Samesame but different, Aotearoa New Zealand’s first LGBTQIA+ Writers Festival, was launched by the writer Peter Wells in 2016. Peter’s goal was for the festival to be “an exciting event that makes people think about sexuality, difference and community, stretches their understanding, gives them a few laughs and creates a slightly magic space for two days in February.”

Since Peter’s death in 2019, samesame but different has been run by an energetic group of volunteers who have continued the festival’s tradition of bold events, strong attendance and stimulating conversations.

As well as providing a platform to amplify the voices of LGBTQIA+ writers, we use our funding to pay all the writers and moderators who participate in our discussions.


Peter Wells founded the samesame but different LGBTQIA+ Writers Festival in 2015, having already co-created the Auckland Writers Festival in 1999.

An award-winning author and film-maker, Peter consistently broken barriers in both publishing (his collection of short stories, Dangerous Desires, was the first gay-themed book to be published in New Zealand under the author’s own name) and film (Jewel’s Darl showed transgender characters in a sympathetic light as early as 1986).

His subsequent writing career embraced both fiction and New Zealand history, and he received many accolades for his work in both areas.

In 2018 Unity Books gave Peter Wells a $20,000 award for his ‘body of work but also his long-spansocial justice activism … His strong sense of social justice combined with his literary achievements has nourished, sustained and encouraged readers in Aotearoa.’

On being told he had cancer in 2017, he chronicled his experience of living with the disease in a series of Facebook posts which he later turned into his last book, Hello Darkness, published shortly before his death in 2019.

BOARD Members

Michael Giacon

Board Member
Michael Giacon is a poet, songwriter and performer. Born and raised in Auckland, he is from a large Pākehā-Italian family.

Nathan Joe

Board Member
Nathan Joe is an award-winning theatre-maker and performance poet based between Tāmaki Makaurau and Ōtautahi. Recent work includes curating BIPOC spoken word event DIRTY PASSPORTS at Basement Theatre, (more…)

Hiraani Himona

Board Member
Hiraani Himona (Ngāi Te Whatuiāpiti, Ngāti Rangiwhakāewa, Ngāti Hikarara) has been Executive Director of Te Tuhi since 2015 and was previously Deputy Director of the South London Gallery. (more…)

Rhion Munro

Board Member
Rhi (he/they) is a lover of all things literary. He works with young people in the harm reduction space and is passionate about systems change, participatory community design, and a health based approach to drug and alcohol reform. (more…)

Izzy Robinson

Board Member
Izzy Robinson is a producer and theatre creator specialising in non-traditional and site specific works, as well as an on-again-off-again playwright. They grew up in Auckland then moved to Montreal to attend University, then onto Washington DC to complete a Scenic Carpentry Apprenticeship. (more…)