Oturehua has just hosted the inaugural Writers Retreat. What an amazing event! A host of nationally recognised – and in many cases internationally recognised – local writers, poets and film producers ran two full days of sessions to enlighten and elucidate both promising and already well-established folk, who jumped at the chance to hone their skills.
Brian Turner (former poet laureate amongst other claims to fame) and other talented colleagues who all reside in the wee village of Oturehua, put the idea out there around April 2019. Within a month of advertising the Rough Ridge Writers Retreat, 50 plus souls had signed up. Some from the North Island, and one from Australia.
The local Oturehua Railway Tavern did a superb job of catering for all meals, and due to the proximity of the rail trail, accommodation was readily available within 100 to 500m of all the workshop venues. For a village with a population of around 40 people – we sure punch above our weight!
A rather cool start to the Saturday sessions with a frost of minus 5.5°C, was followed by a beautiful blue cloudless day, with a Graham Sydney picture perfect scene of the snow-capped Hawkdun range to the north. After the Saturday evening meal, participants were entertained by internationally renowned illusionist, Declan Wong. Saturday night ended with lots of hardy souls gathering around the Crows Nest brazier, fortifying themselves with beverages, and singing along to Josh on the guitar.