Hereaka is a playwright, novelist, screenwriter and a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the International Institute of Modern Letters.
She has had several plays produced in Wellington: Fallow (Tawata Productions 2005), Collective Agreement (Young and Hungry 2005), I Ain’t Nothing But/A Glimmer in the Dark She Said (Open Book Productions for STAB 2006), Te Kaupoi (Bush Collective 2010, also performed at the Hawkins Theatre in Papakura) and For Johnny (Young and Hungry, 2011).
Hereaka won the Bruce Mason Award in 2012. The Bruce Mason Award recognises the early success of a playwright’s work nationally. She has won Best New Play by a Maori Playwright, Adam Play Awards in 2010 for Te Kaupoi and again in 2011 for Rona and Rabbit on the Moon. Her play inspired by the poetry of Rowley Habib – Raw Men – was shortlisted for the Adam New Play award 2012. A reading tour of Raw Men took place in Auckland and Wellington at the end of June 2012.
In 2007, Hereaka was the writer in residence at Randell Cottage in Wellington where she worked on her debut novel; The Graphologist’s Apprentice. The Graphologist’s Apprentice was shortlisted for First Book in the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Asia/Pacific region) 2011. Hereaka has also held the Summer residency at the Michael King Writers Centre in 2012 where she worked on a new play called Rewena. Rewena will debut at Centrepoint theatre, Palmerston North in 2013.
Hereaka was one of the writers selected for Te Papa Tupu 2012, a writers’ incubator programme supported by the Maori Literature Trust, Huia Publishers, CNZ and Te Puni Kokiri. She has now completed her second novel Bugs published in September 2013 and has just completed the prestigious Iowa Writers Programme. For more on Whiti, visit her Facebook page.