Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Walking, Talking, Reading, Writing: Colleen Maria Lenihan

Lunchtime talk

12.00pm 26 April 2023

Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery

Fiction writer and photographer, Colleen Maria Lenihan is the Emerging Māori Writer in Residence at the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington for 2023. Lenihan is working towards a novel set in pre-European times, potentially imagining the daily internal worlds of her tūpuna. For this talk Lenihan will share insights from her unfolding project, touching on and traversing between themes in Ana Iti’s work.

Colleen Maria Lenihan (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) is a graduate of Te Papa Tupu, a programme run by the Māori Literature Trust and Huia Publishers. Lenihan's first book of short stories Kōhine, was published in 2022 by Huia. Currently based in Tāmaki Makaurau after fifteen years in Tokyo and a year in New York City, Lenihan has been the recipient of a number of residencies including: the Michael King Writers’ Centre Emerging Māori Writer (2019); the Newsroom/Surrey Hotel Winner (2019); and the Dan Davin Literary Foundation (2021) residency. She writes for Ahikāroa, a drama on Māori TV, and is a storyliner at Shortland Street.

This is the fourth and final in the talk series Walking, Talking, Reading, Writing exploring themes running through Life Puzzle and A dusty handrail on the track. With references to narrative sequencing and spanning physical or temporal distances, the common point of departure is a push-pull approach to language and physical structure. Each presenter juxtaposes lifted elements to different ends: making sense of the subtle absurdities of everyday life or picking over remnant colonial and indigenous forms and structures.

Install shot of a dusty handrail on the track

Installation view, Aro Toi / Art Collection in Focus: Ana Iti, A dusty handrail on the track, 2021, Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Photo: Ted Whitaker