Topic: 2008 Glistening Waters Festival of Storytelling

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Detailing the 2008 Festival including the tellers, workshops, committee and more ...


Festival Held at  Chanel College, Herbert Street, Masterton

24 - 27 October 2008.

'Stories are the oldest school for humankind. Genuine stories offer a living school where the only entry requirements are a lively imagination, some capacity to feel one's feelings and a willingness to approach the world as a place of mystery and revelation.' - Michael Meade.  The committee welcomes the opportunity to spend this weekend in the company of such people and sincerely hopes you will enter the 'imaginal base of the world,' enjoy your time with each other and us, as we explore what Michael Meade calls 'a living literature that underlies and secretly unifies everything.'  Like us, he believes that people feel 'more whole when listening to a story and feel most lost when out of touch with their own story.'  Gaye Sutton


USA                          Dovie Thomason

     Izzi Tooinsky

Australia                 Donna Jacobs Sife     

    Anna Jarrett

                        Hendre Roelink

New Zealand          Liz Miller - Dreamweaver

     Lethea Erz

     Ken Benn

     Bill and Kath Worsfold

     Gaye Sutton

     Hera Taute

     Apirana Taylor

     Mary Kippenberger 

    Peter Charlton-Jones

     Alan Bilton

Junior Storytellers:

Sessions were held in both English and Maori and were organised by Maria Hinton and Yvette Hikitapua-Grace. English speaking young tellers were tutored in the art of storytelling by Maria Hinton. Maori speakers were tutored by Storytellers Apirana Taylor and Hera Taute.  20 young people aged between 12 and 15 took to the stage and delivered their own crafted stories to the delight of their audiences.  They impressed the professional storytellers present with their confidence, presentation and vitality and delighted their parents and friends with a natural storytelling style of a very high standard.

Workshops, Master Class and Special Events:   These cover a wide range of topics associated with the art of storytelling.  2008 items included;


Lethea Erz                      "The Tale End of the Harp and other Instruments;  Storytelling with Music."

             Storytelling and live music are two ancient and powerful arts, touching many levels of mind, heart and spirit. Lethea shared              tips for combining words and music, demonstrating with original tales and stories from ancient traditions, accompanied by                her double-strung lap harp, drum, recorder or ukelele.

Donna Jacobs Sife     "I and Thou and the Space Between."   During ancient times Rabbi Hillel said: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I                                              am only for myself, who am I?  And if not now, when?"

 The workshop explored the relationship with our selves, our community and our world.  Who am I, what do I yearn for, what  is required of me, what sustains and nourishes me and how can I help create a better world?  Through traditional storytelling  and story making - this workshop was one that nourished the soul, and explored story in a deep and sustaining way.

Hendre Roelink           "Storytelling for Teenage Boys: A Men Only Workshop.

"Explores and discusses the role of story in the development of teenage boys and their understanding of manhood.

Anna Jarrett                 "Creative Storytelling with Children: Bringing stories to life through music, movement, drama and songs."

 Inspiring session of multicultural storytelling and creative play.  Helped participants develop their creative imaginations and  confidence, giving the support that is needed to tell new stories and to try new ways of presenting the stories without a book.  How to choose and adapt stories for different children's needs, abilities and interests, as well as how to captivate and keep  children's attention using props, drama, musical instruments and puppets.


Dovie Thomason         "Finding our Own Voices: Personal and Cultural Integrity in Storytelling." 

 For decades, the global storytelling community has struggled to examine the ethics of telling stories from other cultures.    Who "owns" the stories? How do we respect our colleagues, their work and their cultures? How do we find our own stories  and authentic voice? What are the ethics beyond the legal/public domain/copyright boundaries when we approach "folklore"?

This workshop was an invitation to gather at the old familiar fire and look thoughtfully at what we, as storytellers, do and why and how we do it.  How can the fire of our storytelling shed light without anyone getting burned?

Special Events:


Held in the Town Hall where the two Wairarapa Iwi, Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane welcomed the storytellers.  The speaker for the Wairarapa was Te Whetu Waaka of Ngai Tumapuhia a Tangi hapu and the Kai Karanga (caller) was Hinarau Te Tau of Ngati Hamaua hapu. Storyteller Apirana Taylor spoke on behalf of the visitors.  The Powhiri was followed by a performance of Whakamoe Patu.

