Vane Ihe (41 years old) has been attending Otautahi Creative Spaces since 2017 and has been writing poetry since he was 18. Vane has written over 200 poems, one of which was for New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. Rugby is one of Vane's life-long passions and he recently sent in a few poems to the World Rugby Museum which now reside in the museum's collection.
Otautahi Creative Spaces in Christchurch, New Zealand, was set-up in response to the high levels of mental distress following the major earthquake that hit Christchurch in 2011. The earthquake caused widespread damage across Christchurch, killing 185 people and consequently being documented as the nation's fifth-deadliest disaster. Following the aftermath of the earthquake, Creative New Zealand responded to the lack of specialist creative wellbeing programmes in Christchurch by establishing Otautahi Creative Spaces. In this secure and supportive environment, Vane has been able to experiment with his poetry to express his love for rugby and its international community.
One of Vane's submissions, Otautahi Rugby Club, speaks of Vane's love for his local club. The speaker talks of dreams, their passion for the club, and how new generations will 'arise' and have 'their turn to shine'. The poem is rich in natural and colour imagery which illustrate the beauty and poetry of the game.
These images seep into another submission, The British Lions Tour, which is reproduced below. In this poem, the 'army in red' champion community spirit, bringing together 'friends…from as wide is east from as wide is west'. The sport's core values of teamwork and sportsmanship are strong throughout, with Vane creatively capturing the joy of the game.