in the centre
of waterfront

Vanessa Crofskey

Writer by day and artist by night, or vice versa, Vanessa Crofskey delves into the complexities (and joys!) of supermarket shopping during lockdown. Her piece is entitled Supermarket Nation. 

Hera Lindsay Bird

Poet Hera Lindsay Bird noticed how Shakespeare’s King Lear was becoming a bit of a lockdown meme, with many people riffing on the fact that Shakespeare wrote the epic play during a plague-induced lockdown in the very early 1600s. So she decided, in this somewhat epic poem, to use a bit of lockdown time to riff on the play itself.  

Steve Braunias

The brief interregnum between Covid-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4 offered writer Steve Braunias an opportunity. He had to move fast to take it. 


Amanda Jane Robinson

“Boredom is so personal,” says writer and filmmaker Amanda Jane Robinson, who finds time in lockdown expanding to allow contemplation of her internet search history, crosswords, and dance routines to a Britney Spears medley. 

Dominic Hoey

To write his bestselling debut novel Iceland, Dominic Hoey had to isolate himself at the ends of the earth. Now that isolation is compulsory, he finds himself welcoming some of his bad habits back. This piece is entitled 24/7 Track Pants. 

Stephanie Johnson

From rotten-tooth pashes to pretentious air-kissing: award-winning novelist, poet and playwright Stephanie Johnson’s contribution to our Notes from Self-Isolation series is entitled A Short History of Kissing in Aotearoa. In it, she ponders how Covid-19 might change the way we smooch. 

Victor Rodger

Writer and producer Victor Rodger (his plays include My Name is Gary Cooper and Black Faggot) grew up in Christchurch but has often vowed never to live there again. So guess where he’s spending lockdown? No more Gentleman Callers – he’s back at the family home. 


Faisal al-Asaad

Born in Iraq and now completing his PhD in Auckland, writer and researcher Faisal al-Asaad realises self-isolation is already a way of being for him and many others – and hopes Covid-19 might wake us up to the damage of it and change this enforced pattern of retreat. 

Lawrence Patchett

Lawrence Patchett’s 2019 novel, The Burning River, imagines the prospect of a very different New Zealand after an unspecified crisis. In this short piece commissioned by Britomart, entitled Protected, he contemplates separation and connection, and the delicate balance of the natural world.  

Anahera Gildea

Writer and activist Anahera Gildea (Ngāti Raukawa-ki-te-Tonga) wrote this poem for our Notes on Self-Isolation series. It’s entitled 'He waka eke noa on the news feed'.

Elle Hunt

London-based New Zealander Elle Hunt reports on life as a freelance journalist and the absurdity of public relations pitches in a world turned upside-down.  

Ruby Solly

In this poem, commissioned by Britomart and entitled In This Place, Wellington-based writer Ruby Solly (Kāi Tahu) – she’s also a music therapist and taonga puoro practitioner who has played with artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Trinity Roots and Whirimako Black – contemplates the solitude of self-isolation.

Gina Cole

Writer Gina Cole won the Best First Book Award at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for Black Ice Matter, her short story collection. She’s also an Honorary Fellow in Writing at the University of Iowa. In this story, entitled A Mask of Isolations and commissioned by Britomart, she contemplates self-isolation, shopping for her parents, and the comforting sounds of a city gone quiet. 

essa may ranapiri

essa may ranapiri (Ngāti Wehi Wehi, Ngāti Takatāpui, Clan Gunn) is a poet based in Kirikiriroa whose first collection of poems, Ransack, was longlisted for the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. This poem, commissioned by Britomart and written in response to the state of lockdown, is entitled Take. 

Carl Shuker

Carl Shuker is the author of A Mistake, a finalist in the fiction category of this year’s Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. In this fragment from an unpublished novel, the staff of a London medical journal ponder an unspecified social disruption that requires them to work from home. The story is entitled The office was empty.

Tayi Tibble

Writer and poet Tayi Tibble (Ngāti Porou/Te Whānau ā Apanui) won the Best First Book of Poetry Award at the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for her collection of poems, Poukahangatus. In this poem, entitled Te Whānau, she ponders the sense of separation that kicked in when some of her iwi decided to close their tribal lines in response to Covid-19.

Rose Lu

Rose Lu is a Wellington-based writer and software developer who released her debut collection of essays, All Who Live on Islands, last year. This story, entitled Notes from Mandarin Class, was written in response to Britomart’s commission for a story about the Covid-19 lockdown.