Whakamoe Patu:

(Rangatahi expressing their view against family violence through performing arts) written and performed by local rangatahi.

A Taste of Storytelling at Te Papa:

An evening session held in Wellington at Te Papa, our National Museum, on the Thursday before the festival, arranged by Reuben Friend, Wairarapa Art, Culture & Heritage Co-ordinator Maori in association with Te Papa.


Post-Festival Comments:

  • These festivals provide an experience that all should attend and be enriched.
  • From a Masterton resident 'This is amazing, I did not know that Masterton had anything like this.'
  • The program was diverse and as one person in the audience said to me  'You never know what's going to happen next, the diversity of cultures, storytelling styles & stories, kept the program fresh.'
  • From a Wellington Family 'We thoroughly enjoyed the festival, it was our first time coming to it and we are so pleased to have found it.'
  • From a visitor that has attended many overseas festivals. 'Glistening Waters is the absolute boutique festival of storytelling festivals.'
  • 'It was great to have a lot of humorous storytelling as well as some real heart wrenching tales. There's nothing more powerful than laughing and crying with a roomful of people!'
  • One patron found it a life changing experience - after accosting another festival goer in the street after the festival she told how she came from overseas to holiday in NZ to 'sort herself out after turmoil in her life.' She had never before experienced performance storytelling.   She enjoyed the whole experience and talked about how the stories spoke to her very being, finally adding 'I now know I can go on living.'
  • Another talked of returning home to New Zealand after many years overseas to find women dressed in so much black and thought it permeated their attitude to life. At Glistening Waters she found colour in dress and attitude and loved it - now wants to get involved in storytelling.
  • When asked if he was enjoying his day a Wellington man replied, 'I have been to two sessions today' his hand went to his heart as he continued, 'and I have cried twice.'
  • From and Auckland visitor. 'I think it is sad that more locals do not appreciate the treasure in their midst.'
  • From Donna Jacobs Sife - invited feature storyteller: (she was contrasting Hobart Festival with Glistening Waters. Both very positive but - this is re GW.)

'Glistening Waters on the other hand is a festival focused primarily on stories, and the storytellers.  They have been successfully running this highly regarded festival for about twelve years now.  They pay for airfares and have determined the payment by contract well before the festival itself - the payment being in keeping with professional storytelling.  The comfort and care of the tellers is paramount. It is a residential festival - all the tellers living together, with long nights to talk, time for breakfasts together, networking, sharing of stories and making lifelong friendships.  Several international tellers are flow from around the world to take part.  They ensure that the storytelling is of the highest order.   All the events take place in the one venue, in this case a school in Masterton. 

There are several workshops offered, concert nights, solo events, combined tellings - everyone involved is a 'story' person - committed to story and its rightful place in a troubled world.   And consequently, the festival is extremely nourishing to the storytellers.  Although this festival did not draw huge crowds - the benefit and sustenance that the tellers themselves experience makes the festival, in my opinion, vital, in that we will all disperse and continue our work revived and inspired.

The highlights were Dovie Thomason, Native American teller, with whom I shared a room, and shared much more besides.  She is a master - deeply moving and funny all at once.  Izzy Tooinsky, juggler and storyteller, belies the folly of his art by gripping the hearts of his audience, whilst keeping four balls in the air at the same time!  Wonderful.

Each festival had its own flavour, purpose, intention, and challenge.  May both be preserved and grow. They water the flowerings of our work.  They nurture the ancient art to which we are all so drawn and committed.  And of course, as far as I am concerned, the future of the world depends upon its storytellers!'



Convenor                  Janet Hayes

Secretary                  Maria Hinton

Treasurer                 Glenys Drew

                           Mark Hinton

                                    Catherine Graydon

                                    Yvette Grace

                                    Reuben Friend

                                    Ruth Ryan

                                    Committee Support:        Sally Kane - Programme Typesetter

                                                                                Katrina Galbraith -Website

                                                                                Gaye Sutton - Publicity Writer

                                                                                Sue Taylor - Registrations


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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
2008 Glistening Waters Festival of Storytelling by Janet Hayes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License