2019 New Zealand Haiku Contest

Each year, the New Zealand Poetry Society runs an international poetry competition with sections for haiku and for longer poems. This year I had the pleasure of judging the haiku section of the competition.

More than 500 haiku were submitted for consideration. As many of the entries were from New Zealand writers, it was common to see references to local flora and fauna such as the nikau, kowhai and, of course, the tui. As a result, I was introduced to many species of plant, bird and animal and learned, through haiku, of their characteristics and behaviour.

You can read my report on the results of the haiku competition here. The New Zealand Poetry Society is putting together an anthology of the best writing from all sections of the competition. The anthology will be available from their website later in 2019.

But to provide you with a sample of some New Zealand haiku, here are four poems from The Taste of Nashi, a 2008 anthology showcasing New Zealand writers. The Taste of Nashi was edited by Nola Borrell and Karen Peterson Butterworth.

on the radio –
my dog growls

(Elise Mei)

one lane bridge
a stray sheep
has right of way

(Tony Beyer)

standing naked
in moonlight –
the taste of nashi

(Sandra Simpson)

an avocado drops –
from nowhere
two pukeko

(Shirley May)

If you are keen to read more, Sandra Simpson and Margaret Beverland have edited a fresh anthology of New Zealand haiku, Number Eight Wire, which was released early in 2019. I plan to review this collection in a separate posting later this year.