Writer, producer and director Mīria George is the first Cook Islands artist to receive the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency at the University of Hawaii.
Mīria is of Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Kuki Airani (Rarotonga & Atiu) heritage and is the co-director of theatre company Tawata Productions. During her three-month residency, Mīria will develop a new work, Fire In The Water, Fire In The Sky, which is a performance piece addressing the effects of colonisation, christianity and climate change in the Pacific.
“This is a uniquely Pasifika journey. It will investigate the outside factors which have had a huge impact on the lives of Pacific peoples and also search for hope for the future of the Pacific and the world,” says Miria.
In June, Mīria closed a sell-out season of her new play The Vultures which premiered as part of Wellington’s Kia Mau Festival of theatre and dance. In the year ahead she will also work on the international collaborations Waka, Ciiman, Vaka and return to Rarotonga to work on the second installment of KIVA: Collection Two, new writing from the Cook Islands.
Creative New Zealand chief executive Stephen Wainwright says the residency provides a significant opportunity for Pasifika writers. “We congratulate Mīria on her selection and look forward to her new work adding to her growing body of achievements.”
Fulbright New Zealand Executive Director Penelope Borland says the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency is an important partnership award and Fulbright New Zealand encourages applications.
“Fulbright New Zealand has a long history of supporting talented creative professionals and artists. We are delighted to welcome Mīria to our community of alumni. I hope she has an enjoyable and transformative exchange experience and we look forward to her work,” Ms Borland says.
The Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency is based at the University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus. Alumni include playwright Victor Rodger, poet Tusiata Avia and filmmakers Sima Urale and Toa Fraser.
Mīria is a poet, and writer for theatre, radio and television. An award-winning playwright, Mīria’s work has toured New Zealand, Australia, Hawai’i, Canada and the United Kingdom.
In 2007, and what remains marked Mīria’s international debut as a playwright. Her other works include Oho Ake, He Reo Aroha, Urban Hymns and Sunset Road. He Reo Aroha, co-written with Jamie McCaskill, has toured extensively internationally. In 2016, Mīria premiered her new play The Vultures, an indigenous satire.
Mīria holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. Also a published poet, The Wet Season is Mīria’s debut collection of poetry, published by the Wai-te-ata Press. Mīria is a co-founder of Tawata Productions and Tawata Press.
The Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency is for a mid-career or senior New Zealand writer of Pacific heritage to carry out work on a creative writing project exploring Pacific identity, culture or history at the University of Hawai‘i for three months. One award valued at NZ$30,000 is granted each year, towards three months of writing. Applications close 1 March annually.