self-determination for Māori writers
Sinead Overbye looks at how Māori writers are taking control of their own publication and distribution.
There is a shift in the artistic landscape taking place, and with it different ways of publishing and distributing literature.
I had the privilege of being involved with Te Rito o Te Harakeke in 2019. This publication brought Māori writers from across the world together to respond to the peaceful occupation of Ihumātao. Each poet had the right to refuse all editorial suggestions. The result was a hand-bound chapbook in which every word was exactly what writers wanted.
The book had a small print run, and money made from the book was gifted back to the tangata whenua at Ihumātao. Going through this process was not only an act of creativity, but one of community building between Māori who felt the necessity to speak in a safe space. It was an affirmation that we can speak for ourselves.