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This year’s National Poetry Day is being held on Friday, 24 August 2018.
PANZA has chosen a rare rugby poem, ‘My Homage to Pinetree’ by Tula Regos, in celebration of the late Sir Colin Meads, who passed away last year. The poem is among the poetry donations recorded at the New Zealand Rugby Museum which I have recently written about in the latest issue of Poetry Notes, Winter 2018.  Thanks to Stephen Berg, the Director, for help in locating the poems.
The poem about Pinetree records the unofficial retirement of Meads, when he turned out for a President’s side in 1973 and defeated the All Blacks. Yet another fitting addendum to the Meads legend. The previous year he withdrew from the 1972 All Black trials, which signalled the end of his career.
The poet is Tula Regos, a Manawatu local, obviously writing under a pseudonym, and we are currently unable to find out who he was, as the name of the poet isn’t recorded with the poem donations by the New Zealand Rugby Museum. There are a sizable number of his poems held by the Museum (at least 36 donations recorded, and some are multiple poems covering individual test series), and Regos seems to have written mostly on and recorded All Blacks matches, 1972-84. There are poems on the Manawatu team as well.
A Papers Past search revealed that “Regos” is Turkish for “troubadour”.
On the President’s game itself, Alex Veysey’s indispensable biography of Meads from 1974 contains a photo of the President’s team. It includes former All Blacks Sid Going (Vice-Captain), Brian Lochore and Graham Thorne, a star in the backline. No doubt a more than handy and capable side to take on the current All Blacks that year.


New Zealand rugby union president’s team of 1973. Crown Studios Ltd: Negatives and prints. Ref: 1/2-190755-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22583350


Veysey writes: “One of the most affecting happenings in all of rugby occurred at Athletic Park, Wellington, on August 4, 1973, when Meads led the New Zealand Rugby Union President’s Invitation XV against the All Blacks. Though it was never officially stated, the occasion was taken by everyone – the great crowd, the players and, to be sure, the administrators – as being a tribute to Meads. For Meads himself, it was unreal. There he was, the supreme patriot of New Zealand rugby, leading his cosmopolitan side to victory over the team bearing the name he cherished most – the All Blacks. He found it difficult to walk into the All Black dressing room to pay his respects. He said ‘I’m sorry you lost.’ He doubts that many believed he meant it.  But it came from the heart.”
Here is Tula Regos’s poem on the famous game and moment in New Zealand Rugby.


The mighty All Black team went down
To the President’s Fifteen.
It was really Champagne Rugby,
A pleasure to be seen.
With Pinetree as their skipper,
Fourteen more famous guys.
The President’s Fifteen went out
And scored six mighty tries.
They thrilled the forty thousand fans
Who cheered them all the way
And when Varo scored the last try
It really made their day.
The old campaigners they were called
On radio and Tee Vee.
But it took the old campaigners
To show some strategy.
Now it takes a gang of Lumberjacks
To fell some old Pinetrees,
Yet a team of mighty All Blacks
Could not fell that gang of Meads’.
At the end of play when in his speech
He told them with a grin,
That he was sad to beat the side
He’d always helped to win.
Now this was all a mighty bluff,
He said it for a lark,
A return game he will skipper
This week at Eden Park.
We wish him well and hope once more
He really calls their bluff
When he proves that old campaigners
Are made of better stuff.
Whichever way the game may go,
We still will all agree
We will never find a forward
To replace our OLD PINETREE.

Poem © Tula Regos 1973

Article © Mark Pirie

Colin Earl Meads. Ref: 1/2-207960-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22737724


PANZA celebrates this year’s Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, 25 August 2017, with a classic New Zealand poem by T E L (Thomas Edward Lloyd) Roberts b. Sefton 1873; d. 1952.
Roberts was one of leading poets of the Star group of Christchurch newspaper poets selected and arranged by PANZA Archivist Mark Pirie as a special issue of broadsheet, No. 12, November 2013.
T E L Roberts contributed poems to the Ellesmere Guardian in Canterbury prior to the Star and published the collection Rimu and Rata (1920) and two collections of memoirs about his time in Seddon and Motunau. He was a farmer and a well-known rural figure: Waipara County Council 1914-17; Executive Member of the Farmers’ Union; President of the Waikari Valley Sheepowners’ Assn.; and Secretary of the Meat Producers’ Union; he visited Britain and France in 1905.
Roberts wrote the memoir Motunau, or The Hills of Home, in 1946, same title as his poem below. His prose was reprinted in 1998 and is now considered a definitive history of Hurunui.
The evocative poem by Roberts certainly captures, in the tradition of landscape painters and Romantic poets, the beauty and locality of the place he lived in and roamed.
Like many early poets of the 1920s period, we are perhaps yet to fully come to terms with their contribution to New Zealand poetry.

