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Shadbolt House Survey Main Findings. 29 November 2010. CRYSTAL. Introduction. The Going West Trust has been tasked with developing a Writers’ Residency Project at the family home of the late Maurice Shadbolt.

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shadbolt house survey main findings

Shadbolt House SurveyMain Findings

29 November 2010


  • The Going West Trust has been tasked with developing a Writers’ Residency Project at the family home of the late Maurice Shadbolt.
  • The house at 35 Arapito Road, Titirangi, Auckland, was Maurice’s home for 42 years and from here he produced almost the entire canon of his work.
  • The property is in a very quiet position overlooking the Manukau Harbour with a studio set in bush-clad section.
  • It is approximately 40 minutes travelling time from Auckland City and 10 minutes from Titirangi Village.
  • The New Zealand Society of Authors partnered with the Going West trust in conducting a survey to help further understand interests in residencies.
  • The research was to input into designing and supporting the best possible residency programme for the 21st Century.
method and research objectives
Method and Research Objectives
  • An on-line survey was sent out to all members of the New Zealand Society of Authors in November 2012.
  • 49 completed surveys were returned and these form the basis of the research findings.
  • The research objectives were:
    • To identify the status of a wide range of published authors (publishing history, profile etc)
    • To identify the level of interest in residencies in the contemporary literary sector
    • To identify the attributes of an effective residency programme including length of stay, stipend, accommodation, support, obligations etc.
    • To identify attributes that are missing from existing residency programmes e.g. capacity for family stay, accommodating visitors etc.
There was good representation of all NZSA regions, with Auckland not surprisingly being most represented.

Traditional publishing was still the most popular means of publishing, but nearly a quarter of respondents had been published electronically and one would expect this to grow in future.

the number of publications greatly varied and the median number of publications was four
The number of publications greatly varied and the median number of publications was four.

Median number of

publications = 4



Average number of

publications = 8.2

Base 49


Just under half the sample had an established relationship with their publisher, but a significant number (35%) had no or troubled relationships.

Base 49


Terminated after publisher went into liquidation

Publisher out of business



Ended unhappily


Of those who had held residencies there was a varied representation including residencies overseas as well as in New Zealand.
  • Sargeson Fellowship
  • Literary Fellow Auckland University
  • Otago University Children’s Writer
  • Burns Fellowship
  • CNZ Berlin Residency
  • Michael King
  • Buddle Finlay
  • Waikato Writer in Residence
  • Creative writing fellowship in Scotland
  • Writer in residence Ireland
  • Varuna Writer’s House
  • Chateau de Lavigny
  • Oz-Nz at Macquarie
  • Auckland Council Writer in Residence
  • Katherine Mansfield Fellowship
  • Ursula Bethell
  • James Wallace
  • Rathcoolan Fellowship
  • Lannia Fellow
  • Literature Board of Australia
most of the residencies held were 6 months
Most of the residencies held were 6 months.

Adds up to more than 100% as some held more than one residency

The nature of accommodation was almost equally split between single accommodation and that which had capacity for family/visitors.
nearly 2 3 of the sample had no obligations as part of their residency
Nearly 2/3 of the sample had no obligations as part of their residency.

Other obligations

Judge a writing competition

Radio interview

Visits to other campuses

70-100,000 words expected

Adds up to more than 100% as some had more than one obligation

The majority had a stipend which varied according to the length of the residency, but the average stipend value was $3000 per month.

Base 15

most had submitted a particular project of which poems or a completed novel were the most common
Most had submitted a particular project of which poems or a completed novel were the most common.

Collection of poems

A play

First part of novel completed

Complete novel

Base 15

all felt that they had achieved their goals and most commonly this was completion of a manuscript
All felt that they had achieved their goals and most commonly this was completion of a manuscript.

Completed MS – 80%

Publication – 10%

Plays performed – 5%

To take time out – 5%

Base 15

Levels of interest in residencies was excellent with 90% saying that they had either high or medium interest.

Base 49


The comments relating to motivation very much focussed on the time and space to work coupled with the freedom from financial responsibilities.

“It allows space without financial pressures.”

“I think a residency would benefit my work.”

“A residency provides the time and resources to do some sustained writing.”

“I think it is good to get away from one’s normal environment and visit a different part of New Zealand. I enjoy teaching and sharing and meeting other writers. I also enjoy privacy.”

“I have a particular project in mind that needs some solid time and thought to be put in.”

“The opportunity to devote complete time to the project without family interruptions.”

