~ Nationality: New Zealand ~

Acknowledgements by Louise Wallace

On a sweltering day at the pools, monotony conspires to take us on an ethereal journey. A bored front desk attendant reads the acknowledgments of a paperback and while observing the swimmers she drifts into a daydream.
director’s webpage

New Zealand poet Louise Wallace as interpreted by Auckland-based director Arvind Eriksson and voice actor Elizabeth McRae. This 2021 film is included in a new article by poetry filmmaker Charles Olsen at a general-interest news site, How to film a poem — a wonderful survey of poetry filmmaking in New Zealand in preparation for the first Aotearoa Poetry Film Festival in November (submissions open).

Acknowledgements was a recommendation to Charles by another New Zealand director, Alfio Leotta, who called it “a beautiful, intelligent and funny film that inspired my decision to start experimenting with poetry film.”

Noho Mai by Peta-Maria Tunui

Winner of the 2020 Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film Competition, Noho Mai is a simple, slow and gentle piece, balm in troubled times. It is spoken in the Māori language (te reo), with English subtitles to be found in the closed captions (bottom right of the Vimeo player).

The project was initiated and facilitated by Charles Olsen and Lilián Pallares. Charles is a New Zealander now living in Spain. Conceived at the start of the pandemic, it became an online collaboration between artists in the two countries. The poem was written by Peta-Maria Tunui as part of an exploratory workshop process that also involved contributions from Waitahi Aniwaniwa McGee, Shania Bailey-Edmonds and Jesse-Ana Harris.

Charles has written at length about the film here.

Find Me a Word by Gus Simonovic

Find Me a Word came to Moving Poems via a welcome email from its film-maker, Martin Sercombe in New Zealand.

Martin has been making films since the 1980s, at that time involved in the independent film workshop movement in the UK. His experience and creativity are evident in Find Me a Word. The way he visually presents text and his landscape imagery are especially pleasing in this piece.

The poem and voice is by Gus Simonovic, whose writing has been widely published in New Zealand and beyond. He describes his work as post-modernist and post-materialist. Among his range of cultural work, he was previously a co-ordinator for the New Zealand Poetry Society.

Both Martin and Gus have a special interest in teaching and running workshops in poetry and film-making for young people, aiming to give them an expressive voice and means of facing the uncertainties of life in these troubling times.

Martin programs an event called Lyrical Visions, happening this year on December 11th at Lopdell Theatre, Titirangi, Auckland, including four sessions of poetry-related films. It’s good to know there is an active community around video poetry in New Zealand.

Children are the Orgasm of the World by Hera Lindsay Bird

Frances Haszard animates a poem by New Zealand poet Hera Lindsay Bird for The Pantograph Punch:

Back in 2012, we held our first-ever event. It was at St Kevins Arcade, overlooking the city. We sat on worn wooden chairs and talked about why we hadn’t left Auckland. Tiny Ruins sang, and Hera Lindsay Bird read from a crumpled piece of paper.

The poem she read that Friday night was Children are the Orgasm of the World. It was unexpected and electric, with the kind of deliciously awkward humour that moms of the future would surely have. We loved it.

Four years on, Hera’s launching her long-anticipated debut collection of poetry, Hera Lindsay Bird, and we’re excited to be celebrating the ocassion with a video of that first poem we heard (animated by Frances Haszard, who also illustrated our remarkable Mint Chicks oral history vid).

(Hat-tip: David Graham at the V-V Talk group on Facebook.)

Sun-Up by Lola Ridge

The title poem from a 1920 collection by New Zealand anarchist and poet Lola Ridge as envideoed by Catalan remix artist Josep Porcar.

I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up with Josep Porcar’s videopoetry output over the years, but he’s certainly Catalonia’s most active and visible proponent of the art, often combining (as here) his own Catalan translations with his audiovisual interpretations of classic and contemporary poems. His truly international focus should not be surprising; far from what outside observers of its independence movement might assume, Catalonia has much more of a crossroads culture than an insular or provincial one. (These days, it seems as if it’s mainly the declining empires, such as the UK and the US, which are bedeviled by insularity and xenophobia.) But enough of my editorializing. Go browse more of Josep’s work (or view the archive here).

Known Unto God by Bill Manhire

British animator Suzie Hannah teamed up with New Zealand’s poet laureate Bill Manhire for this poetry film, part of the Fierce Light series co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and Writers Centre Norwich. It was “Voiced by Stella Duffy, with Sound Design by Phil Archer,” says the description on Hannah’s website, which continues:

Mud and and pigment animation interpreting Bill Manhire’s poem about tragic death of youths in WW1, comprised of 14 short epitaphs for unknown NZ soldiers killed at the Somme, and for unnamed refugees drowning as they flee from wars now, 100 years later.

The film has been selected for screening at the following: 14th London Short Film Festival 2017, Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2016, O Bhéal Poetry Film Festival 2016, Zebra Poetry Film Festival 2016, Interfilm 32nd International Short Film Festival Berlin 2016

“Known Unto God writes the epitaphs to the lost of our world: those fallen soldiers of the Somme whose bodies were never found; those refugees of today who drown seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Bill Manhire and Suzie Hanna have created a bold and powerful memorial to the voiceless, and a reminder that WW1 was a conflict that shook the entire world, and that our lives have grown ever more interconnected since. ” Sam Ruddock, Writers Centre Norwich

Nan by Eden Tautali

This is the winning poem from New Zealand’s National Schools Poetry Award for young writers (Year 12 and 13 students). The animation is by a commercial design agency, Neogine Design. I’m not always crazy about kinetic text animations; this is a good example of how to do it right, I think. And while I might’ve preferred a soundtrack, silence isn’t a bad choice, either, considering the subject of the poem.

Rain by Hone Tuwhare


This is actually the second time I’ve posted a video for this poem by the great Maori poet, and it might be worth looking at the other one — a fairly straight-forward kinetic text piece — before watching this one, where the text is whispered and fugitive. But this film is superlative in every way, an astonishingly gorgeous piece that must be watched with the volume up and the video expanded to full-screen. According to the notes at Vimeo,

Rain is the first of Maria-Elena films in which she explores our connection with Nature, human-nature and the idea that everything in the universe is interlinked……..Rain was made in 2006 as the final year project of the Graduate diploma in digital animation at Unitec Auckland…. Maria-Elena has just completed her next film Meniscus

Waking Up in Phillip Street by Peter Olds


Sarah Barraclough says this is her “first attempt at using Adobe After Effects. Poem is by a NZ poet called Peter Olds.” For more on Peter Olds, here’s a bio from the New Zealand Book Council.

Rain by Hone Tuwhare

Poem by Hone Tuwhare

Animation by (?) kiwimudcrab