(Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Āti Awa, Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Kiritea nō Ingarangi/Tiamani)
Hinemoana Baker is a writer, musician and teacher of creative writing living on Wellington’s Kāpiti Coast. Her literary debut is a collection of poetry called mātuhi | needle. Unlike most first books, mātuhi was published off-shore as well as locally: by Victoria University Press in Wellington, and by Perceval Press in Santa Monica, USA. Perceval Press is the publishing house of actor, writer and artist Viggo Mortensen.
Hinemoana Baker was born in Christchurch in 1968 and brought up in Whakatane and Nelson. She has lived mainly in Wellington, with stints in Rarotonga, Tauranga, Auckland, England and Africa. Hinemoana’s writing career began in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she lived in 1990. While she was there she helped to establish a group called ‘Zimbabwe Women Writers’, and gave her first public reading with them.
Back home, she completed a BA degree at Wellington’s Victoria University (Māori and Women’s Studies) and attended Bill Manhire’s undergraduate writing programme. In 2002 she was selected to attend the Master’s programme at the university’s Institute of Modern Letters. She graduated that year with an MA in creative writing, and a manuscript that was to become mātuhi | needle.
Hinemoana’s poetry, fiction and children’s stories have been published in the literary journal Sport, the anthology of Māori writing ‘Te Ao Mārama’, online literary journal Turbine, The School Journal and in Best New Zealand Poems. Two of her plays were produced for the ‘Te Reo Maori Season’ by Wellington’s Taki Rua Theatre in the 1990s. In 1998 she was awarded the Stout Research Centre/Reader’s Digest Writing Fellowship at Victoria University.
Hinemoana is also a performer and producer of her own work. She has several albums of original music under her belt, has toured nationally and internationally with both her songs and her writing. She is also known for the regular music and documentary features she has produced Radio New Zealand National.