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PM pays tribute to Hone Tuwhare

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

16 January 2008 Media Statement

PM pays tribute to Hone Tuwhare

Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark has paid tribute to Hone Tuwhare, who passed away today, for his outstanding contribution to New Zealand literature.

“Hone Tuwhare was a distinguished poet, playwright, and writer of short fiction. His poetry contained powerful imagery of our land, sea, and legends, and often expressed strong views on contemporary issues.” Helen Clark said.

“As the Arts Foundation acknowledged in 2003, when honouring him with its distinguished Icon Award, his work has remained committed to Maori issues, while also highlighting multicultural issues and issues of concern to working people.

“Hone was encouraged in his work by his father, an accomplished orator, and by the poet R.A.K Mason, who he met while an apprentice at the Otahuhu Railway Workshops.

“He was a prolific writer, with many publications to his name and an international reputation.

“Hone was honoured in the inaugural Prime Minister’s Literary Awards in 2003, along with the late Janet Frame and the late Michael King.

“He won two Montana Book Awards for poetry: in 1998 for Shapeshifter, and in 2002 for Piggy Back Moon.

“He was honoured as the Te Mata Poet Laureate in 1999, and held Auckland University, Hocken Library, and Burns Fellowships. In 2005 his poems were set to music by artists as diverse as Don McGlashan, Goldenhorse, and Whirimako Black.

“Hone’s death will be felt deeply by all who valued his lifetime contribution to New Zealand literature. My thoughts are with his whanau and close friends at this sad time,” Helen Clark said.


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