Kiwi Writers' Cafe

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Lake Matheson, NZ

Tuhia ki te rangi, tuhia ki te whenua, tuhia ki te ngakau o nga tangata, Ko te mea nui  o te ao, ko te aroha.  Write it in the sky, write it on the land and write it in the hearts of the people, the greatest thing is love.

Tihei  Mauri Ora! Behold there is life!

E nga reo, e nga mana, e nga iwi o te ao, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.   Welcome to the Kiwi branch of Writers' Cafe. 


This was the very first page of the Kiwi Writers' Cafe, published to the web in mid-2005.   Since then we have had much success, many more submissions and quite a lot of compliments!

Our main page is now: where you will find many more poems and stories from New Zealand writers. This page then, will serve as an archive.

If you are a writer living in Aotearoa or overseas and would like to submit your work, write to   for guidelines.

Meanwhile - enjoy.  And don't forget to visit our sister site The Writer's Cafe UK, link at the bottom of this page.


Cherry Red - by Tony O'Brien

‘Cherry red,’ said Dad, his thick boilermaker’s finger stabbing at the colour chart. ‘It’s a lucky colour.’

So it was decided. The roof would get a new coat of paint.

This year there would be no trips to Dawson’s, the demolition yard where he went for weatherboards every time he replaced the dry rot.

Dad had had a win on the horses, just enough to cover the cost of the paint.

There was a bit more in the Christmas Club.

Mum had told us what she’d buy with the Christmas Club money. Candy walking sticks for the tree, a box of El Dorado chocolates, bottles of Coca Cola for Christmas Day. They sat around the kitchen table and talked about it when they thought we were in bed.

Dad said: ‘We can’t afford everything, and that roof’s going to leak like hell next winter.’

I’d watched the paint peeling off, leaving islands of bare metal and spots of rust bubbling through the surface.

On the first day of his holidays Dad was up early, whistling snatches of songs. He went out to the shed, then I saw him in the back yard in his old herringbone trousers tied up with a piece of twine.

He started at the back to catch the morning sun. He got Mum to rub olive oil over his back, and when I saw that slab of skin covered in freckles and hair I knew it’d turn redder than the square on the colour chart by the end of the day, and he’d be getting her to rub it with Q-Tol.

He was up on the roof, clattering about, scraping the paint with a wire brush, sweeping the dust and flakes into the spouting. I went inside to escape the drone of the Plunket Shield commentary, and the races, and Dad calling ‘You beauty!’ if someone took a wicket, or one of his horses came in.

There was a crash, then silence.

‘Bugger it! Bugger the bloody thing. Patrick! Michael! Dad went through the names of all his children, but I was the only one around. I climbed the ladder and helped him pull his foot out of the hole in the roof.

‘The whole side,’ he said to Mum. ‘The whole bloody side is as rotten as hell.’ Mum made some tea.

‘Will we have to replace it?’ she said.

‘We can’t replace all that iron,’ said Dad, stuffing a date scone in his mouth. ‘It’s too dear.’  He slurped his tea.

‘What are we going to do?’ said Mum.

Dad turned the transistor on, and looked out the window. Mum took the Christmas Club book from the drawer.

‘We’ll think of something,’ she said.

‘Quiet,’ said Dad. ‘I’m trying to listen to this. I’ve got a quid on ‘Cherry Red’. It’s paying ten for a win. If it comes in….’,

And he turned the transistor up.

Copyright 2005 Tony O'Brien


Tony O’Brien grew up in Dunedin and has lived in Auckland, New Zealand since 1978. He began writing in 2000 but is already widely published.

He has stories in the print anthologies ‘At Home’ (Random House) and ‘Best New Zealand Fiction Volume 2’ (Random House), both due for publication in 2005.


Add your flavour
to the world.
There'll never be another
just like you.
No-one else can be
what you are.
Add your glitter
to star

Interrupt the world.
The world is so much in need
of interrupting.
But remember
there is room for me
and you.

Copyright (c) 1995 J K Phillips 
From her book "In Their Likeness"

Jennifer Phillips has published 5 books, is married with a family and currently lives in Australia.

More writing by Kiwi authors can be accessed by clicking the link on the left side bar.

The Writers' Cafe UK site.