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Poetic Memories, Māori Sounds and the Ritual Dance “Haka”

Iceland gives the Guest Scroll for 2012 to New Zealand at the Frankfurt Book Fair

Frankfurt, October 17, 2011:

New Zealand, which will be Guest of Honour at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, received the Guest Scroll from Iceland yesterday. Project director Tanea Heke was visibly moved when she thanked this year’s Guest of Honour and Juergen Boos (director of the Frankfurt Book Fair) and praised the predecessor nation for a fantastic appearance. The Guest Scroll, an art object created expressly for the Frankfurt Book Fair and containing literary references from all previous guest countries, is traditionally conferred to the coming year’s guest on the final day of the fair.

The event, which took place in the Icelandic Pavilion, began with readings by the author Gerður Kristný from Iceland and the author C.K. Stead of New Zealand, who celebrates his 79th birthday today: each author read poetry in her or his national language. Afterwards Juergen Boos thanked Iceland’s Guest-of-Honour team and yielded the stage to the New Zealanders, who entertained the audience in a passionate and expressive manner.

When the Māori guests sang a song of thanksgiving, their voices and guitar accompaniment made the listeners feel as though they had been magically transported to the Pacific. To round out the presentation of the Guest of Honour 2012, all of the New Zealanders danced the haka Ka Mate. The ritual dance had already brought good luck to the Kiwis’ rugby team: playing on their home field, the New Zealanders soundly defeated Australia in the semi-finals of the world championship.

“He moemoeā he ohorere / While you were sleeping / Bevor es bei Euch hell wird” – This is the slogan under which New Zealand will present itself as 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair’s Guest of Honour. The culture of capturing memories in writing is still quite young in Aotearoa, the first book was printed in New Zealand in 1830. By contrast, the Māori preserve their strong culture of oral tradition of storytelling and mythology. With New Zealand as Guest of Honour, visitors can look forward to a compelling mix of modern and traditional influences, as well as an outstanding programme of art and culture.

The AV-Clip New Zealand can be viewed here:

A  video clip with scenes from the press conference, which was held on Thursday, October 13, 2011, can be viewed here:

Press contact:
Sebastian Warschow
häberlein & mauerer
Rosenthaler Str. 52, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Tel +49 30 726 208 202 Fax +49 30 726 208 250 E-mail

Updated on 23rd July 2015