Title: Renee - playwright, novelist and teacher Credit: Hall of Fame Tuesday 19th October 2004 - 12:00pm1098140400 Article: 453 Rights
Prolific author Renee writes with an observant eye and wry good humour. Who are you and what's your background? I am a playwright, novelist and teacher (Creative Writing and Your Life,Your Story Workshops). I grew up in Greenmeadows, Hawke's Bay – my mother was Kahungunu from Wairoa, and my father was of Scots heritage (Gordon Clan), from Gore. I am the oldest of three. My Maori heritage was not acknowledged in our family but when I was old enough I researched it myself and knew, without doubt, that my attraction to things Maori was a deeply embedded part of me and rightly so. I left school when I was 12, to go to work, and completed a BA degree when I was in my 40s. I have always been too pale for some and too dark for others, too lippy for some and too reserved for others. And then there are my friends and family who love me anyway. What have you hoped to achieve by your writing over the years and/or recently? When I first began writing plays I wanted to write roles that put women centre stage and I did – I've always wanted to write about the class I grew up in and I have, but whether I've actually achieved anything in writing is probably not a judgement I can make. I've written some good lines here and there, created a few memorable characters, and I'm still writing. In terms of teaching, which I enjoy almost as much as writing, I've turned a few (now published) writers on to the pleasures and the pain of the writing discipline and we have remained good friends. I've seen participants of the writing workshops who just wanted to write their life story for their family, complete that, and shared in the thrill and pleasure of their family members when they receive a copy of it. I feel a sense of achievement about that. What characterises the New Zealand GLBT community for you? I don't think I can pick out any one thing. Probably that's a good thing. Our community is composed of lots of different people from different cultures, we're all a patchwork of attitudes, habits, experiences, all unique yet having this one thing in common. We're a pretty remarkable bunch actually. My friends from this community are as dear to me as my whanau and that's how I regard them. They have been staunch, supportive, fun - and there when I needed them. What is the worst thing for you about being GLBT? I'm in too good a mood at the moment to answer this one. What is the best thing about being GLBT? I think I've already answered this. Relationship status? I live on my own. Favourite food her work has always been rich with ideas, wit, and a wry understanding that really spoke to me from the first time I read it and still does. Role models? Rona Bailey is a role model for me. She has views with which I usually agree, but not always, we can debate/discuss politics, theatre, books, clothes for hours; at nearly 90 she shows me the way and I love her for that as much as I love her for being herself. What is the most pressing issue currently facing the New Zealand GLBT community? I really can't say what is the most important issue facing our community today, I suspect it changes, depending on who you're talking to. I think perhaps there's a tendency to re-invent the wheel, and that is because we're used to being in smallish groups of like-minded people, and also perhaps because our history is not widely known or not widely appreciated. If you could have one wish granted what would it be? That we could walk the streets in perfect safety, always, forever. - 19th October 2004
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