Nelisi, Lino


Lino Nelisi is a bilingual New Zealand children’s writer whose books celebrate New Zealand’s cultural diversity. Of Niuean Samoan heritage, Nelisi has worked as a primary teacher in Niue and in Auckland, and as an Auckland College of Education adviser on Pacific Islands education. She has produced more than 15 texts and her work is published in English, Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Niuean, Tokelauan, Cook Island Maori and Spanish. She has been shortlisted several times for the New Zealand Post Children’s Picture Book Award.


Nelisi, Lino (1952 –) is a bilingual New Zealand children's writer whose books celebrate New Zealand's cultural diversity. "About a third of children in New Zealand schools are Polynesian," Lino Nelisi writes. "Books which reflect students' cultures offer an understanding of those cultures."

Lino Nelisi was born in Kauhi, Avatele, on Niue Island. Her father Ugamea Levi was Niuean, from the village of Avatele, and her mother Peko was Samoan, from the village of Vaipuna. She is a Niue language and culture expert, and she is passionate about the maintenance of her language and culture.

Lino Nelisi's titles are Aiani moe Pia aitu (1993); Koe ama uga (1994); Venise and the little red radio (1996); Siones' Tale (1992); Te taro O Sione (1992); Koe tale ha Sione (1993); O le talo Sione (1993) which was a finalist in the Children's Picture Book Award in 1993; Fishing with Spiderwebs (1994) which was also a finalist in the Children's Picture Book Award in 1995; Sione Went Fishing (1996); Thats the way (1998); El taro de Sione (1996); Tane steals the show (1997); Tane te whetu o te ra (1997); He ika mawhitiwhiti pungawerewere (2000). Ko e Pele Kilikiki was published in 2003, and The Blue Roses in 2010.

Her work has been published in English, Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Niuean, Tokelauan, Cook Island Maori and Spanish.

Lino Nelisi is on the Board of Advisors for the International Children's Digital Library. She has worked as an educator in Niue and Auckland, and has a Masters of Education Degree specialising in Pacific Nations education from the University of Auckland. From 1995-2003 she worked as an education Adviser, later becoming the Facilitator in the TEAM Solutions department at Auckland College of Education (now part of the University of Auckland). From 2003-2005 Lino Nelisi was employed by AUT University as a lecturer for the School of Education. She was employed by PINZ as a Literacy Specialist on the Vanuatu Education Assistance Programme, and was also employed as a teacher in the Gifted Children's Advancement School in Tamaki.

In 2015 Lino was the Writer in Residence for St Joseph's School in Otahuhu.

Currently, Nelisi works at Mt Albert Primary school. She is the Curriculum leader for English, Literacy specialist, Tutor and Associate teacher and a Team Leader for the Middle School.

In 2015 / 16 Lino was one of the current Niue Primary School teachers in New Zealand who is in the Niue Language Advisory group. She helps with the development of Lift Education Dual Language resources for the Ministry of Education.

Lino Nelisi on BooksellersNZ

Lino Nelisi in the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature

Last updated May 2016.

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writers in schools information

Lino Nelisi is available to talk to primary school students through the Book Council's Writers in Schools progranmme. She will discuss her experiences as a bilingual writer and translator. She is prepared to travel out of town for Writers in Schools visits.

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Phone 0064 4 801 5546
Level 4, Stephenson & Turner House, 156 Victoria St, Te Aro
Wellington 6011, New Zealand