New Year’s Honours – congratulations to our literature sector recipients

Our poet laureate, Associate professor Selina Tusitala Marsh, past NZSA president Rosemary Wildblood, author and academic Dr Paula Morris, author and historian Edmund Bohan, poet and academic Dr Karlo Mila, publisher and author the Reverend George Bryant and staunch book industry supporter Carole Beu from the famous Women’s Bookshop have all received New Year’s Honours for services to literature.  Our hearty congratulations to you all.


TUSITALA MARSH, Associate Professor Selina

For services to poetry, literature and the Pacific community

Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh is the current New Zealand Poet Laureate and is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland, specialising in Māori and Pacific Literary Studies and Creative Writing.

Dr Tusitala Marsh’s poetry has been published in more than 70 national and international anthologies, academic books, literary and scholarly journals, and literary websites. Her publications included ‘Fast Talking PI’ (2009), which was named Best First Book at the 2010 New Zealand Book Awards, ‘Dark Sparring’ (2013), and ‘Tightrope’ (2017). She coordinates Pasifika Poetry, a companion website of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre and the only dedicated online audio, visual and textual archive of Pacific poets. Since 2005 she has been involved with more than 140 poetic performances nationally and internationally and has led more than 110 workshops for community and professional organisations. Since 2002 she has been on the Board of the New Zealand Book Council and brings poetry to low decile schools via the Book Council’s Writers in Schools Project. She is current Conference Convenor of the Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies. Dr Tusitala Marsh represented Tuvalu at the 2012 London Olympics Poetry Parnassus event, won the 2015 London Literary Death Match poetry slam event, and was the 2016 Commonwealth Poet.

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To be an Officer of the said Order:

WILDBLOOD, Mrs Rosemary Maud

For services to literature

Mrs Rosemary Wildblood is a poet and novelist who has held a number of roles in the New Zealand literary scene.

Mrs Wildblood was National President for PEN (NZ) Inc, now the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) in the 1980s. As President she introduced the Lilian Ida Smith awards, oversaw the computerisation of the membership database, and conducted the first overhaul of the constitution since inception to make the National Council a truly representative national body. More recently she has been the National Council’s Wellington regional representative and was Chair of the Wellington Writers Walk from 2006 to 2018. She was involved with the QEII Arts Council from 1988 to 1994, where she initiated writing and publishing programmes for children and Te Reo Māori and managed the New Zealand Book Awards and Children’s Book Awards. She later helped transfer both awards to Booksellers New Zealand. She was involved with Creative New Zealand from 1994 to 2006, where she established the Berlin Writers’ Residency and negotiated the Artists to Antarctica Programme with Antarctica New Zealand. She was appointed a Trustee of the Winn Manson Menton Trust in 2009, which oversaw the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship until its transfer to the Arts Foundation. Mrs Wildblood instigated the annual lecture ‘The Menton Report’ from 2010 to 2016.

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To be a Member of the said Order:

MORRIS, Dr Paula Jane Kiri

For services to literature

Dr Paula Morris is an internationally successful author of 12 books for both adult and young adult audiences.

Dr Morris’ works include the novels ‘Queen of Beauty’ (2002) and ‘Rangatira’ (2011). She has received awards including the Best First Book at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2003 and Best Work of Fiction at both the New Zealand Post and Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Awards in 2012. She has convened the Master of Creative Writing programme at the University of Auckland, where she is now Associate Professor, since 2015. She is active in school and community teaching initiatives in West and South Auckland. She is the founder of the Academy of New Zealand Literature, an initiative that promotes contemporary New Zealand writing internationally, and serves as Trustee on the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, the Māori Literature Trust, the Michael King Writers Centre, and the Mātātuhi Foundation. She has appeared at literary festivals in North America, China, Australia, South Africa, India, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Dr Morris has held a number of prestigious international writing residencies and is the 2019 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellow.

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To be a Member of the said Order:

BEU, Ms Carole Anne

For services to the literary industry

Ms Carole Beu has supported the literary industry in New Zealand through voluntary activities and her bookshop in Auckland, The Women’s Bookshop, which she opened in 1989.

