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Haiku in New Zealand

The haiku enterprise in New Zealand, a country of spectacular natural beauty inhabited by just under five million people, is characterized by a small but very active community of devotees. The first contacts with Japanese haiku typically occurred through the studies and translations of British and American scholars. Some investigation of haiku was generated in New Zealand by interest in the Imagist and Beat poets, but haiku composition and studies began to accelerate only in the 1970s and 1980s. There has never been a national haiku association, though small local groups have been formed in some cities. The New Zealand Poetry Society is the default home of Kiwi haiku poets, offering a venue for annual haiku contests, serving as the leading publisher of haiku anthologies and collections, and hosting the Haiku NewZ website. Haiku has been published in a variety of literary magazines and journals, but there has only ever been one dedicated haiku journal, Kokako. Owing to the small community of Kiwi haiku poets and the limited resources available to them, a general skepticism and misunderstanding of haiku by the general poetry community, and, pre-Internet, the great distances involved, New Zealanders have struggled to be well represented in the global haiku community.

First Contacts

New Zealand writers and readers gradually became aware of haiku, though probably much later than their Northern Hemisphere counterparts. Books gradually filtered in from Britain and the United States and those interested could have found haiku in The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse (1964) translated by Geoffrey Bownas and Anthony Thwaite, Haiku in English by Harold G. Henderson (1967), One Hundred Poems from the Japanese (1955) by Kenneth Rexroth and the works of R. H. Blyth in the mid-20th century. The Peter Pauper Press series of haiku collections, published in the 1950s, likely also made their way to New Zealand.

While working in Japan in the early years of the 20th century Christchurch-born Max Bickerton (1901–1967)1 began investigating Japanese poetry. Bickerton taught school in Japan from 1924 and also tried his hand at translation, including notably a long article titled “Issa’s Life and Poetry,” which was published in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan in 1932. Included were 149 haiku by Kobayashi Issa (小林一茶); this was likely the first mass translation of Issa’s work into English.

“Establishment” New Zealand poets such as A R D (Rex) Fairburn (1904–1957) and the highly influential R A K Mason (1905–1971) considered haiku to be “madmen’s poems.”2 A few New Zealand poets, however, had more positive views of haiku. Ruth Dallas (1919–2008) first encountered haiku in 1937 at age 18 while reading Japanese poetry, and later in life explored the genre more fully. Many of her longer poems contained haiku-like images,3 and if not the first, she was one of the earliest New Zealanders to write true haiku. From the early 1960s an interest in Asian philosophies began to steer her already concise verse towards even greater “brevity and density.”4 Her 1968 book Shadow Show contained an imagistic poem, “On the Plains,” that, as haiku specialist and poet John O’Connor pointed out, started with a three-line stanza that could be called a fine haiku:

The lark sings
And falls

The first time Dallas published poems that she actually called haiku was in her 1976 collection Walking on the Snow. This, O’Connor wrote, has “four so-called haiku and, although she didn’t call it so, ‘Snow’ was a haiku sequence.” She published her first poem in 1946, a collection of haiku, Steps of the Sun, in 1979, and her last collection, which contained haiku, in 2006.6 Her Collected Poems came out in 2000.

picasso print
cut to fit
her frame7

Likewise, Rupert Glover did not mention the term “haiku” in his 1971 pamphlet Dragonfly Wings but that work contained eight of them, including one in the traditional Japanese 5–7–5 syllabic structure:

The water is still,
The reeds are still, no movement
But dragonfly wings8

“To be honest I don’t remember how I came across haiku,” Glover said. “It would have been from Japanese translations but I can’t recall where I saw them or who had written the originals.”9

Bill Manhire, one of the most influential and successful poets in New Zealand, founded and for many years headed the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington and served as director of its creative writing program. He won multiple awards for his writings and service to New Zealand literature. Manhire first came to Japanese poetry in the 1960s:10

I think I would first have come across haiku not in the schoolroom, which I guess is where most New Zealanders make the encounter, but in two anthologies: The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse (1964) and Kenneth Rexroth’s One Hundred Poems from the Japanese (1955), both of which are still on my shelves. There was also Ezra Pound and Imagism, and his “hokku-like sentence”:

    The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals, on a wet, black bough (())

I think, though, that for me haiku was simply one instance of the short poem, as promoted by people like Robert Bly in, for example, his little 1971 anthology The Sea and the Honeycomb—which focused on “the poem of three or four lines.” I still have this book, too. Similarly, short poems by children in Elwyn Richardson’s wonderful book In the Early World [1971] were important to me when I first started teaching creative writing.

Manhire also said that he admired other very short poems, be they haiku or not, from poets such as Aram Saroyan:


In fact, Manhire’s own little poems tended toward the minimalist, for example, this one that was “partly a joke about the 17-syllable idea”:

 spring rain
spring rain
spring rain
spring rain
spring rain
spring rain
spring rain
spring rain

Manhire included haiku as part of a column he wrote on short poems for Quote Unquote, a New Zealand literary print magazine, some years ago.13 In 2013 he also collaborated with outgoing poet laureate Ian Wedde on a renga,14 and has continued to post his short poems on Twitter on occasion.

Howard Dengate’s sequence “Edited computer-haiku”15 consisted of 15 poems in one-line haiku form, for example,

The saucepan flits / to the loving darkness / shower leaping.16

though the images often lacked the clarity and spirit of true haiku.

Two years later Outrigger Press in Auckland published Dengate’s Incense and other Ecstasies containing several haiku of much higher quality, including:

 Behind this tree in the mist hides the forest
Stormbound under a rock and for amusement
this drip! !17

Christodoulos (Chris) Moisa, a former secondary school head of art, and Koenraad Kuiper, professor emeritus in linguistics, University of Canterbury were poets “going their own way with haiku” (i.e., outside the New Zealand Poetry Society) in the late 1980s and early 1990s.18 “I think I’ve done a thorough apprenticeship in the craft [of poetry] experimenting with different forms from sonnet, haiku, ballad to blues etc.,” Moise said in an interview in 2000. “The diversity of style has been seen as a weakness despite several critics pointing out that in the work there is a cohesive purpose.”19

 Petals of prunus
reflect light
the house
shakes Koenraad Kuiper20
 in the grip of illness
dreams are agile
sparrows Christodoulos E G Moisa21

Little, if any, interest in haiku has so far been shown by writers of New Zealand’s indigenous Māori population. The one notable exception was poet Hone Tuwhare (1922–2008). He called some of his poems haiku, for example this one-liner, written for National Poetry Day 2012,

But, I protest my love for you isn’t minimal: it is animal22

As reported in the New Zealand Herald of July 30, 2007: “A $250,000 glass and light artwork representing the stream that once flowed down Queen St was unveiled outside the Civic Theatre last night, with a haiku (Japanese poem) by distinguished Māori poet Hone Tuwhare.”23 The original poem read:

your snivelling

come rain hail
and flood-water
laugh again

When the project was first publicly discussed, the Katikati Haiku Pathway Committee wrote to the Auckland City Council, respectfully pointing out that the poem was not a haiku and asking if the title might be reconsidered. No response was received.

When it was unveiled, the poem was used with no title, and the words “creek-bed” were replaced with “Horotiu,” the name of the stream that now ran under Queen Street. It is fair to say that the artwork was not a success. The glass artist who created it, requested that her name be removed (saying she had acted as a conceptual artist only) and only a few months after installation the piece was requiring repair.24 It was removed without fanfare in November 2016 for reasons of “public safety” and has not been reinstated.

