Ruapehu Writers Festival – Ohakune March 2016
It was a convergence of authors and readers from a variety of places in Aotearoa though predominantly Wellington authors. The locals joined in and the hospitality extended from Ohakune and the Powderhorn Chateau, our Festival venue, made everyone feel welcome. The Powderhorn Chateau was like something out of a book itself. It was like being in a hobbit movie – things were giant (huge hunks of wood, glistened with coats of polyurethane) in the enormous main room. The staff bent over backwards to help everyone.
The variety of sessions was impressive. This was reflected in the audiences who came and experienced an extremely well- balanced, well- paced program. A lot of insights were shared and a lot of laughs, with a range of experiences in between while listening to top shelf NZ authors in action.
The length was perfect. The atmosphere was built on Friday and by Saturday it had peaked to a level where everyone had become comfortable and excited, this was sustained until the finish on Sunday evening.
Our being in Ohakune provided that moment for connection. Making friends, or having intense conversations with a certain freedom for out of town people getting the time and change of background to open up. Sometimes it was like a camping without the camping. There were even horses and bikes.
It was proud enough – the mountain was a big presence. It was no one’s space. Other than the locals, it was no one’s space. It was the perfect meeting ground and it was all about writing and performance.
Check out the programme and you’ll see what I mean.
From my booksellers perspective it was an enviable experience to stand behind all that literature laid out on an enormous table, all those books, their faces shining. It was a stunning representation of all the work the authors have done, in the past and present. I was able to do nothing else than assist putting books into people’s hands and learn more than ever about this writing given to us in Aotearoa.
Thanks, congratulations, and three cheers to Anna Jackson and Helen Rickerby.
Thank you to Dean Johansson for the Photos.
By Marion Castree