MKWC Newsletter September 2015
The times, they are a changin’
When I started work here in early 2007, the Signalman’s House was an empty shell with dust and builders’ mess six inches deep on the floor. My first task was to sweep, move furniture and try to make the place look homely after a major renovation. Next was to develop a web site and organise an official opening with Prime Minister Helen Clark. At that stage, the centre had hosted three writers in residence since it first opened in 2005. By then end of this year and MILLIONS of funding applications later, we have hosted 35 writers, dozens of visiting writers, arranged international residencies, numerous workshops, events and programmes for young writers, collected books and historical memorabilia, done everything from IT to DIY, and spent hours working in the garden.
After more than eight years as manager, I will move on at the end of October. It has been fun to build the place up from scratch, to work with a great bunch of dedicated and enthusiastic trustees, volunteers and supporters. It has been exciting to be involved in the world of writing, ideas and culture. Most of all, it has been an enormous privilege to meet all of the writers who come here, either as resident or visiting writers. They are inspiring.
I will miss the MKWC, but of course I won’t be far away – still just down the hill in Devonport and handy with the lawnmower. My wonderful colleague Tania Stewart is stepping up to a bigger role at the centre and the trust is on the look-out for a new person to take over the management role, while I take up a position with the NZ Superannuation Fund to organise an international conference next year. It will be great to see new energy coming into the project. I won’t be on the end of the emails any longer, but I look forward to seeing you again at one of our events.