James K. Baxter character jug version 1 produced by Paul Rayner of Whanganui, New Zealand, in 2013. James Keir Baxter (1926-1972) was a New Zealand poet and playwright. He was also known as an activist for the preservation of Māori culture. He is one of New Zealand's most well-known and controversial literary figures. He was a prolific writer who produced numerous poems, plays and articles in his short life, and was regarded as the preeminent writer of his generation. He suffered from alcoholism until the late 1950s. He converted to Catholicism and established a controversial commune at Jerusalem, New Zealand, in 1969.