Herald Sun

Much-loved poet no or­di­nary son

Hone Tuwhare POET Born: Oc­to­ber 21, 1922 Died: Jan­uary 16, 2008

- Arts · Literature · Poetry · New Zealand · Pacific Ocean · Japan · Dunedin

HONE Tuwhare re­shaped New Zealand po­etry, in­tro­duc­ing a dis­tinct Maori and work­ing-class voice. He set the tone for a fu­ture gen­er­a­tion of writ­ers.

His No Or­di­narySun him a celebrity in NZ.

The first im­print sold out rapidly, and it was reprinted 10 times over 30 years. The ti­tle piece, his most fa­mous, is a mi­cro­cosm of nu­clear hor­ror at weapons test­ing in the Pa­cific.

It drew on his spell in postHirosh­ima Ja­pan with the oc­cu­pa­tion forces.

Over 40 years and 15 vol­umes of po­etry (plus a few plays), Ki­wis took Tuwhare to their hearts.

He took sim­ple plea­sure in the land­scape, or the sex­i­ness of food (es­pe­cially kaimoana, hand-gath­ered seafood) to rich com­bi­na­tions of Maori leg­end.

Over­seas suc­cess eluded him, but he was widely hon­oured at home, be­com­ing Poet Lau­re­ate in 1999 and named one of NZ’s 10 great­est liv­ing artists in 2003.

Tuwhare, 85, died in Dunedin.

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