HONE TUWHARE – The People's Poet

13 October 2020

Hone Tuwhare (1922-2008) (Ngapuhi, Ngāti korokoro, Ngāti Tautahi, Te Popoto, Te Uri o Hau) is treasured as one of Aotearoa’s most accomplished poets. Initially trained as a boilermaker, Tuwhare was a trade unionist, an activist and a wordsmith.  His first book of poems “No Ordinary Sun” was published in 1963, and he was the first Māori poet to be published in English.  His list of accolades is lengthy; his words rising up to reach people across all walks of life.

Over the past week, we have welcomed the arrival of a monumental rendition of Tuwhare’s poem Hotere (1970) – a reflection on art, friendship, time and space. Hone Tuwhare and the artist Ralph Hotere were good friends, and Tuwhare’s words offer an alternative view into the infinity of Hotere’s art.  At the same time, this Big Wall project celebrates Tuwhare’s work as a taonga, and his legacy through the ongoing work of the Hone Tuwhare Charitable Trust and the Tuwhare whānau.

Noho ora mai, Lucy Hammonds
Curator, Dunedin Public Art Gallery

[above: Poet, Hone Tuwhare (left) with artist, Ralph Hotere. Photograph by Gil Hanly. Private Collection
below: Hotere, Hone Tuwhare (1922-2008) First published in Come Rain Hail, Bibliography Room, University of Otago, 1970. Courtesy of The Tuwhare Whānau and The Hone Tuwhare Charitable Trust]


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