Hone Tuwhare 1922 - 2008
Hone Tuwhare was one of Aotearoa's most beloved and distinguished poets.
In 2007, the book Our Favourite Poems: New Zealanders choose their best-loved poems placed Tuwhare's poem Rain at number one.
Born in Kokewai (near Kaikohe) in October 1922, Hone Tuwhare trained as a boilermaker, leaving school to take up an apprenticeship with NZ Railways, where he read extensively in the Railways library.
From 1992, Tuwhare (Nga Puhi iwi; hapu Ngati Korokoro, Ngati Tautahi, Te Popoto and Te Uri-O-Hau) lived in Kaka Point, about 25km southeast of Balclutha.
- Recordings of Hone Tuwhare Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision
- Listen to Hone Tuwhare read his poems aloud on The Poetry Archive.
- Watch Gaylene Preston's documentary Hone Tuwhare on NZ On Screen.
Tuwhare’s work was renowned for its broad appeal. In 2007 the book Our Favourite Poems: New Zealanders choose their best-loved poems placed Tuwhare's Rain at number one, and No Ordinary Sun was 11th. He attracted critical acclaim as well named New Zealand’s second Te Mata Poet Laureate in 1999; winner of the Montana NZ Book Awards for poetry in 1998 and 2002, awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Auckland and Otago. In 2003 he was the winner of the inaugural Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry.
In 2006 several musicians recorded a tribute album, Tuwhare.
Hone Tuwhare died on 16 January 2008.
Tributes flowed out of literary circles as the country mourned the loss of this notable and impish character of New Zealand literature.
Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark paid tribute to Hone Tuwhare for his outstanding contribution:
Hone Tuwhare was a distinguished poet, playwright, and writer of short fiction. His poetry contained powerful imagery of our land, sea, and legends, and often expressed strong views on contemporary issues.
He was a prolific writer, with many publications to his name and an international reputation. Hone’s death will be felt deeply by all who valued his lifetime contribution to New Zealand literature.
Media and interviews
- Review - Hone Tuwhare. A 1973 interview with a 51-year-old Hone Tuwhare at the Māori Writers’ and Artists’ Conference, at Te Kaha’s Tukaki Marae. From NZ on Screen.
- Hone by Peter Fairbrother, Te Ao Hou, No. 48 (September 1964). The cover photo of this issue is of Hone.
- Wind song and rain
- Janet Hunt. Tuwhare, Hone - Biography, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 2010. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/6t1/tuwhare-hone (accessed 17 October 2022)
- Hone Tuwhare Read NZ Te Pou Muramura
- Hone Tuwhare Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi website
- Hone Tuwhare Digital NZ
- About Hone The Hone Tuwhare Charitable Trust
Wind Song and Rain - Loading Docs (short documentary 2021)
Hone Tuwhare, New Zealand’s most famous Māori poet, leaves a legacy to the granddaughter he left behind. To reconnect, she writes a love letter to the world. Find out more about Wind Song and Rain.