Author photo: Ockham NZ Book Awards, Marcel Tromp
Tusiata Avia was born in Christchurch in 1966, of Samoan descent. She is an acclaimed poet, performer and children’s book writer.
Her poetry collections are Wild Dogs Under My Skirt (2004; also staged as a one-woman theatre show around the world from 2002 to 2008), Bloodclot (2009), Fale Aitu | Spirit House (2016), shortlisted at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards,
The Savage Coloniser Book (2020), winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry, and Big Fat Brown Bitch (2023).
Tusiata has held the Fulbright Pacific Writer’s Fellowship at the University of Hawai’i in 2005 and the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at University of Canterbury in 2010.
She was also the 2013 recipient of the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award. In the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours, Tusiata was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to poetry and the arts.