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Prizes were awarded this week. Some winners were uncharacteristically lost for words when discovering the good news . . .
WINNER: ONCE UPON A TIME
Once upon a time in a place you’ve never been but always wanted to go, lived a man you’ve never seen but always never not known, who possessed that one thing you have always desired, with which just one word you could surely acquire.
Tiro was always curious about her father. She knew from her mother that he was a strong and powerful man. But beyond that her mother would only answer questions in riddles.
‘‘I’m wish mum was normal,’’ Tiro thought to herself. ‘‘Just once give me a straight answer.’’ Tiro could never understand her mother. She wasn’t what she would call normal.
Every night Tiro’s mum would come into her room, check that Tiro was okay and then leave for the night. Tiro had asked her mum where she went at night. But her mother would always answer her questions with riddles.
‘‘Behind the veil of night are the shadows of light dancing in the moonlight of absolute delight.’’
‘‘Crazy old hag,’’ Tiro would think to herself.
Every time her mother would walk to the end of Old Taupo Road where the street ended and the bush started, enter the bush, and from there she would disappear. Tiro could not figure out how her mother evaded her. Did she now she was being followed? Whether she did or not, the fact remained that Tiro had no idea why her mother would go to the bush every night, or what she did while she was there.
But tonight was going to be different. Tonight Tiro had a plan. After her mum had checked in on her for the night, then left, Tiro got up grabbed her night-vision goggles she had just bought off Ebay and hurried out the door. She then jumped her back fence which backed into the high school, ran from one end of the school to the other in order to get in front of her mother, so she could get into her hiding place she had prepared earlier, put her night-vision goggles on and wait for her mother to enter the bush.
Tiro had only just got herself organised when her mother came into view. She was amazed at how well her night-vision goggles worked. The bush came alive in an ambient green glow and Tiro could see a joyful almost youthful expression on her mother’s face as she entered the bush.
‘‘Crazy old lady. What are you up to in the middle of the night in the middle of the bush? I bet she’s growing weed,’’ Tiro thought to herself. Instead of turning right and following the well-beaten track that led deeper into the bush, Tiro’s mum walked straight ahead and placed her hand against the face of the cliff wall and started chanting: ‘‘Tau mai ra. Tau mai ra.’’ It sounded very old very sacred. A karakia from a bygone era. Tiro thought she had heard all her mother’s waiata, moteatea, karakia. But this karakia had a different sound, different words even a different feel. And then all of a sudden a part of the cliff face disappeared, like a doorway into Mount Ngongotaha. Tiro was gobsmacked. She could not believe what her eyes were seeing. She took off and put on her goggles at least four or five times trying to comprehend what had just happened.
And then a voice as smooth as Saturn against her skin caressed her ears: ‘‘Nau mai haere mai te tamahine a Hinenui-te-po.’’ Almost in a trancelike state Tiro was unable to resist the summoning of the thin, enchanting voice. Drawn from her hiding place Tiro didn’t care whether her mother knew she was there and as she came shoulder to shoulder with her mother, her mother put her arms around her shoulders, and with a smile full of knowing and joy walked through the doorway into the mountain together.
WINNER: YOU ARE STUNNING
You are stunning and powerful more than you know
Your weakness is your strength, and your strength only grows
A rock in a river, a light in the dark
Never conformed to uniformity stayed true to your heart
Hold tight to your morals, you know who you are
Draw a line in the sand and it will take you far
Didn’t let people diminish the mana you earned
Kept your head held high and let your fire burn
You are amazing and beautiful in so many ways
If you trust in yourself I promise it will pay
The world can be cruel and life seem unfair
But you can make it through anything that’s why your still here
Your strength is so awesome and attractive to the world
You are worth more than money or diamonds or pearls
You shine so bright like a diamond in the sky
A guiding light people need to get by
You have a heart of a warrior and the strength of a god
And you have never been afraid to back the under dog
You’re completely and utterly amazingly cool
Smarter than your average, but still able to be fooled
Willing to give anything a go, not afraid to live life
Even took on the devil and got a high five
Creative and articulate too smart for your own good
Had the ability to do what no one else could
So this is a letter I wrote to my younger self
Cause when I was younger, I was told something else
HIGHLY COMMENDED: THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
And it was time to do this
(So) now you are here
Standing on the maunga
Waiting for dawn
You’re (glad) it’s going
To be a clear day
She tells you the stories of this land
Her moko at her side
Listening and learning every word
(You) zip up your jacket
In the cool air
It is time
You look east
To where the sky meets the ocean
The sun emerges slowly
The ocean glistens
The land glows
You (are) among the first people to see this dawn
To watch this new sunrise
And now she is (sharing) a karakia
As you greet (this) new day
Ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea. It is dawn
This is the (moment)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: POETRY ENTRY
I was taken off my mother when I was 10 years old
Placed in a home sitting in a dark corner crying and cold
Stuck in deep thought not knowing what I had done
I wanted to leave and run back home to my mum
But every time I tried they sent me straight back
Fifteen years later I’m still on the wrong track
At age 14 I joined a gang — smoking week, fighting and speaking slang
Committing petty crimes and trying to spit rhymes
As a young street kid I was tagging on people’s fences
Twenty-five now and serving time for driving and weapon-related offences
I just wanna be free, like a flock of high soaring birds
And this writing course has taught me how to control my emotions with the use of poetry and words
HIGHLY COMMENDED: THIS FAWN HILL
Lithe tendrils of mist receding in the glory of the morning sunlight, revealing this fawn hill.
Swathes of feelings brought forth as eyes stroke the rolling features of this fawn fill.
Tumultuous spaces, life laid bare, powerful elements strip the ground naked across this fawn hill.
Thoughts of loved ones on blazon summer nights and in saturnine winter lights, rib-tickling from the windswept peak of this fawn hill.
Choices and vagaries give life to lurid tales, ascending with the steep ridges, snaking their way towards the sky about this fawn hill.
New opportunities slowly unfolding while Lupercalian forces produce green teeth of foliage along this fawn hill.
Freedom beckons just out of reach, calling like the bawdy evening birdsong rising off this fawn hill.
Anxious faces, relieved embraces, the end has finally arrived. Enduring in its place. Waking in the shadow of this fawn hill.