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Sionainn Mentor-King

Where are you from? Born in Te Tai Tokerau Northland and raised around Northland and Rodney.

Where do you live now? Whangārei Heads (on the Pataua Estuary).

Tell us about your life in small-town Aotearoa. I spent my childhood moving around a lot. My mum was a serial renovator – she’d buy a house, do it up, sell it, buy another one and repeat – and I moved house fifteen times before I left home at the age of sixteen. We were always rural. When I was quite little we lived on a small lifestyle block in Kaipara Flats with a cow we’d hand-milk, geese we’d raised from eggs my mum stole from a wild flock down the road, goats, ducks, chooks, and a bratty pony called Misty.

What do you do for ‘me time’? I’m a writer – I write for work and I write for play. I run an Instagram account where I post very unpolished poetry, and I’m currently on my second (and hopefully last!) rewrite of a cross-over fantasy novel. Much of my ‘writing’ actually happens when I’m gardening, combining two of my favourite activities.

What is something readers would be surprised to know about you? I’ve spent a bit of time (five or so years) living in northern India on the flanks of the first Himalayan Range in a place called Dharamsala (home-in-exile of the Dalai Lama). I first went there in 2008 as a young journalist on a mission to promote the Tibetan cause and it has ended up becoming a second home to me.