T E L Roberts


A blush of rose is on our hills,
The sun is at the set,
The portals of the west are swung,
And many clouds have met
To fare him well and see him through
That shining gateway rolled,
That gateway with its closing bars
Of amethyst and gold.

How often have I watched him there,
In boyhood long ago,
A furnace on the mountain tips,
A fire among the snow.
It was but yester, so it seems,
And many mem’ries come,
As here I stand, grey headed now,
Among the hills of home.

The mako lifted forth her song,
That floated far away,
A vesper for the feathered world,
A requiem for the day.
But never comes her music now,
From all the dales around;
Her note is gone, that strange, wild note,
And once familiar sound.

She passed, and we who loved her then
Would it had not been so,
And long to hear her twilight call
Our children do not know;
But gone’s the home and, too, the flowers,
And our first loves with these;
Beneath the hills by Skylight Stream
Alone remain the trees.

We planted in our childhood there,
Neglected now and old.
Like battered frame with picture gone—
A story that is told.
We romped around their youthful forms,
We danced within their ring,
And there we felt the joyous thrill
When love is at the spring.

Still softly flows the stream as then,
The rocks we scaled are there,
Our bathing holes and fishing pools
Are still as then they were;
We paddled here with burnt brown feet,
And here we learned to swim,
And there on rude korari raft
That stretch we dared to skim.

How near to Nature’s heart were we
Who were the first to roam
As children quite unfettered, free,
Among these hills of home.
The spell of childhood grips me now,
The span of years is crost,
The scents of sweet wild flowers come down,
And all the man is lost.


(The Star, Christchurch, N.Z, 24 April 1926)

PANZA Co-founders Dr Michael O’Leary and Dr Niel Wright now have their works published by HeadworX available in hardback, eBook and paperback at the leading independent Lulu online bookstore. Here are the Buy Now links:

F W N Wright (Niel Wright) – The Pop Artist’s Garland: Selected Poems 1952-2009

eBook version $AUD8.99

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Hardback version AUD$35.00

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Michael O’Leary – Collected Poems 1981-2016

eBook version $AUD12.99

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Hardback version $AUD40.00

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

paperback version $AUD24.95

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.


In the spirit of the Beatles who put out a Christmas record for their fans, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) and HeadworX offer to you, our friends and clients, this small token for your enjoyment.

Poems on David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, surfing, tennis, Christmas, poems in ‘inscriptive text’ by Niel Wright, and a short play by B. E. Turner.

Contributors: Michael O’Leary, B. E. Turner, F. W. Nielsen Wright, and Mark Pirie.

Download and view the free pdf of this book (file size 479KB):



PANZA celebrates this year’s National Poetry Day, 26 August 2016, with verses by a Samoan-New Zealand poet Sefulu Ioane, a Hamilton teacher of the 1970s.

Sefulu interestingly goes by the same surname as the well-known Auckland rugby brothers Reiko and Akira, two All Blacks Sevens players at this year’s Olympics in Rio.

It’s not known, however, whether there is a family connection between the three men.

Sefulu’s poem is a remarkable tribute to a deceased former Labour Prime Minister Norman Kirk (1923-1974), and breaks through the boundaries of politics, race and culture with poignancy and ease.


Prime Minister Norman Kirk. Macfarlane, Ian: Negatives of Graham Bagnall and Norman Kirk. Ref: 35mm-00277-b-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Perhaps one of the books missing in New Zealand’s poetry history is a reliable anthology of well rendered portraits of, and tributes to, politicians and including poems by poet-politicians themselves.

In the 19th century and early 20th century such poet-politicians/statesmen were the norm in New Zealand, e.g. Alfred Domett and William Pember Reeves.

Nowadays they are not so common but current Labour Opposition leader Andrew Little has delivered a poem in the House (republished in Tony Chad’s poetry magazine Valley Micropress).

More standard are political lampoons, protests and satirical attacks on politicians and their particular policies and taxes affecting the everyday life of Kiwis.

Former Prime Minister David Lange’s first wife Naomi published poetry (Itineraries, 1990), and Lange’s education aide Harvey McQueen wrote the sequence Beehive. More recently former Labour MP Bill Sutton has written and published poetry. His second book Billy Button: A Life was published this year by the HB Poetry Press.

