Stars of Pasifika poetry: a reading at Auckland’s Central City Library

Stars of Pasifika poetry

A Pasifika leaf design. When: Monday 17 March, 6pm
Where: Central City Library, Whare Wananga, Level 2
Cost: Free

Join us for an unforgettable evening of performances and readings by some of the South Pacific’s finest poets.

Albert Wendt, Serie Barford, Daren Kamali, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Doug Poole, Robert Sullivan, Grace Taylor and the Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua will read and perform their work, while Johnny Angel, author of graphic novel The adventures of Afi, will act as MC.

Enjoy a welcome glass of wine from 5.30pm, courtesy of Glengarry.

Glengarry logo.




Poet biographies

Serie Barford is a performance poet of Samoan, Celtic, Scandinavian and Algonquin ancestry. She was born in Aotearoa to a German-Samoan mother (Stunzner/Betham/Leaega of Lotofaga and Fulu/Jamieson of Luatuanu’u) and a palagi father. She has worked as a school teacher and lived in the Loyalty islands. She has been published in Whetu moana, Niu voices, BMP17, Snorkel, Poetry NZ and Tinfish 16/Trout 13.

Doug Poole. A poet of English and Samoan descent, Doug Poole has been writing poetry since 1986. In June 2001 he started Blackmail press, a small NZ-based poetry-oriented e-zine. Doug’s work has been published in a small number of journals and poetry e-zines, most notably Poetry down under, Trout, Nexus collection, Firefly journal, Blackmail press, Poetry, Stalking tongue volume 2 ‘Slamming the Sonnet’, and he has been listed in Auckland University’s Electronic Poetry Centre.

Daren Kamali is a poet and author of Fijian/Wallis and Futuna ancestry who migrated to New Zealand in 1992, and lives here with his partner Grace Taylor and his two children. He is co-director of the Pacific arts company Niu Navigations and is in his final year of studies towards a Bachelor in Creative Writing from the Manukau Institute of Technology. Daren’s first self-published bilingual (English/Fijian) book and CD Tales, poems and songs from the underwater world has been launched in NZ, Fiji and Hawaii and was translated into Ukranian last year for Krok Publishing. Daren has been performing and presenting in NZ, Australia, USA, Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Rarotonga and Palau since 1999.

Selina Tusitala Marsh is of Samoan, Tuvaluan, English, Scottish and French descent. She teaches New Zealand and Pacific Literature at Auckland University. Selina’s work has been widely published and has appeared in a range of literary journals and anthologies including Blackmail press, Whetu moana: contemporary Polynesian poetry in English, Mauri ola: contemporary Polynesian poetry in English, Whetu Moana II, Best New Zealand poems 2006, Niu voices: contemporary Pacific fiction 1 and The contemporary Pacific. Her book of collected poems, Fast talking PI, was awarded the New Zealand Society of Authors Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry in 2010.

Mua Strickson-Pua is Aotearoa-born Samoan Chinese, with ancestral villages of Malaela Upolu, PapaSataua Savaii and Canton China, and aiga/whanau Purcell, Pua and Laiman. He was the co-founder of Street Poets Black 1982 Maori and Pacific Islands street theatre and a pioneer of PATH (Pasifika Art and Therapy for Healing) programme at Tagata Pasifika Resources and Development Trust. Reverend Mua was also the producer of Cafe Spacific, a venue for Pasifika hip hop and poetry on Karangahape Rd.

Robert Sullivan, Nga Puhi/Irish, is a poet and academic. He is an internationally published and anthologised Maori poet with seven collections of published poetry. His most recent poetry collection is Cassino, city of martyrs / città martire, which follows the author’s thoughts as he travels through the Italian cities his grandfather fought in during World War II. It also muses on questions of life and death, cosmology and the status of Maori in New Zealand, and contains references to poets, writers, artists, philosophers and their works.

Grace Taylor is a poet and teacher of spoken word poetry. She is of English and Samoan descent, born and raised in South Auckland. Grace has been writing poetry for more than ten years and performing spoken word poetry for seven years. She has won the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival Poetry Idol, and performed across Aotearoa, the Pacific and the USA. Her first collection of poetry, Afakasi speaks, was published in 2013 with the Hawaiian publisher Ala Press. Grace has been a key facilitator of spoken word poetry events in New Zealand, mentor and teacher of the art form across Aotearoa for the last six years. She is co-director of Niu Navigations and co-founder of the Rising Voices Youth Poetry Movement and the South Auckland Poets Collective.

Albert Wendt. Born in Apia, Western Samoa, Albert Wendt has published a huge range of fiction and poetry, as well as theoretical writing. He is internationally recognised as a leader of developments in New Zealand and Pacific literature. Albert was awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature in 2000. His publications often feature his own drawings, and in 2008 an exhibition of his paintings opened in Auckland. He has edited a number of important anthologies and continues to play a major role in fostering and promoting Pacific literature. Last year he was honoured with the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement for Fiction.


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