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Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival 2024
Young Readers Programme in Schools

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Pasifika: Poetry & Performance

Wednesday 8 – Friday 10 May

Nafanua Kersel (poet), Ramon Narayan (poet), Sheldon Rua (spoken word poet) and Josh Mitikulena (artistic director and choreographer) will be leading three workshops throughout the week, which reflect the Pasifika creative process and using performing arts as a core mode of storytelling. Students will scaffold their work throughout the week, beginning with poetry, then moving towards a performance piece which will embody their written work. Students will have an opportunity to perform their final piece for their peers, and again during the Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival Gala Night on Saturday 11 May.

This event is made possible by a new partnership with the Creative New Zealand Pasifika Arts Strategy. 

8–10 June 2022

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Let Your Imagination Soar with James Russell

Kahutara & Pirinoa Schools
Thursday 9 May


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.  


8–10 June 2022

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Spiral Collectives presents: Ghostspeak – Talk Back to a Teenage Keri Hulme 

Thursday 9 May


Lucky students will explore Keri Hulme’s genius response to a school essay topic, ‘Any imaginary conversation’. They will stand beside her on the brow of a Moeraki hill, listen to her kehua, see a splintering gatepost, feel her vibe. As part of the session, students will create a text, visual image, comic, TikTok, play, video, poem or song that talks back. This workshop is presented by Spiral Collectives' Cushla Parekowhai and Marian Evans and based on Keri Hulme’s unpublished schoolgirl essay, Moeraki Hillside, written when she was about 14.  

8–10 June 2022

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Teacher Talks:
Supporting Neurodiverse, Disabled, and/or Medically Fragile Young People

The Royal Hotel
Joy Cowley Room
Wednesday 8 May 


How can teachers and school staff support tamariki and their families who are medically fragile, disabled and/or neurodivergent? What is it like for parents advocating for their children in education? What are the best ways to develop great relationships with neurodivergent learners and their families?


Author Emily Writes is here to chat, encourage, challenge, and celebrate the partnerships between parents, teachers and whānau.  


Emily Writes joins us to share her perspective as the mother of a medically fragile child and a neurodivergent child and as director of Awhi Ngā Mātua. Awhi Ngā Mātua is an online community for parents of disabled children. Emily recently hosted the podcast The Courage Club, a project aimed at protecting disabled and neurodivergent children from sexual violence. Her husband is a teacher aide. 

8–10 June 2022

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Fantasy, Horror and Activism 

Kuranui College
Wednesday 8 May


James Russell (author of The Dragon Brothers Trilogy), Denver Grenell (author and Horror Expert at Beware the Moon), and Etta Bollinger (writer, disability advocate, and activist) will be let loose in Kuranui College for the day, to inspire, delight (and scare?) ākonga, through interactive and exciting writing workshops. 

8–10 June 2022

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Young Writers

Featherston Primary Schools,
Wednesday 8 May

Oscar Sweetman (reader, writer, reviewer, and YouTuber) discusses his passion for reading, and the art of writing a review. A self-starter and go-getter, Oscar aims to inspire other young readers and writers to pursue their own passions by passing on his experience and expertise in creating written and digital reviews.  

Arlo Kelly (author) will share how he started writing, and how he progressed from his first handmade book to having Echo published. Arlo will discuss the process of writing and producing Echo, with the help of his whānau. 

8–10 June 2022

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Pou Mahara at Pāpāwai Marae

Friday 10 May
Pāpāwai Marae


The pou of Pāpāwai stand tall and steadfast, facing inwards they have stood guard over our marae for 119 years. They face inwards as a symbol of peace. They also face inwards as a silent reminder that sometimes when seeking peace, the most important battles we will face will come from within. Our pou are carved out of Totara from huge forests that were felled to create the farmlands we now know as Wairarapa. Each pou represents a rangatira with connections to Pāpāwai, Wairarapa and the Kotahitanga movement. Ākonga will hear the stories of why the Pou face inwards from Mātai Ammunson and then work with artist and writer Terri Te Tau and musician/teacher/local legend Warren Maxwell to draft stories and a waiata celebrating these stories.  

8–10 June 2022

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Story Time: Featherston Preschools 

Featherston Preschools
Wednesday 8 May


Research shows that children who are read to daily are exposed to 290,000 more words by the time they enter kindergarten, than those who are not. With this in mind, local authors Anne Hayden (No. 30) and Sharleen Forbes (Rewi Romney) will treat the tamariki of Featherston’s preschools to a special story time, reading from their delightful new books. With beautiful pictures and positive messages, our preschoolers will delight in hearing a story inspired by rural life in the Wairarapa, and a literal black sheep on a journey to make new friends. 

8–10 June 2022

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Speed Date: Communicating Science

Anzac Hall
Thursday 9 May


​What good is science if you can’t communicate it? Students will learn the art of communicating and illustrating scientific concepts and the natural world through workshops with fungi enthusiast, Liv Sisson (Fungi), illustrator Ned Barraud, and artist/conservationist/science communicator Kelly Body. The aim of these workshops is to engage young people with nature and inspire their critical thinking, observation and science literacy skills. 

8–10 June 2022

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Story Time: Martinborough and Greytown Preschools 

Greytown & Martinborough
Friday 10 May


In the second instalment of our South Wairarapa story time, we invite Catherine Robertson, author of Pearl in a Whirl, to share the tale of the fearless (and lucky) fluffy cat Pearl, who was displaced by Cyclone Gabrielle. With suspense, drama, hope, and rescue peppered throughout its pages, the tamariki are certainly in for an aural adventure! 

8–10 June 2022

Programme in Wairarapa Schools for preschoolers to senior secondary students.  8 – 10 May 2024.

Note: These events are not open to the general public.

A massive thank you to our wonderful sponsors of the Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival 2024 Young Readers Programme

Manatū Taonga Ministry of Culture and Heritage
REAP Wairarapa
Papawai Marae
Creative New Zealand
Read NZ Te Pou Maramara
South Wairarapa District Council
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