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THE FISH'N'CHIP SUPPER


Friday 10 May, 6pm–9.30pm, Anzac Hall, $50, cash bar


It’s become a tradition for Featherston Booktown Festival attendees – the best Fish’n’Chips, an entertaining speaker, and a kapa haka concert by Featherston’s tamariki. This year Dame Susan Devoy will entertain with stories of her life as Race Relations Commissioner, TV and squash star, and mother of four boys. Mana whenua kaumātua Paora Ammunson will welcome everyone and Liz Mellish will be our MC.

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THE MAGIC OF MUSHROOMS


Saturday 11 May, 9.30am–10.30am, Kiwi Hall, $20


Liv Sisson (Fungi of Aotearoa) and Zach Cotogni (Blue Honey) are on a mission to show Aotearoa New Zealand how important fungi are for the mental and physical health of human beings and the health of the planet. From lichen to psilocybin, they will explore the world of mushrooms with renowned forager Helen Lehndorf (A Forager’s Life).

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HIDDEN GEMS: JENNY BORNHOLDT ON ANNEMARIE HOPE-CROSS

A tribute event to the late Lydia Wevers


Saturday 11 May, 11am–12pm, The Joy Cowley Room at The Royal Hotel, $20


Annemarie Hope-Cross (1968–2022) was a fourth-generation photographer who used early photographic processes and antique cameras to produce handmade images that are luminous and otherworldly. In A garden is a long time writer Jenny Bornholdt brings words to the photographs to give an account of the life and work of this fascinating Central Otago artist. She talks with Lynn Freeman.

Introduction by Alistair Bisley. Profits from ticket sales will be donated to the Lydia Wevers Scholarship in New Zealand Studies.

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LET YOUR IMAGINATION SOAR WITH JAMES RUSSELL!


Saturday 11 May, 12pm–12.45pm, Featherston Library, Free


Join James Russell, bestselling author of The Dragon Brothers Trilogy, The Dragon Defenders and Children of the Rush, as he takes you on a journey of creativity and shows you how to unleash your own. James believes children should be “in the arena”, challenging themselves to be creative, and not to be afraid of a stumble or two. He’ll show you how.

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TE TIRITI O WAITANGI: WHAT TANGATA WHENUA SAY


Saturday 11 May, 1.30pm–3pm, Anzac Hall, $25


Te Tiriti o Waitangi remains as important today as it did when it was first signed 184 years ago, but how can Aotearoa honour it, what are the key challenges and where do tangata whenua stand? Papawai Marae kaumātua Paora Ammunson (Ngāti Kahungunu/Rangitāne) will welcome us and Tāme Iti (Ngāi Tūhoe, Waikato, Te Arawa), Moana Maniapoto (Te Arawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) and Te Maire Tau (Ngāi Tahu) will share their views on the Treaty today, moderated by Shane Te Pou (Ngāi Tūhoe).


Generously sponsored by Tim Clarke & Tessa O’Rorke.

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WORD GETS AROUND: SONGWRITING WITH DELANEY DAVIDSON AND BARRY SAUNDERS


Saturday 11 May, 3.30pm–4.30pm, Anzac Hall, $25


Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders are storytellers who use music as their medium, and coming together as collaborators has taken them in new and exciting directions. “These songs just started appearing out of the kitchen air,” said Davidson, “and we were grabbing them as fast as we could.” They talk with Lucy Cooper about “the strange territory” they share making music together.


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FROM MOANA TO MOANA: A GALA NIGHT IN THE ANZAC HALL


Saturday 11 May, 6pm–9.30pm, Anzac Hall, $50 


includes two events and grazing tables, cash bar

We invite you to an unforgettable evening celebrating the Pasifika poetry of Moana Nui A Kiwa and the life of renowned musician, journalist, activist and truth seeker: Moana Maniapoto.


PASIFIKA POWER

Saturday 6.30pm–8pm


Be thrilled and amazed by kapa haka
and spoken word poetry created by Pasifika rangatahi at a three-day Young Readers Programme workshop and brought to the public for the first time. Poet Nafanua Kersel will host the event, which will lead into more poetry readings and a panel talanoa about the life and dreams of the South Auckland Poets’ Collective with co-founders Grace Teuila Taylor, Ramon Narayan, Daren “dk” Kamali, moderated by Ole Maiava.


Made possible by a new partnership with the Creative New Zealand Pasifika Arts Strategy.