John O’Connor was another poet developing an active interest in haiku in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He recalled that he was likely to have written his first haiku in 1973 but that it was “tossed away” and the form not looked at again until 1978 or 1979. “I believe I was the first person in New Zealand to write a number of good haiku,” he said.25

O’Connor wrote of early New Zealand haikuists, “I believe Cyril Childs wrote his first haiku in 1990 while in Japan, … but for people like Kon Kuiper and Chris Moise, haiku was more of a metaphor.” Cyril Childs quickly rose to prominence among haikuists in New Zealand and internationally, serving as president of the New Zealand Poetry Society, editing the first two national haiku anthologies (and contributing to the third) and coediting an award-winning anthology of the Christchurch-based Small White Teapot Group, and publishing a work of his own, Paper Lanterns: A Journey with Cancer (2000), detailing his (and his first wife Vivienne’s) experiences in prose, free verse, haibun and haiku.

 daylight saving ends
an early recall
to the cancer clinic26

Haiku encounters, meetings and events

Although there are some places in New Zealand where a number of haiku poets live reasonably close together, for the most part writers have always been scattered. National gatherings are enjoyable occasions for those who may be the only person with an interest in haiku in their particular city or area—it’s a chance to put faces to names, establish friendships, learn and extend skill sets.

In 1988 a haiku reading—probably the first public event of this sort in New Zealand—was organized by the New Zealand Poetry Society at the Japanese embassy in Wellington. Two years later, R Takeshita delivered a lecture on haiku in Palmerston North. In 1991 the prominent Japanese poet and editor Kazuo Satō (佐藤 和夫) lectured on haiku in Christchurch,27 and in 1995, Kenichi Ikemoto, a graduate student from Japan, expressed an interest in meeting poets writing haiku and was received by Ernest J Berry in Picton.28

The country’s first national gathering, Haiku Sounds, a weekend-long workshop for writers, also took place in Picton in October 1997, organized by Berry under the auspices of the New Zealand Poetry Society and with additional support from Arts Marlborough. Devoted specifically to haiku and its related forms, this workshop brought together 25 New Zealand haiku writers, many attending a haiku meeting for the first time. Guest speakers were Janice Bostok of Australia and a visiting Japanese poet (unnamed in the newspaper report).29

Bostok made a return trip across the Tasman Sea in 1998 to attend the Into the Light Poetry Festival in Tauranga (organized by Sandra Simpson and Catherine Mair and financially supported by TrustPower and Creative Communities). There she tutored a class on linked verse, and the product of that session, a renga titled “Out of the Light,” is likely to have been the first successful traditional kasen written in New Zealand.30 Into the Light was also notable as the venue where the country’s first book of haibun, Shadow-patches, by Bostok, Mair, and Bernard Gadd was launched.31

The Katikati Haiku Pathway was officially opened in June 2000, as one of New Zealand’s Millennium Projects. Its specially designed footbridge was dedicated as the sun rose on the new millennium—January 1, 2000. Such assemblies of rocks engraved with haiku (句碑 kuhi) are popular features in gardens in Japan. Katikati is the only such pathway in the Southern Hemisphere and the largest collection of haiku stones outside Japan.

Katikati Haiku Pathway Committee (from left):
Sandra Simpson, Margaret Beverland, and Catherine Mair.
Photo: Chris Steel

The driving force behind the project was poet Catherine Mair, on whose family farm the land for the pathway was situated. The pathway runs on either side of the Uretara Stream and links the Katikati town center with the Highfields housing subdivision via the footbridge. The park-like setting, which includes trees, seats, and picnic tables, is also a popular venue for the town’s annual Summer Twilight Concerts.

As of 2019 the pathway comprised 47 haiku invited from poets in New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Poland, Japan, and the U.S.A. Each of the boulder poems was carefully selected to reflect its surroundings. The pathway has provided a constant voyage of discovery, just as Mair intended. The Katikati Haiku Pathway Focus Committee was reformed in 2006 and acts as kaitiaki (guardian) of the pathway, working closely with the local council.

A weekend haiku workshop was held at Queen Charlotte College in Picton at the end of September, 2000. Twenty participants from around New Zealand and again including Bostok, were tutored by American Jim Kacian, then editor of Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America, who had stopped over in New Zealand on a round-the-world tour. The group read and discussed haiku, workshopped their own poems, enjoyed a ginkō and kukai, tackled the vexed topic of a haiku definition, and discussed establishing an association of New Zealand haiku writers.32

The Japanese Memorial Garden, Featherston,33 also known as the Peace Garden, was inaugurated to commemorate the Japanese dead from the so-called Featherston Incident of February 25, 1943, when Japanese prisoners of war staged a sit-down strike at their camp. Sixty-eight Japanese died and 54 were injured. One New Zealand soldier was killed by ricochet and six were wounded. The idea for a peace garden originated in the 1970s but was long resisted by the local returned services (veterans) association. By 2000 the local council was supporting the plan, however, and the garden opened in 2001. Featuring 68 ornamental cherry trees in two rows, it also contains a plaque with this haiku by Matsuo Bashō (translated in 1979 by K. J. Nysse of the Batavian Rubber Company):

behold the summer grass all that remains of the dreams of warriors

The first Haiku Festival Aotearoa was held in 2003 at the Stella Maris Centre in the Wellington suburb of Seatoun. The Windrift Haiku Group of Wellington hosted the festival; key organizers were Jeanette Stace, Nola Borrell, and Karen Peterson Butterworth. The festival featured workshops, speakers, and a performance of haiku selected by Cyril Childs and read to specially written cello music. The final session provided the impetus to establish an online New Zealand haiku presence in the form of Haiku NewZ.

At the final session in Wellington, members of the Small White Teapot group of Christchurch offered to host a second Haiku Festival Aotearoa. This event took place at the Bishop Julius Hall, University of Canterbury in 2008. All of the 30 or so attendees were New Zealanders save one Australian, Beverley George, then editor of Yellow Moon haiku and tanka journal. A highlight was the launch of The Taste of Nashi, the third New Zealand haiku anthology, edited by Borrell and Butterworth. More than 200 haiku by 60 poets were included.

The third Haiku Festival Aotearoa was held in Tauranga at the Greerton Motor Inn in 2012, organized by Margaret Beverland and Sandra Simpson. This was the first festival in the series to feature an overseas speaker, Jim Kacian of the United States, who held master classes on haiku and haibun. Also among the attendees were five poets from Australia. The program included a visit to the Haiku Pathway in Katikati. Financial support came from several funders including Legacy Trust, Tauranga Rotary and Creative Communities, as well as seed money from the organizers of the two previous events.

In a project in 2012 Dunedin writer Ruth Arnison offered Otago (South Island) artists haiku written by North Island poets to act as inspiration. The resulting When North Meets South exhibition was held at Bellamy’s Gallery in Macandrew Bay, Dunedin, in November 2012. Twelve poets each supplied six haiku to inspire pottery, painting, jewelry, printing, clothing, assemblage art and floral work. The artists did not know who had written the haiku and the poets didn’t know which artist had chosen their work.

Sheryl McCammon (pictured) and Ruth Arnison devised Dunedin’s Poems on Steps project that debuted with this tanka by André Surridge.
Photo: Ruth Arnison


New Zealand has never had a national-level haiku organization. Active groups have flourished in Wellington and Christchurch, plus there are active invitation-only haiku and tanka groups in Hamilton and Katikati, although efforts to establish a haiku group in Auckland, the country’s largest city, have not been successful to date.

