Pre-eminent NZ poet, Sam Hunt, was born at Castor Bay in 1946.
Over the years since, he has toured endlessly, had published a few dozen collections of his poems, from ‘Between Islands’ in 1963, to his most recent, ‘Knucklebones: Poems 1962-2012’.
A new collection, Salt River Songs, is due out mid 2016, to coincide with Sam’s 70th birthday on July 4. (Publisher: Potton & Burton)
His home-base for over thirty years was in, and around, Cook Strait – from Bottle Creek, Battle Hill, Death’s Corner, and ultimately, his boathouse at Mana.
Fourteen years ago – primarily for family reasons – he moved onto the Arapaoa River of the Kaipara Harbour –“five / gunshots from humanity” – where, when not on tour, he lives with his younger son, Alf.
As well as his solo shows, Hunt has worked with various musicians – The Warratahs, Split Enz, Gareth Farr, The NZSO and APO, to name a few.
In 2009, Hunt collaborated with David Kilgour & Heavy8s, producing the album, ‘Falling Debris’.
Earlier this year, again, he worked with DK&Heavy8s – this time, supplying both lyrics and lead vocal – on an album, ‘The 9th’ – that was released in 2015.
On July 4, 2016, coinciding with his 70th birthday, Hunt’s collection of new poems, ‘Salt River Songs’, was published – going straight into No. 1 of Nielsen’s Best Seller book lists. (It’s thought to be the first time a collection of poems has taken No. 1 spot.)
In 1986, Sam Hunt was awarded a QSM; in 2010, was made a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit (CNZM). He was further festooned in 2012 with the Prime Minister’s Poetry Award. All these honours were for “his services to poetry”.
So, his life continues, “sometimes cruisey, sometimes crazy”; sticking, always, to his own maxim:
Tell the story
tell it true –
charm it crazy.