Writers' Trail ~Marlborough
A HAIKU IN BOTH ENGLISH AND MAORI CAN BE READ IN
BYTHELL PLACE, CENTRAL BLENHEIM
Born in Christchurch in 1929, Ernest Berry has an international reputation as a haiku poet. After retiring from business, he spent ten years in Mexico where he originated a brief three-line verse which he called vertizontals. He later discovered haiku, a genre so similar to his invented verse that he switched focus and has been a committed haiku writer ever since.
From 1993 to 2012 he lived in Picton with artist friend, Triska Blumenfeld. He continued writing poetry and in 1994 formed Picton Poets, organising a series of haiku workshops and hosting visiting writers and artists at the cottage on their property. Publisher Christine Cole Catley was among those who resided there, while completing her autobiography and other books.
Ernest was involved in the Korean War, joining ‘K Force’ in 1950 as a medic, and later wrote a book of haiku based on his experiences there: forgotten war: a korean war haiku sequence (2000). In 1998 he wrote A Raindrop a Flowing River, an award-winning haiku book with nature images by Blenheim photographer Graeme Matthews.
Ernest has twice judged the annual NZ Poetry Society contests and is Life Member of both the British Haiku Society and the NZ Poetry Society. He features in anthologies worldwide and has been translated into numerous languages. Two of his haiku have been sculpted onto boulders on the Haiku Walk in Kati Kati.
As part of a Millennium project for Marlborough District Council, Ernest was asked to provide a haiku for a sculpture by Lydia Geldof of Rarangi. This can be viewed in Bythell Place, Blenheim. In 2012 Ernest and Triska shifted to Blenheim, where he continues to write haiku and win awards.
The text on the plinth of the sculpture reads:
Bythell Place is on the corner of Maxwell Road and Queen Street.The small, brick-paved area has a water feature as well as the sculpture by Lydia Geldof.