Wellington’s Windrift Haiku Group34 operated for about 20 years, from 1998 to 2019. It was launched after Ernest Berry organized the Haiku Sounds gathering in Picton in 1997. Interested poets met in a hotel in Wellington to discuss forming a haiku group, and they chose the name Windrift. At first the poets met quarterly, with host/convener Berry and his wife, Triska, crossing Cook Strait from Picton. Berry designed flamboyant invitations to poets to assemble for “haikuing, fat chewing, funning … from high noon—till we drop.” Poets were asked to bring an original poem—usually using a specified phrase, such as “roadside shrine,” “framed by the window,” or “patches of snow”—to be hung unsigned on the haiku tree (really a potted plant). The haiku were then “plucked, applauded and critiqued before the writer confessed” to his/her authorship.

In September 1999 the venue shifted to the home of Jeanette Stace, and Linzy Forbes became the invitation writer. After Stace’s death in 2006, members took turns hosting meetings.

Windrift was quite active in promoting haiku nationally. It organized the first national Haiku Festival Aotearoa in March 2005. Buoyed by that success, Borrell and Butterworth launched the lengthy project of collating and editing The Taste of Nashi, an anthology of New Zealand haiku from the previous ten years. The group was involved in Wellington area events such as Ikebana International 2006, ran haiku workshops at Hutt-Minoh House in Lower Hutt, and participated in the Festival of Japan organized by the Wellington City Council. Members even maintained a small haiku library (housed in cardboard boxes).

Nola Borrell (left ) and Karen Peterson Butterworth, editors of the third NZ haiku anthology, the taste of nashi, at its launch in 2008.
Photo: Sandra Simpson

The group attracted visitors from around the world. These included Claire and Patrick Gallagher, George Swede and Anita Krumins, and Roberta Beary from North America; Yukari Nikawa from Japan, and Madeleine Slavick from the NZ Pacific Studio Artists’ Residency Centre.

After Berry’s and Forbes’s leadership, Borrell’s influence in the group was paramount. She took on various roles: convener, secretary, treasurer, initiator of conferences, editor of anthologies, and contact person for the NZPS website. For several years she led Windrift in a triumvirate with Stace and Butterworth.

Regular Windrift members over the years included Julie Adamson, Ariana Aomarere, Ernest J Berry, Nola Borrell, Karen Peterson Butterworth, Annette de Jonge, Bertus de Jonge (died 2001), Linzy Forbes, Lynn Frances, Laurice Gilbert, Bevan Greenslade, Harumi Hasegawa, Sally Holmes (died 2019), Elena Lindsay (died 2012), Barry Morrall (died 2013), Kerry Popplewell, Vanessa Proctor (of Australia), Penny Pruden (died 2019), Veronica Kelly Reynolds (Haughey, died 2008), Irene Ruth (died 2010), Jeanette Stace (died 2006), and Neil Whitehead. Corresponding members included Jenny Pyatt and John Ross.

As some members found it increasingly difficult to attend meetings because of challenges with health, mobility, transport—and after lengthy discussion, and with much regret—Windrift was dissolved as a legally constituted group. Several members planned to keep in touch through an online exchange of haiku, however.

The Small White Teapot Haiku Group35 started in 2001 after Kacian’s visit to Christchurch, during which he encouraged the formation of local groups. Joanna Preston, Jeff Harpeng, Greeba Brydges-Jones, Helen Bascand, Judith Walsh, Barbara Strang, were among the early members. The group met regularly once a month in a café that has now been demolished. The name was inspired by the white teapots the café used. In 2002 the group produced Listening to the Rain, an anthology edited by Childs and Preston that won recognition in the Haiku Society of America’s annual Merit Book Awards.36

Before the period of the earthquakes that devastated parts of Christchurch in late 2010 and early 2011, the group was meeting at Avebury House in Avonside. That venue required repairs because of quake damage but was beautifully restored and reopened in 2014. In 2019 the Small White Teapot Haiku Group had seven members and was still meeting once a month to share and discuss haiku. As mentioned above, the Small White Teapot Haiku Group organized the second Haiku Festival Aotearoa in Christchurch.

Delegates at Haiku Festival Aotearoa 2008 held in Christchurch.
Photo: Beverley George

Haiku Contests

According to Cyril Childs in his introduction to the New Zealand Haiku Anthology (1993),37 the main impetus to the development of haiku in New Zealand came from an initiative of the New Zealand Poetry Society (NZPS) in the latter half of the 1980s. Paramount was the enthusiasm, encouragement, and commitment of David Drummond (1938–1991).38 Drummond and his wife Wilhelmina were both on the faculty of Massey University in Palmerston North and members of the NZPS in the 1980s. It was they who really got the NZPS haiku competitions going, including separate sections for general poetry and haiku.

The Drummonds organized the first international competition in 1987. David took charge of overseas publicity, and entries were received from the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia. From 1997 the society, with the long-time support of the Asia 2000 Foundation of New Zealand, included a section for youth haiku (17 and under).

At first the haiku judges came from the Japanese Department at Massey University. At the suggestion of John O’Connor, however, the NZPS began to use English-speaking judges, and American haikuist Elizabeth Searle Lamb was invited to serve this function in 1994.39 Other well-known poets to have judged the contest included Americans Francine Porad and William J. Higginson, Japanese Kazuo Satō, and Australian Janice Bostok.40 From 2000 the judges of the NZPS Haiku Contest were almost invariably New Zealanders.

By international standards, the NZPS Haiku Competition was an immediate success and has enjoyed satisfactory growth over its three-decade history. In the 1987 competition, 92 haiku were selected from more than 600 entries from Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States, and New Zealand and were published in the competition anthology, A Fall of Leaves. In 1993, close to 1,000 entries were received from 115 writers in eight countries (those for 1987 plus Croatia, England, and Romania), and more than 600 entries came from New Zealand. In 2019 there were 532 entries in the adult section and 214 entries in the junior section.41

In 2008, two years after the death of haikuist Jeanette Stace, her estate established the Jeanette Stace Memorial Haiku Award. This was a cash award for the first-place winners of the NZPS International Haiku Contest and the Junior Haiku Contest.42

The Drummonds were also responsible for the publication of the early NZPS Contest anthologies, through their small Nagare Press in Palmerston North. In the early years two parallel booklets of competition results, one for general poetry and one for haiku, were issued. David Drummond was listed as coeditor for four anthologies, 1988–1991 inclusive. Since 1990 the winners and selected others have been published in an anthology under the imprint of the New Zealand Poetry Society. Since 2005 (with the exception only of the 2011 anthology) editors have served for two years each.

The Katikati Haiku Contest has been held biennially since 2000, with a short break that saw 2018 missed. Although entries come from around the world, the contest is primarily envisioned as an opportunity to educate the local populace about haiku, and the Katikati Haiku Pathway Committee encourages everyone to “have a go.” Supported by local businesses, cash prizes are offered in both adult and junior sections with a book prize for the Best Local Haiku. The competition also serves as a fundraiser for the pathway project.

The New Zealand journal Kokako held its first Kokako Haiku and Senryu Competition in 2003. Then-editor Bernard Gadd announced, “Kokako has decided to run a haiku (and senryu) contest for New Zealanders since New Zealand doesn’t have its own haiku contest. We’re sorry to exclude non-Kiwi readers (though expatriate Kiwis may enter) but point out that the NZ Poetry Society runs both an annual International Haiku and a Poetry contest.”43 From 2007 the contest was open to poets of any nationality. Kokako’s first tanka contest was held in 2006, and the two contests were subsequently held in alternate years.44 Both contests went on an extended hiatus in 2016.45


With the notable exception of the New Zealand Poetry Society, which published the two New Zealand haiku anthologies and publishes the annual compilations of contest-winning haiku, there are no significant publishers of books of Japanese short-form poetry in New Zealand and there never has been. Writers tend to bring their work to print by self-publishing or using small publishers.

