Aotearoa Pacific Poet Heads to Ukraine: Daren Kamali

On the 7th of September, Aotearoa/ Pacific performance poet Daren Kamali will head to the Ukraine to present and perform at the 8th Literary Festival in Lviv. This opportunity made possible by an independent publisher Yury Zavadsky – KROK Publishers Ternopil, Ukraine. Ukrainians are fascinated by Pacific literature and poetry as they live far from the ocean. Daren’s first self-published book entitled ‘Tales Poems and Songs from the Underwater World’ (2011) is the 5th NZ/Pacific authored book to be translated by Krok Press into Ukrainian. Daren’s poetry performance fuses a unique blend of poems, Fijian chants, melodies, rap and spoken word.

Daren’s book is a bilingual book of English and Fijian, the island of his birth and upbringing. Daren arrived in Wellington in 1992 at the age of 17 years old. Always with a passion for music, Daren was introduced to the world of poetry by Pacific community worker and poet Rev Mua Strickson-Pua. Daren has represented as a delegate for New Zealand Arts at the Pacific Arts Festival in 2004 (Palau) and 2012 (Solomon Islands). Also the Fulbright and Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer in Residence at the University of Hawaii, Manoa in 2012. Completes this year with a manuscript for his second book and a Bachelor of Creative Writing from the Manukau Institute of Technology.

Daren is booked for tour dates in Ukraine, London and Dubai from the 7 – 30th of September 2013 – taking Aotearoa/ Pacific poetry and performance to unsuspecting ears and hearts in Europe, the UK and Dubai. Not bad for someone who was a street poet 10 years ago busking on the street corners of Auckland city.


Short Bio:
Daren Kamali is and International Pacific Poet/ Author/ Teacher Artist of Fijian/ Wallis and Futuna ancestry – migrated to New Zealand in 1992. Graduates with a Bachelor in Creative Writing from the Manukau Institute of Technology in 2013. Graduated with a Diploma in Creative Writing and student of the year award in 2011. Launched his first self published bilingual Book/CD (English/Fijian) Tales, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World in NZ, Fiji and Hawaii – Debut album in 2000 – ‘Immigrant Story’ and EP album ‘Keep it Real’ in 2005. proudly sponsored/ funded by Creative NZ and Pacific Education Centre. Daren has performed/presented on stages in NZ, Australia, USA, Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Rarotonga and Palau since 1999 with dates booked in September 2013 for Ukraine, London and Dubai. “My dream is to take Pacific poetry as far and wide as possible”. Co- Founder of the South Auckland Poets Collective (2007) and Co – Director of Pacific poetry company ‘Niu Naviagations’ (2012). Creative arts Facilitator/ Teacher artist/ Mentor since 2004. A former member of the first NZ/Pacific poets collective “POLYNATION” (Queensland Poetry Festival and Going West Festival 2008). Daren fuses voices of chants, melodies, rhymes, rap and harmonies in Fijian and English into his writings and performances. Themes of his work are drawn from his migration and upbringing in Fiji and NZ. His creations range from contemporary to traditional styles, ancient, new, islands, city, Pacific, arts, language, people, the ocean, culture, passion and life experiences.

“I draw from the strength of my Fijian roots, culture, spirituality, thoughts, feelings, emotions, people, places and time. My writing is a vehicle that provides a powerful ability to express myself and generations gone on a page, performance allows me to that page and recreate for the stage”. Daren is also Co-Director of Niu Navigations with his partner and spoken word poetry artist Grace Taylor.

Video of Daren in performance

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