Ngahuia Te Awekotuku
Tira Haere: Travelling across many worlds

Is the nature of reflection a reflection of nature? What do we remember? What do we forget? How – and what – can we tell others? Which bloodlines resonate most? Is writing nonfiction a legacy, a taonga tuku iho? For whom? Questions like these may be considered in this presentation.

Emeritus Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku is a writer and advocate for Māori, feminist and lesbian issues. She was born and raised in Ohinemutu, Rotorua, and aligns primarily with the Ngati Whakaue people. For years she worked in the heritage and creative sectors, as a curator, governor, teacher and activist/advocate. Her research interests include museums, gender issues, ritual and death. Ngahuia completed a MA (Hons) in English in 1974. In 1981, she became the first Māori woman to earn a doctorate from a New Zealand university, with a PhD on the impact of tourism on the Te Arawa people.

As a curator at Waikato Museum in the 1980s, Awekotuku was among the first to insist that museums rethink how they represent Māori and indigenous culture, locally and overseas. She developed and taught the first tertiary sector Māori and Pacific Art History programme from undergraduate to doctoral level and in 1996 became this country’s first Māori woman professor. She discussed much of this in her 1991 essay collection, Mana Wahine: Selected Writings on Māori Women’s Art, Culture and Politics. She has also published numerous book chapters, poems, short fiction, articles and academic papers. Her multiple award-winning volume (2007) – Mau Moko : the world of Maori tattoo – emerged from twenty five years of experiential research in this significant art form. Ngahuia has also published short fiction collections, most notably Tahuri (1989 & 2017) and Ruahine: Mythic Women (2003).

Retired from the academy, she continues to work in the heritage sector. Her prize-winning 2015-2016 exhibition, E Nga Uri Whakatupu : Weaving Legacies, and the accompanying illustrated book, focused on the iconic weavers, Dame Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa. She is a Fellow of the Auckland War Memorial Museum (FAWMM), and holds the Royal Society Pou Aronui Award for service to the arts and social sciences. Awekotuku is the first Maori woman emeritus professor, and one of three inaugural Ruanuku o Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, esteemed academic elders who support the National Centre for Maori Research Excellence.

Behrouz Boochani
Resistance and Knowledge

Associate Professor Behrouz Boochani graduated from Tarbiat Moallem University and Tarbiat Modares University, both in Tehran; he holds a Masters degree in political science, political geography and geopolitics. He is a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate and filmmaker. 

Boochani was a writer for the Kurdish language magazine Werya; is Associate Professor in Social Sciences at UNSW; non-resident Visiting Scholar at the Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre (SAPMiC), University of Sydney; Honorary Member of PEN International; and winner of an Amnesty International Australia 2017 Media Award, the Diaspora Symposium Social Justice Award, the Liberty Victoria 2018 Empty Chair Award, and the Anna Politkovskaya award for journalism. 

He publishes regularly with The Guardian, and his writing also features in The Saturday Paper, Huffington Post, New Matilda, The Financial Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. 

Boochani is also co-director (with Arash Kamali Sarvestani) of the 2017 feature-length film Chauka, Please Tell Us The Time; and collaborator on Nazanin Sahamizadeh’s play Manus. 
His book, No Friend But The Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison won the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature in addition to the Nonfiction category. He has also won the Special Award at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Australian Book Industry Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year, and the National Biography Prize. He has been appointed adjunct associate professor in the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of NSW and visiting professor at Birkbeck Law School at the University of London. 

A special Low-Keynote appearance
from Mary Cappello, entitled

Join Mary for an intimate reading as prelude to an embodied future NFN Keynote—a digitally mediated love-note to trace movement, bridge community and investigate pause.

Mary Cappello composes essays, memoir, literary nonfiction and experiments in prose, always with the aim of bringing a poetic sensibility together with a scholarly ethos. Her seven books include a mnemic collage based on a twinned legacy of violence and creativity in her Italian/American family; an anti-chronicle meant to thwart the ritualized routine of breast cancer treatment in the US; a Los Angeles Times bestselling detour on awkwardness—ontological, diplomatic, aesthetic, and social; discursive double portraits of friendship between lesbians and gay men living with AIDS; a lyric biography of a medical pioneer and his cabinet of swallowed and aspirated things; and, most recently, the mood fantasia, Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack.

She has been variously honored with Guggenheim and Berlin Prize Fellowships in Nonfiction; the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize for her documentary work with new immigrants to Italy; and the Bechtel Prize for Educating the Imagination from Teachers and Writers Collaborative for her essay, “Can Creative Writing Be Taught?”

Her groundbreaking work on polymath humanitarian, Chevalier Jackson, and the patients in his care set the stage for multi-modal performances in diverse locales from Brooklyn’s Observatory to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (London), from The Smithsonian Institution to Grand Rounds in Pediatric Otolaryngology, from the Velaslavasay Panorama (LA) to serving as Presidential Lecturer for the ABEA (American Bronchoesophagological Association). 

Keen to reconceive the forms nonfiction takes in public to meet the pressing political needs of our time, she has authored projects like the essay as collaborative mood room, and the inter-active anti-panel, while also calling for a return to the lecture as a sounding, contemplative art. She is currently writing a book on dormancy and dormant states in a culture that is dream-averse and sleep-deprived. A former Fulbright Lecturer at the Gorky Literary Institute (Moscow), Cappello is Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Rhode Island.