have special needs. I love going on walks, being outdoors and gardening. My garden has seven gnomes. I learnt to play the piano and guitar when I was young. Now I’m enjoying playing the ukulele. I have nine ukuleles – all different colours, shapes and sounds!

Of children’s writers/poets – two of my favourites are Roald Dahl and Julia Donaldson. And two favourite poems I remember from my childhood are: ‘From a Railway Carriage,’ by Robert Louis Stevenson, and ‘The Tale of Custard the Dragon,’ by Ogden Nash.



The interview:

What were your favourite subjects at school?
Art, music/singing, cooking and sewing, P.E.

What made you decide to be a poet or writer?
When my dad died, I decided I wanted to write down stories about myself for my family. I joined a writing class and found poetry enjoyable. I wrote a poem to myself that went like this:

I must write tonight
about myself or else
I will be cross
at the loss of stories untold
before I am too old.


What is you favourite kind of poem and or writing style?
I like autobiographies because they’re told from the author’s point of view and you really get a sense of how the author feels. I like children’s poems best because they’re usually fresh, lively, funny, scary, weird, wacky, and can be simple poems, or lengthy poems that are full of drama.

What type of writing do you find the easiest?
Writing poems because you just play with words.

What type of writing do you find most difficult?
Essays. I was not good at writing essays at school.

What type of writing do you like to wright the most?
Actually I don’t really do this the most, but I like to try and keep a diary.

Thanks for the wonderful interview Rose and Belinda. Belinda has a terrific poem in A Treasury of NZ Poems called ‘A Chinese Song.’ I love the food in it — it is like an ode to her mother.

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