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Hone Tuwhare Leaves Literary Legacy


To: All Media
Date: 18 JANUARY 2008

Hone Tuwhare Leaves Literary Legacy

Creative New Zealand mourns the loss of poetry icon Hone Tuwhare (Nga Puhi, Ngati Korokoro, Tautahi, Uri O Hau, Te Popoto), who passed away on the 16th January at Ross Home in Dunedin.

“The expression “the mighty totara has fallen” is entirely appropriate in the passing of Hone Tuwhare”, said Alastair Carruthers, Chair of the Arts Council Creative New Zealand. “He has been pivotal in developing the literature of this country”.

In 2003 Hone Tuwhare was one of three outstanding New Zealand writers to receive the inaugural Creative New Zealand Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement. Fiction writer, the late Janet Frame and historian, the late Michael King were also recognised.

“Hone helped us understand what it means to live in New Zealand. He celebrated love, life, our natural surroundings and wrote about many contemporary issues. His beautiful observations and wit form a legacy for generations to come”, Alastair Carruthers said.

Hone Tuwhare was born in 1922 near Kaikohe. His first volume of poems, No Ordinary Sun (1964), was the first published collection of poems in English by a Mäori writer and was continuously reprinted. Other collections and plays followed, including Mihi (1987), Deep River Talk (1993), Shape-Shifter (1997) and Piggy-Back Moon (2002). Twelve of his most celebrated poems were turned into songs by leading NZ musicians in the CD “Tuwhare” in 2005. He won many awards, fellowships and accolades for his work, including the Te Mata Poet Laureate and the Arts Foundation Icon Award.


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