Is it where you were born, where you were brought up, or where you live that defines you best as a person (or as a writer)? Bill Manhire was born in Invercargill, but is generally thought of as a Wellington poet; Janet Charman was born in Wellington but now lives and works in Auckland … I’ve been influenced more by where people were born than where they live now in compiling this list, but I have made some exceptions where the results seemed just too paradoxical.
So, anyway, here's my preliminary attempt at a regional breakdown of the 27 poets in our anthology, Contemporary NZ Poets in Performance (AUP, 2007):
Place -- Name -- Dates -- Pages in Contemporary NZ Poets
AUCKLAND & NORTHLAND
• Paula Green (b.1955) 115-18
educated at Auckland University, now lives on the West Coast.
• Sam Hunt (b.1946) 26-33
born in Castor Bay, but now lives north of Auckland.
• Richard von Sturmer (b.1957) 141-45
born in Devonport, lived abroad for more than a decade in the USA, and now lives in Remuera.
BLEINHELM & MARLBOROUGH
• Ian Wedde (b.1946) 46-52
born in Bleinhelm, travelled extensively as a child, but is now based in Wellington.
CHRISTCHURCH & CANTERBURY
• Alan Brunton (1946-2002) 17-25
born in Christchurch, educated in Auckland, but is most strongly associated with Island Bay in Wellington.
• Peter Olds (b.1944) 1-6
born in Christchurch, but is generally thought of as a Dunedin poet.
DUNEDIN & OTAGO
• David Eggleton (b.1952) 94-97
educated in Auckland, he is now based in Dunedin.
• Fiona Farrell (b.1947) 53-57
born in Oamaru, she is now based on Banks Peninsula.
• Bernadette Hall (b.1945) 7-11
born in Alexandra, Central Otago, she now lives in Christchurch.
• Bill Sewell (1951-2003) 88-93
born in Athens, and brought up in parts of Southern Europe, he studied at Auckland, taught German in Dunedin, but then moved to Wellington.
GREYMOUTH & THE WEST COAST
• Keri Hulme (b.1947) 58-62
born in Christchurch, but is now based on the West Coast, at Okarito.
• James Norcliffe (b.1946) 42-45
born in Greymouth, but lives in Christchurch.
HAMILTON & WAIKATO
• Murray Edmond (b.1949) 63-68
born in Hamilton, now lives and works in Auckland.
• Jan Kemp (b.1949) 69-73
born in Hamilton, now lives between Torbay, on Auckland’s North Shore, and Frankfurt, Germany.
• Bob Orr (b.1949) 79-83
born on a farm in the Waikato, lives now in Auckland’s Point Chevalier.
INVERCARGILL & SOUTHLAND
• Bill Manhire (b.1946) 34-41
born in Invercargill, now lives and works in Wellington.
• Michele Leggott (b.1956) 134-40
born in Stratford, she now lives in Devonport on Auckland’s North Shore.
• Cilla McQueen (b.1949) 74-78
born in Birmingham, she now lives in Bluff, after many years living and working in Dunedin.
• Iain Sharp (b.1953) 104-07
born in Scotland, he now lives and works in Auckland.
WELLINGTON & THE HUTT VALLEY
• Janet Charman (b.1954) 108-14
born in the Hutt Valley, she now lives in Avondale, West Auckland.
• Geoff Cochrane (b.1951) 84-87
lives in Wellington’s Island Bay.
• Anne French (b.1956) 128-33
worked for many years in Auckland, but is now based in Wellington, where she grew up.
• Graham Lindsay (b.1952) 98-103
born in Wellington, he lived for many years in Dunedin, then Christchurch, and is now living in the UK.
• Stephanie de Montalk (b.1945) 12-16
based in Wellington.
• Vivienne Plumb (b.1955) 119-22
based in Wellington.
• Roma Potiki (b.1958)146-50
lives on the Kapiti Coast, outside Wellington.
• Apirana Taylor (b.1955) 123-27
lives on the Kapiti Coast outside Wellington.