Vaughan Rapatahana commutes between Hong Kong SAR, the Philippines and Aotearoa New Zealand. He is widely published in several genres in Māori, English and other languages. He was a semi-finalist in the Proverse Prize for Literature in 2009, highly commended in the 2013 erbacce-prize for poetry from more than 6000 entries, and won the inaugural Proverse Poetry prize in 2016, the same year as his poetry collection Atonement was nominated for a National Book Award in the Philippines. His latest poetry collection is ternion (erbacce-press, Liverpool, England). Vaughan has a PhD in existential philosophy from the University of Auckland on the novels of Colin Wilson, whom he has written extensively about and lectured at the Wilson conference in Nottingham in July, 2018. Vaughan is also a language critic and instigated and co-edited English language as Hydra and Why English? Confronting the Hydra (Multilingual Matters, UK, 2012, 2016). He has also written commentaries for Jacket2 (University of Pennsylvania), including a 2015–2016 series and a new series currently in progress.


A violent murder in a rural New Zealand slaughterhouse is the catalyst for a series of fast moving events that ultimately have geopolitical consequences. The rapidly developing action of 'Novel' straddles Aotearoa New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Phillipines and beyond. In our contemporary world of increasing electronic surveillance from hegemonic national administrations, several diverse characters struggle to survive and to resist in a variety of ways. At the same time the so-called established methods of writing fiction undergo deconstruction.

Chamberlain Review

Gallas Review



Vaughan Rapatahana's first novel is a rollicking road trip through the 'skinny country' where a guerilla war is raging between Indigenous rebels and a Pakeha government controlled by foreign interests. Redneck assassins, secret-agents, biker gangs and feminist groups all cross paths as Mahon, an ex-university philosophy lecturer, and his gun 'Molly' blast their way across the country in a black Mark IV.

While homage is paid to Vaughan Rapatahana’s existential and post-modern heroes, the voice is indubitably his own: sardonic, hectic, eclectic, at times laugh-out-loud funny and always deliciously subversive. — James Norcliffe


An anthology of 57 poems in English, documenting the poet's emotions and imagination about Hong Kong.


Writing poetry is relevant, absorbing and mind-expanding - and you can prove it to your students with this accessible two-book series. Lively and informative, Expand Your Mind with Poetry guides students through the writing process with guidelines, examples and activities from which they can build their own skills with poetry. Completing each unit can involve a mix of individual, pair, group and whole-class work, depending on the nature of the task and student needs. Book 1 equips students with poetic resources that they can put to good use in writing the thematic poetry that Book 2 inspires.


A poetry collection in three parts. Home is events, situations, descriptions, and attitudes about Hong Kong, which is now Vaughan's home. Away contains poems about events, situations, descriptions, and attitudes about Aotearoa (New Zealand), in particular from a Maori (marginalised) perspective and also about all the other places where Vaughan has lived – The Republic of Nauru, Brunei Darussalam, The People's Republic of China, Australia, The United Arab Emirates (UAE), The Philippines. Elsewhere is emotions (the entire gamut), relationships (marriages, family, friends), deaths (parents, children), reflections – some wry, etcetera – not specifically tied to physical locations. Vaughan does not write to any set forms/formats but attempts to utilise type-face/shape/what a poem looks like on a page to reflect what he attempts to say. He writes to stay sane. "These poems express what I am, and what I also think people I see are, within. They are not mere academic or literary exercises. They are lived experiences, I guess." "Poems with attitude. … passionate, uncompromising and sardonic. …there is darkness here … also wit in abundance and a playfulness in language and thought … at times laugh-out-loud funny…. a compelling voice and Vaughan uses it skilfully to tell us his stories, make his often pungent points, and take us places few of us have seen." — James Norcliffe, Robert Burns Fellow (2000), Aotearoa-New Zealand. "These poems are pieces of an intricately interlinked multi-cultural and multi-lingual world, in which the poet must learn to live. In fact the poet relishes this confusing richness. His verses celebrate the graphic possibility of words, their visual appearance and sounds. So one must come to them with big eyes, big ears and a limitless imagination." — Muhammad Haji Salleh, National Laureate, Malaysia. "Vaughan Rapatahana's poems are the testament of a post-colonial wanderer. An exploration of identity politics, they move between the bicultural and bilingual context of Aotearoa New Zealand and the extraterritorial context of globalisation. They criss-cross intersections of commerce, history and culture …. poems freighted with combustible emotions…. Sometimes dreamlike or riddling, sometimes elegiac, sometimes deliberately linguistically unstable, Vaughan Rapataha's poems make significant patterns out of the randomness of life's events and give succinct and effective voice to the peculiarly modern condition of the global nomad at once home everywhere and home nowhere." — David Eggleton, Editor of Landfall, Aotearoa-New Zealand. "His uses of typography are so simple, so obvious once seen, and so very clever – 'the FAT bastard' – that my admiration increased with every page I turned." —UK-based journal, "The Journal"