WOMEN ON A MISSION: LINDA CLARK & MOANA MANIAPOTO

Saturday 8.30pm–9.30pm


Linda Clark and Moana Maniapoto are huge admirers of each other’s work. Fan girls, even. Moana is a musician, activist and journalist, and Linda is a lawyer, writer, and former broadcaster. In what promises to be a delightful kōrero of the heart and mind, the two women will interview each other about the various strands that make up their lives and how they weave them into their own kete to carry the gifts of the world and make change where they can.

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JOY COWLEY WRITING FOR CHILDREN WORKSHOP


Sunday 12 May, 9.30am–12.30pm, Featherston School Hall, $60


Joy Cowley wrote, “Storytelling is natural to children. They find meaning in the stories they hear, and they make meaning with the stories they tell.” However, successful writing for children is a specialist genre and requires the mastery of many elements. In her immersive workshop, Joy Cowley will share techniques and tips gleaned from a life dedicated to writing unbeatable children’s literature.

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STORY TIME WITH GAVIN BISHOP


Sunday 12 May, 10.30am–11am, Featherston Library, Free


Bring your little ones to the Featherston Library to experience the joy of listening to one of Aotearoa’s beloved children’s writers and illustrators Gavin Bishop. His many books include Joy Cowley’s Snake and Lizard (as illustrator), Patu, Atua, The House that Jack Built, and board books like Matariki.


Thanks to generous funding from the South Wairarapa District Council, this event is free. Register on Eventfinda to save your place.

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: CARL HAYMAN


Sunday 12 May, 11am–12pm, Anzac Hall, $20


What does it mean to be a modern All Black, expected to perform at a mental and physical peak when player body mass has increased by 30% since the 1960s and new research is showing the horrifying impact of head injuries on rugby player brains? All Black 1000, Carl Hayman, wrote Head On after discovering his injuries had led to early- onset dementia. He joins his co-author Dylan Cleaver and former professional rugby player John Daniell to talk about the new realities of the sport we love.

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SECRETS OF THE LAND: OUR READERS’ CHOICE


Sunday 12 May, 12pm–1pm, The Joy Cowley Room at The Royal Hotel, $20


Kate Mahony’s novel Secrets of the Land was the top pick by Featherston Booktown supporters for a new readers’ choice event. Set in Taranaki, Ireland and Australia, Secrets of the Land is an engrossing story with long shadows that stretch from 1864, when two young Irishmen joined the British Army to fight Taranaki Māori. With Maggie Rainey-Smith in the chair.

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GIANTS AND THE FOX SPIRIT: RAGE ON THE PAGE


Sunday 12 May, 1.30pm–2.30pm, Featherston School Hall, $20


Fox Spirit on a Distant Cloud by Lee Murray and Audition by Pip Adam are two extraordinary books that call on magical realism to tell stories powered by rage against social injustice: in the past and in the future. Murray’s is about the diaspora of Chinese women in Aotearoa New Zealand and Adam’s is about the New Zealanders we incarcerate. Chaired by Kiran Dass.

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MRS BLACKWELL’S MOTHER’S DAY AFTERNOON TEA

THE ABUNDANT AND THE BEAUTIFUL: MAKING GOOD FOOD AND FIBRE THAT WON’T BREAK THE PLANET


Sunday 12 May, 3pm–4.30pm, Anzac Hall, $50


Justine Ross (Meet You At The Main Divide) and her husband, Geoff, almost broke the internet when Country Calendar filmed their Central Otago station. In the shearing shed, shearers worked to the music of Vivaldi and shorn sheep slid down chutes to land on mattresses. Raised eyebrows from traditional farmers are nothing new to Yotam Kay (The Abundant Kitchen and The Abundant Garden), who established Pākaraka Permaculture in 2014 with his wife, Niva. Over the now famous spread that is our Mother’s Day afternoon tea and JOIY mimosas, Yotam and Justine will talk with Helen Lehndorf (A Forager’s Life) about the future of food and agriculture, and the planet we want to leave our grandchildren.


Generously sponsored by Millie Blackwell.

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A PLACE TO CALL HOME: LATE NIGHT LIT


SORRY, EVENT NOW SOLD OUT!!! 

Friday 10 May, 8pm–9.30pm, Common Ground Gallery, $30, beverage included


Writing about the places we call home, a reading by poets and storytellers from near and far, from Masterton to Westport to Ngāruawāhia: Tayi Tibble, Becky Manawatu, Kiran Dass, Madeleine Slavick and Mary McCallum. Seats are limited, so book your space quickly!

