Tag Archives: Arrowtown School

Some of my favourite poems from The Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition and a hidden challenge for you


c   o   n   g    r   a   t   u   l   a   t   i   o   n   s  !

So many fabulous poems came in for this i want to post a small collection of some of my favourites. It was hard to choose as I had so many.

What I love is the way a poem can surprise you. You know you want to go back and read it again. You know eyes and ears have been hard at work.

Congratulations young poets. You have done a fine job. I do hope you try some of my Monday challenges in term time.

A challenge for you all: If I get 30 comments on this post, I will pick one child to send a copy of A Treasury of NZ Poetry for Children. Tell me which poem you love and why. Extra points if you pick one that is not from your school!  Tell me your age, year and name of school and teacher’s email. I have an copy of Dear Heart: 150 NZ Love Poems for an adult who comments on a poem.



I am a cunning panther

Black as pitch black night


I leap quite majestically

I silently stalk my prey


I spring up to scale large trees

I growl like a deadly beast


As I am a cunning black panther

Black as pitch black night

Quin aged 10, Year 6, Hauraki School


Bright Green

Prickly, wet grass

yummy, juicy grapes

wobbly, slimy seaweed

bumpy, hard broccoli

Lincoln, Y2, Age 6, Barton Rural School



Big scary creature of the night

eagle like wings and fur not light

big scary creature of the night

claws like razors teeth like knives.

Big scary creature of the night

howling out my name

big scary creature of the night

please tell me you are tame.

Lucas, Y5, Age 9, Good Shepherd School



The shimmering sun.

The quailing wind smashes me.

The sand is so soft.

Logan, Y5, Age 8, Good Shepherd School


Night is a Fright

All the shadows on the wall make me fall, fall, fall

All the spooky sounds make me scramble

slip and fall

I try to think about my love of ponies

Bur it doesn’t help

I listen to my Mum and dad drink Sprite

oh how fizzy “oooo” what’s that sound? “ahhh”

I think only think night gives me a fright!

Jemima, Y2, Age 6, Good Shepherd School


The Night Sky

the stars glisten like Lake Tekapo

with the sun on it

the stars are shiny like black ice

white, like paper from the Bible


stars shoot through the sky

like rockets

Alex, Y6, age 10, Russley School


My Grandad

My grandad is as tall as a giraffe

My grandad is as friendly as a monkey

He wears blue glasses

like me

He used to sew up shirts in the air force

Now he carefully sews up my teddy bears

Josh, Y4, age 8, Russley School



She is as happy as a beautiful bright fish


She looks interested when she is watching

Chinese news


She helps me when I am scared

of the dark


She is a Chinese teacher

and artist


She draws flowers




and fire-breathing dragons

Sophia Y4, age 8, Russley School


Black Beard Dad

One time my dad caught a leaf

instead of a fish


He runs

a bit like Usain Bolt


He is a geologist

he blows up rocks


He wears a soft checked shirt


and has fillings between his teeth

like silver stars

Fergus Y3, age 7, Russley School



Plink, plonk, plink there is the rain

Plink, plonk, plink there it is again

Rain splashes on the roof of my house

like little girls doing tap

pitter, patter, pitter, patter

like a possum scampering

across our roof.

Meg Y3, Age 7, Carncot School


The Raging Bull

The ocean is an angry bull

Charging to the water’s edge

Pounding the seabed with its powerful horns

As the day goes on, he roars and roars

Carrying away sticks and stones


Licking his greasy hooves

The storm passes through

He sits with his head hung low

Calm and still

Waiting for the wind to blow and for the sky to turn grey

Sophie, Y6, Age 11, Carncot School



There is a giant monster in my house

Searching and perching on my couch

Munching and crunching on my favourite snacks

He hears the floor crack and is tempted to look  back

I run upstairs, knock my head

Only to find another monster in my bed

Antoinette, Y6, age 11, Carncot School


Winter Is Here

Icing sugar is falling from a crying cloud.

White messages are falling from the sky.

White owls in the sky are dropping their feathers.

Angels are losing teeth and are dropping them.

Little girls have frozen wands,

they are making it snow.

Sabina Y3, Age 7 Arrowtown School


Mapua Estuary

Where the shy hermit crabs scutter away from prying hands,

Where the nimble swallows flutter while chirping their careless songs.

Where the old boats gently bob like nodding heads,

Where the flapping flags cast a jittering shadow.

Where moorings fight an endless struggle against the tide,

Where live music drifts around crimson pohutukawa.

Where an army of pines sway in chorus with the rolling breeze,

Where seagulls clutter the skies scaring away the gently peace.

Where mud flats offer a feast to the restless oyster catchers,

Where driftwood quietly slips away, away to another faraway land.

Hamish, Y8, age 12, Arrowtown School


Winter River

Pebbles line the riverbed,

The bare willows lie above,

Riverweed starts to freeze,

Dead leaves rustle in the wind.


The bare willows lie above,

Sparrows fly overhead,

Dead leaves rustle in the wind,

With the crisp smell of the air.


Sparrows fly overhead,

Riverweed starts to freeze,

With the crisp smell of the air,

Pebbles line the riverbed.

Sarah Y8, age 12, Arrowtown school


Chocolate, a musical sensation

I tear open the purple wrapper

with a satisfying rip!

The taste is soothing and mellow

like smooth jazz,

an orchestra of flavours on my tongue.

It fills me with addictive adrenaline,

once I start I cannot stop,

a drum solo in my mouth.