Ioane’s poem is a memorable portrait in contrast to the usual political satires that have become well-known via newspapers.

The poem appeared in Norman Simms’ edition of the small magazine Cave, which he took over from the late Trevor Reeves, of Caveman Press. Cave became The New Quarterly Cave then Pacific Quarterly Moana then Rimu and later Cross Current.


Poem adapted from the Original Samoan by Sefulu Ioane


They’ve lowered the balloon at Mururoa
Its airy splendor withers in quiet dissipation.
Nuclear fury now wallows underground;
Formidable wild boar of our age,
Tameless snorting sends tremors
To the dark confusion of the subterranean world.
In the brief hours of sunshine
The fisherman lays his net.


Once more, the star-fish are free
Dancing to the tango of sensuous rhythm,
In tune with the music of the night:
Tumultuous revelry in that twinkling paradise.
The Octopus is wise and a sitting majesty
Master of ancient ceremonies;
Its ritual, so clever
Was nearly forgotten.


Upon the reef, our mother, the sea smiles;
Her snowy hair befits her age.
Carefree children, gathering shell-fish;
Their hearts are gay, like their ancestors of yester-years.
Tomorrow is another day
But are now singing in the moonlight
And Trade winds bring showers
Of Clean, sparkling water.


They say the Big Man, with the beating heart
And his friends, brought the balloon down.
Fearlessly that note resounded across the Sea,
Summoning warriors to the defence of Peace.
Was it madness or mere adventure,
Buzzing of the bee that the elephant should care?
Must the Sandpiper cry all day
Till its voice is heard?
I think not, but time will tell.


Yachtsman shared the sea with their Maori brother,
Faithful sisters, Waikato and Otago,
Obedient but gay at the altar.
The willing sailor whistles his tunes
Oblivious of unseen danger.
His country before him: the politician and the scientist,
Task masters of this century
Eagerly looking at Freedom’s eyes.

Sefulu Ioane, an associate editor of Cave; teaches biology at a Hamilton school.

(From Cave No. 7, c 1975)

[Sefulu Isaia Ioane wrote the Foreword to fellow poet Talosaga Tolovae’s 1980s book The Shadows Within and Other Poems, published by Rimu and held in the Archive.

Ioane also authored the teaching aid Handbook for Teachers of Pacific Island Children, 1977, 1978, 1982]


Alongside the coffin of the late Prime Minister Norman Kirk at Parliament House, Wellington. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/4-021782-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Recently, the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa featured in Jacket2, USA, in a series of commentaries by Vaughan Rapatahana on the small press and poetry scene in New Zealand.

“One such example of sterling input is the invaluable Poetry Archive of New Zealand. As Mark Pirie points out to us, ‘I co-organise the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa  (with Dr Michael O’Leary and Dr Niel Wright, the founders) collecting poets back to the nineteenth century. There are more good poets than people realize reading mainstream historical anthologies of New Zealand poetry. I have realized this fairly recently after wasted years of looking at and learning from selective, academic anthologies ever since I was a student. Since 2010, I have edited the quarterly Poetry Archive newsletter Poetry Notes. This has featured many forgotten historical New Zealand poets and presented highly original research by myself, Rowan Gibbs, Niel Wright, and Michael O’Leary. The National Library of New Zealand online research tools like Papers Past have been vital to this rediscovery of early New Zealand poetry too. Poets like Robert J Pope, Ivy Gibbs, and A. Stanley Sherratt have had their work republished.’ It needs to be made clear that these three guys receive no emolument for their earnest endeavours and do rely on donations of both funds and poetry texts to proliferate their resource, ‘so very good historical and contemporary poets don’t get missed.’ Stalwarts all, indeed.”

Article: Slam, slam … & thank you Mams by Vaughan Rapatahana, in Jacket2 Commentaries, USA, 2015 (

PANZA acknowledges the death on 11 April 2016 of one of New Zealand poetry’s major poets, Ruth Gilbert (real name Florence Ruth Mackay).

Ruth Gilbert was awarded the distinction of receiving the ONZM (New Zealand Order of Merit) for “services to poetry” in 2002.

Gilbert was well-known in her writing life and was widely anthologised in major New Zealand anthologies.

She was educated at Hamilton High School and graduated at the Otago School of Physiotherapy in 1938.

Chief among her works is The Luthier sequence first published by Reed in 1966, a remarkable work detailing the musical appreciation in her family between the poet and her father, a maker of violins. The sequence shared the Jessie Mackay Memorial Prize for 1968 with James K Baxter. Three times Gilbert won the award.

