Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English

Edited by Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri & Robert Sullivan

‘I would definitely recommend Mauri Ola as a fantastic collection . . . . It shows all of our beauty, our ugliness, our colonial experience, and it truly shows the diversity of Polynesian people.’ – Maraea Rakuraku, Speaking Volumes


Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English is a follow-up volume to the highly acclaimed Whetu Moana, the first anthology of Polynesian poems in English edited by Polynesians. The new book includes poetry written over the last 25 years by more than 80 writers from Aotearoa, Hawai’i, Tonga, Sāmoa, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Tahiti and Rotuma – some living in these islands and some dispersed around the globe. Together with works by established and celebrated poets, the editors have introduced the fresh voices of a younger generation.

The anthology includes selections from poets including Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, Sia Figiel, J. C. Sturm, Konai Helu Thaman, Haunani-Kay Trask, Hone Tuwhare and Albert Wendt. The late Hawaiian poet Wayne Kaumualii Westlake is represented here by a unique set of concrete poems and experimental verse. Tusiata Avia tells tales of Nafanua in different settings around the world; Rangi Faith imagines ‘First Landing’; Imaikalani Kalahele writes a letter to his brother; Brandy Nālani McDougall discusses ‘cooking Captain Cook’; Karlo Mila, eating chocolate, watches ‘paul holmes apologise for calling kofi annan a darkie’; Robert Sullivan writes against the grain; and Apirana Taylor follows zigzag roads.

Ranging from the lyrical and sensual to the harsh and gritty, from the political to the personal, the poems in Mauri Ola are infused with vivid imagery, claims of identity, laments, rages and celebrations that confront again a colonial past and a global present.


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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.


Shortlisted for New Zealand Post Book Awards: Poetry 2011.


September 2010, 230 x 172 mm, 304 pages, illustrations, world rights except North America
Paperback, ISBN 9781869404482, $49.99