Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

I discovered Jeffrey Paparoa Holman through a challenge I did on

Jeffrey was born in London in 1947 and moved to New Zealand in 1950. As well as being a university professor, he also holds poetry workshops at a prison for the inmates. Among his published work is a collection of poems about the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake.

mō ngā mate Mahometa e rima tekau i hinga ki Ōtautahi 15 Māehe 2019

Normal service will not be resumed
There has been a slaying

Normal service is impossible
Children executed

Normal service disconnected
Mothers slaughtered

Normal service is terminated
Elders eliminated

Normal service makes no sense
Terror is walking

Normal service is banned for life
Blood on the welcome

Normal service is now shut down
Thank you for weeping
~ Normal Service by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman


This poem is written about the Christchurch mosque shooting earlier this year and it speaks incredibly loudly to me. That was such a traumatic incident, not just for those involved, but even for those who watched it unfold on the media. I absolutely understand the sense of shock he conveys with this idea of ‘interrupted service’ and the horror of knowing that for some people, normal service will never resume. It’s incredibly powerful.

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