Her other works such as her Lazarus sequence from Lazarus and Other Poems (1949) were widely acclaimed in New Zealand poetry circles. She also wrote poetry on her experiences in New York and Western Samoa.

Gilbert’s poetry dates from 1938 and as recently as 2009, 71 years later, was still being featured in PANZA member Mark Pirie’s journal broadsheet, issue no. 4, with a cover drawing of Ruth in Western Samoa by Dr Michael O’Leary (featured below). O’Leary has written vividly of her in his doctoral thesis on New Zealand women’s writing 1945-70.

As a poet, Ruth stayed true to her lyrical and musical impulse for rhyme despite Modernist trends in New Zealand poetry since the 1960s, and was an early feminist poet.

Gilbert published a number of volumes, including her Selected Poems, 1941-1998 from Niel Wright’s Original Books in 2008. Wright did much to publicise and keep in print Gilbert’s work in the past two decades.

Among the positions she held are: President of PEN (the Writers’ Union); President of the New Zealand Women Writer’s Society; and a member of the New Zealand Literary Fund Committee.

Gilbert was 99 at the time of her death.

PANZA extends their deepest sympathy to her family and friends at this time.


Ruth Gilbert in Samoa by Michael O’Leary, 2009


In the spirit of the Beatles who put out a Christmas record for their fans, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) and HeadworX offer to you, our friends and clients, this small token for your enjoyment.

Poems on the railway, Auckland, cricket, netball, excerpts from Niel Wright’s Poetic Fish Hooks, and a prose piece by B. E. Turner from the recently published ESAW anthology Of Paekakariki edited by Sylvia Bagnall.

Contributors: Michael O’Leary, B. E. Turner, F. W. Nielsen Wright, and Mark Pirie.

Download and view the free pdf of this book (file size 527KB):


PANZA celebrates National Poetry Day, 28 August 2015, with a classic New Zealand poem on the famous rugby league ground Carlaw Park by Francis Cloke (1860-1941).

PANZA Archivist, sports fan and researcher Mark Pirie writes:

Carlaw Park was for many years during the amateur era the home of Auckland and New Zealand Rugby League.

Named after founder James Carlaw, a senior figure in a prominent League family, Carlaw Park matches date from 1921 until 2002, when the park was eventually condemned. Mount Smart Stadium became League’s new home.

City v Newton was the park’s first match. In those days, Rugby League was in hot competition with Rugby post-World War One. The Auckland Rugby Union changed their playing rules during the 1920s for fast running rugby and imposed bans on players who switched codes in an effort to stave off the competition from League. However, the All Black Invincibles tour of 1924-25 enhanced Rugby’s reputation as it continued to dominate against the League code and other winter sports like association football and hockey.

Auckland League legend Karl Ifwersen switched codes and became an All Black in 1921. Later, in the 1930s, All Black greats George Nepia and Bert Cooke switched codes and graced Carlaw Park.


Rugby league players during a test match between New Zealand and Australia, which was played on 14 August 1937 in Auckland. George Nepia is stopping a back, on the far right. Possibly taken by an Evening Post staff photographer. Making New Zealand: Negatives and prints from the Making New Zealand Centennial collection. Ref: PAColl-3060-007. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Francis Cloke’s poem, ‘Carlaw Park’, has genuine qualities to it. A rare poem on the League code in New Zealand, it strikes home as it paints a delicate portrait of a rugged sport, and is unafraid to espouse the sport as a form of athletic art.

The poem first appeared in differing form as ‘Ode to Carlaw Park’ by “F. C., Parnell”, in the Rugby League News, 16 May 1925 (according to the 100 years, Auckland rugby league history, 2009).

Carlaw Park

There’s a neat little park in Parnell
Of its picturesque beauties I’d tell:
Overlooked by the trees
As they wave in the breeze
On whose branches the singing birds dwell.

For protection, its walls are built high
Just to hide from the view of the spy
Who never seems willing
To part with his shilling
For what others are anxious to buy.

It’s a beautiful place to behold,
Nicely sheltered from winds that are cold,
This model of freeland
The gem of New Zealand,
And its value’s not measured in gold.

High up on its long terraces grand
There a great many thousands can stand,
Where they all get a view
And a thrill through and through,
As the boys play the game at command.

There’s an artistic fence all round
Which encircles the main playing ground,
Where our active athletes
There perform their great feats
Of endurance that all doth astound.

It’s a bit of this world made anew,
And a place of enjoyment for you;
Will give, when completed,
Both standing and seated,
A full thirty-five thousand clear view.

