Te Kōputu a te Whanga a Toi – the Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre – is to host a ‘poetry slam’ on March 9, and local bards are urged to get in quick to book a spot.

Poetry slams are events where original spoken word pieces are performed in front of a live audience and they have been growing in popularity throughout New Zealand.  This will be the first for Whakatāne, and for the first time in New Zealand, there will be a Te Reo category to be judged by two eminent Te Reo speakers.

Anneke Philps, Public Programmes Officer at Te Kōputu, says Library staff have been planning to bring a slam to Whakatāne for some time and are excited to finally see the event become a reality. “Performers have three minutes to perform an original poem in front of the audience,” she says. “It takes courage to get up and perform your work, so we will be acknowledging all entrants with a prize and the top three performers will compete for tablets and movie vouchers.”

The slam will be held from 5:30-7:00pm on Thursday 9 March and entry is free. MC for the evening is Te Haunui Tuna and whilst you can register on the day before 5pm, Ms Philps is urging any prospective performers to get in touch as soon as possible by emailing library@whakatane.govt.nz or calling Te Kōputu on 07 306 0509. She also notes that while children are welcome at the slam, people should be advised that some content may require parental guidance.

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