The Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival kete contains our memories and learnings from the birth in 1992 to our semi-retirement in 2008.  The festivals have been held biennially and the information comes mainly from the programmes of each festival.

Read about the tellers and junior tellers, the workshops, special events and sponsors.  See comments from audience members, the organisers listed, the objectives of Glistening Waters and more…

Additional photos and information will be added as time goes on and becomes available.  If you have photos or stories that you would like to share or corrections to what is already presented, then please let us know.

Unfortunately, we did not have enough people to organise a festival for 2010 and as yet sufficient have not come forward to plan a festival for 2012.  In the meantime Wairarapa Storytellers offer storytelling sessions three or four times per year and invite all listeners and tellers to come along.

Do contact us if you wish to know more or to share information by emailing 



Glistening Waters Festival of Storytelling
For most New Zealand storytellers the Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival is a milestone in the history of our craft. It not only provided an opportunity for tellers and audiences to listen to and learn from some of the best storytellers in the world, it also proved it was possible to earn a living as a storyteller in this country.

Storyteller and Librarian Liz Miller and Masterton Librarian Joy Tutty, were the two powerhouses who provided the drive and vision to establish Glistening Waters as the countries most renowned storytelling event. In the tale of storytelling in this country they themselves have now become legendary.

In the early 1990's Liz's passion and dedication to creating a storytelling festival here in New Zealand, similar to the ones she had visited overseas, was reflected in the determination of her friend Joy to support her in making it a reality. By combining their unique and different talents they worked together with a dedicated group of enthusiastic volunteers to create a storytelling event that has had a huge impact both nationally and internationally.

During its existence Glistening Waters has been a catalyst for inspiring new tellers, new stories, new venues and festivals through out New Zealand. It was the foundation stone of the NZ Guild of Storytellers and has been responsible for developing lasting friendships and relationships between New Zealand storytellers and with their colleagues around the world. It provided a platform for us to celebrate our own stories both in English and Maori and to introduce tellers from other countries to New Zealand, and in particular to the Wairarapa area.

If Liz is the mother of Storytelling Festivals in this country then Joy must surely be the midwife. How fortunate for us all that they had the courage, the tenacity and the love of storytelling to make a dream become a reality. They provide an inspiration for us all to follow our own dreams and make them a reality too.
Moira Wairama 2008

Why "Glistening Waters"?
Frances Reiri Smith our Kuia on the Glistening Waters committee tells us that her ancestor, believed to be Haunui-a-Nanaia, came over the Rimutaka Ranges from the Wellington region many, many years ago and, as he looked down over the beautiful hills and valleys and shining waters in front of him, he declared "Wairarapa!" or "Glistening Waters!" So you will have to climb to the top of the mountains to see what he saw, or use your imagination.