Vaughan Rapatahana photo

Getting to know you: Vaughan Rapatahana

Get to know the Headland team! Headland editor Vaughan Rapatahana is a poet, anthologist and committed advocate for writing in te reo Māori.  


Where is home for you?  

Kia ora. Home for us (my wife and I) is Mangakino in Aotearoa New Zealand; Tin Shui Wai in Hong Kong; and both Pampanga and Manila in Philippines. We try to spend part of each year in each. 

What was the catalyst which began your writing journey?

I guess it was the need to express emotions, thoughts, ideas, and writing helped me clarify all these by the sheer act of writing them down. And then reading what I had written.

What is at the heart of who you are as a writer?

To be forthright in what I say, describe, depict - even if it makes some readers uncomfortable, including myself at times!

How long have you been involved with Headland and what is your role?

I am one of the judges/assessors of the Headland entry short lists, from which a panel of us select an even shorter list of stories - fictive and non-such - which will be published in that edition. I have been involved as such for several years now, thanks to a kind invitation from Massey/Headland.

What is your best tip/trick for writers (including yourself)?

To try to write something creatively every day, even if it is not very satisfactory. I notice that when I don’t write something with a creative aspect (as opposed to non-fiction, non-poetry) the wheels fall off the wagon and that side of my output deteriorates rather too rapidly.

What is something you wish you could read again for the first time?

Probably The Outsider by Colin Wilson (1956), although there are several other possibilities.

What’s a piece of literature that is widely loved or critically acclaimed but you didn’t enjoy?

Actually, there would be more than one, but I am not going to name names as I don’t think that is fair here. Suffice to say, that I did find more than one highly rated novel by a Kiwi author, disappointing, perhaps even pretentious. I will leave it at that. 

Tēnā koe mō tēnei kōwhiringa.





Nastasha Rau

Nastasha Rau has recently completed her undergraduate in Creative Writing and Biological Science at Massey University.  She enjoys existing in the space between science and art, and drinking copious amounts of tea. 

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