Ms Beu’s bookshop has been named Independent Bookshop of the Year on several occasions. She regularly holds author events and book launches to promote emerging or established New Zealand writers. She promotes authors, publishers and women’s affairs through her annual event, the Ladies’ Litera-tea, where hundreds of people gather to hear from New Zealand women writers with newly published books. She supports authors from the LGBTQI+ community and was involved in running the Listener Women’s Book Festival throughout the 1990s. She was one of the founders of the Auckland Writers Festival, was a Board member of the Festival Trust until 2017, and co-manages the festival bookstall. Mrs Beu was a member of the Board of Booksellers New Zealand for many years and she regularly conducts book reviews for Radio New Zealand.

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To be a Member of the said Order:

BOHAN, Mr Edmund

For services to music, historical research and literature

Mr Edmund Bohan has made significant contributions as a singer since the 1960s and as a historian and author from the 1970s.

Mr Bohan established his career as a singer in the United Kingdom between 1964 and 1987 and developed an extensive repertoire of more than 170 choral, orchestral, and operatic works before returning to New Zealand. He has since performed with the Canterbury Opera, Wellington City Opera and the State Opera of South Australia. He has sung regularly with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Concert FM for Radio New Zealand and has performed without charge at various community and charity events. He was a member of the Artistic Panel of Canterbury Opera and has been influential in the career development of other high profile New Zealand opera singers. He has authored biographies, histories and historical fiction and has published 18 books, including the biographies ‘Edward Stafford, New Zealand’s First Statesman’ (1994) and ‘To Be a Hero: a biography of Sir George Grey’ (1998), which were both finalists in the Montana Book Awards. He has contributed to all five volumes of the ‘Dictionary of New Zealand Biography’. Mr Bohan’s other works include a series of historical detective novels featuring Inspector Patrick O’Rorke, the most recent of which was published in 2017.

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MILA, Dr Karlo Estelle

For services to the Pacific community and as a poet

Dr Karlo Mila is an award-winning poet who has also had an academic research career spanning more than 20 years, working within a range of public and international organisations.

Dr Mila’s work has examined cultural identities in Pacific cultures as well as the cultural identities of second-generation Pacific New Zealanders. She was Manager, Pacific Health Research at the Health Research Council for four years, and has worked as a policy and research consultant for major government and international projects and initiatives, including contributions to the National Pacific Diabetes Framework, a review of the Pasifika Women’s Economic Wellbeing Research Project, and the Pacific Report for a more recent mental health inquiry. She was a member of the Pacific Development and Conservation Trust. She has been a member of numerous advisory groups and involved with community organisations such as the PACIFICA Women’s Organisation and the Tongan Advisory Council. As a poet she has contributed to a number of anthologies. She published her debut collection ‘Dream Fish Floating’ in 2005 and collaborated on her second book ‘A Well Written Body’ (2008) with artist Delicia Sampero. Dr Mila is currently Programme Director of the Mana Moana Experience, a leadership programme for mid-career Pacific leaders at Leadership New Zealand based on her postdoctoral research on Pacific language, culture, values, and indigenous knowledge.

BRYANT, Reverend George William, JP

For services to publishing and the community

Reverend George Bryant has been a pioneer of Christian publishing in New Zealand and has contributed to a range of community organisations nationally and locally in Whangarei and Tauranga.

Reverend Bryant is founder and co-director of publishing company DayStar Books Ltd, a not-for-profit company that assists authors in publishing books that will influence people and society in a positive way. He previously chaired Daystar Christian magazine from 2002 to 2004. He has authored 22 books, delivered seminars on writing around New Zealand, and personally mentored budding writers. He was Minister at Welcome Bay Community Church from 1999 to 2004 and is currently honorary assistant pastor at St Enoch’s Presbyterian Church Tauranga. He has been Chairman of Whangarei Birthright and was Vice-President of Birthright New Zealand from 1986 to 1990. He has been involved with Northland Mental Health Trust. He was a member of the Education Board of World Vision New Zealand from 1996 to 2000. He was a Whangarei City Councillor from 1983 to 1989, during which time he was Chairman of Town Planning and President of the Council of Social Services. He has been President of Rotary Clubs in both Whangarei and Tauranga. Reverend Bryant was Chairman of Bay of Plenty Symphonia from 2015 to 2016.

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