Pikihuia Programme

Over a three year cycle, the Pikihuia Programme provides a range of activities for writers including — contests, award ceremonies, workshops, mentoring opportunities, attendance at writing festivals and a six month intensive incubator programme.

The programme runs as follows:

Year one:

  • Te Papa Tupu Writers Incubator and contest
  • Mentoring

Year two:

  • Mentoring
  • The Pikihuia Writers Awards
  • Publishing approved manuscripts of the Pikihuia winners

Year three:

  • Attendance at Writers festivals
  • Workshops

The Māori Language Trust offers workshops aimed to develop Māori writers’ skills, which will lead to producing publishable works in English and/or Māori. These workshops provide mentorship from published authors, offer skill development, create networking opportunities and afford advice which increases writers’ knowledge of the publishing process.

At these workshops writers work through various aspects of creative writing, which may include:

  • Narrative description (what to put on the page, what to thread into the subtext)
  • Exposition (transforming information into a story)
  • Voice (character/vernacular, creating landscapes)
  • Point of View
  • Dialogue
  • Story structure and engineering (plotting, turning points, rising tension)
  • Rewriting and re-imagining (drafting and re-drafting process)

Similarly, the Māori Language workshops cover:

  • Ngā wāhanga ō te kōrero (narrative, plot, theme)
  • Ngā āhuatanga ō ngā kiripuaki (characterization)
  • Ngā whakawhitinga korero (dialogue)
  • Ngā āhuatanga ō te tuhituhi te reo Māori (writing in Māori)


Here’s what some of the previous participants had to say about their experience in the workshops:

I honestly believe everything I have learned this weekend will influence my writing. I have learned many techniques which will definitely help me.

I’ve gained a lot more than I could ever ask for.

James [George, a guest mentor and Pikihuia Award winner] was brilliant. I found him engaging, almost endlessly knowledgeable and importantly, a fantastic teacher. I’m not a big sharer and avoid speaking in groups, but I felt comfortable in James’ and the group’s presence.

A wealth of knowledge shared with us; excellent use of vast material to show and contrast the difference of the techniques being taught.


For more on Te Papa Tupu, click here.

For more on the Pikihuia Awards, click here.