Whetu Moana: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English

Edited by Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan

‘. . . it can be confidently stated that this collection constitutes a milestone in the emergence of a Polynesian canon.’ – Terry Locke, English In Aotearoa

Whetu Moana is the first anthology of contemporary Polynesian poetry in English edited by Polynesians. It collects poems written over the last twenty years from more than 60 poets in Aotearoa, Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue and Rotuma.

Well-known poets like Hone Tuwhare, Alistair Campbell and Haunani-Kay Trask are joined by talented young voices, the poets appearing in alphabetical order in a way that presents both an overall Polynesian identity and a focus on individual style. Traditional laments mix with street-smart rap rhythms; images of seascapes and landscapes mingle with shots of urban slums. Political anger is a powerful force in these poems but many are personal and particular.

Whetu Moana reveals an active, changing, varied, creative scene, which confronts both a complex colonial past and a fast-moving global present with energy, courage and vitality.


Albert Wendt, CNZM, is of the āiga Sa-Tuaopepe of Lefaga, and the āiga Sa-Patu of Vaiala, Sāmoa. He is an esteemed poet, novelist, short-story writer, playwright and painter. Reina Whaitiri (Kāi Tahu) is a teacher of English literature and an editor and researcher of Māori and Pacific literature. Robert Sullivan (Ngāpuhi/Irish) has published five collections of poetry with AUP. He teaches creative writing at the Manukau Institute of Technology.

Montana New Zealand Book Award, Reference and Anthology, 2004


December 2002, 230 x 170 mm, 284 pages, World rights except North America
Paperback, ISBN 9781869402730