The Omicron variant is slowly taking over New Zealand. That is why the Auckland Writer’s Festival Waituhi o Tamaki cannot take place in May this year; it has been postponed. Even if it was disheartening for writers all over New Zealand, it was in the best interests of the staff, guests, and attendees. Instead of taking place in May, as it usually does, it will now take place from 23rd to 28th August 2022.
The event will take place in the Aotea Centre in Auckland. It is a one-off shift so that everyone gets to experience the event in its full glory. They haven't posted the detailed schedule yet. We will see it in Mid-June. The tickets will be on sale soon after the entire schedule is declared.
The Auckland Writer’s Festival Waituhi o Tamaki is one of the most popular annual literacy festivals globally and the largest annual literacy festival in New Zealand. Every year it has around 200 public events scheduled for avid writers and readers all over the world. Talented local and international writers are present each year as guests for the festival.
We know absolutely nothing about Auckland Writer’s Festival Waituhi o Tamaki 2022. But, that gives us a perfect chance to go over the history and predict what could be the attractions this year. Let us look at some of the important years in the history of the Auckland Writer’s Festival Waituhi o Tamaki.
It is the year where it all started. The inaugural festival took place in May. The founding trustees were Stephanie Johnson and the late Peter Wells. From here began the journey that thousands of passionate writers take every year. Now, this will be the 23rd year of the festival.
Auckland Writer’s Festival Waithu o Tamaki is celebrated every year to celebrate and cherish the work of writers. The festival promotes literacy. It also provides a positive platform and face for the Kiwi writers. It is also an uplifting profile for ideas, intellectual debates, and literature that reflects the Treaty of Waitangi.
The festival finally got registered as a charitable trust. The Auckland Writers And Readers Festival Charitable Trust conducts the festival every year.
The year 2018 was one of the most crucial years for the festival. By this year, the festival became one of the largest literacy showcases in New Zealand. The event showcased Jeff Tweedy, Kate Raworth, Antony Beevor, and John Boyne. Notable writers featured from Ireland, England, India, South Africa, etc. Shashi Tharoor, Susie Boyd, Lisa Dwan, Gigi Fenster, Tom Scott were some writers whose work was also present at the festival. There were numerous events like the New 90 and Festival Gala Night- True Stories: Under Cover that kept the attendees engaged for the entire duration.
The year 2019 also marks an important point in the festival, for this is the year when the festival finally got its Maori name. Till 2018 the gala was only known as Auckland Writer’s Festival. However, in 2019 the name Waituhi o Tamaki was also given to the event. The meaning of the Maori language name comes from the words 'wai' meaning water, 'waiata' meaning song or a poem reflecting water, and 'tuhi' that means writing.
In 2019, there was the first every session conducted in the Maori language. The session was scheduled with Timoti Karetu, an infamous academic specializing in Maori. The festival showcased musicians like Jeff Tweedy and Shayne Carter at this festival. The festival featured 230 writers in total. 2019 was the year when Joy Cowley was also honoured.
The year 2020 was indeed a tough year for the entire world. With the pandemic at its peak, the festival was cancelled.
Auckland Writer’s Festival Waituhi o Tamaki had to go big after a year-long break. And they did! At the festival, international writers like Neil Gaiman and Behrouz Boochani made a physical appearance. Kazuo Ishiguro and Ai Weiwei were streaming from their locations. Other writers present at the festival were Isabel Allende, Mohammed Hassan, Marilynne Robinson, Yiyun Li, etc. The first-ever creative anthology by Asian-New-Zealand writers Paula Morris and Alison Wong, A Clear Dawn, was launched at the festival.
The last few years have of the festival were power-packed. And they have done nothing but increase the anticipation for this year. The organizers haven’t let any information slip. Be it the writers featured or the events for this year, they have not given any hints. All we can do now is wait until June to end the suspense and book the tickets when they go on sale!