Tusiata Avia is a poet, a performer, and children’s book writer. Avia is of Samoan descent, and her name, Tusiata, means both painter and artist.
Tusiata Avia was born and raised in Christchurch. She attended Canterbury University, before moving to Auckland and then overseas. From 1990 until 2001 Avia travelled and taught. She spent time in Samoa, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Africa before returning to New Zealand in 2001. In 2002 she completed the MA Creative Writing Programme at the International Institute of Modern Letters.
Tusiata has been published and translated in literary anthologies and journals in New Zealand, Australia, the
Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Hawaii, Israel and USA. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals Turbine, Sport, and Takahe. She also works as a performer, her one woman show Wild Dogs Under My Skirt premiered at the 2002 Dunedin Fringe Festival and is part of AK07, a show not to be missed.
Tusiata Avia's first collection of poetry, Wild Dogs Under My Skirt (2004), is an outstanding collection of poems, confrontational, darkly humourous and resonant.
'Tusiata's poetry is quite revolutionary in the sense that, not only does it define the face of Pacific literature in New Zealand, but it redefines the face of New Zealand literature itself.' - Sia Figiel
Tusiata Avia was an artist-in-residence at the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies in Christchurch in 2005.
She was also awarded the 2005 Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writers’ Residency at the University of Hawai’i.
Tusiata Avia was shortlisted for the 2006 Prize in Modern Letters.
1. Mr Raytheon Meets Nafanua is part of Tusiata's new collection of poetry.
2. Ode to the Life, is taken from Wild Dogs Under My Skirt - VUP 2004