New Poet Laureate announced

23 August 2019: New Poet Laureate announced

The National Library of New Zealand is delighted to announce that David Eggleton of Dunedin is the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2019 – 2021.

Chris Szekely, Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library describes David’s appointment as further recognition for “a poet of consequence whose work continues to develop and mature. David is a significant and widely-respected voice in New Zealand poetry whose work is representative of life in Aotearoa in all its breadth and diversity.”

David Eggleton performing poetry
David Eggleton. Image David Mackenzie

Former New Zealand Poet Laureate Cilla McQueen says David’s poetry is “informed with indigenous understanding and discerns the post-colonial legacy with a satirist’s sharp eye for humour and incongruity.”

Says David Eggleton on receiving news of his appointment as Poet Laureate, “I am humbled, honoured and delighted to have been chosen as the new Poet Laureate. I look forward to helping promote and celebrate the importance and need for all kinds of poetry in Aotearoa New Zealand."

From its beginnings as the Te Mata Estate Laureate Award in 1996 through to 2007 the Laureates were 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, Vincent O’Sullivan, CK Stead and Selina Tusitala Marsh.

The value of the New Zealand Poet Laureate Award is $100,000 over the two-year period. The Laureate receives $80,000, with the balance held by the National Library to cover the cost of the Laureate’s tokotoko, and to support their travel and participation in literary events.

The National Library are pleased to mark Phantom Billstickers Poetry Day with this announcement.

Poet Laureate blog


Image credit: David Mackenzie

Media contact: Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs Media Desk mobile: +64 27 535 8639 email: or Peter Ireland, National Library, 04 474 3024.


David Eggleton who is of Rotuman, Tongan and Palagi ancestry, grew up in Fiji and South Auckland and now lives in Dunedin. He is a poet, art critic, writer, editor and freelance journalist whose work investigates ideas of contemporary popular culture versus ‘highbrow’, blending the literary and vernacular with energy and vigour.

David has published eight volumes of poetry, a book of short fiction and significant titles on a range of non-fiction subjects. His first collection was co-winner of the PEN New Zealand Best First Book of Poems Award in 1987. He held the Robert Burns Fellowship in 1990. A noted arts reviewer, he has received the Reviewer of the Year Award six times at the New Zealand Book Awards. David was the Editor of 'Landfall' between 2009 and 2017.

Well-known as a performance poet, David has released several poetry recordings featuring his collaborations with musicians and been involved in poetry text collaborations with practitioners of a variety of other art forms, from sculpture to fashion design. In addition, he has produced short films and documentaries.

David won the Poetry section of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for 'The Conch Trumpet' in 2016, the same year in which he received the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement, in Poetry. In 2017 David was awarded the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writers’ Residency in Hawaii. His eighth collection 'Edgeland' and other poems was published in 2018 by Otago University Press.