Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand is SpecFicNZ’s new anthology, available here.
The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …
This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.
We’re interviewing all the contributors to the anthology so you can get to know the brave souls who’ve battled zombies, aliens, earthquakes, volcanoes and more to bring you the stories you’ll find between its covers.
Today, we’re chatting with Trisha Hanifin
- Aftermathincludes a variety of disasters set all around Aotearoa New Zealand. What disaster / location combination did you write about and why?
I live close to Waikumete, the largest cemetery in Auckland. It is like a huge park with headstones, and contains a history of all the different ethnic, cultural, and religious groups who have lived and died here in Auckland. It’s a great place to walk and to imagine both the past and the future. I’ve walked there in sunshine, wind, and rain, and did so almost daily during the five lockdowns Auckland experienced during 2020 – 21. I began to imagine what West Auckland and Waikumete might be like after relentless heavy rain and flooding, and the poem, After the deluge, evolved out of larger, unfinished story, and is a kind of summary of some of the images I saw in my mind as I walked.
- How do you think the Kiwi approach to life after disaster is unique?
In part due to our geographical isolation, Kiwis are often noted for their pragmatism, their ability to fix things and make do (our number eight wire mentality), and in disasters to pitch in and provide practical help. We are still a small country and I think our sense of connection to each other is still relatively strong. Something that is unique to Aotearoa and much valued is the generosity and hospitality of Maori iwi and hapu offering food, shelter, and solace at local marae during times of crisis or disaster.
- What are your most valuable post-apocalyptic skills?
Well, I guess it might depend on what kind of post-apocalyptic context or situation, but most probably the practical, hands-on skills and knowledge I learnt as a child in a pre-digital age from my grandparents and parents, as well as their stoicism, resilience, and sense of working together as a community.
- They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Being a writer, you must have lots of pens. What creative use would you put them to in a post-apocalyptic New Zealand?
I would keep a large box of pencils (which I prefer) for myself and give the pens away to others so as many people as possible could write about their own experiences – then we could create an archive for future generations. Mind you, that would depend on having paper to write on, or perhaps a suitable alternative made from flax.
- Tell us a little about your other writing?
As well as poetry, I write short stories and flash fiction, and in 2021 had my first novel, The Time Lizard’s Archaeologist, published by Cloud Ink Press. It is a speculative fiction novel set in a range of different time periods and locations. It mixes the real and the surreal, includes aspects of mythology and psychology, and explores issues of social and ecological concern.
- What are you working on now?
I belong to a poetry writing group and we met monthly either in person or by zoom, so I try to write or re-work at least one poem a month. As well, I’m about 84,000 words into the first draft of a second novel, an historical mystery, of which I shall say no more in case I jinx it 😊
- Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?
Readers can find out more about my work on my website, Southern Lines, at www.trishahanifin.com
They can also find out more about The Time Lizard’s Archaeologist at www.cloudink.co.nz