Tusiata Avia


I’m sure that many of you will know or have heard of Tusiata and her dynamic performances, especially with the show “Wild Dogs Under My Skirt.”

Jenna Heller has arranged for her to come to the meeting next Thursday, 12 November. “Tusiata will perform some of her poems and talk about the value and importance of performing your work in order to garner an audience.”

Her talent has been recognised by a Fulbright Pacific Writer’s Fellowship, Ursula Bethel Writer in Residence at Canterbury University and recipient of the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award.

Don’t forget that in the second part of the evening we will be discussing the future path that SIWA will be taking.

Lisa Tui is coming to SIWA

She will be here to talk to us for our August meeting….. That is Thursday 8th at 7:30.

Lisa Tui is a songwriter, singer and teacher: an independent artist, a self employed conductor of music and teaching income streams, inspiration and insight.

In the last 5 years songwriting has been the focus in her creative music life.  She has generated a digital album with another to be released in October.  She performs in concerts, at gigs, festivals and sustained a collaborative co-writing relationship with Dunedin songwriter Richard Dingwall.

Lisa has pursued the craft of song writing with the guidance of a songwriting coach, and curated the ‘freakin’ awesome’ songwriting clinics and retreats around the South Island for Charlotte Yates in Dunedin, Wanaka, Hanmer, Akaroa and Christchurch for the past 3 years.

Hope loads of you come to the meeting to listen to Lisa. I’m sure it’ll be inspirational! And here’s a photo of her performing.

Lisa Tui

Tusiata Avia

Update on Tusiata Avia

Sadly Tusiata is unable to vist us on 14th March. But we are hoping that she will be joining us another time. In the meantime the committee are planning a great evening for that Thursday and are looking forward to seeing you all.


We are lucky enough to have Tusiata Avia coming to talk to us at our March meeting, which will be held at 7:30 pm on Thursday the 14th.

Tusiata is an established and respected poet and writer. She has published collections of poetry and children’s books. Her solo show Wild Dogs Under My Skirt premiered at the 2002 Dunedin Fringe Festival and then toured nationally and internationally.

She has gained a number of awards and residencies. In 2005 she was awarded the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residence at the University of Hawai ]and was the artist-in-residence at the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury. The following year she was shortlisted for the Prize in Modern Letters and won the Emerging Pacific Artist award at the Creative New Zealan Arts Pasifika Awards. She was the 2010 Ursula Bethell writer in residence at the University of Canterbury. In 2013, she received the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award.

If that were not enough, Tusiata’s poetry has appeared in several literary journals including Takahe, Sport, Turbine, and Trout. It has also been published in the Best New Zealand Poems series (in 2004, 2009, 2011 and 2017).

And here’s the list of her poetry collections

  • Fale Aiutu – Spirit House (Victoria University Press, 2016). This was shortlisted for the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
  • Bloodclot (Victoria University Press, 2009)
  • Wild Dogs Under My Skirt (Victoria University Press, 2004)

And her children’s books

  • Mele and the Fofo (Victoria University Press, 2004)
  • The Song (Victoria University Press, 2002)

So, as already said,  we are lucky to have her visiting us. It should be an amazing evening so make sure you put it in your diary now!

Fibonacci inspiration

Stuck for a last minute idea for your Fib poem for Thursday’s meeting? Here’s some breathtaking, real-life examples of the golden ratio to spark your imagination.

Story critique swap

This month’s meeting (12 October) will see the next round of the SIWA Critique swap.

This time we’re reading stories, so dust off a draft and bring it along to share with another member.

Any kind of story is fine – short, flash, childrens, it doesn’t matter. Just keep it to about 2500 words or less.

For more information, and some resources on critique, see SIWA Critique Swap.

Anna Rogers is coming to SIWA in September

She will be talking to us at the Thursday 14th September meeting.

Here’s a quote from google books that tells us about her

“Anna Rogers has spent most of her working life as a book editor. She has an MA in English from Canterbury University, and has also worked as a bookseller and as a sub editor for the Listener. She has worked for most of the major New Zealand publishers, editing both fiction and non-fiction. Anna has also adapted books for radio and is a book reviewer and she is the author of eight non-fiction books, including While You’re Away:New Zealand Nurses at War 1899-1948, A Lucky Landing: The Story of the Irish in NewZealand and illustrated histories of Canterbury and the West Coast.”

Anna has judged for SIWA on several occasions and inevitably gives great feedback and great advice.  We always enjoy her visits and with her years of experience in the book world she is well worth listening to and learning from.

So come in numbers, bring your questions and  enjoy the  evening.

August Competition: Children’s Book Manuscript

August’s competition is for a children’s book manuscript.

Bring along your manuscripts to get judged by one of our own published children’s authors, Melanie Koster!

For a great starting point, Joy Cowley published a list of 10 points to bear in mind when writing picture book texts. So there’s no excuse not to enter!


SIWA critique swap starts next month

At next month’s meeting the first bi-monthly SIWA critique swap will take place! It’s a great opportunity to advance your writing through giving and receiving feedback in our friendly SIWA atmosphere.

Sam will give a brief talk on Thursday to explain how it works, talk a little bit about giving nice, helpful critiques, and answer any questions you might have.

For now, please head over to the new SIWA Critique Swap page and take a look!

This is a new thing for SIWA, and it wouldn’t be a good critique swap if it didn’t welcome feedback! If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please email sam.averis@gmail.com and he’ll try his best to sort them out – either by email or on Thursday.critique

Talk from Rachel of Scorpio Books

At our July meeting – Thursday 12th to be precise – Rachel Eadie will be coming to talk to us. She is the manager of Scorpio Books and will be telling us about what books sell, how they are selected and other issues relating to her role. As there will also be time for questions, think about what you would like to know about running a bookshop and come prepared to ask.

We’re looking forward to having a full house for Rachel’s talk.  Who knows, you may get a tip that will result in your book being for sale at Scorpio one day. Oh and feel free to bring any writer friends you have to the meeting.