Patricia Donnelly was the Auckland-based editor of SPIN,46 a poetry journal with three issues a year. Catherine Mair, who lived in Katikati and discovered haiku in the late 1980s, remarked to Donnelly that it was a pity there was no publication for haiku in New Zealand. Donnelly’s reply was, “well, why don’t you do it.” On the advice of John O’Connor, who warned that haiku itself may have been too small a field in New Zealand at that time, it was decided to start cautiously: Mair dedicated the winter 1995 issue of SPIN to haiku, senryu, renga, tanka, and small poems.

Donnelly organized the printing of winterSPIN, as the issue was renamed, with Mair assuming an editor’s responsibility for the journal became an annual publication. Mair was guest editor of winterSPIN from 1995 to 2001. “I had no computer skills when I started,” she said. “I had to learn everything.” Bernard Gadd of Auckland helped with editing and production from 1998. Mair’s discovery of haiku began in the late 1980s when she showed some of her poetry to well-known children’s author Phyllis Johnston of Tauranga. Johnston introduced Mair to another children’s writer, Jean Bennett (Tauranga), who sent Mair information about haiku, thinking it might interest her because of the nature focus in her work. “It was the first time I had heard the word ‘haiku,’” Mair recalled. She was delighted to have been the editor to first publish a haiku by Ernest J Berry, who went on to much success, especially in international contests.

Indeed, the first winterSPIN contained many names who formed the backbone of haiku in New Zealand, including Cyril Childs, Ernest J Berry, Karen Peterson Butterworth, Tony Chad, Tony Beyer, John O’Connor, Patricia Prime, Jeanette Stace, and Catherine Mair.

Gadd and Patricia Prime took over as coeditors of winterSPIN from 2001. In 2003 they took the bold step of removing its links to SPIN and renaming it Kokako after a native bird with a particularly melodious song. Initially issued annually, the journal began to appear twice a year from 2006. In 2020 Prime continued as coeditor. Other editors have been Gadd (2003–2005), Owen Bullock (2005–2008), Joanna Preston (2008–2012), and Margaret Beverland (from 2012). Kokako produced its 30th issue in April 2019.

A literary microjournal originally titled Micropress Yates (later called Micropress Australia, Micropress Oz, and/or The Mozzie)47 was founded in 1996 in Brisbane, Australia, by British-born poet Gloria B Yates (c. 1933–2008). Specializing in short poems by Australians—but not Japanese forms—it was published ten times a year.

A New Zealand edition of Micropress began in Nelson, South Island, New Zealand, in 1995 under the editorship of Kate O’Neill, a New Zealander who had been living in Australia. She was determined that it be a publication for “popular poetry, … poetry people would read.” “My association with Micropress Yates means we print each other’s poems,” she wrote.

The following year, in a letter dated June 23, 1997, Micropress cloned itself again. O’Neill asked Tony Chad, a recent convert to haiku, to establish what would ostensibly be a North Island edition of Micropress, while she continued her South Island version. Chad decided not to label his edition “North Island,” but instead used the name Valley Micropress to reflect a flavor of the Hutt Valley, near Wellington, where he lived. The first issue was published in November 1997 and continued to appear ten times a year. It generally contained some haiku and/or tanka, along with the occasional haibun. Chad was the only editor. He discontinued publication in 2018, a few years after the South Island version stopped production.

A Fine Line, the magazine of the New Zealand Poetry Society, was published every two months, both in hard copy and online. The magazine formerly included a section called Haikai Café for the publication of haiku, senryu, tanka and haibun by NZPS members. Kirsten Cliff was the last selector, editing the section for almost four years until it was discontinued at the end of 2014.

Tauranga-based Bravado, which was published three times a year from November 2003 to July 2010,48 often included haiku and related forms. Bravado 3 (November 2004) contained “The Elusive Haiku,” an article by Cyril Childs exploring the attempts to define the form. A few other literary journals, such as Takahe, a quarterly based in Christchurch, and Poetry NZ in Auckland, would consider haiku and occasionally print them.

Because there was no national haiku association in New Zealand, the website Haiku NewZ has been a focal point for the country’s haiku community. The website was established in 2005 as a direct result of the first Haiku Festival Aotearoa. From the beginning, the New Zealand Poetry Society accorded Haiku NewZ a place on its website. The founding and continuing editor was Sandra Simpson.

Haiku NewZ provided information, both national and international, on events, competitions, groups, and journals. There was a collection of links to online resources, a monthly article, a showcase of New Zealand haiku poets and their work, a selection of favorite haiku and commentaries on them by writers from around the world, and other information. The website was fully updated (the monthly article changed, competition listings reviewed, news added) once a month, with other changes made as needed. The Haiku NewZ pages were the prime source of information about haiku in New Zealand for poets and specialists outside the country, and the site has been regularly praised for its accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Kristen Cliff began a personal blog, Swimming in Lines of Haiku that included some haiku; it ran only from 2010 to 2014 however. Sandra Simpson’s blog, breath, a collection of haiku, was launched in January 2012 and was still active in 2020. It included reviews (many of her own 2011 haiku collection Breath) and pointers to other substantial articles of interest to haiku poets.

Teaching haiku

In New Zealand haiku is taught in primary and secondary schools as part of the national curriculum. Unfortunately, it still relies upon the 5–7–5 form. One teacher sized up the situation, saying “but if it isn’t 5–7–5 how do I know it’s a haiku?”

One bright spot for young writers in Christchurch is the work of Kerrin P Sharpe, an independent self-employed teacher of creative writing, as well as a long-form poet. She has been teaching haiku at a number of schools around Christchurch since about 2001 as part of her creative writing classes for young people aged from six to eighteen. Sharpe has been a long-time supporter of the NZPS Junior Haiku Competition and has submitted on behalf of many of her students—with a remarkable track record. “Their great performance in the competition always astounds me,” she said.49 In 2014 all the prizes in the junior section, bar one commended, were won by her students.50 Although she does not write haiku herself, Sharpe also occasionally teaches Western haiku to adults at the Hagley Writers Institute, part of a community college in Christchurch. Christchurch also has a School for Young Writers where haiku is taught. Among the staff is Doc Drumheller, a published haiku poet and editor of the literary journal Catalyst.

New Zealand in international haiku

Great distances and limited funding constrained New Zealand poets’ participation in international haiku gatherings. The opening of the world through the Internet, however, has made it possible to submit to almost any journal, whether online or paper, by e-mail; to collaborate with poets anywhere in the world; to participate in online workshops and forums; and to establish websites and blogs for all to share.


Four New Zealand poets, Nola Borrell, Karen Peterson Butterworth, Sandra Simpson, and Cyril Childs, attended the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference in Terrigal, NSW, Australia, in 2009.51 Childs gave a presentation titled “Haiku 45 South,” which was published in Wind over Water, the conference proceedings. His assessment was that the publishing of the long-form poetry and haiku winners in the New Zealand Poetry Society contests in a single anthology since 1990 was an “indication of a healthy degree of acceptance, if not complete acceptance, of haiku into the ‘mainstream’ of New Zealand poetry.”52

Three poets, Margaret Beverland, Sophia Frentz and Sandra Simpson, traveled to the Haiku North America 2013 Conference in Long Beach, Calif., the first time New Zealanders were represented at that biennial gathering. Simpson and Frentz made a presentation and were also invited to participate in a renga reading, standing in for absent poets.

