The Center for Pacific Islands Studies is pleased to announce that performance poet, author, and youth worker Daren Kamali will be the ninth Fulbright–Creative New Zealand Writer-in-Residence. He will be at the center for three months this fall, from late August to late November. In 2011, he released his first bilingual (English and Fijian) collection of poetry, songs, and short stories entitled Takes, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World. The book, with an accompanying compact disc, takes readers on a journey from Oceania’s underwater world to its landscapes.
Daren’s debut album, Immigrant Story (2000), and EP album, Keep it Real (2005), share his personal experiences migrating to Aotearoa New Zealand from Fiji in 1992. Daren infuses his Fijian and Wallis and Futunan heritage with poetry and creative writing by including chants, songs, and oral traditions. Much of his work is inspired and influenced by his experiences and upbringing in Fiji and in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
He has facilitated creative arts workshops since 2004 and mentored writers in New Zealand and Fiji. He is cofounder of the South Auckland Poets Collective, ten of whose members completed a four-stop national tour in 2010. Recently, Daren was part of the New Zealand delegation for the Festival of Pacific Arts in Solomon Islands, where he sang and performed poetry and spoken word to huge audiences of other Pacific artists.
Daren will be researching and writing a new book as well as conducting youth workshops, giving public performances, and collaborating with UH Mānoa’s growing network of Pacific writers. His first public event, part of the center’s seminar series, will take place Wednesday 19 September at 12:00 pm.