Rugby League is the game they play,
Rugby League is the game come to stay,
Where the public of sport
By the thousand resort,
Get full measure for all that they pay.

When the game to its final has come,
And the critic has used froth and foam,
Just outside the front gate
There the tram-cars await
To take players and spectators home.



Rugby match, New Zealand versus Great Britain, Carlaw Park, Auckland. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-46976-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Cloke’s only collection (privately printed), Songs of New Zealand and Various Verses (Auckland, NZ: Dawson Printing), appeared in three editions: 1924, 1925, 1931. A regional Auckland poet, Cloke wrote popular verses on various Kiwi themes: sport (cricket, rugby, league, yachting, etc.), the landscape, towns and bays, and celebrations of church, political, historical and military figures, including aviator Jean Batten. He was a contemporary of other New Zealand poets like the recently republished Robert J Pope (1865-1949).

Some details on Cloke’s life are traceable. Cloke was born in the December quarter 1860, Launceston, Cornwall, UK. His father died when he was very young leaving his mother to raise the family alone. At age 9, Cloke began working in the coalmines in Yorkshire. In 1886, Cloke married Elizabeth Ross (1866-1935) and had a family with her. Francis, of the Parnell Methodist Church, worked as a labourer for Railways. They lived at 12 York Street, Parnell, Auckland, close to Carlaw Park. Francis was involved with coal mining at Kawakawa on arrival in New Zealand.

Cloke was the father of six children: John, Francis, William, Arthur and two girls: “Mrs F W Johnson (Kamo)” and “Mrs F W Kirby”. John Cloke (1894-1916), a Railways engineer, was killed in action at the Somme, France, World War One, aged 22 years. The three other sons were all involved in Auckland sport, and further research shows a family connection to the League code.

His son W E (Billy) Cloke, a warehouseman, was an Auckland Rugby League selector (1939-40-41), who selected George Nepia 1939 for Auckland, and earlier (as a player) had been a back (five-eighth, wing or centre) for Auckland’s Newton Rangers (a club that in 1912 and 1927 won the Fox Memorial club competition). Cloke was selected for the Kiwis in 1919 after a trial match. This was a tour of NSW and Queensland, and Cloke was included as a reserve back in the Fourth Test v Australia but didn’t play). An Auckland rep, Cloke played at centre in a famous win over Great Britain in 1920. Karl Ifwerson was his teammate. Cloke was then included as an emergency for the Kiwis v Great Britain but didn’t play. Billy also played cricket for Railways and was involved in yachting.

Another son Francis George Cloke, a railways worker, was a yachtsman, regularly mentioned in Auckland newspapers in Sanders Cup contests (a winner in 1922 crewing with Desert Gold and in 1929 crewing as owner of Avalon). Proud father Francis wrote a poem ‘Desert Gold’ celebrating his son’s achievement.

His final son Arthur Cloke, a caterer, was an opening batsman, an Auckland cricketer, for R.V. Cricket Club. Arthur played League like his brother Billy for Newton Rangers.

PANZA recognises Francis Cloke as a poet of interest during the Edwardian and Georgian eras. He doesn’t appear in any New Zealand poetry anthology that PANZA is aware of.

Article © Mark Pirie 2015

Works consulted:

Auckland Star newspaper
New Zealand Herald newspaper
Auckland, 100 Years of Rugby League, 1909-2009, by John Coffey and Bernie Wood (Wellington: Huia Publishers; Auckland: Auckland Rugby League, 2009).
An Illustrated History: Centenary 1910-2010: 100 years of New Zealand Rugby League (Auckland: New Zealand Rugby League, 2010).

Websites/Databases used:
Free UK birth records
Birth, Deaths and Marriages, New Zealand
Archway – Archives New Zealand
PapersPast, National Library of New Zealand
Alexander Turnbull Library online collections, Wellington, New Zealand

The Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) now has over 5,000 titles.

Thanks to all those who have donated to the Archive over the past year.

The Poetry Archive of New Zealand catalogue has now been significantly updated to reflect new acquisitions June-August.

Recent acquisitions include donations from Cliff Fell and Vaughan Rapatahana.

The Archive began in February 2010 with around 3,000 titles and has grown substantially in the past year. PANZA would particularly like to thank Auckland poet, editor and novelist Alistair Paterson, Wellington poet/publisher Mark Pirie, Wellington publisher Roger Steele, Cecilia Johnson and the late New Zealand anthologist, poet and memoirist Harvey McQueen for their sizeable contributions to the fast-growing collection.

A full list of donations is listed in each issue of Poetry Notes, the PANZA newsletter.