Britomart is celebrating the Auckland Writers Festival Waituhi o Tāmaki with plenty of poetry and a very special free night out. 

The month of May is all about the Auckland Writers Festival Waituhi o Tāmaki. Britomart is proud to be supporting the festival with an exciting live event and by filling the precinct with words with a display of poetry by five fantastic writers from Aotearoa New Zealand: Poet laureate Chris Tse, accompanied by Laura Vincent, Robert Sullivan, Takunda Muzondiwa and Joanna Cho, whose words have been sampled and designed in poster formats by Inhouse Design. Click on each of the links to read their individual works. 

Britomart is also hosting STREETSIDE: BRITOMART on Friday 19 May, an entirely free evening of 15-minute pop-up events in five different venues around the precinct, featuring poetry readings, live storytelling, declarations and more. 

Here's how it works. STREETSIDE: BRITOMART runs from 6-8pm on Friday 19 May. All you need to do is turn up in Britomart and take your pick of the free events on offer: 4 x 15 minute simultaneous sessions in five different locations at 6.15-6.30pm, 6.40- 6.55pm, 7.05-7.20pm, 7.30-7.45pm. A 10 minute break between sessions allows enough time to race off to the next venue. You can download a map and guide to the sessions here, or keep scrolling down this page for info on what's happening at each of the five Britomart locations. 

The loading bay, 59 Tyler Street (opposite Amano)

No Giants Above 3.5m are the words painted on the loading dock opposite Amano – which becomes a stage for Tāmaki Makaurau’s spoken word, music and poetry titans, who will tower above with their clever words.


6.15-6.30pm: Nathan Joe

6.40-6.55pm: Claudia Jardine

7.05-7.20pm: Linn Lorkin and Herschel Herscher

7.30-7.45pm: Daniel Lavery

allbirds store, 5 Gore Street (entry via the courtyard off Te Ara Tahuhu)

Our feathered friends are a thing of beauty, a symbol of freedom, a barometer for climate change, and in the case of the movie The Birds, a representation of horror too. A stellar line-up of writers flock to allbirds to share flights of fancy.

6.15-6.30pm: Dr Gráinne Cleary and Airana Ngarewa

6.40-6.55pm: James Norcliffe and Jessica Howland Kany

7.05-7.20pm: Sarah Laing and Catherine Chidgey

7.30-7.45pm: Open Mic – tell your own 2-minute bird story and be in to win a pair of allbirds

Hayman Kronfeld lobby, 15 Galway Street

A recently revitalised building, originally owned by the German-Samoan Kronfeld family, confiscated in WW1 but lately restored back to the family name, becomes a source of inspiration for writers’ own complicated and diverting family stories.

6.15-6.30pm: Emily Parr, Anne Tiernan and Redmer Yska

6.40-6.55pm: Paddy Richardson, Wilma Giordana Laryn and Jazz Money

7.05-7.20pm: Bri DiMattina, Ruth Bayley and Cristina Sanders

7.30-7.45pm: Alie Benge, Nadia Freeman and Dr Charmaine Papertalk Green

Generator Excelsior Stanbeth Building, 6 Commerce Street 

When Shane Cotton created Maunga, the huge artworks on the outside wall of Excelsior House, he said he loved “the way that the pot becomes this little vessel of dirt that you take care of and allow plants to grow in.” Hear eight talented writers and poets riff on their own interpretation of “Vessel” inside Generator.

6.15-6.30pm: Simone Kaho and Anthony Lapwood

6.40-6.55pm: Janet Charman and Rushi Vyas

7.05-7.20pm: Murdoch Stephens and Joanna Cho

7.30-7.45pm: Ruby Solly and Ant Sang

Peddlethorp, Northern Steamship Building, Level 2, 122 Quay Street

Inside the historic Northern Steamship Building, on quayside land reclaimed from the sea, with the back-drop of our much-loved harbour, some of our sharpest writers share incredible tales about the creation of Tāmaki Makaurau.

6.15-6.30pm: Elizabeth Cox

6.40-6.55pm: Te Kapua O’Connor

7.05-7.20pm: Simon Wilson

7.30-7.45pm: Paul Moon


A competition inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

“Jack: Actually, I was found.

Lady Bracknell: Found?

Jack: Uh, yes, I was in... a handbag. Lady Bracknell: A handbag?

Jack: Yes, it was...

[makes gestures]

Jack: an ordinary handbag.”

Outclass Oscar Wilde and tell us the most useful, original and essential thing you’ve ever kept in your handbag – be in to win a not at all ordinary and highly covetable, dreamy leather handbag from Deadly Ponies. Enter prior and answers will be displayed on the window of Deadly Ponies Britomart boutique on the night. Entry voted most popular will win.


Entry forms will be available from the Festival Information desk on the lower floor of the Aotea Centre from 10am Tuesday 16 May until 9.30pm on Thursday 18 May, and from Deadly Ponies Britomart boutique from Monday 8th May until 6pm on Thursday 18 May. All entries will be displayed in the window of the Deadly Ponies boutique from 6.15-7.45pm on Friday 19th May during STREETSIDE. The entry voted most popular on the night will win a Deadly Ponies voucher worth $1000.

Photographs by Tessa Paton