Cleaners unite to pen book of poems about the meaning of their jobs

Among the literary celebrities speaking at the Auckland Writers Festival this week, you'll find a handful of humble cleaners who've become publishing stars in their own right.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Somewhere a Cleaner is a collection of poems and words from 93 cleaners around the New Zealand. Source: Seven Sharp

Somewhere a Cleaner is a collection of poems and words from 93 cleaners from around New Zealand, providing a unique insight into this sometimes invisible army of essential workers.

Seven Sharp spoke to three of the many cleaners who contributed to the the book.

Rangi Moanaroa is a cleaner at her local library in Ngāruawāhia and talks about her love of cleaning, so those who visit the library have a good experience.

Christian Prescott has capitalised on New Zealand’s growing sneaker culture and runs the country’s first professional sneaker cleaning business. He talks about his work as being “more than just a shoe”.

Mele Peaua, a cleaner and union advocate, says she cleans for her children and grandchildren so they will “have a better life”.

“I love my cleaning,” she said.

The three will join other cleaners turned wordsmiths in attending the Auckland Writers Festival at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre on Saturday at 5pm to talk with co-contributor Janice Marriott about the cleaning life, writing poems and being heard.