Q&A: Tayi Tibble

To celebrate National Poetry Day we caught up with Tayi Tibble (Te Whanau a Apanui and Ngati Porou), an award-winning writer from Te Whanganui a Tara.

Tayi’s first poetry book, Poukahangatus won the MitoQ Best First Book Award – Jessie Mackay Prize for Poetry at the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Her second collection, Rangikura, was published in June. 

She talks to us about regrets, purchases, and what she wants to be when she grows up.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I ever received is advice I gave to myself, which is to go hard and don’t be a hater. 

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’ve wanted to be a writer first and foremost ever since I can remember. I began to take myself seriously as a writer in Year 5. I entered and won my first writing competition in Year 8. I wrote an essay about how I thought Nesian Mystik and Shavaugn Ruakere displayed the same leadership characteristics as the soldiers in the 28th Maori Battalion lol.

When I was in my teens, I started posting my poems on Wattpad and Tumblr and got a following so I thought okay, I’ll be a poet and so I did.

Now I want to be a rapper when I grow up.

You just won lotto, what will you spend it on?
First I’m buying my mum a farm and a dozen Kaimanawa horses. Then I’m copping my best friend and I matching pink sports cars, so we can drive through the Burger King Drive-Thru one after another, and everyone will be totally blown away.

What are the best and worst gifts you’ve ever received?
The worst gift I ever received was this pink plastic elephant watering can from my high school friends when I was like 17, because for everyone else’s birthday we had been pooling our money to buy like, concert tickets to One Direction etc. I was the only one in our friend group who didn’t like 1D, but I also had no associations or sentimentality with watering cans or elephants either. Even my Mum was like, Tayi, do your friends like you? It would take me a few years to realise no, they probably didn’t.

My boyfriend gave me a Prada Re-edition Nylon Bag in the colour Begonia Pink last year, and that was fun.

What’s the best local purchase you’ve made this year?
I don’t know if these count as local purchases, but I’m addicted to Trademe and my best purchases thus far have been a 2004 Christian Dior Rasta collection silk scarf and a hot pink art deco lounge suite.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to try?
Directing.

What’s your biggest regret?
I don’t have big regrets but I have a string of small disappointments and they are all to do with times where I have sold myself short, not spoken up, didn’t say no, or asked for what I wanted, asked for enough money etc.

I never regret shooting my shot, or being what some people might perceive as “overconfident” but I always regret and like, literally cannot stand myself, when I do the opposite. I’ve definitely gotten better, but I still feel whakama sometimes and it’s annoying lol.

Read more Q&As here.

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