In January 2020 poet Ben Brown took a box of biros, an A4 ream of paper and a question to 28 YPs – young people – living in Te Puna Wai ō Tuhinapo, the Oranga Tamariki youth justice residence next door to Rolleston Prison, south-west of Christchurch.
The question was: ‘How the fuck did I get here?’ Over four days of kōrero and collaboration, tautoko and awhi, the young men aged 13–18 wrote their answers as poems, which have been collected in a book, with illustrations by two of the participants.
The workshop and the book are part of a Read NZ Te Pou Muramura programme. Ben Brown will deliver the 2020 Read NZ Te Pou Muramura Pānui (formerly the Book Council Lecture) in November.
"If nobody listens then no one will know." — Andre