Category Archives: NZ Author

Some poems by children to celebrate NZ poets in the reissued Treasury





Thanks for sending all the poems in – it was fun reading them all. I am sending a copy of The Treasury to Gabriella.

Extra thanks to Churton Park School for sending all the pop popping poems in! I loved them.



(a reply to Elizabeth Smither’s “The Stapler”)

Paper clips are nice to paper
not like any nasty staple
Can hold a lot of paper
5 or 6 its favourite number
Wants to end the staple families.

Paper clips can connect and bend
They are paper’s best friend
Easy to collect with a magnet
Never tears or rips the paper
Paper clips are best, not staples

By James K    Age 11, Year 6  Churton Park School


The scissors
As in response to ‘The stapler’ by Elizabeth Smither

What a ferocious beasts are scissors
With blades that ruin knickers
They do not like to feed on snickers*
They do not like large rocks

They must have two sheets at least
Or else they can’t be deceased
They prefer more at least four
As when you cut up a story.


*as in the chocolate bar
Gabriella R age 10, Year 6  Churton Park School
Note: There are ones similar, but these are all my ideas. By the way I put deceased there as in getting worn out.


The Scissors
In Response to Elizabeth Smither’s ‘The Stapler’

What a strange beast are a pair of scissors
With sharp blades that ruin pictures
They have an appetite for stickers
They do not like cardboard

Over time the things it can cut
Begins to be not as much
It does not care how many sheets
It will tear up your story

Nathan S Year 6    Churton Park School



Wiggly Wiggly

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Do the harlem
Wiggle a jellyfish,
Touch a marlin.

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Bend a worm,
Twist a leg,
Squirm a berm.

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Twist a head,
Break a led,
¨Oh! No!¨ he said

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Kiss a frog,
Buy a dog
Climb through fog.

In response to Joy Cowley’s Wriggly Wriggly

Ryan L 11 years old   Year 6   Churton Park School



Inspired by Joy Cowley:

Muddly Muddly

Muddly Muddly
feed a cat
It wears a hat
Big and fat
Muddly Muddly
Feed a cat

Muddly Muddly
Feed a dog
Eat a hotdog
Than take a jog
Muddly Muddly
Feed a dog

Muddly Muddly
Feed a horse
Use the force
Become the source
Muddly Muddly
Feed a horse

Muddly Muddly
Feed a kiwi
Wee wee
Very sneaky
Muddly Muddly
Feed a kiwi

By Angad Gill, Churton Park School, Year 6


To Joy Cowley

Muddly Muddly,
Feed a horse,
Give it a tomato,
Make a sauce,
Eat it up,
With some paws,
Put it down,
On the floors,
Feed a horse

Muddly Muddly,
Feed a dog,
In it’s bowl,
Feed it hogs,
Eat them up with,
Some Hogs,
Muddly Muddly,
Feed a Dog

Muddly Muddly,
Feed a cat,
Stuff it,
Inside a hat,
Tip it out onto,
A mat,
Muddly Muddly,
Feed at Cat

by Hannah age 10 Year 6 Churton Park School




for Robin Hyde (inspired by ‘The Last Ones’)

Galloping along wild prairie
Paddling through the cool waters of the lake
Resting under a weeping willow
Braving the fierce winds of the desert
Soaring through grasses
Mane and tail billowing
To be wild
To be free


Name: Nell  Age: 9 Year: 4   Homeschool

Welcome Back Day: A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children is out again & I have a giveaway copy



A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children, ed Paula Green, illustrations Jenny Cooper, this edition, Penguin Random House, 2017

To celebrate the return of this gorgeous book to our shops (yeah I can buy more copies again!!)  I have one to give away to a child.

