A troupe of Northland poets is getting ready to represent their region at a first-of-its-kind national poetry gathering.

Known as the Poetry Posse, they will represent Te Tai Tokerau at the New Zealand Poetry Conference and Festival 2017 in Auckland next weekend.

The poets met at the Dirty Word monthly poetry readings in Whangarei in 2015, and formed the Posse in 2016.

Their show, Northland Noise, prepared for the festival, is the first time Poetry Posse members have written a shared stage project together.


The five current members are Vivian Thonger, Vincent Nathan, Brett Ruys, Nga-Atawhainga Manukau and Michael Botur.

Organiser Mr Botur said the one-hour show begins with a rap about Northland, then each of the five performers will present poems in his or her personal style, book-ended with group performances. He is particularly proud of the diversity within the group.

"Our poets range in age from their 20s to their 50s. We are two ladies and three dudes and we come from Maori, British, Dutch and Polish backgrounds.

"Our voices are all very distinctive but that's what the Poetry Posse is all about: supporting one another's differences."

Mr Botur said it has been hard fitting rehearsals into everyone's busy lives but the group was determined Northland should have a presence at the festival.

"I feel we are the underdogs so we'll have to deliver twice as good a performance as the next guys. We live in a province with a tiny fraction of the country's population, not terribly much creative writing going on and not much money going around to allow people the freedom to take time off to write, so we're doing everything we can to show the rest of the country that our region holds just as much talent as everywhere else."

The NZ Poetry Conference and Festival 2017 from November 10-12 is organised by a group of Auckland poets and supported by NZ Society of Authors, Auckland Council, Stylus Trust and NZ Poetry Society.
For information: https://www.stylustrust.co.nz/