Te Kore presented to David Eggleton

Poet Laureate David Eggleton received his tokotoko last Saturday. On a bright sunny morning with a southerly wind keeping things fresh, David, together with whānau, fellow poets Michael O’Leary, Jenny Powell and Kay McKenzie Cooke, a group of us from the Library and locals, were welcomed on to Matahiwi marae near Clive in Hawkes Bay. Our party was guided by Charles Ropitini, who also spoke (and sang) on our behalf.

After the powhiri, artist Jacob Scott, and John Buck, of Te Mata Estate winery, who initiated the Laureate Award in 1996, presented David with the tokotoko Jacob had made. Christened Te Kore, it is a tall, imposing piece of maire, with a naturally occurring hole near the top – hence the name, Te Kore (the void of unlimited potential). Poetry followed the presentation as did songs from Taradale High School students Makayla Purcell and Isabelle Lorch, then a fine lunch.

On Saturday night the poets read, and Makayla and Isabelle sang again to an appreciative gathering at Toitoi in the Hastings Opera House for Poet’s Night Out. Chris Szekely, Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library, was on hand to announce that David’s term as Laureate will be extended by a year, until August 2022, in recognition of the impact Covid-19 has had on David’s public presence as Laureate this year.

The evening concluded with a spontaneous addition to the programme, when the Matahiwi whānau presented David with Te Kore for a second time and Charles Ropitini led the way in a lovely version of Whakaaria Mai.

We returned to Matahiwi on Sunday morning for breakfast and poroporoaki, then a light-hearted gathering in front of the house for photographs, before people headed off in various directions, home.

There was a sense of relief that we had made it to this important moment in the Laureate calendar. Originally planned for April this year, it was yet another casualty of Covid-19 and was postponed indefinitely, until last weekend, that is.

More media from the day

NZ Poet Laureate (Video) — Hawkes Bay Today

— Peter Ireland, Exhibition Specialist, and Poet Laureate ‘minder’, National Library

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