Anthology of poetry, edited by Jerome Brooke. Karon Beach is a collection of poems: "Karon Beach" refers to a beautiful and relatively quiet beach in Phuket, Thailand, which provides the intoxicating setting for a lively romp of a poetry anthology by a trio of established poets who span the globe. There is plenty of sunshine and blue sky here -- and, somewhere in the sand, there is apparently also Wi-Fi, for amid the exotic backdrop, these poems possess a prominent Internet presence; in fact, there is a great sense of both global and emotional connectedness that runs throughout the book. So let's take a journey! The three featured poets are Vaughan Rapatahana (Hong Kong), Niall McGrath (Ireland), and Jerome Brooke (Thailand). Each one of these poets bears a distinctive voice in his own right, but somehow, collectively, their poems meld together in a sequence that makes the collection particularly satisfying. Despite some dialectical differences (I admit to having Googled the phrase "tuk tuk" in the title poem by Rapatahana), even a bona fide New Yorker like me was able to find common ground and resonance here. In Rapatahana's spare, but substantive, poem "lines on loss": brush away these tears. they are not mine. I disown them; only borrowed for a while to reveal raging sorrow . . . Tears are universal, as is the heartbreaking loneliness that lies, if one reads between the lines, beneath the gaiety and frolic of these poems, perhaps buried momentarily in the hot sand. In fact, the most notable aspect of this collection as a whole is the remarkable fact that poems which emanate from distant lands can feel so familiar no matter where one resides. McGrath's work, meanwhile, depicts one who is hunted and stalked. In his poem "Outlet": Cubs queue before tents pitched as if at a jousting tournment that reek of hot nuts, sauce-drizzled crepes and candy floss while their dams loll in herds sipping Wolf Blass and nibbling paninis as the sires munch chips and steak, supping at beer pitchers. Feasting aside, McGrath is also the link to pop culture -- his poems evidence an obsession with video games, replete with superheroes and villains. And his poems too bespeak abject loneliness, which his cyber life, if anything, magnifies, but this despair is offset by the poem "Aristocrats," and though the names "Aoife" and "Declan" may sound foreign to American ears, its theme of youthful college hoopla delivers a large dollop of recognition. Whereas his fellow collaborators subscribe adamantly to free verse, Jerome Brooke's work harkens back to a time when meter and rhyme were the order of the day in poetry. Don't underestimate this -- rhyme is not particularly easy to pull off in an effective and non-cliched way, but Brooke is skillful at this, making it seem subtle and effortless. Brooke transports us to the realm of fantasy, a world of iron ships, nobility, and courtly love. The poem "Concubine" (which is one of Brooke's non-rhyming poems) is written in a subservient feminine voice, with an unmistakably highly charged eroticism. A handful of copper coins, is written in a subservient feminine voice, with an unmistakably highly charged eroticism. A handful of copper coins, Man of the West; My red blood covers my rags, Cruel Master Especially for an anthology of such brevity, there are quite a number of memorable gems in "Karon Beach" which transcend geographical boundaries and captivate the heart with their sage aphorisms. These poets deserve wide exposure -- if anything, the limited number of poems contained in the collection serves to tempt the reader, making one eager to read more than just a sampling from all three poets. In short, "Karon Beach" is an unusually lively blend of sophistication, modern-day technology, and old-world romance and splendor. In short, it demonstrates how poetry can cross oceans. So do take the journey. But, beware the undertow! Cindy Hochman - New York


Maybe it had been a concussion too many, but Ropata stirred, and sliding his twitchy forefinger on the blade he now carried de rigueur in his leather’s pocket, he snuck off across the road, playing snakes and ladders with the rich cars. His being thrummed like he was number one pick for the firing squad. (excerpt) These four gritty stories are set in Aotearoa-New Zealand but their shared theme is universal: their working class protagonists battle several social exigencies, but at the same time they also face their own internal turmoils.  She was No Good Anyway is a collection of short stories.


