Contemporary Pasifika Poetry in Aotearoa New Zealand: An Interview with Selina Tusitala Marsh

Paloma Fresno-Calleja, Janet Wilson

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


In this interview conducted in the English Department at the University of Auckland in July 2019, the poet-scholar Selina Tusitala Marsh touches on many aspects of her pioneering role as the pre-eminent woman poet writing about the Pacific in Aotearoa New Zealand. She discusses the responsibilities associated with being the country’s Poet Laureate (2017–19), as the first Pasifika person to be awarded this office; the symbolic nature of her tokotoko, the Māori ceremonial carved walking-stick granted to Poets Laureate; the Pacific traditions and hybrid heritage that informs her poetry and her teaching of creative writing and Pacific literature at the University of Auckland. The interview also covers her current academic and creative projects focused on Pacific women poets, her work with local communities and school children, her views on the lack of role models for the teaching and writing of Pacific poetry, and her strategies to balance her many public and private roles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)271-282
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
Issue number2
Early online date2 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Mar 2020


  • Selina Tusitala Marsh
  • Pacific literature
  • Pasifika identities
  • New Zealand Poet Laureate
  • representation


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