Call For Poet Laureate Nominations

The National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa is inviting nominations for the next New Zealand Poet Laureate. The award celebrates outstanding contributions to New Zealand poetry.

Tokotoko of Cilla McQueen, New Zealand Poet Laureate 2009-2011. Photo by Mark Beatty/National Library of New Zealand.

The most valuable poetry award in Aotearoa sees the New Zealand Poet Laureate receive $80,000 over a two-year period. Each Laureate receives a tokotoko or carved orator’s stick created by Haumoana artist Jacob Scott and is supported by the National Library to create new work and promote poetry throughout the country.

National Librarian Te Pouhuaki Rachel Esson will appoint the New Zealand Poet Laureate after reviewing nominations and seeking advice from the New Zealand Poet Laureate Advisory Group. The National Library has had responsibility for the New Zealand Poet Laureate Award since 2007.

“The Laureate is an accomplished and highly regarded poet who can advocate for New Zealand poetry and inspire current and future readers,” says Ms Esson.

John Buck of Te Mata Estate Winery began a Laureate Award in 1996 and over a ten-year period appointed Bill Manhire, Hone Tuwhare, Elizabeth Smither, Brian Turner and Jenny Bornholdt. The National Library has appointed seven Laureates: Michele Leggott, Cilla McQueen, Ian Wedde, Vincent O’Sullivan, CK Stead and Selina Tusitala Marsh and the present Laureate David Eggleton.

Nominees must have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry and be an accomplished and highly regarded poet who continues to publish new work. They must also be a strong advocate for poetry and be able to fulfill the public role required of a Poet Laureate. Candidates are expected to reside in New Zealand during their tenure as Laureate.

“Each Laureate brings their own voice to the role and explores it in different ways,” says Ms Esson.

“They’re an advocate for New Zealand poetry, being involved in events that promote the reading and writing of poetry.”

Nominations close Friday, 29 July at 5pm and the next Poet Laureate will be named on National Poetry Day, Friday, 26 August.

For more information, please visit NZ Poet Laureate Award | National Library of New Zealand (

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