Thursday 2 May 2019

Thank you, Michael King.

This is the Michael King Writers Centre on the southern slopes of Takarunga Mt Victoria in Devonport, Auckland.

Michael King never lived here (the house is actually the old Signalman's House) - but after  he died in 2004, the Michael King Writers Studio Trust was formed to honour his memory, and this is the result. Sixty eight New Zealand writers have held residencies here since the centre opened in 2005, and I feel very fortunate to have spent two weeks there over Easter. 

The view from the top of Takarunga Mt Victoria is amazing. The road is closed to most traffic now and every day there was a constant stream of people walking up past the house, both locals (often walking their dogs) and tourists. Every evening, people would gather on the summit to watch the sunset over the city.

Maungauika North Head is also a great place for a walk, with equally fantastic views and the added interest of mysterious tunnels.

And Cheltenham Beach is another beautiful spot nearby.

But the main reason people go there is to write! It's astonishing how much work you can do in two weeks with all the usual distractions removed. I loved going outside each morning and unlocking the writers' shed in the back garden.

And it's both moving and inspirational to be surrounded by paintings and photographs of Michael and his wife Maria, and photographs down the hallway of all the other writers who have lived and worked here.

It's a beautiful spot. Thanks again to Michael King, the Michael King Writers Centre and the Michael King Writers Studio Trust.