New Poet Laureate announced

11 August 2015: New Poet Laureate announced

The National Library is delighted to announce Christian Karlson Stead of Auckland as the new Poet Laureate for 2015 - 2017.

Chris Szekely, Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library attributes Mr. Stead’s international presence as a poet, teacher, editor, literary critic and novelist as central to his nomination and appointment as New Zealand’s new Poet Laureate.

“Karl Stead has been a constant contributor to New Zealand’s literary landscape across a range of disciplines for over sixty years but by his own admission, it is poetry that is central to his life as a writer,” says Mr. Szekely. “His Collected Poems contains poetry written in 1951 yet he continues to create new works of freshness and originality with poems written in 2015.”

On receiving news of his appointment as Poet Laureate, Stead commented, “poetry has been somewhere near the centre of my consciousness for the past 70 years, so this affects me more than any other honour I could have.”

From its inception as the Te Mata Estate Laureate Award in 1996 through to 2007 the Laureates have been Bill Manhire, Hone Tuwhare, Elizabeth Smither, Brian Turner and Jenny Bornholdt. Since 2007, when the National Library took over the appointment of the Poet Laureate, the Laureates have been Michele Leggott, Cilla McQueen, Ian Wedde and Vincent O’Sullivan.

Karl Stead will be formally inducted into the role later this month.

See the New Zealand Poet Laureate website


Michael Smith, Department of Internal Affairs, 04 816 6741 or 027 807 6741

Images of Karl Stead, Poet Laureate Advisory Group comments and examples of his poetry are available on request.