Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

ANZL Member

Photographer: Greg Bal

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman is a Christchurch poet and a writer of non-fiction, and senior adjunct fellow in the School of Humanities and Creative Arts at the University of Canterbury. Born in London, Jeffrey immigrated to New Zealand in 1950, growing up in the Devonport naval base in Auckland, then the coal mining town of Blackball on the West Coast of the South Island. He has worked as a sheep-shearer, postman, psychiatric social worker and bookseller.

Jeffrey’s poems have been published in various anthologies, whilst his stories and poems have been published in Landfall and the NZ Listener. His poetry collection As Big as a Father was longlisted for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards (2003). In 2007, Jeffrey and Martin Edmond won the Copyright Licensing Limited Award giving them $35,000 each towards a non-fiction project. Best of Both Worlds: The Story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau, was published by Penguin in 2010. Jeffrey was the 2011 Waikato University Writer-in-Residence and in the same year shortlisted for the Ernest-Scott History prize, Australia. In 2012, he was awarded the Creative New Zealand University of Iowa Residency. The resulting book, The Lost Pilot: A Memoir was published by Penguin NZ (2013). In 2014, Jeffrey travelled to Berlin on a Goethe-Institute scholarship, pursuing research for his current project, a family history based on links with his German relations.

In March of this year, Jeffrey is leaving his post at the University of Canterbury, to write from home and concentrate on the above project, now figured as a verse novel, The Bywater File. He will also continue with his work in Christchurch Mens’ Prison (Paparua), a reading group with prisoners which takes place every Friday in the prison library. The group – He Pukapuka Kōrero – consists of Bernadette Hall, Jeni Curtis, himself, and until recently, Teoti Jardine.

Jeffrey’s recent poetry collections include, SHAKEN DOWN 6.3: Poems from the Second Christchurch Earthquake (CUP, 2012), Blood Ties: New and Selected Poems (CUP, 2017) and Dylan Junkie (Makaro Press, 2017). In his memoir Now When it Rains (Steele Roberts, 2018), Jeffrey examines  70 years lived through rapid social changes and personal upheavals, from the 1950s to the 2000s.

After Hours Trading & The Flying Squad (Carbide Press, 2021) is a poetry collection  in two halves: a poetic evocation of forgotten South Island histories; and a selection on a wide variety of styles and themes including homages to some of Jeffrey’s favourite writers – Marilynne Robinson, Max Sebald, amongst others – and salutes to friends and loved ones, tā moko artists, old shearing mates, as well as the birds and animals who are also his whānau members, the wild and the tame.




Read NZ Te Pou Muramura writer page

Jeffrey Holman’s blog


Penguin Books (NZ) author page

Jeffrey Holman’s Tapa Notebook online (NZEPC)

Radio NZ interview discussing After Hours Trading & The Flying Squad (Nov, 2021)

NZ Booklovers review of After Hours Trading & The Flying Squad (Nov, 2021)

Jeffrey at the Blackball Readers and Writers Festival (July, 2018)

New Zealand Books Pukapuka Aotearoa review by Murray Bramwell – a twinned discussion of Blood Ties and Dylan Junkie (Nov 2017)

University of Canterbury Quake Studies author page [with poetry samples] (2014)

Landfall review of The Lost Pilot (Feb, 2014)

Jeffrey introduces The Lost Pilot in Elseware (July, 2013)

Radio New Zealand interview regarding The Lost Pilot (May, 2013)

New releases by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

After Hours Trading & The Flying Squad (poetry)

Published by Carbide Press on October 29, 2021

Bibliography: Jeffrey Paparoa Holman




After Hours Trading & The Flying Squad (Carbide Press, 2021)

Dylan Junkie (CUP, 2017)

Blood Ties (Makaro Press, 2017)

SHAKEN DOWN 6.3: Poems from the Second Christchurch Earthquake  (Canterbury UP, 2012)

Fly Boy (Steele Roberts, 2010)

Autumn Waiata (Cold Hub Press, 2010)

The Late Great Blackball Bridge Sonnets (Steele Roberts, 2010)

As Big as a Father (Steele Roberts, 2002)

Flood Damage (Ngā Kupu Press, 1998)

Two Poets: Strange Children (with David Walker, USA: published as Fragments Five, Pumpkin Press, 1974)


Creative Nonfiction

Now When it Rains (Steele Roberts, 2018)

The Lost Pilot: A Memoir (Penguin, 2013)

Best of Both Worlds: The Story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau (Penguin, 2010)



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