Living on in Unknown Places

I was sad to leave my teaching gig at Manukau Institute of Technology. I liked the staff, a lot, and felt rather privileged to be in their company. And the students were among the most dedicated, motivated and hard working I’ve ever been lucky enough to meet. All in all, a top crew. I’ve survived a few restructures in my time. But this one got me.

The good news is that some of it lives on. In one of my courses, a little group of students and I were charged with exploring the “collaborative skills of professional writing.” So we put out a book. All I really did was repeatedly ask the same question: what sort of book you guys gonna write?


Cover photo (ex. thumb) by Kendra Leilua. This image includes a simple piece of manipulation which made it perfect for us. Chocolate fish if you spot it, and the location.

They came up with Unknown Places. It’s about the bits of Auckland you can’t normally see, and it’s also about some well known bits from a previously unknown perspective. The students came up with the concept, and the writing brief, and the writing, and the review process, and the cover photo.

The few dozen copies we produced sold out more or less immediately over a few sandwiches in the campus atrium, and just broke even. Imagine that! Should have done more.

But good news! Russell Brown, proprietor of our favourite Auckland blog, is publishing the stories this week on Public Address. Here goes chapter 1: The Crescent (Otara). The students were very clear that a) they wanted an intro from me, and b) it shouldn’t be in any way separate from the rest of the book. So it’s ended up as chapter 1.

And here’s chapter 2: Queens of K Rd (central) by Annette Morehu.

Keep an eye out on Public Address for four more stories coming out over the course of this week. I’m proud of what we accomplished. And I’m excited to see what Annette Morehu, Damian Pereira, Mark Joblin, Nicole Magolan, Anna Matheson, Saracen Aiono and Cameron Airlien come up with next.

I feel lucky to have worked with a group of diverse, creative and dedicated people. See you round, guys!

As for me, I’m returning to freelance work, unless and until I track down more teaching. So, if you have any need of a writer/ facilitator/ researcher, the lines are open!

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