The wee challenge: Write a short poem for your favourite NZ poet (except I’d rather you didn’t pick me!!) Under the title write who the poem is for.  (for Joy Cowley or Margaret Mahy or Peter Bland or James K Baxter or Elena de Roo or Bill Manhire or Jenny Bornholdt or Peter Millet or Gavin Bishop or Kyle Mewburn or Janet Frame or Elizabeth Smith or Hone Tuwhare or Fifi Colston or Peggy Dunstan or Emma Neale or Shirley Gawith or Courtney Sina Meredith or Rachel McAlpine or Richard Langston or Anna Jackson or Sam Hunt or Sue Wotton or Bill Nagelkirke or John Parker or Ruth Paul or Apirana Taylor      …..    and there are lots more poets in the book including children!


The poem might be about anything.

It might borrow a title from your favourite poet.

Or borrow a character or a subject and take your poem in a new direction.

It might play with words.

It might tell a story.


Send to me by  Friday 8th December.

Include your name, age year and name of school.

Include  Treasury in email subject line.

I will post favourites and pick one to send book to on Monday 11th December.

A very good picture book: Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins’s The Longest Breakfast






The Longest Breakfast written by Jenny Bornholdt, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins

Gecko Press, 2017


I love breakfast. I love pouring my homemade granola in the bowl, picking strawberries from the garden to slice on top, adding a dollop of yoghurt and a swish of apple juice.

MMMMMMM! Heaven!

I love hearing the birds sing in the bush and watching the sea mist roll in from the ocean.


Now I have a breakfast story to love too. It feels special like The Tiger Who Came to Tea feels special. It is just the story to read aloud while you munch on pancakes or toast or boiled eggs (or granola!).

The story: The children are hungry and their dad is trying to find just the thing to hit the right hungry spot.


When I say children – there are a lot! Say 8! If you include the neighbour and friends.

Everyone seems to want something different and baby is giving his clues (toot toot buzz buzz).


I whizzed through the book, I drizzled through the drawings, I sizzled and word swam and got hooked.

The writing is plain and the story gets moving.

The drawings feel alive and the characters are EYE catching.


And the ending is perfect – a little breakfast surprise that makes the whole book glow!






Gavin Bishop’s Aotearoa is a splendid thing



Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story by Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House, 2017)


‘There was plenty of kaimoana in the sea.’

This book is like a treasure house of New Zealand history with text and illustrations from one of our very best children’s authors – Gavin Bishop. Penguin Random House have produced a gorgeous hardback book (it is very big and very beautiful!) that celebrates such a wonderful labour of love through publishing care.

Gavin shines a reading searchlight in all directions. History is like a prism – it has many ways of being viewed.

Aotearoa should be in every home and in every school because it is a book where you can lose yourself meandering and you can discover all kinds of things. You have to peer closely into each page to find things in the words and the images. Magnificent!

Gavin begins the Aotearoa story when an asteroid hit Earth (65 million years ago!).

He takes us through arrivals of peoples, wars, treaties, more wars.

We travel through the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the sports we play and the way our country has extraordinary natural beauty.

He shows us famous people and people who have told our stories, made art, films and music.

He reminds us of how we have protested – how we speak out.

That makes the book political, but it is also personal because it feels like it is my story, your story, and our story.


The book is a taonga that reminds us of our taonga and how important it is for us to join hands and find ways to care for this place we love. I absolutely love it.


Penguin Random House page

Gavin Bishop’s web page











Poetry fireworks: Storylines Hui poems from children’s authors Gavin, Stephanie, Melinda, Heather and Kerin


I took a poetry workshop at the Storylines Hui in October with about 30 children’s authors. It was fast-speed fun! We spent 90 minutes playing with words.

I loved the hui – so many highlights but what a treat to do workshops with Kate De Goldi and Joy Cowley and catch up with all my friends in the children’s book world.

I got the writers to send in some poems, even though, for most of them, poetry is NOT what they usually do. I think they are  word-sparkingly good and I just love the energy that sparks from their sounds and images and surprise!

Just the thing to say out loud in the rain!


from Gavin Bishop (who has the most amazing new book (Aotearoa A New Zealand Story) which I will review soon):




Tongue and groove dripped ginger beer

onto the bench-top, onto the floor.

