Marion Day


Posted on 17th Nov, 2017

The Writing Shack

It’s funny how things come about – where a sequence of events determines the least-expected outcome. That is how Mam’s Writing Shack came to be.

One – ‘Mam’. Family and grandchildren call me Mam and sometimes call me that on Facebook, therefore friends and acquaintances use it too.

Two – Retirement. For the whole time I have known my partner Steve, he has worked on a three-week on/off rotation, flying the third biggest helicopter in the world on heli-logging and firefighting in Greece and Australia. This meant he was home for only six months of the year – perfect for my writing career!

But Steve’s retirement two years ago changed that. My personal computer sits on a desk in the lounge. With Steve home 24/7, writing became difficult with so many natural distractions. Stephen King said: "When writing, disconnect from the rest of the world. Writing should be a fully intimate activity. Eliminate all possible distractions, from phones to open windows. Write with the door closed; rewrite with the door open."

Three – Facebook. Many family and friends shared a photo of ‘Mam’s Wine Shack’ to my wall. (Obviously there’s another ‘Mam’ out there!)

Four – The idea. What about replacing the word wine with writing. And build a writing shack.

Five – The hint. I printed a photo of Mam’s Wine Shack and placed it on Steve’s desk – without a word. One day, many months later, he said, "I’m going to replace the old purple borer-infested garden shed and build you a writing studio."

Six – Love! And so began the labour of love. Steve (not a builder) tried to use as many second-hand materials as possible to keep costs down. And we had to adapt the Wine Shack so it complements our 100-year-old cottage, outbuildings and nostalgic gardens. Inside the shack, Steve used native timbers that we’d stored in a 20-foot container for many years. We actually milled the trees ourselves on an old Pedersen saw mill that came with a native timber licence. Danish oil brought the woodwork to life.

Finally, it is finished. I now have the ability to think clearly and have a great space to tap my keyboard in peace and quiet. Bliss!

And thanks, Steve – what a great idea it was.


Contact me

Marion Day
801 Manaroa Road, Clova Bay
Picton 7282
P: (64) 03 579 8448

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Marion won the Rural Women's New Zealand National Short Story Competition - Present category. Her story will appear in the 2025 RWZZ Centennial Book, available in bookshops when published. Wellington City Libraries has chosen Pakupaku Pīwakawaka to have its pages transformed into billboards for a nature trail in one of Wellington's central parks. WCL works with the city's Parks, Sports, and Recreation staff on a project called Te Ara Pukapuka (Book Pathways). The billboards will be placed throughout nature trails and reserve pathways in Wellington for tamariki and their whānau to discover while exploring the region.

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Marion is a member of:

  • New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA)
  • Storylines
  • Rural Women New Zealand
  • NZSA Top of the South
  • Writers of Marlborough
  • Writers in Schools Programme