Writer CK Stead has been named as New Zealand's new Poet Laureate for 2015 - 2017.

On receiving news of his appointment Stead commented, "poetry has been somewhere near the centre of my consciousness for the past 70 years, so this affects me more than any other honour I could have."

Chris Szekely, chief librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library attributes Stead's international presence as a poet, teacher, editor, literary critic and novelist as central to his nomination and appointment.

"Karl Stead has been a constant contributor to New Zealand's literary landscape across a range of disciplines for over sixty years but by his own admission, it is poetry that is central to his life as a writer," says Szekely. "His Collected Poems contains poetry written in 1951 yet he continues to create new works of freshness and originality with poems written in 2015."

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From its inception as the Te Mata Estate Laureate Award in 1996 through to 2007 the Laureates have been Bill Manhire, Hone Tuwhare, Elizabeth Smither, Brian Turner and Jenny Bornholdt. Since 2007, when the National Library took over the appointment of the Poet Laureate, the Laureates have been Michele Leggott, Cilla McQueen, Ian Wedde and Vincent O'Sullivan.

Karl Stead will be formally inducted into the role later this month.

CK Stead (full name Christian Karlson Stead) was born in Auckland in 1932. He began writing poetry while still at school and was first published as a student. His awards for poetry have included the Jessie Mackay award, the New Zealand Book Award for poetry, the King's Lynn Poetry prize, the Hippocrates Prize for poetry and Medicine, and the Sarah Broom prize. His Collected Poems 1951-2006 received a Montana Prize in 2009.

Other literary awards and prizes include the Katherine Mansfield Short Story award, the New Zealand Book Award for fiction (twice), and the Sunday Times/E.F.G. Private Bank short story prize. In 2011 he received the Prime Minister's Award for fiction. He has had novels translated into 11 European languages.