Where were you born? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Whangarei, brought up on the shores of Tamaterau, a tiny settlement that hugs the Whangarei Heads Coast Road. I’m currently living in Ponsonby, Auckland’s heart of the city, until I find my next ‘yummy place’.
Where did you go to school? Did you have a nickname?
My schooling was in Whangarei, at Onerahi School, Whangarei Intermediate, and Whangarei Girls’ High School. I didn’t have a nickname, but I did always want to change my name to Jenny, because the friend I had with that name, always had oranges in her lunchbox and while I dug my fingernails into mine to peel it, the skins on her oranges came away in long spiralled strips!
What were you like in school? What was the most outrageous thing you did there?
I was quite shy in school, preferring to stay in the background mostly. The most outrageous thing I did was to form a girl band that students could dance to at lunch times. Oh, and one day I sneaked over to Lupton House, where the boarders stayed, and had my ears pierced by one of my boarder friends.
What was your favourite book growing up?
The Flame Trees of Thika. It was filled with a sense of the exotic, and we had numerous flame trees growing around the house where I was raised, with giant thorns!
Who is your favourite children’s author?
Lewis Carroll. I loved the magic of Alice in Wonderland.
What is your favourite food/colour/movie?
My favourite food is banana sandwiches. They always come to the rescue when I’m stressed, when I’m in a warm-fuzzy mood, or when I’m in a hurry! My favourite colour is yellow, and my favourite movie is Mary Poppins. My mother took me to see this movie when I was very young, and I was easily drawn in by the magic!
Who inspired you to write?
I’ve always had a personal desire to write, drawing inspiration from numerous writers.
How did you get started? How old were you?
I developed a love of poetry at an early age, and started writing lyrics when I was in High School, so around the age of thirteen. As an adult I enrolled in a Creative Writing correspondence course and discovered I had a flair for painting images with words. I went on to enrol in a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English, and completed several Creative Writing papers, a journey that is still continuing.
Why did you want to be a writer?
I don’t know that I intentionally wanted to be a writer. I just wanted to write. The fact that I am a writer now, still amazes me! And look at the opportunities it is creating for myself and for those who will read my work!
How do you think up ideas?
Usually ideas come flying in out of nowhere. They just arrive, and them I’m faced with decisions around what to do with them.
Do you have a special place where you write?
No, but writing seems to flow in the wee hours.
What is the best thing about being an author?
Knowing that what I create will be shared, loved and enjoyed.
Have you had a funny or embarrassing moment as an author?
Not yet, but I look forward to experience those.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing I’m a performing musician, an events manager, I support Mental Health & Women’s Wellness, I’m a mum, a grandmother, and a very good friend. I love being amongst nature and especially being in the ocean.
What would you have chosen to be if you were not an author/musician?
A big-screen actress!
Which famous person from the past would you like to talk to?
Dame Te Ata I Rangi Kahu (the former Maori Queen).
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
Where do I begin? I’m very proud of being able to walk in both Maori and European worlds, embracing the values and lessons from both cultures, and to be able to share the gifts of my learnings and experiences with a wide variety of people. Books were very scarce in my surroundings when I was a child, but those that were available opened up a world of possibilities, excitement and adventure. I plan to continue living my life exploring the possibilities, feeling the excitement and enjoying the adventure.