Tag Archives: Apirana Taylor

Poetry Box audio spot: Apirana Taylor reads ‘South West Taranaki’ and two one-breath poems





Apirana introduces and reads ‘South West Taranaki’ and two one-breath poems.  He is so good in schools – now you can hear him wherever you live! I love this so much I chose to post it on my birthday. This first poem makes me think about where and how we belong somewhere, and how where we stand is full of the stories that make us. Some of the stories from our past make me weep, some fill me with joy. Apirana is a gift, his stories and his poems, taonga. The second poems, like little poem breaths, , show how a handful of words can breathe an exquisite image in our eyes and ears. Kia ora Apirana.





Apirana Taylor, of Ngati Porou, Te Whanau a Apanui, Ngati Ruanui, Te Ati Awa and Pakeha descent was born in 1955. He is a nationally and internationally published poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, actor, painter and musician.

He has been Writer in Residence at Canterbury and Massey Universities.

He frequently tours nationally and internationally visiting schools, tertiary institutions and prisons reading his poetry, storytelling and taking creative writing workshops. He has read at poetry festivals in India, Europe and South America and in 2017 was invited to read his poetry at an International Literature conference at Udine University in Italy. He has had six collections of poetry, a book of plays, three collections of short stories, and two novels published. The latest novel ‘Five Strings’ was published in 2017.  His work has also been included in many national and international anthologies.



Check out my June winter video poem challenge










To celebrate the past year on Poetry Box — Russley School’s performance on The Hot Spot Poetry Tour including Apirana Taylor’s ‘haka.’ Magnificent!

IMG_7681_1 Russley School hosted the Christchurch event of The Hot Spot Poetry Tour of NZ at their school. Many of their children performed in the programme. The whole event was glorious but so good to see their students on video. The event finished with their fabulous rendition of Apirana Taylor’s poem, ‘haka.’ You can watch the performance here.

The Treasury Interviews: Richmond Road’s Ruma 4 interviews Apirana Taylor — I write poems when I’m in a lot of different moods.

The Interviewers: We are a Year 4/5 class of 7 girls and 19 boys, from Richmond Road School in Auckland.  We love our school because we have awesome teachers,  we are a multicultural school with 4 units, Maori unit, French Unit, Samoan Unit and the Kiwi Unit,  and everyone is so friendly.  In Ruma 4, we have kids who are creative, happy, who love Maths, drawing cartoons and enjoy singing in the morning.  Our teacher Miss Seba always finds fun activities for us to do that help us with our learning and makes it super exciting for us.  Our class motto is “Make way for a Great day of Learning J “

Outside of school we have girls who play Netball aiming to get to the Silver Ferns, boys who play rugby and dream to be an All Black, soccer players, musicians, cricket players, basket ball players, singers, dancers and gymnasts.


Apirana Taylor is an award-winning writer, poet, storyteller, painter and musician. He has published a number of poetry collections and has travelled the world (and back home) with his poems and stories. With his ability to inspire children of any age, he is one of New Zealand’s standout authors that visits schools.

The Interview:

How do you get in the calm mood to write poetry? I’m usually not in a calm mood when I write poetry although that sometimes happens, it depends on the poem I’m writing. I write poems when I’m in a lot of different moods. The calmness comes after I’ve written the poem.

How do you get the confidence to perform your poetry in front of lots of people? I practise and rehearse a lot before I perform my poetry.  The extra time I put in gives me confidence.

What age were you when you wrote your first poem? What was it about? I started writing short stories as a child, but before that I can remember when I was very young composing lines in my head for fun.

I once won an award for a selection of my poems. I’ve never won anything for a single poem but one of my poems which is studied a lot is called, ‘Sad Joke on a Marae.’ It is about losing and finding, defeat and victory, pain and healing.

How do you find your inspiration for your writing? I find my inspiration by looking at, listening to and feeling the world around me, and sometimes I just look inside myself.

What advice do you have for children that want to be writers? My advice for children who want to write is to get a pen and paper and start writing.  That’s the best way to begin.

Thanks for a wonderful interview Apirana and Ruma 4. Apirana is an amazing poet to have visit your school — schools love him! I know because I hear great tales of him when I visit schools. He tells stories and he shares his poems. Apirana has five poems in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children. They play with language deliciously and they often celebrate his Maori heritage. Phantom Billstickers made a poster of his poem, ‘haka’ for me to give away on my Hot Spot Poetry Tour so you might see it up in places in October!

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