International contests

Extraordinary successes in international haiku contests since 1997 formed the backbone of Ernest Berry’s work, and he won or placed in nearly all of them. His 2016 book, Getting On, was composed exclusively of prizewinning haiku and senryu. To name just a few of the contests Berry has won:

JapanIto-En Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest (4 years)
International Kusamakura Haiku Competition (4 years)
AustraliaPaper Wasp Jack Stamm Haiku Contest (5 years)
U.S.A.The Haiku Society of America’s Henderson Award for Best Haiku (2 years)
Gerald M. Brady Award for Best Senryu (4 years)
The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Award for Individual Haiku (2 years)
Modern Haiku’s Robert Spiess Memorial Haiku Award (3 years)
Haiku Northwest’s Francine Porad Award (7 years)
CanadaHaiku Canada’s Betty Drevniok Award (1 year)
U.K.British Haiku Society Awards (3 years)
IrelandIrish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition (5 years)

Sandra Simpson is another frequent winner in international contests. Her laurels include awards in the Touchstone Award, the Robert Spiess contest (3 years), the Drevniok Award (1 year), the Kusamakura Haiku Competition (1 year), the Romanian Sharpening the Green Pencil Haiku Contest (2 years), IRIS Little Haiku Contest (3 years), Martin Lucas Haiku Award (2 years), and R.H. Blyth Award (1 year).

Margaret Beverland won a commendation in the 2014 Sharpening the Green Pencil Haiku Contest, as did Anne Curran in 2018.

André Surridge won recognition in the Drevniok awards (2 years), the Jack Stamm Haiku Contest, and the Japanese Kusamakura and Ito En Oi Ocha contests, among others.

Patricia Prime won awards in the Tokutomi contests (3 years), and the Japanese Genjuan International Haibun Contest (2 years), among other honors.

Two haiku of Catherine Mair’s haiku placed in the 1st Paper Wasp Jack Stamm Haiku Contest, 1999, and Jeffrey Harpeng was a co-winner in the 6th running of the Stamm contest (2004). Tony Beyer won two awards in the 7th Stamm contest (2005).

Owen Bullock found success in the Kusamakura Haiku Competition (2 years), the Betty Drevniok Award (2016), the Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition (2012), the Kloštar Ivanić International Contest in Croatia (2008) and the R.H. Blyth Award (2019).

Aalix Roake won 2nd prizes in the International Autumn Moon Haiku Contest (2016) and the Wild Plum Haiku Contest (2018). Steven Clarkson won awards in the Autumn Moon Contest (2 years), as well as the H. Gene Murtha Senryu Contest (2017), and the Drevniok Award (2019). Jenny Fraser was noticed in the Autumn Moon Haiku Contest in 2018 and was 2nd in the Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku Award (2019).

Annie Mills and Jeanette Stace won mention in the Ito En Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest (2005). Barbara Strang found success in three Japanese contests, the Kusamakura (2007), the Ito En Oi Ocha New Haiku Contest (2010), and the Genjuan International Haibun Contest (2015). Likewise, Elaine Riddell was successful in the Kusamakura contest in 2011 and the Ito En Oi Ocha contest in 2018. Joanna Preston was a runner-up in the Japanese Tanka & Haiku on Water, River, Lake and Sea Contest (2001).

Finally, young New Zealander Matthew Prince, took 1st Place in the International Children Section of the Mainichi Daily News Haiku Contest (2015), and Sophia Frentz was First in the Youth Section of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Haiku Invitational (2006).

(See the biographies of these poets for a complete tally of their contest wins.)

International organizations

The website of the United Haiku and Tanka Society, established in 2013, listed André Surridge as a charter member and Ernest Berry, Kirsten Cliff, Anne Curran, Trish Fong, Marion Moxham, Elaine Riddell, Aalix Roake, Sandra Simpson, and Hansha Teki as members.

International and overseas anthologies

(see full bibliographical information below).
The first appearance of the work of New Zealand haiku poets in a multinational haiku anthology happened in 2002 when in her Haiku: “the leaves are back on the tree”—International Anthology Zoe Savina included work by Cyril Childs, John O’Connor, Bernard Gadd, Richard von Sturmer, Allan Wells, and Jeffrey Harpeng in English, as well as Savina’s Greek translations.

A New Resonance, the biennial anthology series from the American publishing house Red Moon Press has included Kiwis Jeffrey Harpeng (No. 3, 2003), Sandra Simpson (No. 5, 2007), André Surridge (No. 7, 2011), Kirsten Cliff Elliot (No. 8, 2013), and Dick Whyte (No. 10, 2017).

Two recent international anthologies of women’s haiku included New Zealand poets: Wishbone Moon (2018), edited by Roberta Beary, Ellen Compton, and Kala Ramesh, showcased work by Patricia Prime, Sandra Simpson, Aalix Roake, Nola Borrell, Anne Curran, Harumi Hasegawa, and Helen Yong; while Kirsten Cliff Elliot was among the poets honored in Iliyana Stoyanova’s bi- or trilingual English and Bulgarian-language Peonies (2019).

Berry and Childs child each had a haiku included in The New Haiku, the British anthology edited by John Barlow and Martin Lucas in 2002. Lee Gurga and Scott Metz’s collection of 21st century work, Haiku 21 (2011), included Ernest J Berry, Owen Bullock, Cyril Childs, and Sandra Simpson.

Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (2013), edited by Jim Kacian, Philip Rowland, and Allan Burns chose work by Berry, Childs, Prime, and Simpson. That same year haiku by Berry, Tony Chad, and Prime appeared in the massive Kamesan’s World Haiku Anthology on War, Violence and Human Rights Violation compiled by Dimitar Anakiev. Co-editor Patricia Prime selected work by 29 New Zealand haikuists53 for inclusion in Bruce Ross’s international anthology A Vast Sky (2015).

Haiku by Prime, Simpson, André Surridge, Owen Bullock, Hansha Teki, and Svetlana Marisova appeared in Naad Anunaad: an anthology of contemporary world haiku (2016), edited by Kala Ramesh, Sunjuktaa Asopa and Shloka Shankar, while Simpson’s work also appeared in Another Trip Around the Sun: 365 Days of Haiku for Young and Old (2019) edited by Jessica Malone Latham.

Online kukai

A few New Zealand poets have participated in online kukai, a kind of competition in which poets submit haiku to be collected and posted anonymously on a website or blog and then voted upon by the participants themselves. The original online kukai was the Shiki Internet Haiku Salon Biweekly Kukai, begun in 1996 and running through 2016. New Zealand haikuists participating in the Shiki Internet Kukai were Joanna Preston (2000–2001), Aalix Roake (2006–2015), Patricia Prime (2009), Sandra Simpson (2009), Ernest J Berry (2009–2010), André Surridge (2009–2013), Svetlana Marisova (2010–2011), Anne Curran (2010–2015), and Hansha Teki (2012–2016).

New Zealanders also participated in the three online kukai that succeeded the Shiki Internet Kukai: Kirsten Cliff Elliot in the Caribbean Kigo Kukai in 2012; Margaret Beverland (2013–2017), André Surridge (2013), Hansha Teki (2013), Anne Hollier Ruddy (2014), and Maureen Sudlow (2014–2019) in the European Quarterly Kukai; and Teki also in the Indian Kukai (2014–2015).

Hansha Teki has served as webmaster for two important projects, Under the Bashō and the Living Haiku Anthology, both since 2013.

