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Poroporoaki for Hone Tuwhare

Hon Mahara Okeroa
Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage

17 January 2008 Media Statement

Poroporoaki for Hone Tuwhare

“Hone Tuwhare had a humble beginning, first writing poems on the side of railway wagons, and welding sheds. His collections are now the most widely read collections of poetry in New Zealand.” Associate Minister of Arts Culture and Heritage, Mahara Okeroa said today.

“Hone Tuwhare was a distinguished poet, playwright, and writer of short fiction. His poetry contained powerful imagery of our land, sea, and legends, and was the first Maori poet to write in English.

His work has remained committed to Maori issues, while also highlighting multicultural issues and issues of concern to working people.

“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 is a tremendous loss to New Zealand literature. My thoughts are with his whanau and friends at this sad time,” said Mahara Okeroa


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