May 2022: Just back from 2 weeks in the deep south of New Zealand – Otago Peninsula, the Catlins, Southland and Stewart Island / Rakiura, my first visit to the country’s third main island. The weather veered from warm sunshine to stinging, sideways rain, sometimes all in a matter of minutes, but mostly we were blessed with travelling weather (less said about the outward flight across Foveaux Strait the better; the return leg was fine). The trip to Rakiura was a happy byproduct of Covid. Unable to get to the Chatham Islands due to Auckland’s long lockdown last year, we decided to try for Stewart Island instead, further spurred by the re-opening of our borders to international tourists. Expressing interest in some plants in Oban, I had seeds given to me by the gardener, and almost said, ‘I can’t take those into New Zealand’, as it truly does feel like ‘somewhere else’. On a wet day Rakiura Museum in Oban and Te Hikoi Museum in Riverton are both recommended as fine examples of local storytelling done extremely well.
Having made jottings that may or may not lead to haiku, I will soon be revisiting Katherine Raine’s Learning to Write haiku pdf booklet as a refresher to help me focus my efforts. This month’s article by award-winning poet Brad Bennett is also a timely reminder/introduction as we prepare our entries for various contests, but particularly the New Zealand Poetry Society International Haiku Contest, as the author takes us back to first principles.
Contest listings have been updated through to the end of July but will likely be added to as the month progresses to cater for a couple of short-lead contests that advise their closing dates this month. Don’t forget the Publications page as another source of outlets for your work and scroll down to the Publication news on Haiku Happenings to see some one-off opportunities.