“The financial support which makes an enormous difference to a full-time writer, but also because I find being in a new environment stimulating, particularly in an environment of significance to another writer.”

“To be able to concentrate on writing without worrying about work or income.”

“As a writer, residencies permit time and space to complete new work which I’m interested in.”

“For most authors what is wanted is space and time and some money to keep the wolves from the door in order to complete a project.”

“The main issue for writers is income, so having a period of time without having to worry about that would be great.”

The comments relating to barriers to residencies most commonly related to family and work commitments.

“It would need to fit around my job and family.”

“I have business commitments so I can’t take a long time off to write full-time.”

“Family and work responsibilities limit my ability.”

“It would have to fit around my family life.”

“It would require me to live away from my family and I still have one child at school.”

“I have numerous family and community obligations. I can’t imagine how I would fit it into my family life.”

“It would be wonderful, but at this stage in my life family comes first.”

“I have a dog which needs accommodating too.”

“Residency programmes are great in that they can offer a much needed change of scenery. However, many of us work full-time and have family commitments making it hard to get away.”

“A family-friendly residency would be wonderful. I care for my children one week in two and I can’t contemplate a residency that would not allow them to stay with me.”

“We have families, partners, obligations.”

“Time off the day job presents a problem.”

“I am teaching full-time at the moment.”

“I am setting up a business and doubt I would have the time for it.”

“I work full-time as a journalist.”


The most cited blocks to applying for residencies are family commitments and inappropriate location; money doesn’t appear to be an issue for the majority.

Other blocks to applying

Doesn’t take pets

Time off work a problem

Restrictions – have to be a published author

The ideal accommodation is somewhere quiet and beautiful but with access to amenities so that the resident is not isolated.
  • 80% of respondents stated that they wanted a quiet location.

“Somewhere quiet and uninterrupted.”

“Private and quiet.”

“Peace and quiet to do my writing.”

“Quiet, restful with views.”

  • Typically beach or bush situations were preferred.

“Lovely bush, sea home.”

“Beautiful, serene by beach or river or lake with lots of good walks nearby.”

  • However, respondents wanted to be close to amenities (shops especially) and to have access to modern technology – wi-fi, broadband.

“Surrounded by nature, all basics to a good standard, near to grocery shops.”

“Access to public transport and food shops within walking distance.”

“Comfortable, well-equipped room somewhere beautiful with wi-fi.”

“Access to internet, Skype, mobile, printing, professional mentor and shopping.”

  • There was an equal division (50% each) between those who wanted a single or studio accommodation and those who wanted to be able to accommodate family or visitors.

“I want my husband to be able to visit.”

“Room for family attendance.”

“Allow dependents to stay.”

“Self-contained unit in a pleasant setting.”

the ideal stipend should cover the basic cost of living
The ideal stipend should cover the basic cost of living.
  • The stipend was expected to relate to the length of the stay:
    • $50,000-$60,000 per year
    • $30,000 per for 6 months
    • $1000 per week
  • An average of $3,000-$4,000 per month

was most commonly cited as being

an ideal amount.

ideally teaching obligations would be light so as not to distract from writing time
Ideally teaching obligations would be light so as not to distract from writing time.
  • Many (66%) hoped that there would be no or minimal teaching expectations.


  • Others assumed light teaching obligations so that precious writing time would not be compromised.

“Nothing too heavy, so as not to interfere with writing.”

“Not too onerous.”

“A minimal amount please.”

  • Respondents assumed:
    • 2 lectures a week
    • 1 day a week teaching
    • Facilitating/attending workshops
    • Talking with children about children’s books
  • There is considerable interest in residencies and they are seen to perform a very valuable role for the writer.
  • Residencies are expected to be in locations of natural beauty and tranquility, but equally they should not be isolated and they should provide creature comforts and up-to-date technology.
  • People are equally divided regarding whether accommodation should be single or provide room for family/visitors, but general responses clearly indicate that the latter is relevant to many.
  • The ideal length of stay would be 3 or 6 months with a monthly stipend of $3000-$4000.
  • Obligations would be minimal, but many expect there to be some teaching, seminar or reading obligations.
  • In spite of levels of interest, for many, work and family commitments are the key limiting factors that pose a barrier to applying for residencies.
  • As such it may be that there is the potential to explore residencies that take this into account:
    • Work from home grants
    • Short burst residencies over a period of time e.g. 3 months in total divided up over a year
    • Weekend residencies e.g. every weekend for 6 months
thank you


Julia Brannigan

T: 09 445 2538

M: 021 790 431