Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Kuki Airani author Maria Samuela recipient of research grant

Kuki Airani Author Maria Samuela recipient of $5,000 research grant to go towards new novel, Kana. Photo: Tagata Pasifika

Kuki Airani novelist Maria Samuela has been awarded a  $5,000 Research Grants out of four participants in New Zealand. The grants are allocated to support writers undertaking research for a fiction or nonfiction writing project. 

Maria’s latest project Kana, is currently being developed upon. The novel explores a long and intricate timeline, spanning decades of pacific migration from a pacific women’s perspective, partly inspired by her mothers up upbringing. 

“I’m working on a novel about young Cook Islands women who migrate to Aotearoa in the 1930s to 1950s. My mum came here from Rarotonga in the 1950s. It’d be cool to have a sense of what life might have been like for her when she was a young woman.”

Maria will travel to the Cook Islands to conduct research for the book in her native homeland where her mother grew up. 

“The story of young Cook Island women (and men) who migrated to Aotearoa from the 1930s to the 1950s (is) a significant and often overlooked period of Pacific migration to New Zealand.”

Kana is Maria’s second novel and will be the follow-up to her most recent work, Beats of the Pa‘u, which was released earlier this year in March.  

With a Masters Degree from Victoria University of Wellington, Maria’s work is influenced by her personal experiences and drawn from real historical events. She keeps in mind her Pasifika audiences, and hopes that they too can relate to her books.  

Many of Marias books cater to a wide audience. Wirth publications for children and adults in various languages, like The Secret Game Plan & Other Stories and Ko e ongo tokoua with adult stories appearing in Turbine, Sport, and Takahē.

In 2018 she was a writer in residence with the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust and University Bookshop Summer.

Her story ‘Bluey’ was shortlisted for the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. 

61 applications were received for the research funds awarded by New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc) and the Copyright Licensing New Zealand.

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