WHITI HEREAKA AWARDED THE 2012 BRUCE MASON PLAYWRITING AWARD
The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Whiti Hereaka at a ceremony at Downstage Theatre in Wellington on 25 November 2012.
The award exists to recognise early success in the career of the winning playwright; to encourage their continued exploration of the theatre medium and grants a $10,000 cash prize.
Whiti is an award-winning playwright, novelist and screenwriter - holding a Masters in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters - and is a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
She has been previously shortlisted for the Bruce Mason Award and has had great success in the Adam New Zealand Play Award winning Best New Play by a Maori Playwright, for her play Te Kaupoi in 2010 and the same award for Rona and Rabbit on the Moon in 2011.
Murray Lynch, Director of Playmarket, NZ's playwrights' agency, says, “Whiti's plays are poetic, poignant, and wildly imaginative”.
Her first play was a finalist in the NZ Theatre Federation one-act play festival. She has twice been commissioned by Young and Hungry Arts Trust and been recognised in Playmarket's Plays for the Young competition. She was writer in residence at Randall Cottage in Wellington where she worked on her debut novel, The Graphologist's Apprentice, published by Huia in 2010, and which was later shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers First Book Award in 2011. She was also resident at the Michael King writer's centre in Devonport, Auckland in 2011. She is of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa descent, and is currently working on her second novel.
The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award has, since 1983, recognised the work of an outstanding emerging New Zealand playwright. The recipient is decided through voting by a panel of leading Artistic Directors and Script Advisors throughout New Zealand. Previous winners include many of this country's most celebrated writers including Hone Kouka, Briar Grace-Smith and Jo Randerson and was last year awarded to Arthur Meek.
The Award is named after the man considered to be New Zealand's first most significant playwright, Bruce Mason, who died in 1982. His plays are still produced widely today and many, such as The Pohutakawa Tree and End of the Golden Weather have come to be considered New Zealand classics.
The award is funded by the Bruce Mason Estate, The FAME Trust, and Downstage Theatre Society.