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The Shore is blessed to have so many hard-working people dedicated to making community happen. And in Devonport, few could fit that description more than Lynn Dawson. Lynn was recognised as one of 50 New Zealand 'Women of Honour' by Zonta New Zealand last year and her list of community involvements and achievements is extensive. We wanted to find out what's next on her list...
Channel: Tell us a bit about your Devonport community life…
Lynn Dawson: I live in Devonport, enjoy village life and contribute to the community in a variety of roles. I have been involved with the Michael King Writers Centre (MKWC) since its inception, and Chair of the Friends of the Michael King Writers Centre since 2010. I have developed a programme of writers’ events that is well supported by the literary community and a small group of volunteers.
CM: We hear you were also instrumental in getting the ‘temporary’ Devonport visitor information centre running recently? Why did you take that on?
LD: Because of the obvious need in what is one of the major historic and tourist destinations in the Auckland region. As tourism is now our largest export earner, I was concerned that all information centres in the Auckland region had been closed. As a local, I was constantly being asked for info when I was in the village. Information centres are part of the necessary service and infrastructure available to local, national or international tourists around the world.
CM: We hear 20 Poets in Devonport, an event for National Poetry Day, will take place on August 25. Tell us about it.
LD: A trustee of the MKWC mentioned to me earlier in the year, did I know it was the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Day? I instantly thought: "20 Poets in Devonport", for this celebration. It seemed appropriate to me as we have such a wonderful and extensive community of writers, the MKWC presents young writers’ programmes, and I am personally most interested in the promotion of New Zealand writers and writing across all genres.
CM: What can people expect from this?
LD: Major New Zealand poets: Kevin Ireland, Johanna Emeny, Haare Williams, Michelle Leggott, and Denys Trussell and published poets from the MKWC Young Writers Programme will read live, alongside some readings of poets from the past by readers who knew and worked with them. Three of the Young Writers will be reading their own poetry that has been published in the MKWC annual ‘Signals’ journal, published annually since 2012.
CM: Tell us about how the audience will help create a collaborative poem on the night?
LD: I hope this will be a collaborative exercise that will draw lines of poetry from all those present at the celebration, with a theme like A Poem for Devonport, An Ode to Devonport or another theme that may arise on the night. One of the established poets will then take the lines away, knock it into shape and we'll put it out there for publication.
20 Poets in Devonport, an event for National Poetry Day on August 25, Depot Artspace from 5.30pm.
Channel Magazine: Issue 79 August 2017