The 2018 Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat was a blast!

Thank you to everyone who was part of the 2018 Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat. This year was our biggest yet and it was wonderful to see so many new and familiar faces. Below are some quotes from this year’s participants and some photos that capture the energy of the event.

“Don’t underestimate the collective energy of a passionate group of writers. Inspiring! Kahini lives up to all it promises.” Lisa Bell – Writer

“An essential element of my writing calendar.” – Bee Trudgeon

“An exhilirating experience of writers’ energy and dedication to their craft. To hear their stories, share experiences, and to marvel on their writing timetables.” Michele Morris-Denize

“Brilliant retreat for writers with wonderful workshops, and the sharing with other writers has transformed my writing life. I will be there again next year as soon as it opens to register.”

“The retreat transformed me. Pip Adams was a brilliant workshop facilitator who brought out the best of us in a non-judgemental way so we felt safe sharing. El Rancho is a perfect spot for a retreat. I hope to attend many more of these retreats in the future.” Janet Sayers

“I came away with lots to work on and some great ideas and techniques to get me started. I also learnt a great deal from the writers sharing their writing during our workshop and the freewriting time.”

“The workshop sessions were a true incubator where everyone learnt from everyone else and so much from a skilled teacher in a kind environment . The topic was timely for my work and I’m not sure where else I could have learnt as much about trauma narrative.”

” The writers retreat was a writer’s haven of nourishment, learning and expression, a treat that you should give yourself every so often to keep the flow going.” Denise Hart

“I went as a beginner full of trepidation. I left as an accepted, full member of the writing fraternity.” Roger Biggs

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The dates for the 2019 Retreat will be announced shortly. You can join our mailing list to ensure you here about it first!

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Announcing Dance and Write

Date: 10 am – 4 pm, 7 April 2018
Location: Kāpiti Coast, Aotearoa New Zealand
Faculty: Ingrid Kölle
Cost: $75 including lunch
To register contact: [email protected]

Dance and WriteDo you love to dance, write and express yourself freely or do you freeze at the very thought of it? In this workshop we will let movement free our bodies and words dance on the page. You will learn practical and magical ways to inspire your writing and hone your dance.

We will practise embracing and silencing the inner critic. Move in meditation or with wild abandon and then put pen to paper and let the dance continue. Watch words spring forth from your elbows and hips. Learn to listen to the whisperings of the body and let them inspire your writing. Discover the joy and liberation of movement and dance your words onto the paper. No need to be polished or clever – nothing to make up and no skills or experience required. Come just as you are and join others doing the same. Let yourself be surprised. All sharing is optional!

Limit of 25 places.

Ingrid KölleIngrid Kölle has been leading conscious dance workshops and teaching weekly classes in Wellington since 2006. She has an extensive background in 5Rhythms®, Core Connexion and Open Floor Dance. For most of her career she worked as a foreign correspondent, writing and producing feature stories on the US and New Zealand for the German Broadcasting Corporation. Her articles were also published in various newspapers and magazines. She was commissioned by a German publisher to write a book about New Zealand which was published in 2015.

For more info go to:


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Five Quick Questions with Airini Beautrais

AiriniAirini Beautrais lives in Whanganui. She is the author of four collections of poetry. She answers our five quick questions in the lead up the 2018 Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat.

1. What is it that attracts you to poetry as opposed to other storytelling forms?

Poetry as we know it is often written in some form of verse, either free verse (divided into lines but with no metrical or numerical structure), traditional forms, or contemporary variations on these. It is also often segmented into relatively short units – even in the case of a prose poem sequence. These formal features offer a vast array of possibilities in the structure of a story. Shifts between time, place, speaker and so on can happen more easily and more suddenly than in conventional prose. Poetry is also often associated with lyrical writing, which gives the storyteller opportunities to focus on specific moments, to include information that may not be dramatic or exciting at first glance, or to be linguistically weird. I do enjoy writing prose fiction as well, and the non fictional essay can also be a storytelling form. I think while poetry offers a different range of resources to other genres, there is always going to be some overlap. My feeling about genres is that they are fluid and evolving, and there are also lots of possibilities involving ‘hybrid’ forms.

2. A lot of your work deals with episodes from ‘real life’ and involves research into diverse subject matters. Is research always a core part of your work?

The last two poetry collections I have written have involved a huge amount of research, but this isn’t always how I work. It can be quite daunting and can also bring a sense of heightened responsibility which may act as a damper upon the creative process. On the other hand, it’s fascinating to learn new things and go sleuthing for information, and there’s a big temptation to include large amounts of peripheral or irrelevant detail simply because it’s interesting.

More recently I have been working with fictional material. I think it’s always advisable to read widely in the field you are writing in, and this counts as a kind of research – how did other poets/ writers approach the same subject or form, and what can I learn from them? What will I do differently?

3. How do you go about the research process? And how do you balance ‘facts’ with the needs of the story you are telling? 

I go about it in a meandering sort of way. I’ve talked to people, gone through archives, trawled the internet, read lots of stuff from official histories and scientific works to school reunion pamphlets and handmade zines. Sometimes research could be taking a walk around a site and recording sensory observations.

There will always be a certain number of ‘facts’ that aren’t in dispute, but the majority of information about the past is inaccessible to us – we weren’t there and didn’t experience it. I find ‘fact’ a risky thing to negotiate. In Dear Neil Roberts I ended up writing a lot from a personal perspective, reflecting on a tragic event through the lens of my own life. In Flow I incorporated elements of fiction, as well as personal experience, alongside poems based on the historical record. These decisions stemmed from a reluctance to try and write an authoritative account of historical events.

4. What are you working on now?

I have a fictional sonnet sequence in incubation, which is part soap-opera storyline and part interrogation of the sonnet tradition. I have also been working on a collection of short fiction, which is turning out to be quite feminist and quite dark.

5. Tell us a little bit about the workshop, what should people expect?

We will be looking at a variety of examples of poems and lyrics that incorporate story. Our main focus will be on writing, sharing work and giving feedback. The work will probably be quite raw and rough and a certain amount of detachment from one’s fresh creation will be helpful. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, but hopefully workshop participants will find ways that work well for the material they have chosen to write about. I hope we will all have fun.

In a workshop, everyone brings their own feelings, opinions, knowledge and experience to the room, and we all have something to learn from each other. I am looking forward to being at the retreat, meeting people and sharing ideas.

Register for the 2018 Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat here

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