Prospects for haiku in New Zealand

Within mainstream poetry, there is little or no recognition of haiku as a legitimate form of poetry. Haiku is rarely published in New Zealand’s major literary journals, and when it is, the poems are generally not what haiku poets would regard as haiku. Haiku seems to be regarded by the poetry establishment as something “lesser,” despite several poets who move comfortably in both worlds, and have achieved recognition in both, including John O’Connor, Catherine Mair, and Owen Bullock.

However, given the relatively few haiku poets in New Zealand, there are plenty of names that are recognized internationally. Writing haiku strongly flavored with the sights, sounds and flora and fauna of Aotearoa New Zealand often means a restricted market for publication, although, happily, more overseas journals are beginning to be open to at least considering haiku that use images from our unique culture, flowers, birds, lizards and mammals. Google has been a huge asset in writing haiku about “home.” It may be my imagination but perhaps Kiwi poets are also becoming more comfortable with writing “what is.”

Is the lack of a national haiku organization a help or a hindrance to the successful continuation of haiku in New Zealand? The Haiku NewZ website has, it appears from anecdotal evidence, generated the sense of community that it set out to achieve and events such as the publication of the fourth national haiku anthology, number eight wire (2019), puts people in touch with one another and sparks conversations. The poems that appear in the anthology highlighted the ease with which haiku has captured life in these islands in the remote South Pacific.

From left, Ruby Robertson, Dave Robertson, and Jenny Pyatt
at the launch of the fourth New Zealand haiku anthology,
number eight wire, in Tauranga in 2019
Photo: Sandra Simpson

One could wish for a fresh wave of new-generation haiku poets emerging in New Zealand, but that wave seems to be nowhere in sight, though it may be forming far out in the deep ocean. For example, in number eight wire, of the 70 poets featured, several were young adults or still at school. The NZPS junior haiku contest is a valuable investment in our future and, given its longevity, it is to be hoped that in time that investment will pay off when some of the school-age writers who have participated so enthusiastically return to the form.

Being able to participate in the global haiku community, thanks to the internet, benefits otherwise-isolated New Zealand haiku poets in many ways –whether it’s feedback from highly-regarded editors and/or the swapping of ideas in online kukai and workshops (sometimes the rejection of ideas can be just as useful). These opportunities and experiences can only enrich us and inform our writing.

In 2009 Cyril Childs wrote, “I venture to claim that haiku is currently alive and thriving in the Shaky Isles [New Zealand]. To my eyes the future looks rosy—and I’m confident it will be rosy—just as long as the passion for the form and the voluntary efforts evident today are maintained or surpassed in the future.”54

AUTHOR: Sandra Simpson

ADAPTED FROM: Sandra Simpson, “A Brief History of Haiku in New Zealand,” World of Haiku, The Haiku Foundation website, including some text by Cyril Childs, Nola Borrell, and Barbara Strang.

SIGNOFF DATE: March 9, 2019



  • Bickerton, Max. “Issa’s Life and Poetry.” Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan. Second Series, vol. 9 (1932). Includes 149 haiku translations.
  • Blyth, R. H. Haiku. Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 4 volumes, 1949–52.
  • Blyth, R.H. A History of Haiku. Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 2 volumes, 1963–64.
  • Childs, Cyril. “Haiku 45 South,” paper delivered at the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference, Terrigal, Australia, September 2009. Published in Wind over Water, the conference proceedings.
  • Childs, Cyril. “Introduction: Haiku in New Zealand.” New Zealand Haiku Anthology. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1993.
  • O’Connor, John. “Beyond Masks and Pretenders.” winterSpin (1995). This article was later edited somewhat and retitled “Hone Tuwhare’s Haiku, a Critical View.”


  • Ricketts, Harry, and Jeanette Stace, eds. Frosted Rails: The 1990 New Zealand Poetry Society Competition. Palmerston North, N.Z.: Nagare Press, 1990.
  • Sewell, Bill, and Jeanette Stace, eds. Balancing on Blue. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1991.
  • Sewell, Bill, and Jeanette Stace, eds. Ginger Stardust. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1992.
  • Woodward, Iona, and Ruth Harper, eds. Black Before the Sun. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1993.
  • Woodward, Iona, and Ruth Harper, eds. The Old Moon and So On. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1994.
  • Woodward, Iona, and Ruth Harper, eds. Sky Falling. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1995.
  • Crayford, Elizabeth, ed. Catching the Rainbow: Poems from the New Zealand Poetry Society’s 1996 International Competition. Graphic Press, 1996.
  • Jepson, Vivienne, ed. The Ordinary Magic. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1997.
  • Jepson, Vivienne, ed. Climbing the Flame Tree. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1998.
  • Jepson, Vivienne, ed. Tapping the Tank. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1999.
  • Jepson, Vivienne, ed. The Whole Wide World. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2000.
  • O’Connor, John, ed. An Exchange of Gifts. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2001.
  • Preston, Joanna, ed. A Savage Gathering: Poems and Haiku from the New Zealand Poetry Society’s International Poetry Competition 2002. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2002.
  • Harré, Anne, ed. Something to Expiate. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2003.
  • Livesely, Anna, ed. The Enormous Picture. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2004.
  • Vos, Margaret, ed. Learning a Language. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2005.
  • Vos, Margaret, ed. Tiny Gaps. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2006.
  • Preston, Joanna, ed. The Infinity We Swim In. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2007.
  • Preston, Joanna, ed. Before the Sirocco. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2008.
  • Strang, Barbara, ed. Moments in the Whirlwind. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2009.
  • Strang, Barbara, ed. Across the Fingerboards. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2010.
  • Forbes, Linzy, ed. Ice Diver. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 2011.
  • Bullock, Owen, ed. Building a Time Machine. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, Inc, 2012.
  • Bullock, Owen, ed. Given an Ordinary Stone. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, Inc, 2013.
  • Borrell, Nora, ed. Take Back Our Sky. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, Inc, 2014.
  • Gilbert, Laurice, ed. Scattered Feathers. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, Inc, 2015.
  • Gilbert, Laurice, ed. Penguin Days. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, Inc, 2016.
  • Ingram, Gail, ed. After the Cyclone. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, Inc, 2017.
  • Ingram, Gail, ed. The Unnecessary Invention of Punctuation. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, Inc, 2018.
  • Alexander, Raewyn, ed. The Perfect Weight of Blankets at Night. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, Inc, 2019.


