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.