Writers’ Institute

Since 2007, the Hagley Writers’ Institute has offered a challenging and stimulating programme for adult learners in Ōtautahi who have begun taking their creative writing seriously and want to be guided and extended.

Sharing the kaupapa of Hagley College, the Institute is not-for-profit and welcomes writers at all stages of their writing journeys, offering them a challenging and stimulating course, and introducing them to the local writing community.

Course Structure

Class groups consist of one tutor and up to 12 students working on a range of forms. They run on Saturday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30pm for the first three terms of the year. The fourth term is untaught, letting students focus on preparing their portfolios.

Tutors introduce students to a wide range of quality writing, and encourage them to explore different forms. Students are supported to pursue their own interests, from poetry, long and short-form fiction and creative non-fiction, to memoir, theatre script, screenplay, and hybrid forms.

Students become expert readers, learn to give and receive critique, and establish their own writing practice. They also hear from guest speakers and participate in workshops by established local and visiting writers. The course is a valuable way to connect with other writers and find opportunities to participate in the local writing community.


At the conclusion of the course, folios will be appraised by tutors for the Hagley Writers’ Institute Certificate and endorsed at either ‘attainment’ or ‘cum laude’ (distinction) level. There is also a half-portfolio option.  The Margaret Mahy Award will be given to a single portfolio to acknowledge writing excellence.


Classes are designed to fit in with writers’ busy schedules and are held on Saturday mornings from 9.30-12.30 for 20 weeks spread throughout the first three terms..  Students accepted into the Institute are expected to make a significant commitment to their writing of at least 20 hours per week over the year in addition to the Saturday morning classes.

Fees and Enrolment

For this course, there is an Enrolment fee of $100 and Course fees of $1400 which are payable on acceptance of enrolment. Entry to the course is competitive. Successful students are expected to make a serious commitment to their writing.

Applications for the course open in late October/early November. Those shortlisted are interviewed and all applicants are informed of the outcome by December.


Director – Melanie Dixon
021 o366 343

After 3 Enrolment form 24


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Hagley Writers’ Institue

Do you want to take your writing seriously and be guided and extended? The Hagley Writers’ Institute offers a challenging and stimulating programme that helps writers prepare their work for publication and provides a pathway to tertiary study.

Hours Per



Hagley Certificate of Achievement. Portfolio can be assessed for NCEA Level 3 English standard




Aged 19+ as well as application, writing sample and interview