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THE WISDOM YEARS BY JOY COWLEY


Saturday 11 May, 9.30am–12.30pm, Featherston School Hall, $60


Joy Cowley says the child in her will never die. In her life-affirming, life-challenging workshop, she will take participants through the stages of life and what they mean, with a focus on what Joy calls “the wisdom years”, a time when “the body goes into labour to give birth to the soul”. For anyone 60+, led by one of our acclaimed writers and spiritual mystics.

Generously sponsored by Jen Bhati of Property Brokers Wairarapa.

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WHERE’S LEFT? WHAT DOES IT EVEN MEAN?


Saturday 11 May, 11am–12.30pm, Anzac Hall, $25


left is at a crossroads in New Zealand – the Labour Party struggles to be relevant while the radical left gathers strength in other parties.  Do lefties want the traditional face of the Labour Party anymore? How do the Greens and Te Pāti Māori present themselves as credible options to govern? John Campbell will ask the hard questions of trade unionist Craig Renney, activist and CEO of Childfund Josie Pagani, former Green MP Sue Bradford and journalist and communications consultant Chris Wikaira (Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāpuhi).


Generously sponsored by Tim Clarke & Tessa O’Rorke.

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THE WRITE STUFF: MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE


Saturday 11 May, 1.30pm–2.30pm, Featherston School Hall, $20


Catherine Robertson, Lee Murray and Isa Pearl Ritchie stuck to their dreams to write in the genres they love – romance, popular fiction, horror and speculative fiction – and, despite the naysayers, have managed to build a fan base, make a living from their writing and win awards. They share what they’ve learnt with Lynn Freeman.

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TEA WITH JANE: A LITERARY PASSION


SORRY, EVENT NOW SOLD OUT!!! HOWEVER, THERE IS NOW AN EXTRA SESSION ON SUNDAY 12 MAY 10am-11.30am.

Saturday 11 May, 1.30pm–3pm, The Dickensian Bookshop & Tea Rooms, $40


Towards Compostela author Catharina van Bohemen first read Pride and Prejudice when she was fourteen and has read and taught Jane Austen ever since. In 2015 she wrote two chapbooks, Letter to Susan and Sister, about how re-reading Jane Austen is a continual process of discovery and enrichment. Join her to hear more about her passion, over Devonshire tea made by European patisserie specialist Patsy Adams of The Dickensian Bookshop & Tea Rooms.

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THE SECRETS OF LIVING WELL WHILE LIVING LONG


Saturday 11 May, 3.30pm–5pm, Kiwi Hall, $25


Rachel McAlpine’s hit play The Secret Lives of Extremely Old People is part of her mission to find out all she can about old age. She and Robin Payne, who directed Secret Lives, and Gary Young, who played 90-year-old Gilbert, will discuss and perform some of the stories at the heart of the play, and Rachel (84) will give a taster of her new show, Unyoung. The session will wrap with tips and tools to help older people live well. For anyone 40–100 years. Bring your questions. MC Mary McCallum.


Generously sponsored by The Acorn Trust.

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ON THE COUCH: TĀME ITI


Sunday 12 May, 9am–10am, Anzac Hall, $20


Tāme Iti (Ngāi Tūhoe, Waikato, Te Arawa) is known as many things – activist, artist, actor, author, terrorist and cyclist. He rose to prominence as a member of the protest group Ngā Tamatoa more than 40 years ago, becoming a key figure in the Māori protest movement and cultural renaissance. Join community advocate and social change activist Denis O’Reilly in conversation with one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most captivating and controversial figures.


Generously sponsored by Mary & Peter Biggs CNZM.

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KIWIS IN CONFLICT


Sunday 12 May, 10am–11am, The Joy Cowley Room at The Royal Hotel, $20


Kiwis in Conflict was published in 1996 as Scars on the Heart to mark Auckland Museum’s permanent exhibition of two centuries of New Zealand at war. Republished in 2008 with new chapters on our UN commitments, it has grown again in 2024 with chapters on recent conflicts, including Afghanistan and the Ukraine, disaster relief in New Zealand and the Pacific, and the stress of war on veterans and families. Military historians Chris Pugsley and Buddy Mikaere discuss Kiwis in Conflict with Ron Mark.


Generously sponsored by Messines Bookshop: Military History.

