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Budget 2007: New Zealand Poet Laureate Award

Hon Judith Tizard
Minister Responsible for the National Library

New Zealand Poet Laureate Award

A New Zealand Poet Laureate Award is to be established to recognise writers who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry.

“Poetry is an important part of New Zealand art and culture," said National Library Minister Judith Tizard. "In funding this new award, the Labour-led government is acknowledging the value that New Zealanders’ place on poetry and literature as a part of our national identity,” Judith Tizard said.

The New Zealand Poet Laureate Award will be established and administered by the National Library of New Zealand. A Laureate will be selected biennially and receive an award of $50,000.

The Poet Laureate's working papers and published work will be preserved in the National Library’s National Digital Heritage Archive and in the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

“Having the National Library collect the workings of the Poet Laureate as well as their published works will ensure future generations have a more complete understanding of our poetry today.”

The award complements existing literary awards by acknowledging the creative process as well as recognising specific work.

The New Zealand Poet Laureate Award is based on the existing Te Mata Poet Laureate scheme, which it will supersede.

Judith Tizard congratulated John Buck, Executive Chairman of the Te Mata Estate, and Bill Manhire, Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, for their work in encouraging New Zealand’s pool of poetry talent through the Te Mata Poet Laureateship.

The New Zealand Poet Laureate award is the first government-funded poetry award. The timing of the first award will be advised later in the year.

ENDS

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