Welcome to Turbine | Kapohau 21


A liminal space is transitional; it takes you from one state to another, a sensory threshold. There is something deeply liminal about undertaking the MA course at the IIML, and perhaps about writing in general. A story or essay or poem takes you by the hand and leads you through a collection of words, ideas and prompts. When you come out the other side there’s no telling where you’ll have ended up. 

There’s been something liminal about the last year as well. 2021: an in-between stage of an in-between time, the world still caught in the throes of 2020 but doing its best to recover. As the 2021 Adam Foundation Prize winner Sharron Came writes in her short story published here, ‘In a world composed of matt black boots and bright white concrete, they were drawn to the grey.’ The pieces that have found their way into this issue seem to explore that sense of being in limbo, of trying to find something to anchor oneself in place. Whether it’s the quiet courage of an animal encounter in Kathryn van Beek’s short story, The Hedgehog, or Nkhaya Paulsen-More’s essay Third Culture Kid on growing up between Aotearoa and South Africa, the pieces here delve deep into what gives us a sense of belonging. They twist and turn and cast shadows, and sometimes act out, waging wars on neighbourhood cats (Harry Goddard’s Ferals), or throwing themselves against another’s sanctuary (Megan Jenning’s Home Invasion). The unsurety of the pandemic drapes itself across some of these stories like silk, offering harbingers in Omens and Amends (Stephen Woods) and paranoia in Till It’s Done! (Gerard O’Brien), and even a mirrored strangeness in Anuja Mitra’s Plague Year. 

Connections, and the tangled disconnect within them, also make their way into these pieces. Jiaqiao Liu’s poem explores closeness at a distance through an extended family WeChat, a web of non-consensual translation; Maddie Ballard’s essay strives to find genuine emotion while giving a requiem mass; poets such as Wes Lee and Claire Orchard speak to the gaps and mysteries in families and neighbourhoods. But these connections look to the past as well, exploring ancestry and identity and uncertainties about roots, beautifully portrayed in poems by Rachel Trow and Michael McLane. 

We live in strange times. Art is a way of taking that strangeness, holding it carefully around the thorns (it may prick your fingers), and examining its burst of petals and sea brine and rhythm, not knowing what you’ll find. We hope that these pieces illuminate something for you. There are worlds in dewdrops. 

Thank you to everyone who helped with crafting this editionKatie Hardwick-Smith for all her calm support, Chris Price for wisely nudging us along, Robbie Duncan for guiding writers through their audio recordings, Rachel O’Neill for making the publication look so professional, and especially all of the writers who have generously shared their work with us. 

We would like thank everyone who submitted—there was more great work than we were able to publish, and it was a privilege to read all of your words.


Charlotte Doyle, Joe Parker and Zoe Higgins have come through their MAs very tired but more-or-less intact. They’re grateful to everyone who has given their time and work to Turbine | Kapohau, and are excited about the issue!