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BOOK BINDING WORKSHOP ON SUNDAY


SORRY, EVENT NOW SOLD OUT!!! 

Sunday 12 May, 10.30am–12.30pm, St Teresa’s School, $40


Robyn Ramsden shows you how to make a 4th century Nag Hammadi codex. Her design is reusable and the leather will last long after you fill your notebook, and with her written instructions you can make your own at home. Materials supplied

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THE DILEMMA OF A BIBLIOPHILE


Sunday 12 May, 11.30am–12.30pm, Kiwi Hall, $20


Book collecting is variously described as a passion, an obsession and even a disease. Bookselling the same. Bookseller Ruth Shaw (Bookshop Dogs) and book collector Tony Eyre (The Book Collector) talk about the affliction/gift of bibliophilia, where it’s taken them in their lives and the dilemma of where to put all the books. Fellow bibliophile and Masterton bookseller David Hedley is in the chair.

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BOOK LAUNCH: THE ANTIPODEAN EXPRESS


SORRY, EVENT NOW SOLD OUT!!! 

Sunday 12 May, 12pm–1pm, Fell Engine Museum, Free


In 2019 Gregory Hill undertook an epic train journey from Wellington to the exact antipodes of his living room, on the edge of the insignificant Spanish town of Alaejos. It took 38,000 kilometres, 33 trains, 19 countries over 3 months. The book follows the journey on most of the great Eurasian trains, from the Northern Explorer to the Trans-Siberian and the Eurostar. Join Greg for a glass of wine and a light lunch to toast the launch of The Antipodean Express.

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tYPeWriteR BOnanZA WORKSHOP WITH KATJA STARKE


Sunday 12 May, 1.30pm–2.30pm, Common Ground Gallery, $30


When was the last time you wrote a love letter? Be guided through the process of writing a sparkly, poetic and spunky letter from start to finish on an old school typewriter by artist Katja Starke. Choose your favourite typewriter and compose a juicy love letter to your big love, your mum for Mother’s Day, your granny, future self or, if you must, a stinging break-up note. Suitable for all ages.

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GIGGLES AND GASES AND POOS AND FARTS STORYTIME


Sunday 12 May, 3.30pm–4.15pm, Featherston School Hall, Free


A blast of an event and back by popular demand! Get ready to laugh your pants off at our Giggles and Gases and Poos and Farts Storytime, where our fabulous local librarian Penny Griffin reads stories like Poo Bum, No One Likes a Fart, Did You Do This Poo? and others. We’ll share hilarious tales of bathroom adventures, make rude noises and have belly bursting laughs for all ages. Bring your grandad!

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ON THE COUCH: GREGORY O’BRIEN


Saturday 11 May, 9am–10am, Anzac Hall, $20


If anybody in Aotearoa New Zealand deserves the description polymath, it’s Gregory O’Brien. The poet, artist, art curator, and writer of fiction and non-fiction, has this year been longlisted for the Ockham Awards with Don Binney: Flight Path and flown to Manchester to set up an exhibition of his artwork. He has received numerous literary awards and an ONZM. Join author and art writer Catharina van Bohemen as she investigates the wildly intellectual and creative life of a polymath who shows no sign of slowing down.

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BOOK BINDING WORKSHOP ON SATURDAY


SORRY, EVENT NOW SOLD OUT!!! 

Saturday 11 May, 10.30am–12.30pm, St Teresa’s School, $40


Robyn Ramsden shows you how to make a 4th century Nag Hammadi codex. Her design is reusable and the leather will last long after you fill your notebook, and with her written instructions you can make your own at home. Materials supplied.

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THE CREWE MURDERS


Saturday 11 May, 11.30am–12.30pm, Kiwi Hall, $20


The murders of Harvey and Jeannette Crewe in their Pukekawa farmhouse in 1970 remains Aotearoa New Zealand’s most famous cold case. It spawned two trials, two appeals, a Royal Commission finding of police corruption and a free pardon, and still the killer has not been found. Journalists Kirsty Johnston and James Hollings conduct their own investigation in their new book The Crewe Murders and talk with Missing Persons author, Steve Braunias.

