New Zealand Poet Laureate Award — call for public nominations

28 May 2019: New Zealand Poet Laureate Award – call for public nominations

The National Library of New Zealand invites nominations for the next New Zealand Poet Laureate. The award celebrates outstanding contributions to New Zealand poetry. For a two-year term, the Laureate is supported by an $80,000 stipend from the National Library to create new work and promote poetry throughout the country.

New Zealanders encouraged to make a nomination

New Zealanders are encouraged to make a nomination using the form available from the National Library website. The National Library considers public nominations and those from a variety of sources, including New Zealand libraries, universities and creative-writing programmes. The Laureate is appointed by the Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library on advice from the New Zealand Poet Laureate Advisory Group.

Advocate and public presence for poetry

“It’s been great over the last dozen years to see how each Laureate has put their own stamp on the Award,” said Chris Szekely, Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library. “But for the Laureate the main purpose has always been the same: to be an advocate and public presence for poetry, and to take part in events that promote the reading and writing of poetry.”

Not only financial support

As well as the financial support over two years, the Laureate receives wine from Te Mata Estate (which created the award in 1996) and a tokotoko or orator’s stick carved by Haumoana artist Jacob Scott.

Previous Poets Laureate

The Te Mata Estate Poets Laureate were Bill Manhire, Hone Tuwhare, Elizabeth Smither, Brian Turner and Jenny Bornholdt. The National Library, which has administered the award since 2007, has appointed Michele Leggott, Cilla McQueen, Ian Wedde, Vincent O’Sullivan and CK Stead. The current New Zealand Poet Laureate is Selina Tusitala Marsh, who will end her term in August this year.

Dates nominations close and new Poet Laureate announced

Nominations close on 5pm Wednesday 24 July 2019.

The National Library will announce the next Poet Laureate on National Poetry Day, Friday 23 August 2019.

More information, and nomination forms


Media contact: the DIA media team on 027 5358639 or Peter Ireland, National Library, 04 474 3024.