Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hone Tuwhare, has died.

Photo credit: JO BEAUMONT/Southland Times

One of New Zealand's most loved poets Hone Tuwhare, has died.
Here is a link to the The Dominion Post story

Here is his poem

Hone Tuwhare
(Poet Laureate of New Zealand, 1999-2001)

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
speical smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
shoud not hear
smell or feel or see

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

"It was with much sadness I learned of the passing of Hone Tuwhare. I was recently involved in the publishing of Our Favourite Poems: New Zealanders choose their best-loved poems where Hone Tuwhare's Rain took out top place, beating off the likes of Rudyard Kipling, William Wordsworth, and James K Baxter. No Ordinary Sun also made it to number eleven. We were overwhelmed at the number of votes for Tuwhare's work in the nationwide poll. It shows how much New Zealanders genuinely treasure his contribution, and that we do now have a poetic tradition firmly rooted in Aotearoa. I first studied Rain at high school, and then went on to study English Literature at Otago." - Phillippa Duffy

Hone Tuwhare, New Zealand's most distinguished Maori writer, has died aged 86.

Tuwhare has affliations with the Nga Puhi iwi.

He is believed to have died today in Dunedin.

Born in Kaikohe, he moved to Auckland when his mother died.

He spoke Maori until he was nine years old and was always an accomplished orator.

He met another of New Zealand's top poets, RAK Mason, while working as an apprentice at the Otahuhu Railway Workshop and the pair shared in interest in literature and trades union organisation.

Until the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary in 1956 he was a member of the Communist party.

In 1964, his first published collection, No Ordinary Sun, received acclaim and was reprinted 10 times in 30 years.

Granted the Burns Fellowship in 1969, he moved to Dunedin where he often worked with the painter, Ralph Hotere.

Tuwhare has won two Montana NZ Book Awards, has been Te Mata Poet Laureate, and holds two honorary doctorates in literature.

His tangi will be in his birthplace of Kaikohe.


More Tuwhare poems
More info on Tuwhare