Like a guinea pig to the door, I slid,

like a pig through the door – the dripping kitchen door.



Window View


The Alps zig-zag between the frame.

The foot-hills scramble across the glass.

Looking down now, with kahu eyes, the city jives beneath my gaze.



Sun Shower

The sunshine is awash with water.

A blue raincoat flaps in light.

Sparrows spray aside as my daughter splashes by,

on her hydroponic bike.




from Stephanie Mayne (who has excellent poems in A Treasury of NZ Poetry reissued this month):


In My Pocket.

A blade of grass, a rusty nail

Marbles blue as a peacock’s tail.

Pale white shells, and out of reach

Sand, from swimming at the beach.

Half bus ticket, scrunched up note

(Hard to read what the writer wrote!)

Leaf I liked, old cough lolly

One glass eye from my sister’s dolly.

Half a biscuit, apple core

Yellow crumbs and ants galore.

Soft grey feather, cicada case

Fidget spinner? No more space!



from Melinda Szymanik (who wrote the completely amazing A Winter’s Day in 1939 among other excellent things):


Water’s for Ducks

Sun’s out

Birds try

Bird bath

Clouds come

Rain drips

Slow fills

Bath, spills

Clouds go

Sun’s out

Drips dry

Birds try

Bird bath


In Your Pocket

In your pocket

Are five pink

Shrink-wrapped sausages

Wriggling worms

In close white

Knitted tight

On knuckled digits

Hand in glove

In your pocket



Here. In School

I went to work

A school visit, close to home

And because I am polite

Not rude

I put my phone on silent

At morning tea

Messages are always checked

And this time,

This time

The message was different

“Is your boy home sick?” they asked

Just checking

Because he’s not at school.

I’d seen him off that morning

Uniformed, lunch packed, back pack hoisted.

Heart sick.

I felt heart sick

My boy was not in school

As he should be

Not in school

The message was different

Had I heard it right?

At lunch

The message was different

They had not heard him


When he said “here”

In school.



from Heather Haylock whose first picture book is to be published by Penguin Random House next year (Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter – the current Gavin Bishop Award book, illustrated by Lael Chisholm):


River Fog
Low and slow, the dampness creeping.
Hid beneath, the river weeping.
Dark and deep, moving, masking,
underneath, the dragon dancing.


My pocket left home this morning,
Full of possibilities.

My pocket came home
bulging with shame.

Two detention slips.
Another teacher’s note.
Grades too far down the alphabet.

My pocket, my friend,
hid my shame.

Until washing day.


From Kerin Casey who is busy writing children’s stories:


Griffin’s Hug


Wiry warm arms

Wrap tight around my neck

Squeezing love in

Wringing forgiveness



Snug as a bug in a rug

Griffin’s hug




This soggy day of bedraggled entanglements

Drips and slips

Through my melting fingers

Sticky and limp




In My Pocket


In my pocket is a small round stone

Sea green

Warm heart

Whipped smooth by sand on a cold surf beach

Foam flying

Waves smashing

Found, weighed, then tossed by a friendly hand

Moves on


Returns and seeks it out, desperate

Sea green

Warm heart

Smooths a gnarled thumb across its surface

And thinks of me






November challenges: reinventing acrostic poems and leaping off from art


I am going to post a few more things between now and December but these are the last challenges for the year.


I was inspired by two books:

a poem by James Brown in Annual 2 which I really really LOVED (check it out!!)

and the brand new, absolutely AMAZING  The New Zealand Art Activity Book.


There are two challenges!


I will have a copy of The Letterbox Cat and a copy of The New Zealand Art Activity Book (grateful thanks to Te Papa Press) to give away.


Send to by 27th November. I will post some favourites on 30th November.

Please include your name, age, year and name of school. I won’t post poems if I don’t have these details.

IMPORTANT:  Put ACROSTIC POEM or ART POEM  in the subject line of the email please. PLEASE say which artwork you picked under the title of your poem or in subject line of email.