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THE PICTURES IN OUR HEADS: NEW LIFE FOR AUĒ AND THE BONE PEOPLE


Saturday 11 May, 1.30pm–2.30pm, Kiwi Hall, $20


The debut novels by West Coast writers Keri Hulme (The Bone People) and Becky Manawatu (Auē) are modern classics. Now both books are being transformed into a variety of media and translated around the world, and Auē is soon to have a sequel: Kataraina. What are the challenges of re-creating characters like Ārama and Kerewin in drawings and moving pictures and writing their stories with different words? Are they the same or do they take on a life of their own? Auē publisher Mary McCallum talks with author Becky Manawatu, translator Francesca Benocci, and Marian Evans of Spiral Collectives, who first published The Bone People.

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MEET THE MARKAVIST, MARK PACEY


Saturday 11 May, 3pm–4pm, Featherston Heritage Museum, $10 door sales


By day, Mark Pacey is the go-to man for Wairarapa’s history at the local archives. After hours, he’s the author of books on subjects as diverse as the U.S. Marines, pharmacies, brewing and the Wairarapa coastline. Come to the Featherston Heritage Museum and settle yourself in for intriguing and exciting tales from the Markavist.

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OFF FOR A WALK


Saturday 11 May, 4pm–5pm, Featherston School Hall, $20


“How can you see your life unless you leave it?” writes Catharina van Bohemen in Towards Compostela, her account of walking the Camino de Santiago. Dame Kerry Prendergast and Sue and Tim Pankhurst (Every Effing Inch) left their lives to walk the 3,012km Te Araroa Trail that runs the length of the country. Gregory O’Brien leads a conversation about the call to a walking adventure, the rewards and challenges.


Generously sponsored by Richard Stone and Dennis Roberts.

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: THE SECRET LIFE OF STEVE BRAUNIAS


Sunday 12 May, 9.30am–10.30am, Kiwi Hall, $20


Steve Braunias is an author, columnist, journalist and literary editor of Newsroom. He is also one of the country’s leading writers of satire and his 2021 book Missing Persons won the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Non-Fiction. Linda Clark will drill down into what makes the Tauranga-born writer tick, including the feeling behind the writing of his latest book that he was a missing person himself.

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tYPeWriteR BOnanZA WORKSHOP WITH KATJA STARKE


Sunday 12 May, 10am–11am, Common Ground Gallery, $30


When was the last time you wrote a love letter? Be guided through the process of writing a sparkly, poetic and spunky letter from start to finish on an old school typewriter by artist Katja Starke. Choose your favourite typewriter and compose a juicy love letter to your big love, your mum for Mother’s Day, your granny, future self or, if you must, a stinging break-up note. Suitable for all ages.

Images-On-Website1 - Joy.jpg

TEA WITH JANE: A LITERARY PASSION (Extra session)


Sunday 12 May, 10–11.30am, The Dickensian Bookshop & Tea Rooms, $40


Towards Compostela author Catharina van Bohemen first read Pride and Prejudice when she was fourteen and has read and taught Jane Austen ever since. In 2015 she wrote two chapbooks, Letter to Susan and Sister, about how re-reading Jane Austen is a continual process of discovery and enrichment. Join her to hear more about her passion, over Devonshire tea made by European patisserie specialist Patsy Adams of The Dickensian Bookshop & Tea Rooms.

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PEARL IN A WHIRL WITH CATHERINE ROBERTSON


Sunday 12 May, 11.30am–12.15pm, Featherston Library, Free


When floods devastated Hawke’s Bay, Catherine Robertson was taken by the story of a cat called Pearl who survived the destruction of her family home. She got illustrator Fifi Colston and Penguin Random House on board and in record time they created a picture book about the courageous cat, with proceeds going towards the Cyclone Gabrielle recovery. Catherine and Fifi will tell the story of Pearl and read from the book.

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PAPER-MAKING WORKSHOP WITH ROB KENNEDY


Sunday 12 May, 1.30pm–2.30pm, St Teresa’s School Quad, $30


Enjoy learning about the ancient craft, see what paper made from our native plants looks like, join the conversation about the sustainable use of native plants and then make paper for next year’s Featherston Booktown Visitor Book. Suitable for all ages and abilities. Materials provided.

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THE NEW ZEALAND WARS


Sunday 12 May, 1.30pm–3pm, Kiwi Hall, $25


It has been said the New Zealand Wars were more significant in shaping our country than Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This session seeks to explore whether that is true, and to dig deeper into a troubled time in our history. With sociology academic Joanna Kidman (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa), historians and authors Chris Pugsley and Vincent O’Malley, former director of the Waitangi Tribunal Buddy Mikaere (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Ranginui) and author of Patu, Gavin Bishop (Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Mahuta, Tainui), with Peter Biggs moderating.

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