Selina Tusitala Marsh

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Selina Tusitala Marsh

Selina Tusitala Marsh ONZM (cropped).jpg
Tusitala Marsh in 2019
Born (1971-04-21) 21 April 1971 (age 51)
Auckland, New Zealand
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Auckland
Thesis"Ancient banyans, flying foxes and white ginger": five Pacific women writers (2004)

Selina Tusitala Marsh ONZM FRSNZ (born 21 April 1971) is a New Zealand poet and academic, and was the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2017–2019.[1]


Receiving the Humanities Aronui Medal at Royal Society Te Apārangi 2019 Research Honours Aotearoa

Marsh was born in 1971 in Auckland, New Zealand. Through her mother, Sailigi Tusitala, Marsh is of Samoan and Tuvaluan ancestry and through her father James Crosbie she is of English, Scottish and French descent.[2]

Marsh grew up in Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand and resides on Waiheke Island. She gained her doctorate from the University of Auckland in 2004 after completing her thesis titled "Ancient banyans, flying foxes and white ginger": five Pacific women writers.[3][1] Marsh is a Professor in the English, Drama and Writing Studies Department at the University of Auckland where she teaches Creative Writing, and Pacific Literature.[4]

Marsh has edited the Pasifika poetry section of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre.[5][6]

In 2015 Marsh won the Literary Death Match for poets at the Australia and New Zealand Literary Festival in London.[7]

In 2016, Marsh composed and performed the poem "Unity" for Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day Observance.[8]

In August 2017 Marsh was named the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2017–2019.[1] Her collection, Tightrope, also made the long-list for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for Best Book of Poetry 2018.[9]

In the 2019 New Year Honours, Marsh was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to poetry, literature and the Pacific community.[10] In 2019, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.[11]

In August 2020 her book Mophead was the supreme winner at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and also won the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and Elsie Locke Award for Non-fiction.[12] In October 2020 Mophead won three awards at the Publishers Association of New Zealand Book Design Awards – the Gerard Reid Award for Best Book, Best children's book and the PANZ People’s Choice Award – recognising the design skills of Vida Kelly.[13] Her 2020 book, Mophead Tu, was shortlisted for the Elsie Locke Award for Nonfiction at the 2021 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.[14]

Poetry by Marsh was included in UPU, a curation of Pacific Island writers’ work which was first presented at the Silo Theatre as part of the Auckland Arts Festival in March 2020.[15] UPU was remounted as part of the Kia Mau Festival in Wellington in June 2021.[16]


  • Niu Voices: Contemporary Pacific Fiction 1 (Wellington: Huia Publishers, 2006)
  • Fast Talking PI (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2009)
  • Dark Sparring (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2013)
  • Tightrope (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2017)
  • Mophead: How Your Difference Makes a Difference (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2019)
  • Mophead Tu: The Queen’s Poem (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2020)


  1. ^ a b c "Selina Tusitala Marsh, New Zealand Poet Laureate 2017–2019". New Zealand Poet Laureate. National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Selina Tusitala Marsh: Albert and Witi were a bit bossy with me". E-Tangata – A Māori and Pasifika Sunday magazine. 7 May 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  3. ^ Marsh, Selina Tusitala (2004), "Ancient banyans, flying foxes and white ginger": five Pacific women writers, ResearchSpace@Auckland, hdl:2292/1271, Wikidata Q111963853
  4. ^ "Marsh, Selina Tusitala". New Zealand Book Council. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Pasifika Poetry – NZEPC". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  6. ^ "nzepc – about us". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Selina Tusitala Marsh – Six Pack Sound – Features – NZEPC". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  8. ^ "'Never piss off a poet': Selina Tusitala Marsh on colonialism, Sam Hunt and kickboxing". The Guardian. 21 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Announcing the longlist for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand national book awards: all the finalists, and some passing remarks". The Spinoff. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  10. ^ "New Year honours list 2019". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Researchers and scholars at the top of their fields elected as Fellows". Royal Society Te Apārangi. 21 November 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Pacific author wins supreme NZ children's book prize". RNZ. 13 August 2020. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  13. ^ "'Mophead' takes PANZ Book Design Awards hat-trick". Books+Publishing. 26 October 2020. Retrieved 26 October 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2021 finalists announced". Books+Publishing. 10 June 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "UPU". Silo Theatre. March 2020. Retrieved 7 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "UPU". Kai Mau Festival. June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by New Zealand Poet Laureate
Succeeded by