Christopher Luxon, captured here thinking about a pantoum. Image: Tina Tiller
Christopher Luxon, captured here thinking about a pantoum. Image: Tina Tiller

BooksDecember 9, 2021

Christopher Luxon, poet

Christopher Luxon, captured here thinking about a pantoum. Image: Tina Tiller
Christopher Luxon, captured here thinking about a pantoum. Image: Tina Tiller

Behold, the New Zealand politician-poet pantheon has a brand new bard. Everybody gather round.

Much has been made of Christopher Luxon as heir to Sir John Key. But he might be better understood as an amalgam of Key and the National leader who immediately followed him, Sir Bill English. There’s the faith-informed social conservatism, but I don’t mean that. There’s the embrace of the social investment approach, but I don’t mean that, either. I mean the poetry.

English launched his leadership by reading poetry. He studied literature; his aptitude for words was so great they named a language after him. And as prime minister he contributed to the verse canon the beguiling contemporary masterpiece ‘There’s A Hill Out There’

English was not, of course, the first politician to dip his toe in the lyrical waters. Thomas Bracken, the best known New Zealand poet of the 19th century and writer of the words to the national anthem, was member of parliament for Dunedin Central for a term. David Cunliffe wrote in tribute to Harvard: “For one short year or two / I suckled you / with potent milk / of truth and learning.” Colin Craig wrote a number of poems. (Colin, if you’re reading, I beg you on behalf of the country to keep going; to dedicate literally all of your waking hours to writing poetry.)

While others have been obsessing on the supposed pugilism of question time, however, the poetry lovers of Aotearoa have noticed the fragments Luxon has been sprinkling about like breadcrumbs to hungry birds: bathos, metaphor, alliteration. Here, pieced together painstakingly like an ancient fresco, a poem by Christopher Luxon.


To float

I want to be able to float

To bring the tide back in

I come with no baggage

I don’t care 

about the past


Yesterday was yesterday

I think

Today is the future


Put the backpack of grievance 


It is time to turn the page


We will be out there in the world 

happening to our future

rather than letting the future 

happen to us.

To turn a page you 


have to turn a page


Another little review 

inside ourselves

Let’s turn the page

Judith is very satisfied.

A note on composition: the above is drawn entirely and verbatim from statements by Christopher Luxon since he became National leader but also yes there are a couple of lines by Todd Muller and Simon Bridges – strong team, etc.


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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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