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Poetry Winners
Photo by Janine Hills

Poetry Awards and Accolades 2019

Esther Kristel and school poets —

During Term Three, four of our students won places in poetry writing competitions, one regional, and two national.

We were delighted to hear that Year 13 student Olivia Bradfield was one of 20 runner-ups out of 186 contestants in this year’s National Schools Poetry Award, which is open to Year 12 and 13 students across New Zealand.

Olivia’s evocative piece ‘17’ was announced as a stand-out poem in this year’s collection on National Poetry Day, 23 August.

WriteNow Dunedin Secondary Schools Poetry Competition 2019

With great pleasure we also celebrated Darcy Monteath’s winning entry in the junior section and Abi Barton’s third place entry in the senior section of this year’s regional WriteNow Dunedin Secondary Schools Poetry Competition.

This is what judge Fiona Farrell had to say (https://writenow.nz/):

Judge’s Report

Thank you to all the young poets who submitted work to this year’s competition! It was a pleasure to read your work.

There were some fine poems here, but the most notable feature was that the Junior entries were so much stronger than the Senior section. I am not sure if this comes down to some very talented young writers at junior level, or to some individual teachers doing a better job of encouraging and developing natural talent. Either way, the poems submitted by the First place-getter in the Junior section were by far the best in the whole competition, whether for the Junior or Senior sections.


Junior competition:

·First: Overcoming grief in the form of birds‘ by Darcy Monteath, Year 10 Logan Park High School

This is an extraordinary poem, and far and away the best of all the poems, Junior and Senior, entered in this year’s competition.

The poet understands the power of metaphor, not just the birds but the landscapes they inhabit, beginning with the tarmac that is replaced suddenly round a corner by ‘everlasting fields’ and the kotuku with its ‘rounded shoulders’. The poem is a tangible realisation of the journey through grief to the moment where in a transcendent and utterly beautiful image, the poet faces ‘directly into the sun’ where bird that is also the father is ‘rising, singing’. The whole work is superbly structured and delivers real emotional weight.

A second poem submitted by the same poet was equally impressive. ‘Think White‘ is superbly crafted. The poet shapes the work around that introductory ‘Think…’ then proceeds to elaborate on three words: ‘candescent’, ‘ailment’ and ‘gleam’. The result is a highly sophisticated work, by a writer blessed with an acute sensitivity to language and an artist’s eye. The three sections are drawn together to form a tantalisingly elusive narrative, through colour and form. This is a young poet to watch.

· Senior competition:

·Third: The Survival‘ by Abi Barton, Year 13 Logan Park High School

This poem tells a narrative of survival in just six stanzas. The poem begins with an evocation of the smells of a hospital, then explores the feelings of the poet watching someone they love going through a terrifying ordeal. With the final stanza, the whole poem lifts into celebration, filled with love and admiration.

Overcoming grief in the form of birds

After Sharon Telfer

Kotuku – Heron

The tarmac is gluey with the early-January heat,

a menacing black.


I tell myself

trying not to focus on the

Buzz buzz

in my right ear.

I take a left too fast.

Standing guard, there it is.

I’ve never seen one before.

There’s no water here,

only everlasting fields.

A luminous lead-white,

gnawed into gawky bones,

rounded shoulders


but unmissable.

No matter how hard it tries

“peia te haumaru”

“What’s that, Dad?”

“It means…”

I take a left, slower this time and mutter it back,

“drive safe.”

Kereru – Wood Pigeon

Young kids scream, flapping their arms at them.

Mocking them

startled into a clattering flight,

survivors of the New Year haste

that soaks the streets.


stays grounded,

like a tame dog without a leash

it gives me a look.

That look.

“Dad?” only joking.

Black eyes glint rainbows in the hazy light.

That look again.

“Dad, is that you?” only half-joking.

Grief. A stupid concept.

Kārearea? – Falcon



Hard to tell.

We pass too quickly.

Sharp movements, up straight.

Eyes scan anywhere and everywhere.

“What do I always say?”

“Keep a lookout, options open, Dad.”

Toutouwai – Robin

On fine days,

you can see the lookout from here.

Today’s not a fine day.

Every voice feels muted,


by bitter winds.

It’s summer but today reminds me of winter.

“The Toutouwai keeps singing through Winter, you know.”

