2019 New Zealand Society of Authors Waitangi Day Honours 

2019 Pacific Laureat 

Lani

Wendt-Young

Radio NZ interview

"I am humbled to receive this recognition and express my thanks to the New Zealand Society of Authors - Faafetai tele lava.

As a brown woman who writes - oftentimes from the margins and smashing gates as I do so - I have seen the transformative power wrought by stories written by us, about us, and for us, as our communities the world over revel in books they can see themselves in, that they can embrace as their own. This literary honor is testament of that power, and emphasises the ever present need for more of us – to write, publish, and have the support we need to take our stories to an international audience.

 

The road is not always fun and fanciful, and an award like this is a much appreciated encouragement to keep forging ahead. Writing is resistance. It doesn’t matter if we are writing fiery island romance, crime thrillers, or the next Man Booker prizewinner – we are changemakers and can choose to either disrupt or uphold the status quo. To all my sister storytellers out there, weaving words in between the chaos of jobs, children, faalavelave, (and the possible frowning censure of your aiga!)...loto tele! My hope for all of us, is that we will have the fortitude to write though storms and fire, without approval or Likes, and stride like Nafanua the war goddess, with courage through every battleground. May we speak our truth, even when our voices shake. May we find joy in every dream we dream and every story we tell - as we rewrite the world."