Author of 'Star Gazing'
Whiti Hereaka is from Ngāti Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa. She grew up in Taupo, and now lives and writes in Wellington.
Whiti is the author of two novels: The Graphologist’s Apprentice and the award winning Bugs. She is a playwright and was the winner of the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award in 2012. She has also written a few things for radio and film.
Her writing has led to a few adventures overseas; she was a participant in the International Writers Program in Iowa USA in 2013, she was invited to be part of the Book Fair in Taiwan and the Singapore Writers Festival in 2015.
Whiti has been a Writer in Residence at Randell Cottage in Wellington and the Michael King Writers Centre in Auckland. She was a participant in Te Papa Tupu in 2012, a mentor in the programme in 2014 and was a judge and a mentor in 2016.
She is currently working on two new novels: Kurangaituku which retells the story of Hatupatu and the Bird Woman; and Legacy which is a time slip novel about the Maori Contingent in World War I.
In her spare time Whiti likes to knit and sew. She collects My Little Ponies from the 1980’s and has started to collect Monster High dolls to customise. Whiti is Team Mystic and hopes to one day find a Mew.
Books and other things I loved when I was young:
Anything by Roald Dahl but especially:
Danny the Champion of the World - because I loved the plan that Danny and his Dad came up with – I thought it was brilliant! And I liked how everyone came together to pull it off,
The Twits – I thought this book was hilarious, I loved the tricks they played on each other.
The Swan – From a collection of short stories The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. I probably shouldn’t have read this when I was young; the stories are written for adults. The Swan is about bullying and it is brutal and horrifying, but there is also some lovely imagery that has stuck with me for years.
Boy – Childhood Memories – Roald Dahl’s childhood served as inspiration for some of his best loved books.
The Narnia Series, CS Lewis; especially:
A Horse and His Boy – the novel doesn’t feature any children from Earth (apart from a mention of Queen Susan); I liked reading about Narnia from a native of Narnia’s point of view.
and The Last Battle – Brings most of the characters from Earth back to Narnia and it made me rethink some characters I didn’t like in earlier books (ugh – Eustace).
Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery – I think I’d probably seen the TV series before I had read the books, so I was already a fan of Anne Shirley and in love with Gilbert Blythe. Anne is smart, brave, romantic, proud, wilful and quick to temper – she gets herself into all sorts of trouble without even trying.
Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne – I’m not sure where we got this book from; it was a small leather bound book that my parents kept in a bookcase with sliding glass doors. These tales were my first taste of Greek mythology (actually, my first taste was probably the movie Jason and the Argonauts).
The Moomins, Tove Jansson – we had a collection of the comic strips. I didn’t know until I was much older that there are actual books too! I loved the Snork Maiden.
The Broons by RD Low and Dudley D Watkins – another collection of comic strips. The “Broons” (Browns) are a big Scottish clan and the comic is about their daily life.
Whizzer and Chips – I bought this comic weekly. I was a Whiz-kid and liked Sweeny Toddler the best.
A Flight of Dragons – I watched this over and over again! The story is about the clash between science and magic – wizards are trying to preserve one realm of magic and need Peter from Earth (who knows a bit about science) to help them. Peter becomes a dragon. I loved the explanation of how dragons fly. Also there were parts of the movie that were a bit scary and I loved that.
The Goonies – A really great adventure film.
Labyrinth – Still one of my favourite movies. A great soundtrack too.
The Princess Bride – Another great movie. I was also a wrestling fan so I enjoyed watching Andre the Giant. Read the book too.
Anne of Green Gables
Misfits of Science
21 Jump Street