Tēnā koutou katoa 

We know how busy December gets for many people, so the takahē team has worked hard to bring you our 109th issue early in the month. We’re sure you’ll find plenty inside from our contributors to challenge, delight, and move you, and hope takahē will find a special spot in your summer reading. For us, it’s a taonga we’re very excited to share. 

We’ve gained a Board Member—many thanks to Richard Pamatatau for joining us. Richard is a poet and academic with a wealth of experience in governance and we’re excited to draw on his knowledge as takahē moves forward into 2024. We’d also like to say a huge thank you to Alie Benge, who is resigning from the board to concentrate on her own mahi after this issue. Her careful curation of our Essays section has been a delight. 

It can be so difficult to sustain creative practice in the midst of the atrocities that wash across our screens daily, and the call to action which many of us urgently feel. We want to affirm and uplift the diversity of voices included in takahē as a small, local act of nourishment, in the belief that creative dialogue goes some way towards helping us understand our shared experiences with more nuance, more depth, more empathy. 

Acts of generosity are to be celebrated, and we’re so thankful to Paula Green for showcasing five writers from takahē 107 in a special collection of audio recordings. Head over to NZ Poetry Shelf to hear Wendy BooydeGraaff, Charlotte Simmonds, tokorima Taihuringa, Philip Armstrong, and Paul Connolly’s beautiful readings. 

Another moment for celebration is the announcement of the annual Monica Taylor Poetry Prize, judged by Robert Sullivan. Many thanks to Robert for your considered and heartfelt reading and assessment of this year’s entries. We’re grateful, too, to Monica’s whānau for their support of the prize, and honoured to continue running the competition in her memory. Congratulations to Austin Haynes, our winner for 2023, whose poem Kawekawe kōrero is in this issue, and to Jackie Davis and Tracey Sullivan, our finalists. You can also check out our Competitions page for more details.

We’d love to hear your responses to the art and writing in this issue—what you noticed, what you wondered, what stayed with you for days after—so join us on social media! We’re on BlueSky, Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter). 

Wishing you peace and joy for the new year and beyond.

Ngā mihi nui,

Erica Stretton and Zoë Meager

Interim Co-Chairs