Manhire's urge to run the show started young. As a publican's son in the South Otago town of Clinton, he started a children's library at his parents' pub. He founded the school stamp club and newspaper. By the 1970s, in between postgrad degrees in his specialist subject of Old Icelandic sagas, he set up a press to publish his and friends' poems. He's forever editing anthologies, developing new courses at IIML - making stuff happen.
For all the influence he wields, though, he likes to be ''quite invisible''. He thinks it's a sort of Wizard of Oz syndrome, common among painters, poets and musicians.