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Phantom Billstickers pay tribute to the nation’s poets as they announce National Poetry Day 2018

By May 2, 2018No Comments

New Zealand is a nation of poets and poetry lovers. Last year Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day broke all records, with 120 events taking place in cities and towns all over the country.

This year, Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day (#NZPoetryDay) will be held on Friday 24 August 2018 and is set to be even bigger. Expect chances to read poetry on public transport, street posters and footpaths; to hear it in special events in cafes, bars, bookshops, libraries, schools, universities, theatres, clubs and community centres; and to enter your own work in to poetry competitions for all ages.

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2018 will feature a range of events and activities, from readings headlined by Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh to Slam Poetry contests to events that celebrate local writers and places. David Merritt’s ‘Poetry in a Box’ will see poetry bricks in 25 different locations around the country – in schools, cafés, libraries, galleries – culminating in a co-ordinated “simultaneous reading” on the day.

The cut-off date for organisers to register events and apply for seed funding is Wednesday 23 May 2018 at 5:00pm. Events can be registered online via this link: For enquiries about registering an event or applying for seed funding, please contact National Administrator Harley Hern on email  For full information go to:

Held on the fourth Friday in August, National Poetry Day is a popular fixture on the nation’s cultural calendar. For the third year Phantom Billstickers are supporting this through a naming rights sponsorship, and plan to proudly ‘splash poetry across New Zealand’ in the weeks leading up to National Poetry Day with a massive street poster campaign.

Paula Morris, National Poetry Day spokesperson for the New Zealand Book Awards Trust said, “Last year’s twentieth-anniversary celebrations brought out more great poets, charismatic performers and avid readers than ever before. Poetry has the power to speak to and for us, from the personal to the political – to mark our big occasions, comment on our society, and challenge the way we see the world. National Poetry Day is a chance to encounter poetry in unexpected places, and to engage with the many things it’s able to do and say.”

The poetry winner of the prestigious Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, announced on Tuesday 15 May 2018, will be available to take part in selected events on Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, as will the other poetry finalists. The shortlisted writers for the Poetry prize are: Tony Beyer (New Plymouth), Elizabeth Smither (Taranaki), Briar Wood (Northland), and Sue Wootton (Dunedin).

Nicola Legat, New Zealand Book Awards Trust Chair, said: “In the year that we celebrate 50 years since New Zealand’s prestigious book awards were first established, it’s rewarding and affirming to reflect on how many great books of poetry have been celebrated in the awards’ winner lists. These books of poetry were noticed, brought richness to readers’ lives and are eminently worth rereading. They have held their ground and their authors constitute a poetry hall of fame: Allen Curnow, Bill Manhire, Fleur Adcock, Elizabeth Smither, Brian Turner, Vincent O’Sullivan, Michelle Leggott, Hone Tuwhare, Kate Camp, Ian Wedde, Jenny Bornholdt, Glenn Colquhoun and so many more. Here’s to New Zealand poetry!”



Notes to Editors

National Poetry Day has been running continuously since 1997 and since 2014, has been administered by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust. It has a mandate to celebrate discovery, diversity, community and pushing boundaries, and to ensure their longevity and credibility. The Trust also governs and manages the country’s two major literary awards – The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and the New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults. New Zealand Book Awards Trust  

Phantom Billstickers is a street poster company which has consistently helped New Zealanders express themselves since 1982. Recognising and supporting home-grown talent has always sat comfortably alongside its commercial campaign work. Phantom actively promotes New Zealand music, art, poetry and culture around the country and across the world, putting poetry on posters and a literary mix of work into cafes via its quarterly magazine Café Reader. Phantom Billstickers

Paula Morris (Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Whatua) is an award-winning novelist, short story writer and essayist. A frequent book reviewer, interviewer, and commentator, Paula holds degrees from universities in New Zealand, the U.K. and the US, including a D.Phil from the University of York and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is convenor of the Master in Creative Writing programme at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and founder of the Academy of New Zealand Literature.

Nicola Legat ONZM is the publisher of both Massey University Press and Te Papa Press. The former Publishing Director of Random House New Zealand (now Penguin Random House New Zealand), she is also a former editor of Metro magazine and is Chair of the New Zealand Book Awards Charitable Trust and Deputy Chair of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival Trust. 


Media contact: Sarah Thornton / Thornton Communications / / 021 753744