First Up: Art Poems



The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd, Te Papa Press 2017 (a new edition)

Te Papa Press have published a new art activity book and it is such fun. Helen Lloyd chose more than 50 artworks in the museum collection and asked 15 artists to do page works for the book especially.

You get to see old works and news works, from famous artists and not so famous artists, from Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika and Asian artists.

I really really like this book  because not only do I get to check out art but there are very cool activities. It is the perfect book for the summer holidays when you want a break from gadgets or tree climbing or boogie boarding.

You can colour in, make a tivaevae or flying sculpture, design a treasure box or patterns. There are 150 pages of things to do and look at.

I thought it might be fun to use one of the artworks as a starting point for a poem.


The challenge:

Pick an artwork. There are four images below to choose from.

let the artwork take you wherever you like!

You might take one small thing in the work that catches your eye as a starting point. Then you can leap into your imagination.

You might just use a colour and see where it leads you – mindwander on a page before you start writing. Especially for Sara’s painting.

Does anything in the painting hook a memory? Use that for your poem.

Play with colour words to make a word pattern (blue ultramarine grey). Try doing it in black font. Listen to your poem.

Try describing what you see in the painting in a poem. Play with the words.

Explore the feeling you get from the painting in a poem.

Invent a little story that your imagination hooks up from the work.

Try painting a picture with words – real things help make pictures grow.


Four artworks from four of my favourite NZ artists to choose from:



  1. ‘Millions of colours’ by Sara Hughes




2. ‘Ulumago’ by John Pule



3. ‘Untitled’ by Saskia Leek



4. ‘The dancing chicken’ by Dick Frizzell



Thank you!!!!   Activities/images reproduced with permission from The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd, published by Te Papa Press. Available at all good bookstores or online here.


Second Up: Acrostic Poems


We all write acrostic poems where the first letters of each line spell a word – and often it is just one word that follows:


My cat





Sometimes the lines stretch and make the poem grow:


My cat

Catching scraps of paper

As though she is a vacuum cleaner,

The tail flicks, the whiskers quiver.


James Brown though was a very tricky acrostic poet because he made the first letters make a word and the last letters make a word. I have had a go with my cat poem:


My cat

Cheeky cat crept,  kitchen hectic

Ate the fishy pasta

That  we cooked tonight.


I decided to try putting the word in down the middle of the poem:


My Cat

The Cat sleeps on

my lAp, dreaming

of sTrange sardines.


Have fun playing with what acrostic poems can do!


And    h a v e   fun doing these two challenges.

Some favourite poems from the October challenges

I had fun writing some found poems and some book-spine poems.

I also had fun reading yours so a big THANK YOU for sending them.

This is a MAMMOTH post because there were so MANY  p o e m s.


Selwyn House School and Paparoa Street School were so enthusiastic about the book-spine poems and Westmere School cooked up a storm with found poems.

I am sending a copy of The Letterbox Cat to Te Wana class at Paparoa Street School. I loved the way you used the words in a book to take your poems off in a thousand different  s u r p r i s i n g   directions.


On November 1st, I am posting my last challenges for the year.



Here are some book-spine poems:


Juliet G, 10 years old, Selwyn School



Our story
Jumping cross country fences
Staying clean
Ice skating school
Caring for cats and kittens
Dogs and puppies
The world’s shoulders

Juliet G, 10 years old, Selwyn House School


The Other Side Of Dawn

Petals in the ashes
The white darkness
Taking off
A very unusual pursuit
Let me whisper you my story


Photo on 24-10-17 at 9.30 AM.jpg

Sylvie King Age: 11 Year: 6 Selwyn House School
The Cup Of The World

Fly Away Home
By The Monkey’s Tail
Out Of My Mind
The Deadly Dare Mysteries
The 10pm Question

Photo on 24-10-17 at 10.16.jpg

Masha P, ten years old, Selwyn House School


The pearl of one foot island
The pearl of one foot island
The colossus rises
The wind in the willows
You’ve got guts
Mao’s last dancer
Treasure hunters

Photo on 24-10-17 at 10.07 AM.jpg

Ruby A, 10 years old,  Year 5,  Selwyn House School



Through the tiger’s eye

Against the tide
No survivors
A very unusual pursuit
The spook’s apprentice
The gray king
The seeing stone
The power of one

Harriet  age 9 year five Selwyn House School

Beware of the Dark!

