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Te Tairawhiti Poetry Writing Competition

Springing between worlds: Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Rāwhiti

by Anna Cooper

Tuis swoop,

their wings chopping the silence,

the night shift relieved,

by the police helicopter.

A girl,

at the A&P Show,

hair in two pigtails,

the part-line exposed,

a line burnt down the centre of her head,

matching the jersey of GGHS.

A flatmate harvests,

tender shoots of abundant green garnish,

rash, upset gut,

don’t be fooled by the faded spring onion label,

those are daffodils . . .

Driving through a paddock,

in the dark of night,

flocks of rushing white demons,

eyes glow red in the car headlights,

jerky, demented dancers,

first to see the light,


into frolicking, sprightly gymnasts.

Squelch, squish, slip, skid,

the school field out of bounds,

bulbs flopped over,

leggy, lank, long, no flowers,

Tāmaki Makaurau saturated,

yet, water shortages anticipated.

The first butterfly of spring,

the cat chirps,

she flies out the door,

soars through the air,


clutching the monarch in her mouth,

she’ll personally ensure,

the downfall of an entire population here.

One broccoli,

only one broccoli grew a head,

ten others went to seed or are simply dead,

more spent on seedlings, soil, fertiliser,

than Countdown prices.


I’d do it again,

but maybe the tomatoes will go in pots instead.


when they don’t flourish,

I’ll head to Teesdales,

and then I’ll know:

I’m home, and summer is here.


by Nicky Grace

Now is a time of cold uncertainty;

for our future

our health

our world as a whole.

Lockdown panic

toilet paper queues

masks at the ready.

'Stay at home' is what they say.


that is what I do,

in the winter.

The new day dawns,

with a hopeful frost.

Blossoms on fruit trees

life renewed.

Movie nights

eating together

conversation to heal and reflect.

'We've got this' is what they say —

'Live your life!'


that is what I do,

in the spring.

Whisper of a Promise

by Amie Allmark

The morning star opens its sleepy eyes

Birds’ chorus, a song of welcome to the incoming season.

Dewdrops glisten in the light of a new day,

lambs frolic carefree in grassy paddocks,

golden daffodils gracefully sway in the breeze,

their tender faces gazing on the happy scene.

Warm sun caresses my face,

I feel its smile against my skin.

Fluffy white clouds float like marshmallow against a cornflower sea of blue.

The hills of Waimata arch their backs, stretching out against a hazy sky.

In the distance the waves of Wainui crash silently onto a sparkling shore.

Soon the wild flowers will burst forth in all their glory,

uplifting my sombre mood with their joyful colours.

Summer's invitation is holding out its hands to me.

Theirs is a hushed whisper, the beginning of a promise.

Awaken spring and sing

by Wiki Grace-Spooner

When spring, springs to mind.

It's a time to slowly unwind.

As I seek the world, renew.

Daily pressures I hope undo.

The essence of life begins.

Unearth my dreams, my sins.

A time to reflect and wait.

What will be my fate.

For a single seed is sown.

And life's true meaning shown.

Spring is heaven on earth.

My completion and my rebirth.


by Richard Harris

a youth with which the balance defines elevation in the face of created effects derived alienation

a tool that is therefore used to ascertain the patient dawn of the light of expectation

a season that uncannily arrives at the penultimate reasons

a reason to execute these refined combinations that collect their blissful congratulations

a continuation of the flow of summations and their unending extrapolations

a concentrated and timely accompaniment of true and defined excitation that aids the positivity of our humanity and its shared deliberation

an esoteric deliverance with and beyond constructs absence, the presence of the true dictated and elaborated essence

an exponential essential as the potential that reaches into infinities goodness, consequently consequential

a collaborative archive that builds its own guilds and shields the yearly yields

as we together spring forth

as we together face north

as we arrive with

as we are alive with

a depth of knowledge needed to survive with

and the ability to contrive the words to drive this future to thrive.

August is the New Spring

by Victoria Williams

Where I’m from, August means too hot days.

The sound of frogs singing into the night, their chorus amplified into thick air.

Back to school shopping, for sturdy boots you won’t need for months.

At the farmers’ market, a glorious overlap of heirloom tomatoes and gleaming galas.

We took the dog swimming, and gave him the last bites of the ice cream cone.

This new August is more hesitant. Softer.

Tiny pops of pastels, shades not interested in attention.

The scent of freesia follows me back from the beach and the light stretches, unhurriedly.

Sometimes I forget what day it is

and turn my squinting, smiling face to the Sun.

Here in New Zealand

by Moana Hoogland

Here in New Zealand in autumn

Pirates stand rooted in the ground

Stretching tall and straight, guarding

Gold bounty they’ve laid all around

Here in New Zealand in winter

Freezing frosts come and go

All of the children wish blindly

For the faintest hint of snow

Here in New Zealand in springtime

Amongst all the possums and cows

The pirates take up their treasure again

Harrier hawks scan the grounds

Here in New Zealand in summer

The pools and beaches are full

People are burnt to a crisp

Finding places where it can be cool

Here in New Zealand the seasons

Are filled with all sorts of fun

But children and adults are waiting

For the next season to come.