Albert Wendt is one of New Zealand’s and the Pacific’s major poets and novelists, and he has been an influential figure since the 1970s in the development of New Zealand and Pacific literature. He has published numerous novels and collections of poetry and short stories, and he has edited several notable anthologies of Pacific writing. His work has been translated into many languages and is taught around the world.
He has been awarded many literary prizes, the most recent being the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the South East Asia and Pacific Region for his novel The Adventures of Vela and the 2012 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Fiction. His many honours include the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit 2001, the Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture 2004, and, in 2013, New Zealand’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand, which is held by only twenty people at any one time.
In 2012, the Aiga Sā-Maualaivao of Malie conferred on him their highest aliʻi title, Maualaivao, in a ceremony in Samoa. He is also a member of the Aiga Sā-Su’a of Lefaga, the Aiga Sā-Patu and Aiga Sā-Asi of Vaiala and Moataʻa.
Albert Wendt is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Auckland, and lives with his partner, Reina Whaitiri, in Ponsonby, Auckland, where he continues to write and paint full-time. Together they have twelve mokopuna and a cat called Mānoa.