  • Anakiev, Dimitar, comp. Kamesan’s World Haiku Anthology on War, Violence and Human Rights Violation. Templeton, Calif.: Kamesan Books, 2013.
  • Barlow, John, and Martin Lucas, eds. The New Haiku. Liverpool, England: Snapshot Press, 2002.
  • Beard, Yoko, and David Drummond, ed. A Fall of Leaves. Palmerston North, N.Z.: Nagare Press for the New Zealand Poetry Society, 1988.
  • Beary, Roberta, Ellen Compton, and Kala Ramesh, eds. Wishbone Moon. Durham, N.C.: Jacar Press, 2018.
  • Beilenson, Peter, trans. Japanese Haiku. Mount Vernon, N.Y.: Peter Pauper Press, 1955/56; and other anthologies from Peter Pauper Press.
  • Borrell, Nola, and Karen Peterson Butterworth, eds. The Taste of Nashi: New Zealand Haiku. Wellington, N.Z.: Windrift, 2008.
  • Bownas, Geoffrey, and Anthony Thwaite, eds. and trans. The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse. Harmondsworth, Middlesex / Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1964, 1972, 1983.
  • Childs, Cyril, ed. New Zealand Haiku Anthology. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1993.
  • Childs, Cyril, ed. The Second New Zealand Haiku Anthology. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Poetry Society, 1998.
  • Childs, Cyril, and Joanna Preston, eds. Listening to the Rain: An Anthology of Christchurch Haiku and Haibun. Christchurch, N.Z.: The Small White Teapot Haiku Group, 2002.
  • Fielden, Amelia, Beverley George, and Patricia Prime, eds. 100 Tanka by 100 Poets of Australia and New Zealand. Port Adelaide, Australia: Ginninderra Press, 2013. The first trans-Tasman collection of tanka.
  • George, Beverley, and Carmel Summers, eds. Wind over Water (anthology of 4th Pacific Rim Conference, Terrigal, Australia). 2009.
  • Gurga, Lee, and Scott Metz, eds. Haiku 21: An Anthology of Contemporary English-language Haiku. Lincoln, Ill.: Modern Haiku Press, 2011.
  • Haiku Pathway: Katikati New Zealand. Katikati, N.Z.: Katikati Haiku Pathway Focus Committee, 10th anniversary edition, 2010.
  • Kacian, Jim. Philip Rowland, and Allan Burns, eds. Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2013.
  • Latham, Jessica Malone, ed. Another Trip Around the Sun: 365 days of Haiku for Young and Old. Taylorville, Ill.: Brooks Books, 2019.
  • Murray, Jacqui, and Katherine Samuelowicz, eds. Still Heading Out. Paper Wasp, 2013.
  • Pirie, Mark, ed. A Tingling Catch: A Century of New Zealand Cricket Poems 1864–2009. Wellington, N.Z.: HeadworX Publishers, 2010.
  • Rexroth, Kenneth, trans. One Hundred Poems from the Japanese. New York: New Directions Books, 1955.
  • Ricketts, Harry, Yoko Beard, David Drummond, and Makoto Tanake, eds. Winter’s Blossom. Palmerston North, N.Z.: Nagare Press for the New Zealand Poetry Society, 1989.
  • Ross, Bruce. Kōko Katō, Dietmar Tauchner, and Patricia Prime, eds. A Vast Sky: An Anthology of Contemporary World Haiku. Bangor, Maine: Tancho Press, 2015.
  • Savina, Zoe, ed. Χαϊκού: “Τα φύλλα στο δέντρο ξανά”: Παγκόσμια ανθολογία / Khaïkou: “ta filla sto dentro ksana”—Pagkosmia anthologia / Haiku: “the leaves are back on the tree”—International Anthology. Foreword by Sono Uchida. Athens: Ekdosis 5+6, 2002.
  • Simpson, Sandra, and Margaret Beverland, eds. number eight wire. Tauranga, N.Z.: Piwakawaka Press, 2019.
  • Stoyanova, Iliyana, ed. Peonies: Haiku Anthology / Божури: хайку антология. Sofia, Bulgaria: Printed by Direct Services Ltd, 2019.
  • Zazen Haiku Group. A to Zazen: An Anthology of Haiku. Edited by Vanessa Proctor. Tauranga, N.Z.: Kiwiana Publishing, 2004.


  • Bascand, Helen. Into the Vanishing Point. Wellington, N.Z.: Steele Roberts Aotearoa Ltd, 2007.
  • Berry, Ernest J, and Graeme Matthews. A Raindrop, a Flowing River. Blenheim, New Zealand: Graeme Matthews Photo Image, 1998.
  • Berry, Ernest J. Getting On. Winchester, Va.: Red Moon Press, 2016.
  • Berry, Ernest J., with Jerry Kilbride. Forgotten War: A Korean War Haiku Sequence. Flaxton, Qld.: Post Pressed, 2000.
  • Berry, Ernest. Haiku Green Tea & Sushi. Blenheim, N.Z.: Prisma Print, 2016.
  • Beyer, Tony. Isthmus. Auckland, N.Z.: Puriri Press, 2004. Tanka.
  • Bly, Robert, ed. The Sea and The Honeycomb: A Book of Tiny Poems. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971.
  • Borrell, Nola, and Karen Peterson Butterworth, eds. A Taste of Nashi. Wellington, N.Z.: Windrift, 2008.
  • Borrell, Nola. Waking Echoes: Haiku & Haibun. Wellington, N.Z.: 2013.
  • Bostok, Janice, Bernard Gadd, and Catherine Mair. Shadow-patches. Auckland, N.Z.: Hallard Press, 1998. The first collection of haibun published in New Zealand.
  • Childs, Cyril, and Joanna Preston, eds., Listening to the Rain: An Anthology of Christchurch Haiku and Haibun. Christchurch, N.Z.: A Small White Teapot Haiku group, 2002.
  • Childs, Cyril. Beyond the Paper Lanterns: A Journey with Cancer. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: Paper Lantern Press, 2000.
  • Dallas, Ruth. Collected Poems. Dunedin, N.Z.: Otago University Press, 2000.
  • Dallas, Ruth. Shadow Show. Christchurch, N.Z.: Caxton Press: 1968.
  • Dallas, Ruth. Steps of the Sun. Christchurch, N.Z.: Caxton Press: 1979.
  • Dallas, Ruth. The Joy of a Ming Vase. Dunedin, N.Z.: Otago University Press, 2006.
  • Dallas, Ruth. Walking on the Snow. Christchurch, N.Z.: Caxton Press: 1976.
  • Dengate, Howard. “Edited computer-haiku” [sequence]. Morepork 3 (1977). 15 poems in one-line haiku format.
  • Dengate, Howard. Incense and other Ecstasies. Auckland, N.Z.: Outrigger Press, 1979.
  • Drumheller, Doc. In Transit. Allahabad, India: Cyberwit.net, 2011.
  • Elliot, Kirsten Cliff. Patient Property: A Journey Through Leukaemia: Haiku and Tanka. USA: Velvet Dusk Publishing, 2019.
  • Gadd, Bernard. “New Zealand Haiku Timeline.” Kokako 2 (April 2004).
  • Glover, Rupert. Dragonfly Wings. Wellington, N.Z.: Transfusion Fotoplay, 1971.
  • Mair, Catherine, and Patricia Prime. “Stolen Time.” In Highfields 19 (2006).
  • Mair, Catherine. Incoming Tide, a Collection of Haiku, Tanka & Haibun. Katikati, 2016.
  • Marisova, Svetlana, and Ted van Zutphen. “Be Still and Know”: A Journey Through Love in Japanese Short Form Poetry. Upper Hutt, Wellington, N.Z.: Karakia Press, 2011.
  • Morrall, Barry I. Poems for a T.V. Age: Haiku in English: These Moments to Share. Wellington, N.Z.: Original Books, 1988.
  • O’Connor, John. Bright the Harvest Moon: Haiku & Renga Imitations. Christchurch, N.Z.: Poets Group, 2011.
  • O’Connor, John. Parts of the Moon: Selected Haiku & Senryu. Teneriffe, Qld.: Post Pressed, 2007.
  • Richardson, Elwyn S. In the Early World. Wellington, N.Z.: NZCER Press, 2012.
  • Riddell, Ron, and Raúl Henao. Selected Haiku. Medellín, Colombia: Casa Nueva, 2009.
  • Saroyan, Aram. Aram Saroyan. New York: Random House: 1968.
  • Simpson, Sandra. Breath: Haiku. Tauranga, N.Z.: Piwakawaka Press, 2011.
  • Stace, Jeanette. Across the Harbour. Wellington, N.Z.: Bearfax Publications, 1996.
  • Stace, Jeanette. Green Tea: Haiku & Other Poetry. Wellington, N.Z.: Bearfax Publications, 2007.
  • Surridge, André. One Hundred Petals. Hamilton, N.Z.: HeadworX, 2019.
  • Tuwhare, Hone. Haiku. Auckland, N.Z.: Pear Tree Press, 2007.
  • von Sturmer, Richard. A Network of Dissolving Threads. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland University Press, 1991.
  • von Sturmer, Richard. A Suchness: Zen Poetry & Prose. Wellington, N.Z.: HeadworX, 2005.
  • Whyte, Dick. A Book of Sparrows, vol. 1. Hamilton, N.Z.: Four Shades Press, 2016.



