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A Hundred Gourds 2:1 December 2012
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Haiku Festival Aotearoa, 2012 – Tauranga, New Zealand

- by Sandra Simpson, co-organiser of the Festival


| Introduction | page 2 | page 3 | page 4 | page 5 | page 6 |


“Hey, gang, let’s put on a show!”

Mickey Rooney is one of my least favourite actors – he talked too much and tried too hard with that currant bun face – and yet this sentiment, expressed by the actor in several movies, is one that’s hard to beat and far, far livelier than the similar: “If you build it, they will come” from the baseball movie, Field of Dreams.

The idea of hosting a national haiku festival in the Tauranga area was first mooted some 2 years before it actually took place. A meeting was called in a seaside suburb of greater Tauranga by a writer new-ish to haiku who was keen to organise a festival. But with a lack of suitable venue and few willing volunteers his enthusiasm petered out and the project was quietly shelved.

The light-bulb moment came when I realised that two people could probably run a festival just as well as, say, five or six. The trick would be making sure that those two had the right mix of skills – I offered festival/event experience so needed someone with financial nous.

Margaret Beverland has been treasurer of the Katikati Haiku Pathway Committee for several years, had been to the previous HFA in Christchurch in 2008 and had led the 40th anniversary celebrations of the local writers’ group ... and she said yes!

We roughed out some figures and a guideline programme, asked around to gauge support and decided, that with some funding support, we could make a go of it.

Our biggest hurdle, believe it or not, was finding a suitable venue. Both the previous HFAs had been residential conferences and, with most of the delegates travelling from out of town, this was a crucial element.

Tauranga has a population of 100,000, more or less, but is a city that has experienced most of its population growth in the last 20 years and facilities haven’t always kept up.

The key requisites were two rooms for workshops, one being large enough for all delegates, and reasonably priced accommodation. We figured there were probably only two real options and, fortunately, one of them ticked all the boxes and had the dates free.

Okay, enough background, on with the show …


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Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2012 organisers Sandra Simpson (left) and Margaret Beverland.

Photo courtesy of André Surridge.

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