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The 20/20 Collection

To mark the 20th anniversary of Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, we asked 20 acclaimed Kiwi poets to choose one of their own poems – a work that spoke to New Zealand now. They were also asked to select something by another poet they saw as essential reading in 2017. The result is the 20/20 Collection, a selection of forty poems that reflect the diverse and vibrant range of voices in our contemporary literature.

The final, complete collection is available below, or you can download the free electronic version via this link: The 20/20 Collection. Follow this additional link for our Teachers' Notes.

The 20/20 poets, paired with their choice, are as follows: Jenny Bornholdt/ Ish Doney, Diana Bridge/ John Dennison, David Eggleton/ Leilani Tamu, Paula Green/ Simone Kaho, Michael Harlow/Paul Schimmel, Kevin Ireland/ Gregory Kan, Andrew Johnston/ Bill Nelson, Bill Manhire/ Louise Wallace, Selina Tusitala Marsh/ Reihana Robinson, Cilla McQueen/ David Kārena-Holmes, James Norcliffe/ Marisa Cappetta, Vincent O’Sullivan/ Lynley Edmeades, Tusiata Avia/ Teresia Teaiwa, Richard Reeve/Michael Steven, Elizabeth Smither/ Rob Hack, C. K. Stead/ Johanna Emeney, Robert Sullivan/ Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Apirana Taylor/ Kiri Piahana-Wong, Brian Turner/ Jillian Sullivan, Alison Wong/ Chris Tse.

Welcome to our 20th anniversary celebration!


Ngahuia Te Awekotuku

So wild blows the wind
............- cold
and here I sit
a tree, emblem of Life
....green, growing
silent upon this hill
that was the realm,
............the fortress
of Te Makawe
feared and avoided

That road before me stretches
far into the cool twilight –
...........black tar which melts
beneath the hot sun.
Cars – modern, streamlined, vintage
...how they move
upon a road that
....once knew
only the tread of tough
....brown feet
and heard the power of the haka
the plaintive wail of
...the tangi
a call, a challenge, echo
across our warm marae.

Still, he has come, the white man
- has come, and has conquered
wiped from beneath us
..that base we knew so well
so that it should exist no more
but be replaced, our glorious heritage
with muskets, fire and bricks
with industry, with progress
......with 1966.

from Puna Wai Kōrero: An Anthology of Māori Poetry in English (ed. Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan)
(Auckland University Press)

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku was born and raised below the hill, Pukeroa. As the principal author of Mau Moko : the World of Maori Tattoo (2007), she won many prestigious awards. Her recent book E Nga Uri Whakatupu : weaving legacies (2015), focuses on traditional textiles. She writes poetry and fiction; Ruahine : Mythic Women (2003) are crafted retellings of Maori legends about heroic women. Her latest work is Tahuri : a limited edition (2017): stories about growing up in the 1950’s-60’s Maori, female, and different. An accomplished academic writer, she is trying to become a poet again.