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Tribute to a literary icon

17 January 2008

Tribute to a literary icon

The Green Party has paid tribute to inspirational poet, writer and playwright Hone Tuwhare, New Zealand's second Te Mata Poet Laureate who died yesterday afternoon in Dunedin.

"Hone was a man of modesty and brilliance. While he has gone his work will live on to inspire generations of New Zealanders," Arts and Culture Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"Like Sir Edmund Hillary, Hone lived a very ordinary and modest life, despite the fact that he was a kiwi icon."

"He had no secondary education and worked at the railways while developing his craft. It was inspiring to see such an ordinary Maori man of my grandfather's generation become a world class poet. It was certainly unusual in that day and age for men of his generation.

He also served with the Maori Battalion in Japan in the Second World War.

"Too many of our kaumatua were lost either in the war itself or to the grinding racism of post war New Zealand. He survived both and was an example of the enormous contribution our kaumatua have made and what we had lost as a people and a nation," Mrs Turei says.

Co-Leader Russel Norman says the death of two great legends in just one week is a sad loss for New Zealand.

"I wish to convey the condolences of the Green Party to Mr Tuwhare's family."


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