Tourettes aka Dominic Hoey

Rapper, poet, mentor

Tourettes aka Dominic Hoey creates beautiful bombs of rap and poetry, dropping lyrical synergy on stages and pages worldwide. Establishing himself as a wordsmith to be reckoned with, he has carved a spot for himself as one of New Zealand's brightest contemporary poets. As well as featuring regularly on the podcast ‘How Not to be an Asshole’, Dominic helps young people build their confidence as a mentor with Nga Rangatahi Toa. He has a quick korero with us about generosity in his realm.


Your writing spans quite a few creative outlets and you’re pretty prolific with your output. How do you keep up the inspiration to feed your creativity? What do you do if you get a ‘block’?

It's not that exciting, but I just write down things that seem interesting and important while I wander through the city. I also steal bits of conversation I overhear, then labour over it till 5 am.

I don't really get blocked as such. But I do have this problem where I really want to work on, let's say a poem and all the ideas I get are for short stories. I just won’t be able to let go of the idea of writing a poem so I work myself into a state trying to do that, rather than just going ahead and writing a short story.


You’ve come from some difficult times, particularly before your work started to get it’s much deserved exposure. What did kindness look like then?

I was lucky that I had a couple of teachers, David White (Pasadena Intermediate) and Blair Webby (Western Springs College), who really encouraged me early on and helped me to gain some self confidence. My parents allowed me to have the freedom to do whatever I wanted, which is pretty good training for becoming an artist.


How is generosity shown in your circles now?

I’m fortunate enough to move in circles where everyone is incredibly generous, whether it's with their time, talents or sandwiches. I think in creative communities people tend to look out for one another as everyone is broke and a bit mad.


What was your spark into taking poetry seriously?

I had a few sparks I guess. The first was when I won a poetry competition at age 12 which first made me think about words and how powerful they can be. When I was 21 I started seeing someone who really pushed me to actually become good, rather than just being good for a rapper. Then when I was 23 I saw a poetry slam advertised and turned up with some poem I had just finished and I won. I thought maybe I should devote some proper time to this carry on.


If two people from history got together to have a rap battle, who would it be and who would win?

Nietzsche vs Shakespeare. It's hard to say.


People should support Nga Rangatahi Toa because they help give a voice and hope to people who are being pushed further and further into the margins of society by our government.