Gadd, Bernard

Gadd, Bernard



In Brief

Bernard Gadd wrote poetry, fiction for adults and young adults, plays, and reviews. He was also a teacher, editor, anthologist, and publisher. He released numerous collections of poetry and was known variously for his pioneering work in the classroom, the many books for young readers he published, and the anthologies he edited. Gadd’s interest in New Zealand history saw him write a number of local histories and two biographies.


Gadd, Bernard (1935-2007) wrote fiction, poetry and plays. He was an educator, editor, publisher and book reviewer.

Bernard Gadd was born in Hamilton, and educated at Auckland University College, Auckland Teachers College and Massey University. Gadd was, for most of his working life, a high school teacher and ESOL tutor.

Gadd was a prolific writer and his work was published in a host of literary journals including Landfall and the NZ Listener. He was an anthologist, editor and reviewer. He was also a publisher, and in 1981 Gadd set up a small press called Hallard.

Since his retirement in 1995, Gadd focused his attention on poetry. By his own description, he was a poet drawn to ‘historical topics and first-person recreations of real or invented character, and to satire against dominant orthodoxies of the mind.’

Gadd’s collections of poetry include Melissa (Hillary, 1980), Childsong & Other Verses (Hallard,1981), Two poems (Hallard, 1981), Light (Hallard, 1985), Oracle Bones (Hazard, 1992), Pity Mr Hash (Hallard, 1995), Catullus at the iron gate (Hallard, 1995), Too Right Mate (Hallard, 1996), Stepping Off from Northland (Sudden Valley Press, 1997), I imagines serifim (Hallard, 1990, Signs of the new right (Hallard, 2000), Prognostications of the apricot (The Poets Group, 2000), Our Bay of Ensigns & other ‘race’ relations (HeadworX, 2002), Debating Stones (Sudden Valley Press, 2002), Pokeno Opposes the Kaiser (Hallard, 2004), The unbearable lightness of eggs (Hollard, 2006), and End of the Snapshots (Sudden Valley Press, 2007).

Gadd is perhaps best known for his pioneering work in the classroom, and this work is reflected in the many books for young readers he published. Gadd edited a number of anthologies, many of which were designed for young adults, specifically but not exclusively, for young Māori and Pasifika readers. Gadd’s commitment to multi-culturalism enabled him to bring emerging Māori and Pacific writers into the classroom.

Gadd’s anthologies include: My New Zealand Senior (Longman Paul, 1973), People Are People (Hodder and Stoughton, 1973), My New Zealand Junior (Longman Paul, 1974) and others. Gadd also edited literary anthologies including Other Voices (Brick Row/Hallard, 1989), Other Voices 2 (Brick Row/Hallard, 1991), Catching the light (Brick Row/Hallard, 1992) and Read Fire (Square One Press, 2002).

Gadd wrote a number of books for young adults; his fiction titles include: Who wants to be Lillian Plotnick’s mother? with Flossie Lewis (Hallard, 1981), Where to go? (Heinemann, 1981), It started with a scream (Brick Row/ Hallard, 1990), Blood of Tainui (Brick Row/ Te Ropu Kahurangi, 1990), Just like you said it would be (Brick Row/Hallard, 1992), The New Bike (Wendy Pye, 1995) and Thornend (Hallard, 1995). His plays for young people include the anthology Generations (Longman Paul, 1993) and the single works Bone City (Longman Paul, 1995), Last Javelin of the Romans (Hallard, 1997), Warrior from the Lord Wulah (Hallard, 1997) and Rushie’s Rush Chow Down (Hallard, 1998).

Gadd’s interest in New Zealand history saw him write a number of local histories and two biographies. In addition, he wrote a handbook for teachers: Cultural Difference in the Classroom (Heinemann, 1976) and one for students, Journalism: a practical introduction (Longman Paul, 1989).

Bernard Gadd passed away on 11 December 2007.


Updated February 2022.