Robin Hyde

Robin Hyde (January 19 1906 - 23 August 1939) is one of New Zealand's major poets. She was born Iris Guiver Wilkinson in Cape Town, South Africa and taken to Wellington, New Zealand before her first birthday. She had her secondary education at Wellington Girls' College where she wrote poetry and short stories for the school magazine. After school she briefly attended Victoria University of Wellington. When she was 18, Hyde suffered a knee injury which required a hospital operation. Lameness and pain haunted her for the rest of her life. In 1925 she became a journalist for Wellington's Dominion newspaper, mostly writing for the women's pages.

While working at the Dominion, she had a brief love affair with Harry Sweetman, during which she fell pregnant. Sweetman left her to travel to England, dying soon after his arrival. Hyde resigned from the Dominion in April 1926 and moved to Sydney, Australia. It was there that she lost her unborn son, Robin, whose name she took as her pseudonym. The trauma of losing both her lover and her child led to Hyde being hospitalised at Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer Springs, back in New Zealand. After a period of recovery, she began to write again, publishing poetry in several New Zealand newspapers in 1927. She was also engaged to write columns for the Christchurch Sun, and the Mirror. However, she became frustated at the lack of creative input, as the papers merely wanted a social column. Social columns or women's pages were the main outlet available to women journalists during the period.

In 1929 Hyde published her first book of poetry, The Desolate Star. Between 1935 and 1938 she published five novels: Passport to Hell (1936), Check To Your King (1936), Wednesday's Children (1937), Nor the Years Condemn (1938), and The Godwits Fly (1938).

Robin Hyde died by her own hand in England in 1939 and is buried in Kensington New Cemetery, Gunnersbury. She is survived by a son, Derek Challis.


  • HYDE, Robin at Hyde, New Zealand Book Council

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