This book explores the ways and means by which English threatens the vitality and diversity of other languages and cultures in the modern world. Using the metaphor of the Hydra monster from ancient Greek mythology, it explores the use and misuse of English in a wide range of contexts, revealing how the dominance of English is being confronted and counteracted around the globe. The authors explore the language policy challenges for governments and education systems at all levels, and show how changing the role of English can lead to greater success in education for a larger proportion of children. Through personal accounts, poems, essays and case studies, the book calls for greater efforts to ensure the maintenance of the world’s linguistic and cultural diversity.


In far too many places, the worldwide trade in English-language teaching, testing and publishing has become a self-perpetuating, self-congratulating, neocolonial monster … a veritable multi-headed Hydra. Too often the English language industry aggressively promotes itself as some sort of “uplifting”, “essential”, “proper” or even “better” means of communication than any other language. Unfortunately, its relentless global outreach is taking place at the direct expense, and the active denigration, of local and regional languages – not to mention individual identities. English Language as Hydra brings together the voices of linguists, literary figures and teaching professionals in a wide-ranging exposé of this monstrous Hydra in action on four continents. It provides a showcase of the diverse and powerful impacts that this ever-evolving, gluttonous beast has had on so many non-English language cultures - as well as the surreptitious, drug-like ways in which it can infiltrate individual psyches.

Using diverse perspectives to build students' understanding of poetry and multiculturalism 

Reflecting the great diversity of cultures in the region, the Poetry in Multicultural Oceania series is enriched with a multitude of Aboriginal Australian, Maori, Pasifika, Asian and other voices in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. From this foundation it offers a teaching resource to develop students understanding and appreciation of poetry, with activities including vocabulary, language use and structure, reading and understanding, and evaluation.

Fine writing on the many facets of Hong Kong, OutLoud Too is the second anthology offered by OutLoud - Hong Kong's longest running spoken word event.

Founded in 1999, OutLoud has offered a platform for local and overseas poets alike - a stable community of writers in a city constantly re-inventing itself. The anthology features the work of 48 writers who have participated in the literary event - always on the first Wednesday of the month - including the three founders Mani Rao, Alan Jefferies, and Kit Kelen, and Hong Kong's former 'poet laureate' Leung Ping Kwan (1949-2013).

All poems previously unpublished.

57 poems in English 5 poems in Chinese & English, and 1 poem in French & English.


Vaughan Rapatahana is a poet whose voice and viewpoint crosses continents, countries and cultures both linguistically and physically. He has the eye of a dispassionate observer but the emotion of the engaged, involved participant, his poems on love and loss, travel and home resonate with the reader or listener. I have been privileged to hear some of the poems presented in this collection and they are as powerful in the spoken word as they are in the written form.

- David McKirdy, Poet, Editor, Musician, Car Mechanic.


A quality in Vaughan Rapatahana’s poems in his new collection, ternion, makes geographical landscapes a felt presence without becoming the central focus of the poem. Rapatahana is a perennial world traveler, “speaking in whatever tongues /necessary /to best facilitate our feast.” Our bounty is a sumptuous helping of aural and visual language on the page, a glorious banquet of words. Rapatahana navigates his poems with a steady eye and an ear for language, using Māori, Filipino, and English, as he explores his varied and occasionally conflicted identities. ternion is a wonderful celebration of a world without borders.

- Eugene Gloria, Poet, Winner of Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for My Favorite Warlord.

This 4-book series is an innovative addition to the support materials used by English teachers working at the senior primary level. The books aim to develop English skills through discussing, reading and writing about a number of accessible Australian and New Zealand contemporary poets. The books use a language-based teaching methodology. With this approach, the language of the poem, including vocabulary, grammar, and usage, is examined before students consider meaning. Students will develop their language skills, practice original writing, and understand of poetry as a literary form.

Bride Price is a miscellany collection of poetry edited by Jerome Brooke. Poems have been contriubuted by Valentina Cano, Vaughan Rapatahana and Jerome Brooke. The Cover Art is by Pauline Canlas Wu.



