The Treasury Interviews: Hina interviews Stephanie Mayne

Things about Hina!

Hi my name is Hina and I’m 10, my birthday is on November the 8th. I was born in 2003. I have 2 brothers and I have 6 sisters but one passed away and I was named after her. I am from Tonga and every Sunday I go to church. My hobbies are to play outside with my siblings, read books, draw and walk my dog to Balmoral School. I play netball for my school, I also sing in  school band. I have friends called Soana and Madison. They are both in the best class whole universe.


Stephanie Mayne is an Auckland librarian. Her poetry has been published in newspapers, anthologies and online literary journals. She likes collecting things – interesting objects, ideas, people and words. She keeps a notebook with her always and jots down thoughts and impressions to use in her poetry later. Once she has written a poem, she puts it aside for at least a fortnight – till she has forgotten about it. Then she rereads it with a fresh mind – and nearly always redrafts over and over again.

When writing poems for children, Stephanie tries to look at the world as a young person might – a world hopefully filled with wonder and excitement. She imagines what might move a child or make a child laugh. She is lucky to be a librarian – there is always a student around willing to read her poetry and tell her what works and what needs more attention!


The Interview:

  • 1) What kinds of stories do you like to read? Why?

I like reading all sorts of different types of stories!   I like stories that make me think, stories that make me emotional, stories that I learn things from. I especially like stories in  which authors have used words in unusual and creative ways.


  • 2) When did you start writing poetry?

The earliest poem I can remember writing was when I was about ten. I entered it into a newspaper competition and it was published! I was so excited! Ever since I can remember I have been comparing things to other things. I would look at  the mashed potato on my plate and imagine polar bears climbing over it, like Antarctic ice. So, I guess you could say that I have been writing poems in my head forever, really!


  • 3) It says on the internet that you like playing with your dogs. Do you ever write about them? What are their names?

Yes – I used to write poems for my daughter about our dogs. The dogs we have at the moment are both boys – and really naughty boys at that! They hardly ever do what they are told and they   don’t have good manners when they eat, that’s for sure. They are neat, though! They are called Baxter and Joe. Cool names, don’t you think?


  • 4) Do you enjoy being a librarian? Does it help you with your poetry being around lots of books?

I love being a librarian. All day long I am surrounded by words, words, words!

I   am so lucky – I can always get the books I want to read. If you want to be a better writer you need to read what other people have written!

I think that I do have a better understanding than some people about what young people   like to read because I deal with students a lot and I notice what their preferences are.


  • 5) Why did you choose to write poetry?

It sounds silly – but I can’t   not  write poetry! If I haven’t written a poem for a while I get grumpy and feel frustrated! I always have to have a poem “on the go.” I carry a little notebook around with me and jot ideas down all the time. Writers are great magpies – they are always looking for that shiny word, that glittering phrase to pinch!


  • 6) Who is your favourite author? Why?

My favourite children’s author – like lots of other people – is Roald Dahl. I like how irreverent (naughty) he is and how he never talks down to children or tries to “improve” them. I love his quirky, amusing characters and his elegant, accomplished writing. Yes, Roald Dahl is a hero of mine!


  • 7) Who do you think is the best in your whole family? Why?

I love everyone in my family but if I had to pick just one person then that would have to be my daughter. That is because she is the kindest member of our family. She has a smile that makes people smile back.


What a lovely interview Hina and Stephanie. Thank you! Stephanie has three poems in A Treasury Of NZ Poems and you can tell she loves playing with words. They are very juicy.



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