Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Alistair Te Ariki Campbell Exhibition – The Cook Islands
The Dark Lord of Savaiki
(I am the one in your dreams, master of passion, favourite child of Tumu and Papauri)
Report by L. E. Scott
On the 15th of July 2011, as a result of an invitation from the Campbell family and the Cook Islands Library and Museum Society, I participated in the Cook Islands celebration for one of their most gifted sons, Alistair Te Ariki Campbell.
It was a wonderful celebration of the life and works of this great poet.The programme opened with a tu oro (traditional welcome) by elder Ngarima George, after which all the guests were led into the museum.Further opening remarks were given by Richard Wachter, President of the Society of the Cook Islands Library and Museum.He spoke about how proud and happy they were to be able to acknowledge the great contribution Alistair had made to the world of literature.He noted that the library and museum now housed Alistair's books and many other artefacts associated with his life and work, such as photos, letters and notebooks.
Mary and Josie, Alistair's daughters, read some of his poems and also presented a musical tribute to their father.
After the Campbell daughters’ presentation, I read two of Alistair's poems, reflecting the agony and devastation of war, along with a poem I wrote for Alistair that looks at his journey from the Cook Islands to Aotearoa New Zealand and the light he shed on those two worlds through his work.
My contribution was followed by a performance from a wonderful CookIsland solo dancer, who transported the world of words into the movement of dance.
The Alistair Te Ariki Campbell Exhibition will run for a month in the Cook Islands.It was a wonderful experience for me to have been part of the celebration in his adopted land of Aotearoa New Zealand and then again in the land of his birth, The Cook Islands.
Lewis Scott is a Wellington-based jazz poet and performer. He currently organises the popular poetry reading series at the Ballroom Café in Newtown, Wellington. His recent poetry book isSpeaking in Tongues(HeadworX, 2007).