Selina Tusitala Marsh

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Selina Tusitala Marsh, ONZM

The fast-talking Pasifika Poet Laureate, Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh was the first person of Pacific Island descent to graduate with a PhD in English from Auckland University, where she now lectures. She creates inspirational poetry that embraces contemporary issues and breaks traditional stereotypes of what a poet should be. Her spoken word poetry draws on her Samoan heritage and oral traditions of the Pacific.

Tusitala Marsh’s poetry is often in response to others' pigeonholing and stereotyping, especially of Pacific Islanders. She encourages readers to embrace the best of all “their many parts”. As Nicky Pellegrino wrote in the NZ Herald, “For Marsh, poetry is an inclusive rather that elitist art form". 

Tusitala Marsh has received many awards for her poetry. Her first collection – Fast Talking PI – made the Top 5 Bestsellers List soon after publication and won the 2010 NZSA Jessie MacKay Best First Book Award for Poetry and Best First Book at the 2010 New Zealand Book Awards. She was named Commonwealth Poet 2015 and Poet Laureate for 2017 to 2019.

This excerpt from Tagata Pasifika is from the launch of Selina Tusitala Marsh’s first book of poetry, Fast Talking PI.

Find out more about Selina Tusitala Marsh:

View the Selina Tusitala Marsh page on Pasifika Poetry. 

See the Selina Tusitala Marsh page on the NZ Book Council website. 

Watch 'New Zealand, the Lucky Country', a TEDx talk by Selina Tusitala Marsh. 

Check out Aotearoa Reads: "NZ poet Selina Tusitala Marsh visits (and sasses) the Queen". 

Listen to Unity – a Tusitala Marsh piece.

Listen to a Kathryn Ryan, RNZ interview with Tusitala Marsh. 

Search for Selina Tusitala Marsh on Youtube. 

Image: Screengrab from Tagata Pasifika, courtesy TVNZ.

Catalogue Reference TZP366229

Year 2009


Director/Reporter: Nikki Si'ulepa

Excerpt: 00:03:31

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