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The Rush Cottage Writers' Residency

RushHawke’s Bay Readers and Writers Trust is delighted to announce that the winner of the inaugural Rush Cottage Writers’ Residency is Sonia Yoshioka Braid.


The Hawke’s Bay Readers & Writers Trust, in conjunction with Black Barn Retreats, is excited to announce a brand new residency for Aotearoa writers. 

The residency includes nine free nights accommodation at Rush Cottage, which have been generously donated to us by Black Barn Retreats, and a stipend of NZD$1000 (including GST) to support your time. Entries closed 5pm, 31 May, and were capped to the first 50 received. Everything you need to know is below. 

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Applications are invited from writers who are currently resident in Aotearoa, working on any of the following forms: short stories, the novel, poetry, creative non-fiction, memoir and graphic novels. You will need to have one work already published/self-published that is currently publicly available to Aotearoa readers, and provide a link to this in your application. You must sign a guarantee that you are able to take up The Rush Cottage Writers' Residency within the timeframe of 18 June and 31 August 2024. These timings are fixed and there will be no negotiation. 


The residency covers nine nights' accommodation for one person at Rush Cottage, any Tuesday night to the following Wednesday night inclusive, between 18 June and 31 August 2024. The successful applicant will book directly through Black Barn Retreats. Be aware that your first choice of dates may not be available so please be prepared to be flexible. 


The residency includes a stipend of NZD$1000 (including GST) to support your time. The nine free nights accommodation at Rush Cottage have been generously donated to us by Black Barn Retreats. Rush Cottage is a charming early 20th century stone shepherd’s cottage with most of its original floors, walls and joinery still intact. It sits opposite the bistro and cellar door on Black Barn Road with its own private lawn and spectacular views across the vines and out to all of Hawke’s Bay. The cottage has two bedrooms upstairs and a single bathroom and w/c downstairs. There is a kitchen so you can prepare meals.


You may use the residency as you wish! You will be invited to attend a gathering of local writers but attendance is optional. We will also ask you to complete a short feedback form at the conclusion of the residency. 


The successful applicant will need to cover the cost of domestic travel to Hawke’s Bay. The accommodation includes off-site parking, and we recommend you have a vehicle as the nearest grocery store, Te Mata Four Square,  is 1.3km away and Havelock North township is 3km away. Rush Cottage comes with two mountain bikes and feel free to bring your own bicycle as there are many safe and scenic cycling paths nearby, including into Havelock North.


Email us at [email protected] before 5pm 31 May 2024, with The Rush Cottage Writers' Residency Application in the subject line, and provide us with all of the following:

  1. A short (one-page maximum) bio or resume, with your full name, residential address, and information about your writing to date. 
  2. A link to a previously published/self-published work that is currently publicly available to Aotearoa readers. NB: this can include work that is behind a paywall or is for sale.
  3. A covering letter of no more than 500 words telling us about your current writing project, and what working on it during eight days of splendid isolation at The Rush Cottage Writers' Residency would mean to you.
  4. This declaration: “I [your full name] confirm that I am able to take up the nine nights of The Rush Cottage Writers' Residency between 18 June and 31 August 2024.”

A reminder that entry numbers will be capped at the first 50 received. 


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. Image courtesy of


Rush Cottage is suitable for a maximum of four people sharing two bedrooms. Please talk with us about additional family members. If you bring family then all costs associated with travel and any additional accommodation fees for family members (such as a portacot) must be covered by the applicant. 


  • A full kitchen with oven, microwave and dishwasher. There is a gas BBQ outside. 
  • The living room has a heat pump.
  • There is a separate laundry with washing machine and dryer.
  • For your entertainment there is a stereo with CD player, SKY TV, video and DVD player, and a flat screen TV.
  • There is a free wireless broadband internet connection. 
  • There are two mountain bikes available, and you will have access to an all-weather tennis court located on the vineyard at Black Barn. Tennis rackets and balls can be supplied.


Rush Cottage is located right in the heart of the Black Barn Vineyard. The Cottage looks directly down through the rows of Merlot grapes and out to the mountains in the west, the river valleys in the east and the ocean straight ahead to the north. Black Barn Vineyards are just 30 minutes from Napier Airport, 10 minutes from the city of Hastings and just 5 minutes from the quaint and historic village of Havelock North. It is set right in the heart of New Zealand's premier wine growing region and many of New Zealand's most famous wine names are literally on your doorstep. Beautiful beaches, golf courses, trout fishing rivers and shopping are all just minutes away.


Rush Cottage is a small historic house with narrow stairs leading up to the bedrooms. Unfortunately, this means this residency is not suitable for wheelchair users. 


If you have any questions about The Rush Cottage Writers' Residency, please email us [email protected]  

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