Michael O'Leary

Michael O'Leary

Michael O'Leary is a poet, novelist, publisher, performer and bookshop proprietor who has been a magnetic figure for many other contemporary New Zealand writers.

He writes in both English and Maori; and his diverse and prolific work in poetry, fiction and non-fiction explores his dual heritage: Maori (Te Arawa) on his maternal side and Irish Catholic on his father's as well as his mother's. Born in Auckland in the year of the Tiger 1950, he was educated at the universities of Auckland, Otago (Dunedin), and Victoria University (Wellington) where he completed his MA and PhD theses.

His Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop imprint (inspired by Andy Warhol's 'Factory', the Beatles' Apple label, and John and Yoko's 'Plastic Ono Band'), which he founded in 1984, has published some of his own prolific output, as well as many other New Zealand writers. This press has also featured books by writers from other countries, including the first versions of Richard Berengarten's series, Manual, in four mini-books (2005-2009). The 240-page A-Z compilation, 25 Years of the Earl of Seacliff (ed. Mark Pirie, 2009), documents Michael O'Leary's versatile and influential oeuvre.

Michael O'Leary is a trustee for the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa (PANZA), a charitable trust dedicated to archiving, collecting and promoting New Zealand poetry.

He now lives in Paekakariki, north of Wellington. Website: http://michaeloleary.wordpress.com

List of Publications


Flipside to the Ballad of John and Yoko
Surrogate Children (with Sandra Bell/Brian Hare)
Ten Sonnets, Myths and Legends of Love
Undiscovered Voyage (with Litia F. Alaelua)
Livin' ina Aucklan' (with illustration by John Pule)
Before and After
Shake Speer's Faith
Con Art: Selected Poems
Ka Atu I Koopua - Out of the Deep
He Waiatanui kia Aroha
T.A.B. Ula Rasa
Toku Tinihanga (Self Deception) (HeadworX Publishing, 2003)
Make Love and War (HeadworX Publishing, 2005)
Mahones: Anthology - Four Poets, with Bill Dacker, Mark Pirie and Iain Sharp (Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, 2005)
Sounds of Sonnets (HeadworX Publishing, 2006)
Paneta Street (HeadworX Publishing, 2008)
Livin' ina Aucklan' (new edition ESAW, 2011)
Main Trunk Lines: Collected Railway Poems (HeadworX Publishing, 2015)
Collected Poems 1981-2016 (HeadworX Publishing, 2017)


Out of It
The Irish Annals of New Zealand
Noa/Nothing I
Unlevel Crossings
Straight (new edition, ESAW, 2007)
Magic Alex's Revenge (ESAW, 2008)
Out of It (new edition HeadworX, 2012)

As Editor

JAAM 21 (JAAM in Association with HeadworX Publishers and ESAW, 2004)


Gone West: Waikumete Cemetery
Grafton Cemetery
Paekakariki: A Short History



Literary Criticism

It's All in the Mind You Know
Alternative Small Press Publishing in New Zealand (Steele Roberts, 2007)
Wednesday's Women


Toku Tinihanga
Fences Fall
Paneta Street Livin' ina Aucklan'