Daren Kamali is a Fiji-born Wallis and Futunan of Fijian and Scottish descent who migrated to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1992 at the age of 17. He has a Bachelor of Creative Arts from Manukau Institute of Technology (2014) and a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Auckland (2016). Daren is a co-founder of the South Auckland Poets Collective.
He was a Fulbright Creative NZ Pacific writer in residence at the University of Hawai’i / Manoa in 2012 and represented Aotearoa at the Iowa International Writers Programme in 2014. He is currently a Pacific Educator at the Auckland War Memorial Museum and a freelance youth poetry facilitator, primarily in the South Auckland region.
Daren is the author of two poetry collections: Tales, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World (Anahera, 2011) and Squid Out of Water: The Evolution (Ala, 2014). He has also released two music albums: Immigrant Story (2000) and Keep It Real (2005).
‘Vunimaqo and Me: Mango Bar Collections’ presents memoir poems about growing up with my cousins in our grandparents’ home in Tubou Street Samabula North, Suva. The collection is close to my heart and dedicated to the memory of my Grandparents who instilled culture, religion and mana into our upbringing in a one-bedroom barrack. ‘Vunimaqo and Me’ is one of two collections I worked on in my MCW year. The other, ‘What Becomes of the Giant Squid,’ continues my investigation into Pacific mythologies, and the last 7 poems recorded here are part of that project.