The dark is rising
Thief Lord
Daughter of the wind
Alone on a wide, wide sea
Chasing Vermeer
The cup of the world
The prisoner
Out of my mind
When friendship followed me home

Laura M Age 10,  Selwyn House School

What the raven saw

What the raven saw
Through the tiger’s eye
Jungle hunters
Liar and spy.

Gemma W 10 years old, Year 5, Selwyn House School


Juggling with Mandarins,
if i stay,
call me HOPE,
Forever Rose.

Photo on 24-10-17 at 11.20 AM.jpg

Alice M 10 years old, Y5, Selwyn House School


Here are some found poems:



Students from Te Wana, Paparoa Street School sent me a bunch of fabulous found poems using words random pages in the Lemonade Genie by Adrian Boote.



Spikes lemonade glitter exploded

Lemon yellow ear-rings dangly on silver

Dazzling shoes


By Noah and Toby B Year 3



Almost all-powerful genie stared

Jiggly lemon yellow eyebrow

Magnificent golden seagull a lump

Old cocker chewing-gum wishes

Could giggled Moonwood eagle



By Mason and Xavier Year 3



Lookout Tower


everything up

to the

Lookout tower



By Humnah and Esther Year 4









Disastrous knocking flapping tripping and

Horribly falling

Ooooh nooo!!


By Charlie and Liam Year 4


Young Man

Young man




Yellow shoes dangly

Huge suit

Yellow lemon


By Finn and Ciaran Year 4



Three wishes?

All-powerful genie




By William Year 4




The Lemon Poem

Lemon yellow shoes

Winked and sparkled under the classroom

Big, dangly lemon ear-rings

Yello-rimmed sunglasses

He wore a dazzling lemon yellow shirt

I’m the lemonade genie


By Elsie and Nicholas Year 3-4



Mystery Man

Young man

Winked and sparkled silver glitter

Dazzling lemon yellow lights stuck up in spikes

Yellow-rimmed sunglasses classroom exploded

Who are you?

Call me Keith


 By Romey and Drew  Year 3-4


The Super Hero





Moonwood golden



By Lucas and Fin B Year 3-4


Silver Glitter

Huge suit made of silver glitter

Stuck up in spikes


A dazzling lemon yellow

Rimmed sunglasses


By Tadhg and Isaac Year 4


Terrifying horribleness poem

Knocking chairs

Spilling disastrous

Tucking horribleness

Terrifying handkerchiefs

Shirt-tails sink in


By William and Sree Year 4


Ranger in a lookout tower

I heard a noise



Stone moving



What’s what?


By Neve, Milly and Maddie Year 4


The students from LS6 at Westmere have been finding poems in signs around the library and from their library books. Here is a sample:


Found Poem

Another code to crack,
That white hair again!
Ah, let me think…
A violin named Allegro is sparkling,
But which bridge?

(found in False Note by Susannah McFarlane)

By Hannah LS6 Age 9



Break the Glass

Break glass switch
It’s the fire alarm
Grab your hat
Discover the world
If you want to succeed.

By Neve LS6 Age 10



I can’t
I won’t
I don’t
I nod
I pray
I stand frozen
I knock
I run.

(found in Girl Underground by Morris Gleitzman)

By Neve LS6 Age 9


Just a Library

Keep calm and read Harry Potter
Driven to read
What shall I read next?
Grab your hat and read with the cat!
Look after the books, look after each other.
The more you read the more things you know
the more that you learn the more places you’ll go!

