Whiti Hereaka


Whiti Hereaka is an award-winning novelist and playwright of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Tuhourangi, Ngāti Tumatawera, Tainui and Pākehā descent, based in Wellington. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the International Institute of Modern Letters.

In 2012, Whiti was the recipient of the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. Her play Rewena, written during her writer in residency at the Michael King Writers Centre in 2012, has been performed nationally and was published in the anthology Here/Now in 2015. In 2021, she participated in Climate Change Action Theatre and her play A Window was performed in The United States and Austria.

During 2018 and 2019, Whiti worked as a scriptwriter on the second season of Pukeko Pictures’ animated TV series: Kiddets.

She is the author of four novels: The Graphologist’s Apprentice, and the award-winning YA novels Bugs, Legacy and Kurangaituku. Legacy won the New Zealand Children’s and Young Adult Book Award for YA fiction in 2019 and Kurangaituku was short-listed for the 2022 Jann Medlicott Acorn Award for fiction in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

She is also co-editor, with Witi Ihimaera, of an anthology of Māori myths — Pūrākau — published in 2019.

In 2021, Whiti was awarded the NZSA Peter and Dianne Beatson Fellowship.

Whiti teaches Writing for the Young at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University and creative writing at Massey University.

Whiti has been involved with Te Papa Tupu, an incubator programme for Māori writers, as a writer, a mentor and a judge. She also sits on the boards of the Māori Literature Trust and the Michael King Writers Centre.

Whiti has held international residencies, the International Writing Program in Iowa (2013), Sun Yat-sen University (2018), and South Australia Writers residency (2019). She has also held residencies in New Zealand including Randell Cottage and the Micheal King Writers’ Centre Summer and Māori residencies.

She attended the Taipei Book Fair 2015 as one of the authors representing New Zealand as the Guest of Honour country. She was a guest at the Auckland Writers Festival (2015 and 2019), Edinburgh International Book Festival (2019), VERB Wellington (2019), Marlborough Book Festival (2019), Kokomai (2019), WORD Christchurch (2018) and the Singapore Writers Festival (2015).