Poetry explores writer’s Rarotongan roots

Monday 31 October 2016 | Published in Local


A RAROTONGAN man’s poetry is being published in New Zealand.

Rob Hack’s collection of poems explores his strong relationship to his heritage in Rarotonga and his connection to Niue and New Zealand.

‘Everything is Here’ is a collection of poems recalling island life through rich descriptions and familiarity with countries including New Zealand.

Escalator Press publisher Mary-Jane Duffy said the poems reinforce “quintessential Pacific-ness,” and reflect the publisher’s aim of showcasing the diversity of voices in New Zealand literature.

In Hack’s poems and in his words he wanted to uncover and record his Rarotongan mother’s early life. But he later progressed into writing about the Cook Islands, his Niue Island years, his forays into Australia, and poets he admired, she said.

Award-winning New Zealand poet Dinah Hawken said the poems illustrated stories from Porirua East, Niue, Paris, Rarotonga, Sydney and the Kapiti Coast. They were told in spare, accessible poems full of people and day-to-day things.

Hack is a graduate of the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme and completed his Masters at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University. He describes himself as a “jack-of-many-other-trades”, having worked as an insurance salesman, green keeper, builder, night shift worker, personal trainer, cattle station worker and more.

He was born in Invercargill, New Zealand, and his mother was from the Cook Islands.

Hack has lived in Paekakariki since 2005 and has performed his poems in Kapiti and Wellington for 15 years.

Rob hosts a poetry show on Paekakariki FM called Not at the Table: Poetry and Stuff.

The cover is designed by internationally renowned graphic designer Sarah Maxey.

Hack has previously been published in Landfall, Turbine, Shenandoah and 4th Floor.

‘Everything is Here’ is available for pre-order now through the Escalator Press website at http://www.escalatorpress.co.nz/product/everything-oct-publication/

- Release/ LL