  1. Sandra Simpson, “William Maxwell Bickerton: A NZ Footnote to the History of Haiku in English.” New Zealand Poetry Society website. Created June 2019. https://poetrysociety.org.nz/affiliates/haiku-nz/haiku-poems-articles/archived-articles/william- maxwell-bickerton-a-nz-footnote-to-the-history-of-haiku-in-english/. See also Hiroaki Sato, “Undergoing the Third Degree in Prewar Japan,” The Japan Times online edition, February 26, 2016. []
  2. Conversation with John O’Connor in Christchurch, February 24, 2014. []
  3. http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/writers/dallasruth.html; accessed February 2, 2014. []
  4. http://nzbooks.org.nz/1999/literature/out-of-emptiness-breaking-janet-wilson; accessed November 27, 2014. []
  5. http://www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz/features/dallas/dallas31.asp, accessed February 2, 2014. []
  6. Information supplied by John O’Connor in a letter dated January 20, 2014. A biography and a set of haiku by Ruth Dallas are available on the Haiku NewZ Showcase web page: https://poetrysociety.org.nz/affiliates/haiku-nz/nz-haiku-showcase/ruth-dallas/. []
  7. From Ruth Dallas, The Joy of a Ming Vase (Dunedin, N.Z.: Otago University Press, 2006). []
  8. Cited by Cyril Childs in his introduction to the New Zealand Haiku Anthology (New Zealand Poetry Society, 1993). []
  9. E-mail, Rupert Glover to Sandra Simpson, November 10, 2013. []
  10. Email to Sandra Simpson, July 17, 2014. []
  11. “eyeeye” by Aram Saroyan, from Aram Saroyan (New York: Random House: 1968). []
  12. Snorkel 18, 2013. []
  13. Reprinted in Manhire’s Doubtful Sounds (Wellington, N.Z.: Victoria University Press, 1999). []
  14. Available online at http://www.poetlaureate.org.nz/2013/07/renga.html. []
  15. Morepork 3, 1977. []
  16. Childs, introduction to the New Zealand Haiku Anthology. []
  17. Childs,C., introduction to the New Zealand Haiku Anthology. []
  18. From a conversation with John O’Connor in Christchurch, February 24, 2014. []
  19. http://www.moisa-artist.com/ONE%20EYED%20PRESS%201.htm; accessed July 14, 2014. []
  20. From “3 Short Poems,” Plainwraps 2 (Winter 1989). Information supplied by John O’Connor in a letter dated January 20, 2014. []
  21. Information supplied by John O’Connor in a letter dated January 20, 2014. []
  22. http://honetuwhare.org.nz/more-poems/; accessed November 27, 2014. []
  23. NZon screen Facebook page, July 26, 2012. https://www.facebook.com/nzonscreen/posts/a-haiku-from-hone-tuwhare-for-national-poetry-day-but-i-protest-my-love-for-you-/432500383452550/ []
  24. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10457536; accessed December 10, 2014. []
  25. From a conversation with John O’Connor, Christchurch, February 24, 2014. []
  26. Cyril Childs, Beyond the Paper Lanterns (2000). []
  27. http://www.haiku-hia.com/snk_satou_en.html; accessed November 27, 2014. []
  28. Undated newspaper clipping supplied by Ernest Berry, December 2014. []
  29. Undated information supplied by Ernest Berry, December 2014. []
  30. The authors of the 36-verse kasen “Out of the Light,” which was published winterSPIN (1998), were Jan Gerritsen, Mary Buckton, Jack Ross, Kai Jensen, and Barry Smith, none of whom forged a lasting career in haiku, although Barry Smith wrote the occasional haiku. Earlier, two experiments in renga by New Zealanders were “the heron flies” by Linzy Forbes, Barry Morrall, Cyril Childs, Jeanette Stace and Alan Wells, for which many of the conventions of the kasen form were either not known or ignored, and the hankasen (half-kasen, 18 verses) “pieces of cloud” by John O’Connor and Cyril Childs that more closely followed convention. Both renga were published in winterSpin (1995). []
  31. The first haibun published in New Zealand may have been “Tararau Creek Road” by Catherine Mair, which appeared in the 1996 edition of winterSPIN. []
  32. From notes by Barry Morrell, dated October 3, 2000. []
  33. The information for this section was taken from the Australian and New Zealand Environmental History website. []
  34. This section written by Nola Borrell. []
  35. This section written by Barbara Strang. []
  36. http://www.hsa-haiku.org/meritbookawards/merit-book_archive.htm, accessed December 10, 2014. []
  37. This section was written by Sandra Simpson and Cyril Childs. Childs’s writing is from his introduction to the New Zealand Haiku Anthology and his introduction to the Second New Zealand Haiku Anthology. []
  38. This passage is based on the notes of Jeanette Stace written in 1999 and given to Nola Borrell, December 12, 2013. []
  39. Conversation with John O’Connor in Christchurch, February 24, 2014. []
  40. Cyril Childs “Haiku 45 South,” paper delivered at the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference (Terrigal, Australia) in September 2009 and published in Wind over Water, the conference proceedings. []
  41. Figures from Laurice Gilbert, competition secretary, in an e-mail dated August 24, 2019. []
  42. Details from Laurice Gilbert in an email dated December 9, 2014; and NZPS anthologies. []
  43. From Kokako 1 (2003). []
  44. Notice in Kokako 5 (September 2006). []
  45. “Stolen Time” by Catherine Mair and Patricia Prime (in Highfields 19, 2006) is thought to have been the first collection of tanka published in New Zealand. []
  46. From a conversation with Catherine Mair, December 2013; other information from winterSPIN-Kokako journals. []
  47. From information supplied by Tony Chad, December 2013, and Valley Micropress 17:6 (July 2014). []
  48. E-mail from former Bravado coeditor Jenny Argante, July 20, 2014. []
  49. E-mail from Kerrin Sharpe, July 15, 2014 []
  50. Phone conversation with Kerrin Sharpe, September 6, 2014. []
  51. See also http://www.poetrysociety.org.nz/HPR2009; accessed December 6, 2014. []
  52. Childs, “Haiku 45 South.” []
  53. The poets were Ernest J. Berry, Margaret Beverland, Tony Beyer, Nola Borrell, Catherine Bullock, Owen Bullock, Karen Peterson Butterworth, Anne Curran, Doc Drumheller, Cameron Elliot, Kirsten Cliff Elliot, Jenny Fraser, Harumi Hasegawa, Celia Hope, John Hyndman, Janet Keen, Catherine Mair, Shirley May, John O’Connor, Deryn Pittar, Joanna Preston, Patricia Prime, Aalix Roake, Sandra Simpson, Barbara Strang, André Surridge, Hansha Teki, Richard von Sturmer, and Helen Yong. []
  54. Childs, C. “Haiku 45 South.” []
Updated on March 23, 2022