CK (Karl) Stead, the current New Zealand Poet Laureate, will be officially honoured at the Poets' Night Out, at the Havelock North Function Centre next month.

The poet has invited award-winning poets Gregory O'Brien, Chris Price and Paula Green to share this evening with him as guest readers.

National Library spokesman Peter Ireland said the cultural event was an important and popular occasion in Hawke's Bay - the birthplace of the Poet Laureate programme.

Mr Stead will receive a hand-carved tokotoko during a special ceremony at Matahiwi marae earlier in the day. Each Laureate receives their own tokotoko - a ceremonial carved walking stick symbolising their authority and status.


The National Library holds the matua, or parent tokotoko, to signify their guardianship of the New Zealand Poet Laureate Award. The tokotoko is a link to the Hawke's Bay origins of the award, created by Haumoana artist, Jacob Scott.

The National Library assumed responsibility for the New Zealand Poet Laureate Award from Te Mata Estate Winery in 2007.

Mr Stead was born in Auckland in 1932 and began writing poetry while still at school, and publishing 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.

?Tickets for the event on April 2 are $20, available from Creative Hastings, Hastings Libraries, Napier Libraries and Beattie and Forbes, or online at Eventfinder.