By Henri LS6 Age 10



Christian replied
Christian Fontaine cradled his chin
Christian turned and stared
Christian frowned
Christian shook his head
Christian said nothing

(found in Alice Miranda in Paris by Jacqueline Harvey)

By Lola LS6 Age 9




Gusty trees, cloudy seas
most disposed, shutters closed.
He read his story thinking,
forests sinking?
Ochre skies before his eyes.
The other day full of dismay.
“A very good morning to you, Bluejay!”

(found in Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke)

By Petra LS6 Age 10


The Library Signs

We are the world, being and becoming.
We are one world
Belonging to hands
Driven to read
Full of surprises
You need to succeed
Discover the world
With a pull of a lead
Walk do not run
We are the hands of the world.

By Petra LS Age 10


Jo’s Library

Welcome, Read
Grab your hat and read with the cat.
Discover, Graphic novels
A to Z, X to Y
Becoming, being and belonging.
If you want to lead, read.
If you want to succeed, read.
What shall I read next? Hairy Maclary?
Schnitzel von Krum, Bottomly Potts,
Doggy Ditties, Fiction, Non-Fiction.
One world, The more you read
the more things you’ll know, the
more that you’ll learn, the more
places you’ll go!
No food or drinks
Look after each other
Te Reo Maori
Reading is Fabumouse
Fire Alarm
Book marks, Book marks, Book Marks!
Returns, Exit.

By Brooke LS6 Age 10 and Isabelle LS6 Age 10


LS7 have been busy finding poems in the library, the first poem is from the signs, and the others are from library books.

In the Westmere Library

The more that you read
The more things you’ll know
The more things that you learn
The more places you’ll go!
DIAL 111
Once out, stay out.
Matariki is when we celebrate the Maori new year.
Rules for the library:
USE QUiet voices…
look after the books
Get your books issued
Look after each other.
Bring your books back each week.
And the most important rule of all…
Enjoy the Library!

By Willa LS7Age 11


Cindy and the Prince

She bellowed help! and let me out
The magic fairy heard her shout…
The prince cried NO!
He grabbed her dress.
As Cindy shouted Let me go
the dress ripped from head to toe.
She ran out in her underwear
and slipped on a stair.
Cindy heard thuds of bouncing heads upon the floor
and poked her head around the door…
Poor Cindy’s heart was torn to shreds.
My Prince, she cried, He chops off heads!

(From Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes)

By Ruby LS7 Age 10




“Let’s start at the beginning.”
“What will you do then?”
“You really think so?”
“Of course!”


(From A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett)

By Olive LS 6 Age 9





The Silver Donkey

I’m ten.
This is my sister Coco, her real name is Therese.
Because she has black hair like a poodle’s
Everyone calls her Coco.
A soldier goes to war
with a donkey by his side.
Guns fired, war started
But the donkey saved the soldier.
The silver donkey took him back safely
To Coco and the 10-year-old girl.
They lived together happily.

(From The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett)

By Amelia LS7 Age 9



The Land of Secrets

The home for Dame Know-it-all.
The home for the Enchanter wise-man.
The home for the wizard-tall-hat.
The home for Miss Quiet-mouth.
The home for Witch Know-a-lot.
The home for all secrets of the world.

(From The folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton)

By Sarah LS7 Age 11


The Twits

“I’ve come for a holiday.” said the Roly-Poly bird.
And the Roly-Poly bird watched.
“What’s happened?”
“He’ll stew us alive,” wailed the second one.
“I’ll bite off your toes.”
And everyone including Fred shouted… “HOORAY.”

(From The Twits by Roald Dahl)

By Pippi LS7 Age 10



Kasper Prince of Cats

More and more he just didn’t want to.
I wasn’t frightened, not exactly.
He was just nervous, restless and anxious.
Those children, wretched children, she fumed.
He just skipped down the corridor.
I don’t want to leave my family she said.
Go my dear, go now.
Now I would lay awake at night thinking about it.
So I climbed the stairs to look.
I hadn’t any choice.
It didn’t matter much either way.

(From Kasper Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo)

By Honor LS7 Age 10