Dad’s words

I can almost taste them.

A faint whistle hums and cuts through the heavy air.

“Only very few birds do that.”

The fog clears,

a little.

Piwakawaka – Fantail

The forest floor is dry today,

sun weeping onto the viscous floor

“They’re back!”

“They always come back,” says Dad.

From up close, we watch.

Staring contest

we win

because soon enough,

it’s gone.

Pihoihoi – Pipit

The noise comes first,

like glass shards on a mirror.

Then, you lift your head,

face directly into the sun.

“Be patient; you’ll see it if you look long enough.”

Up above, microscopic in the

perpetual blue.

I point to the sky.

Yes! Rising, singing!


“I knew it.”

“I knew it was you.”

endless oblivion,


the pihoihoi

for the last time

before it soars away

for who knows how long?

First (juniors)

Darcy Monteath - Year 10

Think White

Think candescent.

The way light from a hidden source

dances across this simple table,

forks, plates, a single bowl,

holding fruit, while the artist holds us captive

by the white of our eye,

strokes of blue, orange, purple,

trapped in the blank of the table sheet

and colours’ hearts beat, open their throats,

cloudy ice melting on the tongue,

the sweet perfume of summer fruits.

Think ailment

being in a room, this uneasy,

so perfect, yet everything off balance,

objects and shadows, seeping together

that table, threatening to overthrow

its contents onto the ground

shards of glass, bruised apples, squashed pear

at your feet.

The artist’s wife lets out a gasp

in the white of the walls, the figure

shuffles out of focus.

Think gleam,

the next time you open your eyes,

notice at how your eye works

peripheral vision,

how we see everything at once,

yet nothing at the same time.

Embrace it. The ambiguity

light is a figure, that holds things,

yet lets the smallest thing slip away.

How the table quivered slightly

and how the bowl held fear against

the white walls

with vermillion shadows.

Darcy Monteath - Year 10

Darcy was awarded first prize for ”Overcoming grief in the form of birds‘. ‘Think White’ was originally placed second by Fiona during the blind assessment of the entries. However the rules do not permit a poet to win more than one prize.

The Survival

An ache led to a hospital bed

As an unfamiliar odour swarmed my nostrils

Disinfectants and cheap perfume

Unpleasant mixture

He lay there

His skin turned pale

As he thought he would

Never again see the light of day

An ache led to strain

And my heart began to cry

A flood of questions carved

Their way into my thoughts

Why him?

His body deteriorated

But he pushed on through

A pain I couldn’t relate myself to

I couldn’t share

I felt bad

Terrible even

But I would never retreat

He grew limp

As the paralysis set in

A large mass engulfed his spine

It grew, feeding off him as it’s

Energy source

Dividing, reproducing, multiplying

I wondered if it would ever stop

A miracle walking

That’s what he is

I could never quite fathom

But one thing I was certain

I was so glad to know him

He beat it

Like he took a big swing

And the bat sent the ball flying

He is a conqueror, an overcomer

He is a cancer survivor

He is my hero

He is my dad

Third (seniors)

Abi Barton - Year 13

Poetry NZ Year Book Student Poetry Competition 2019

Poppy Haywood in Year 11 surprised us, just when we thought the poetry awards were handed out on National Poetry Day, by winning First Prize for Year 11 in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook Student Poetry Competition.

Her poem ‘ABCDEFGHIJLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ’ is very clever, and can be found here, which can be shared: :https://issuu.com/masseypress/docs/pnzy_competition_poems_2019

As a winner, Poppy and the LPHS Library Poetry Collection received a copy of the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2019, and as a First Prize winner, Poppy’s poem will be published in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2020, releasing in March 2020.



VARK. An acronym.

A name, a label, for four different learners.

Visual learners. They are lucky.

A single glance then bam! It's cemented in their minds forever.

Auditories. Be scared of conversing with them.

They'll remember it longer than you ever could.

R. Reading and writing. Loved by teachers worldwide.

Hand them notes and there you'll find a perfect student.

Lastly, Kinetic. The words: watched, heard, read, it all goes over their heads.

Give them something to do with their hands however, and they'll love you always.

School? Where does school fit into it?

School. A place dedicated to learning.

It excels in teaching VAR learners.

K? What about the K? No, no K. They always forget about the K.


Poppy Hayward - Year 11