Peter Bland (b. 1934)
Classic New Zealand Poets in Performance (2006):
Death of a Dog
The Happy Army
Shopping with Brigitte Bardot
Aotearoa NZ Poetry Sound Archive (2004):
1. Death of a Dog
2. The Nose
3. The Happy Army
4. A Sonnet for Exiles
5. Mr Maui at Buckingham Palace
6. Mr Maui at the Marbella Beach Club
7. Mr Maui on the Way to the Film Studio
8. Letters Home — New Zealand 1885 [1-7]
9. Let’s Meet …
10. St Kevin’s Arcade – Auckland [1-4]
11. Shopping with Brigitte Bardot
Peter Bland was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, in 1934 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1954. He worked with the NZBC to establish some of New Zealand’s first arts and social commentary programmes. In 1964 he was a co-founder of Wellington’s Downstage theatre and its artistic director from 1964 to 1968. He was closely associated with the Wellington group of poets, which included Louis Johnson, James K Baxter, and Alistair Campbell, helping to edit the literary magazine Numbers His first collection of poems My Side of the Story was published by Mate Books in Auckland in 1964 and won a Melbourne Festival Literary Award.
In 1969 Peter Bland returned to the UK on an Arts Council Drama Fellowship to work at the Bristol Old Vic. In the 70’s and 80’s he established himself as a regular West-end actor, appearing in numerous comedies and as a frequent guest artist on current UK TV shows.
In 1976 he published his first UK collection Mr Maui with London Magazine Editions. It won a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. He published two further collections with London Magazine Editions, Stone Tents (1981) and The Crusoe Factor (1985). In 1977 he was given a Cholmondeley Award for Poetry by the British Society of Authors.
Peter Bland returned to live in New Zealand in 1984 and to star in the film Came a Hot Friday, for which he won a GOFTA Best Film Actor Award. He published his Selected Poems with John McIndoe and a further collection Paper Boats also with John McIndoe. In 1998 Carcanet Press in the UK published his new Selected Poems. His most recent collections are Let’s Meet and Ports of Call, both published in 2003 by Steele Roberts in Wellington. His collection of verse for children The Night Kite is due from Mallinson Rendel in March 2004, and his memoir Sorry, I’m a stranger here myself from Random House in August 2004. He is represented in all the major New Zealand Poetry Anthologies, and several in the UK, including The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry. He lives in Auckland and is married with three children and seven grandchildren.