Alistair Campbell (poet)

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Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

BornAlistair Te Ariki Campbell
(1925-06-25)25 June 1925
Aotearoa, Hamilton
Died16 August 2009(2009-08-16) (aged 84)
OccupationPoet, playwright, novelist
SpouseAline Margaret (Meg) Anderson
Fleur Adcock (divorced)

Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, ONZM (25 June 1925 – 16 August 2009)[1] was a New Zealand poet, playwright, and novelist. His father was a New Zealand Scot and his mother was a Cook Island Maori from Penrhyn Island.


Campbell was born in Rarotonga and spent his childhood on Penrhyn island, the home of his mother, Teu Bosini. His father's name was John Archibald (Jock) Campbell. In 1932, when Campbell was seven, his mother died from tuberculosis. The following year, his father also died, and he was sent with his two brothers to an orphanage in Dunedin, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Campbell lived most of his life in New Zealand, mainly around the Wellington region, and for several decades in Pukerua Bay, Porirua.

Campbell attended Otago Boys' High School in Dunedin, and then studied at the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington.[2] At University he became good friends with James K. Baxter, another famous New Zealand poet. He became a member of the Wellington Group in the 1950s. The group was just an affiliation of a number of writers who mostly shared a common opposition to the ideas and writing of Allen Curnow, another notable New Zealand writer.

Campbell's first wife was poet, Fleur Adcock, from whom he was later divorced. His second wife, Aline Margaret (Meg) Anderson, was also a poet. Campbell had a total of five children, two with Adcock and the other three with Meg Campbell.

From 1976 to 1979, he was the President of the New Zealand branch of PEN-International.

His poem, The Return, was set to music by Douglas Lilburn.

Campbell received many honours, most notably the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry (1982), the Pacific Islands Artist Award (1998), an Honorary DLitt from Victoria University of Wellington (1999), and a Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement (2005).[3] In 2005 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.



  • 1950: Mine Eyes Dazzle: Poems 1947–49, Christchurch: Pegasus Press
  • 1951: Mine Eyes Dazzle: Pegasus New Zealand Poets 1, Christchurch: Pegasus Press ("With a Foreword by James K. Baxter")
  • 1956: Mine Eyes Dazzle, Christchurch: Pegasus Press ("New Revised Edition")
  • 1963: Sanctuary of Spirits, Wellington: Wai-te-ata Press
  • 1964: Wild Honey, London: Oxford University Press
  • 1967: Blue Rain: Poems, Wellington: Wai-te-ata Press
  • 1972: Kapiti: Selected Poems 1947–71, Christchurch: Pegasus Press
  • 1975: Dreams, Yellow Lions, Martinborough: Alister Taylor
  • 1980: The Dark Lord of Savaiki: Poems, Pukerua Bay: Te Kotare Press
  • 1981: Collected Poems 1947–1981, Martinborough: Alister Taylor
  • 1985: Soul Traps, Pukerua Bay: Te Kotare Press
  • 1992: Stone Rain: The Polynesian Strain, Christchurch: Hazard Press
  • 1995: Death and the Tagua, Wellington: Wai-te-ata Press
  • 1996: Pocket Collected Poems, Christchurch: Hazard Press
  • 1999: Gallipoli & Other Poems, Wellington: Wai-te-ata Press
  • 2001: Maori Battalion: A Poetic Sequence, Wellington: Wai-te-ata Press
  • 2002: Poets in Our Youth: Four Letters in Verse, being four letters in verse to John Mansfield Thomson, Harry Orsman, Pat Wilson and James K. Baxter; Wellington: Pemmican Press
  • 2005: The Dark Lord of Savaiki: Collected Poems, Christchurch: Hazard Press
  • 2007: Just Poetry, Wellington: HeadworX
  • 2008: It's Love, Isn't It? (with Meg Campbell), Wellington: HeadworX
  • 2016: The Collected Poems of Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, Wellington: Victoria University Press

Other work[edit]

  • 1961: The Happy Summer, a novel for children
  • 1965: The Proprietor, Radio play
  • 1964: The Homecoming, a radio play
  • 1966: The Suicide, a radio play
  • 1970: When the Bough Breaks, a radio play
  • 1984: Island to Island, memoir
  • 1989: The Frigate Bird, novel, regional finalist for the Commonwealth Writers Prize
  • 1991: Sidewinder, novel, Auckland: Reed Books
  • 1993: Tia, novel, Auckland: Reed Books
  • 1998: Fantasy With Witches, novel


  1. ^ "Poet Campbell dies". 16 August 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
  2. ^ Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2008
  3. ^ "Previous winners". Creative New Zealand. Retrieved 24 October 2013.

External links[edit]

See also Homonyms[edit]