by Nicole Titihuia Hawkins
Winner the Jessie Mackay Prize for best first book of poetry
Nicole Titihuia Hawkins’ first collection, Whai, introduces the voice of a strong and assertive poet, who is unashamedly herself. With poems centred around whānau, mana wāhine, and love, Whai explores what it means to be Māori in a colonised space. These poems are playful, staunch, vulnerable and at times utterly hilarious. They have big kaiako energy. While her work is anchored in the present, Hawkins stays in conversation with her ancestors, and looks towards the future.