The Interviewers: We are a Year 4/5 class of 7 girls and 19 boys, from Richmond Road School in Auckland. We love our school because we have awesome teachers, we are a multicultural school with 4 units, Maori unit, French Unit, Samoan Unit and the Kiwi Unit, and everyone is so friendly. In Ruma 4, we have kids who are creative, happy, who love Maths, drawing cartoons and enjoy singing in the morning. Our teacher Miss Seba always finds fun activities for us to do that help us with our learning and makes it super exciting for us. Our class motto is “Make way for a Great day of Learning J “
Outside of school we have girls who play Netball aiming to get to the Silver Ferns, boys who play rugby and dream to be an All Black, soccer players, musicians, cricket players, basket ball players, singers, dancers and gymnasts.
Apirana Taylor is an award-winning writer, poet, storyteller, painter and musician. He has published a number of poetry collections and has travelled the world (and back home) with his poems and stories. With his ability to inspire children of any age, he is one of New Zealand’s standout authors that visits schools.
How do you get in the calm mood to write poetry? I’m usually not in a calm mood when I write poetry although that sometimes happens, it depends on the poem I’m writing. I write poems when I’m in a lot of different moods. The calmness comes after I’ve written the poem.
How do you get the confidence to perform your poetry in front of lots of people? I practise and rehearse a lot before I perform my poetry. The extra time I put in gives me confidence.
What age were you when you wrote your first poem? What was it about? I started writing short stories as a child, but before that I can remember when I was very young composing lines in my head for fun.
I once won an award for a selection of my poems. I’ve never won anything for a single poem but one of my poems which is studied a lot is called, ‘Sad Joke on a Marae.’ It is about losing and finding, defeat and victory, pain and healing.
How do you find your inspiration for your writing? I find my inspiration by looking at, listening to and feeling the world around me, and sometimes I just look inside myself.
What advice do you have for children that want to be writers? My advice for children who want to write is to get a pen and paper and start writing. That’s the best way to begin.
Thanks for a wonderful interview Apirana and Ruma 4. Apirana is an amazing poet to have visit your school — schools love him! I know because I hear great tales of him when I visit schools. He tells stories and he shares his poems. Apirana has five poems in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children. They play with language deliciously and they often celebrate his Maori heritage. Phantom Billstickers made a poster of his poem, ‘haka’ for me to give away on my Hot Spot Poetry Tour so you might see it up in places in October!