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Artists pay tribute to Hone Tuwhare

17 June 2008

Performance artists from around New Zealand will gather at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu to honour one of the country’s great literary voices.

Tribute to Hone Tuwhare will take place in the Philip Carter Family Auditorium on Friday, 27 June at 7pm. Admission to the event is free.

The tribute will feature performances by Apirana Taylor, Tusiata Avia, Bernadette Hall, Brian Potiki, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Danielle O’Halloran, Ben Brown, Doc Drumheller, Ciaran Fox and others.

Tuwhare received national acclaim with the publication of No Ordinary Sun in 1964 - the first collection of poetry in English by a Māori writer. Over the course of his career, Tuwhare amassed a body of work including poetry, plays and short fiction.

Recognition and honours poured in. The University of Otago awarded him the Burns Fellowship in 1969 and 1974. He served as Berlin Writer in Residence in 1985, and received the University of Auckland Literary Fellowship in 1991.

Tuwhare became the second Te Mata Poet Laureate in 1999. In 2003, he received an Icon Award from the Arts Foundation New Zealand and a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in poetry. He also won two Montana Book Awards for poetry: in 1998 for Shapeshifter, and in 2002 for Piggy Back Moon.

Hone Tuwhare pioneered a new style of New Zealand writing, imbuing his work with a distinct Māori voice. When he passed away in January of this year, he left behind an unrivalled literary legacy for generations of artists to follow.

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