new zealand electronic poetry centre


L Y N D A   C H A N W A I - E A R L E

12 Taonga



Born in London 1965, she spent a large part of her childhood in Papua New Guinea. She holds a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts and a Post Graduate Diploma in Drama from Auckland University. In 1994 Lynda published her first book of poetry, Honeypants with Auckland University Press. In 1995 Honeypants was selected for the Penn Book Awards and the New Zealand Book Awards. Lynda worked as an actor and script co-ordinator with Jim Moriarty’s theatre group Te Rakau Hua O Te Wao Tapu from 1995 to 1999, touring and creating theatre throughout schools and prisons around Aotearoa. Lynda currently lives and works in Wellington as a Reporter/Director for the television programme Asia Down Under (TVNZ).


  • Ka-Shue (Letters Home) is New Zealand’s first contemporary theatre piece about the Chinese community, a solo show written and performed by Lynda Chanwai-Earle, based on her own family background as a Eurasian and a Chinese New Zealander. Ka-Shue was published in 1998.
  • Lynda’s stage production Fire Mountain (Foh-Sarn), a play about young and new immigrant Asians., premiered at Auckland’s Herald Theatre in 2000.
  • Her next play Monkey premiered with the International Arts Festival in 2004, and toured to Auckland for a season.
  • Her play Heat, a commission with Circa Theatre, goes into production in 2005.


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 Twin 21,000 Shaft Horsepower, Sulzer Diesels, 20,352, tonnes, 19,872 GRT, 1986, the Lermontov can accommodate 550 passengers, a crew of 300, gotta fixit, Hapag-Lloyd's Bremerhaven shipyard, rebuilding, metal dust got into left eye, sore for days, ventilation shaft’s a real bitch (in Russian), 176 meters long, where is that crescent? Zero one hundred hours departing Wellington for Picton, fifteen hundred and ten hours Captain Don Jamison pilots ship, Sixteen hundred and thirty-five hours, Captain Vladislav Vorobyov retires to his cabin, notified seventeen hundred hours, does not reappear, playing chess in the engine room, the bulkheads covered in naked women, traveling 41 days, around Asia, Chinese women have slits that are sideways, Anton and the mates eating borsch, Jamison steering 40 degrees true North, fat Aussie tourists sure know how to have a good time, "Island Nights" in the Bolshoi Lounge, love the Cossack dancing mate, Spicheeba! — You’re welcome, Seventeen hundred and thirty-four hours too late, Cape Jackson, never been there, reckoned it was a spy ship, 20 knots full throttle, satellites and KGB only a rumour, February 16, 15 knots l’ward, never piss into the wind says Anton, Jamison orders port 10 degrees, second mate Sergey Gusev freaks out, starboard side’s grinding, Aussie beer tastes like urine, screaming "... it's just forward amidships, a great fucking hole", 9 fillings, borsch stuck between his teeth, woman notices aqua dress dropping ... slow motion, 5 years, thinking it’s my last try to save the marriage, too late to save the ship, saltwater like concrete, a freezing hard wall, slamming into metal, winded, 4 fingers crushed, all this for 3 years at sea, soft pink nipples, 2 year old son, blackness, heart does double beat, soft baby feet, fitting into the palms of my hand, made from my loins, her soft smell, 1 last breath.


... Always loved Svetlana in that aqua dress.


Last updated July 15, 2004