Born in Kaikohe, Northland, New Zealand, Hone Tuwhare grew up near Auckland. One of the first widely celebrated Māori poets, Tuwhare used a conversational tone to examine Māori and biblical narratives and the beauty of nature. He is the author of No Ordinary Sun (1964), Come Rain Hail (1970), Sap-wood & Milk (1970), Shape-Shifter (1997), and Piggy-Back Moon (2001), among other books. In a review of his work, Peter Kitchin wrote, “His deft constructions and a seemingly bottomless drawer of observations, both charitable and pointed, are hallmarks of his style. ... His work is also distinctive because almost without exception, the works are individually addressed, whether to people, ideas, objects or events.”

Tuwhare organized the first Māori Writers and Artists Conference in 1973. He received a Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago and a Montana New Zealand Book Award and was poet laureate of New Zealand from 1999 to 2000. Tuwhare received the inaugural Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in 2003. 

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