Press Release

This is a collection of my many reviews of books by Colin Wilson, author of the seminal The Outsider (1956) and England's leading Existentialist philosopher, as well as my extrapolations from the ideas of Wilson into the realms of original metaphysical philosophy.

MINGLED VOICES is an anthology of thirty-one poems, selected from those which were entered in the inaugural annual international competition for the Proverse Poetry Prize (single poems) in 2016.

The Proverse Poetry Prize was jointly founded in 2016 by Dr Gillian Bickley and Dr Verner Bickley MBE, in association with the annual international Proverse Prize for unpublished book-length fiction, non-fiction or poetry, submitted in English, which they also founded in 2008.

Poems could be submitted on any subject or topic chosen by each poet or on the subject chosen for 2016 by the Administrators, “The Environment”. There was a free choice of form and style.

Included in the anthology are the poems that won the first, second, and third prizes. Selection to appear in the anthology was also awarded by the judges for the Prize.

The places of birth of the twenty writers whose work is included in the anthology range from Scandinavia to the Far East, to the southern hemisphere; and include Canada, Cap Verde, Cuba, Estonia, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Turkey, the UK and the USA. Some have strong links with other countries, including Austria, Chile, Holland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Spain and the USA.

An intense new collection of poems by this poet from Aotearoa-New Zealand, replete with references to his indigenous heritage and his travels and travails around the globe: Rapatahana lives in Hong Kong and has homes also in Philippines and Aotearoa.

Why so serious?
(Chinese Edition)


Better to jaw-jaw than to war-war

(Chinese Edition)  

Hand-printed typographical title page printed in red and black. Cloth boards with paper panels on spine and boards. Vaughan Rapatahana is a New Zealand poet and writer based in Hong Kong.

So he was gay, so what - we always knew there was something a bit different about him. Anyway, that was nothing compared to....

In the mid-1970s A & W Publishers of New York planned to publish a book by Colin Wilson entitled The Faces of Evil. The publisher’s blurb read: “One of Britain’s foremost authors re-examines man’s haunting fear of evil, in mythology and history. Witches, the supernatural—Hitler, Stalin, Rasputin, and Richard the Third are re-appraised in an informative, fast-moving essay strikingly illustrated with historical reproductions and 30 original paintings.”

The book did not appear in print and all that remains is the substantial Introduction—over 80 pages in manuscript—written by Wilson and recently retrieved from an archive by Wilson scholar Vaughan Rapatahana. In a stimulating essay, Wilson concludes:

“I would not like to pass a dogmatic opinion on whether there are such things as evil ‘entities’ in the universe....That would presuppose that they are living beings who, like ourselves, are struggling to evolve to a higher level. But it seems to me wholly within the bounds of possibility that human beings have released ‘evil’ forces of whose power and persistence they are unaware...”

In two important and previously unpublished essays from the 1970s, Wilson, in the first, responds to an article on boredom published in a US newspaper in 1974 and, in the second, lays the foundations for a new descriptive psychology. Vaughan Rapatahana,       in his perceptive Introduction concludes:

“Most significantly, Wilson remains ever the optimist—the articles here are suffused in positiveness and both are stimulating—they make sure you cogitate and they force you to ponder further.”

In 1983 Colin Wilson wrote “For twenty-five years now I have been writing a novel called 'Lulu', and I must have started it a hundred times.”

Wilson scholar Vaughan Rapatahana writes, in his Introduction: “From his first conceiving the idea in 1956 until about 1980-81, as evidenced not only from the part-manuscripts that we have been able to source, but more particularly from his many comments on the book over these years, Wilson was intermittently preoccupied with this novel.”

The project was never completed despite being commissioned for serialisation by BBC2 in 1976. This book contains the 176 pages of what has survived plus some of Wilson’s notes and journal entries on the novel, providing a tantalising prologue to what might have been.

This photocopiable resource aims to provide teachers with engaging and fun poems and other support materials to assist teaching poetry in English and te reo Māori. The majority of poems were written originally in English, and are included with a translation into te reo Māori. There is a focus on poems about and by Māori, and in almost all cases the original included some Māori language, and reference to Māori themes and traditions. Each poem is supported by student activities that assist with teaching poetry, and also with developing students’ knowledge and understanding of aspects of te reo Māori. Students are encouraged to both read and perform the poems. The resource includes a comprehensive answers section in relation to the broad range of student activities. Suitable for students working at Levels 3 and 4. Contains 76 pages.