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Hinemoana Baker  [ New Zealand ]

Biography

Portrait Baker
© Leonardo Carta

Guest 2016.

Bibliography

mātuhi | needle

Victoria University Press, Wellington, 2004

Perceval Press, Santa Monica, 2004

kōiwi kōiwi | bone bone

Victoria University Press

Wellington, 2010

waha | mouth

Victoria University Press

Wellington, 2014

Transit of Venus | Venustransit

[Mit Ulrike Almut Sandig, Glenn Colquhoun, Uwe Kolbe, Brigitte Oleschinski, Chris Price]

Victoria University Press

Wellington, 2016

Hinemoana Baker was born in 1968 in Christchurch, New Zealand, and grew up in Whakatane and Nelson. Her Māori heritage is from her father’s side; her mother’s ancestors were from Europe. Baker graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a bachelor’s degree in Māori and Women’s Studies before taking a master’s degree in creative writing.

Baker’s writing career began in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she helped establish the group Zimbabwe Women Writers and gave her first public reading. Many poems in »mātuhi | needle« (2004), Baker’s first volume of poetry, examine how we can orient ourselves and find our bearings in today’s world. Bill Manhire, New Zealand’s prize-winning poet and fiction writer, called »mātuhi« »a handsome Global Positioning System«. »kōiwi kōiwi | bone bone« was published in 2010, followed by »waha | mouth« in 2014. Baker is very much involved in the intricate design of her books, and her writing is equally inspired by highly intimate and autobiographical experiences, everyday observations, or random scraps of text found in dictionaries, for instance. Echoisms and language games characterize her texts, which have been published in various anthologies and literary journals. Baker also teaches creative writing. In 2009 Baker was the Arts Queensland Poet in Residence, and in 2014 the Victoria University of Wellington’s Writer in Residence, during which she wrote a piece of prose based on her family history which included her father’s traumatic experience of being in a Catholic orphanage when he was a child. Baker is a music producer, and has performed as a singer-songwriter since the 1990s, composing several albums of original music. Her first album »puāwai« (2004) was nominated for several awards. Baker also plays in a duo called Taniwha with the musician Christine White. She regularly performs and gives readings – most recently at the 17th poesiefestival berlin. She is currently Creative New Zealand's Berlin Writer in Residence. During her time in Germany, Baker plans to research her maternal ancestors, who were originally from Oberammergau in Bavaria.

In 2012, three New Zealand poets, one of whom was Baker, and three German poets, Ulrike Almut Sandig, Uwe Kolbe and Brigitte Oleschinski, traveled together to Tolaga Bay, New Zealand, to witness the transit of Venus, an extremely rare celestial event, where Venus travels in front of the sun. The poems originating from this event were selected and published under the title »Transit of Venus | Venustransit«.

Currently living in Berlin, Hinemoana Baker normally lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

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