Twentieth-century New Zealand poet known for Something Nothing, Deep River Talk, and other works. He was a 2003 recipient of the prestigious New Zealand Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement.
He was raised in Northland and Auckland and grew up speaking the Maori language. He published his debut poetry collection, No Ordinary Sun, in 1964.
He became Te Mata Poet Laureate of New Zealand in 1999.
His mother died when he was young; therefore, he was raised primarily by his father, a prominent storyteller.
He, like Allen Curnow, was a New Zealand-born poet.