My taste buds explode

all the flavours in harmony,

I give in and admit defeat.

Chocolate is …

the ultimate beat.

Paddy-Kees Y8, age 12, Arrowtown School


Rain Guardian

If I could control the rain

I would be called the Rain Guardian

I would go to places like Egypt, Africa and Iran

And water the crops making them come to life

I would donate water for dying children and people

I can help the Earth become a better place

I can heal the hearts and souls of people in the world


Anna Y6 Age 10, Fairburn School, South Auckland


Lonely Fox

Rain falling

leaves tumbling

fox squeaks

bush rumbling

water leaks

bees buzzing

fox drinks

spots a lynx


best friends

will never end.

Clara age 8, Ilam School



There is a boy waiting on  a fence.

Waiting, just waiting

for his father to come home.

There is a woman looking out a window down a gravel road


Waiting for her lover to come home,

home from the horrible battlefield


There is a mother with wrinkles of age painted on her face

sitting on a porch rocking back and forth, waiting.

Waiting for a child to come home.

She waits for the horror to end.


Waiting just waiting.


For a son,

a husband,

a father,

a man.

Waiting, just waiting

for a loved one to come home.

Jackson, Y8, age 12, Chisnallwood Intermediate, Christchurch















The Treasury Interviews: Arrowtown School extension writing group interviews Wendy Clarke

Extension writing year 7

Extension Writing Group  Year 7 Arrowtown School
Here we are under our favourite tree, with the mountains of the Wakatipu
Basin in the background. The tree is a Pin Oak and we have used it as
motivation for our writing a number of times. We are from left to right,
Dom, Hamish, Lukas, Paddy, Sarah, Georgie, Greta and Lily. (Absent is Ben.)
We are all twelve years old and we love to write, we especially love to
write poetry. On National Poetry Day we tied our poems to the branches of
the oak tree. It was a ‘Poetree.’

Wendy Clarke bio


My name is Wendy Clarke and I live in the little gold town of Arrowtown. I do lots of other things other than write. I am a school teacher at Arrowtown School. Fortunately I get to teach writing to a gifted and talented class of year 7 and 8 students. These are the students who have a passion for writing, how lucky am I? I am also a historical educator at the Lakes District Museum (in Arrowtown.) I particularly enjoy this because the history of Arrowtown is so interesting and I get to show kids around our town and tell them stories about the gold rush. I also give historical tours to American tour groups. They often want to hear more about my life in Arrowtown rather than the history.

I guess you want to know how I became a writer. When I was a child I loved to read and read and read!! I lived in the country but my mother took me to the library every Saturday so I always had lots of books to read. I am still a very keen reader, but I can’t read all day and all night the way I used to. (I had a torch to help me read under the bed covers.)

I began to notice things about the books I read, that is, which books I thought had been well written. I wrote my first poem when I was 11. My teacher thought it was very good and awarded me a prize, so I began to read poetry too. Poems back then all rhymed, I didn’t find out that poems didn’t need to rhyme until I was at high school.

There is now a big gap when I didn’t write at all. I went to Teachers College, became a teacher, went overseas for three years, came back and became a teacher again, had two children, but kept teaching. I was very busy. But a little voice in my head kept saying ‘something is missing.’ Of course it was writing. I decided to study writing at Massey University, I did this for six years until I had completed my degree. Suddenly I was doing lots of writing.

Since then I have had poems published, won a short story competition and have written a whole lot of books that help teachers to teach writing well. I would really like to publish more poems and I would love to publish a children’s book.

I thought that I might finish with a little check list that might help you become a writer.

How to become a writer.

  • Read all sorts of books. Don’t stick to just one type.
  • Find friends who like to write.
  • Carry a notebook to write down good ideas or put it by your bed, you have good ideas at night.
  • Tell people you want to be a writer, they might help you.
  • Listen carefully to the way people speak, it helps you when you are trying to write dialogue.
  • Be interested in words, I love looking up words in the dictionary or reading famous quotations.
  • Read and follow writing blogs, there are lots of people like you out there.
  • And remember, write, write, write and keep it, never throw ideas away or cross them out.
  • And don’t forget to show your writing to people or to enter competitions.


Good luck.


The Interview:

What inspires you?

I often have ideas rattling around in my head for ages. The idea may have been inspired by a conversation, an observation or even a news item. I live in Arrowtown, which is an old gold mining town, so historical incidents often give me ideas. I enjoy imagining characters and getting to know them in my head, even having imaginary conversations with them.

What genre do you prefer?

I love to write poetry, followed by short stories. I think that I am an observant person, and poetry is often about details and framing those details within interesting words, so it is perfect for someone like me.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I live in a very beautiful place, so sometimes I take inspiration from my surroundings. I am a big reader so good writing excites me and makes me want to write well too.

How do you fit writing into your life?

This is difficult. I can see why some writers lead very solitary lives. It is so difficult to find some quiet time. I need to be able to write without interruptions. I have a job and a family so my life is far from quiet. I find that going walking by myself is a very good time to think. I live near a lake so this is a good place to go and think.

Where do you write your ideas down?

I usually carry around a little notebook in my bag, I might slip little things inside this book or write down ideas in it. Strangely I like writing in red pen, I have no idea why.

Would you like to write a book?

I would love to write a book, but I don’t think I am ready to do that yet. It is a big time commitment, time that I don’t really have. One day I hope to.

How old were you when you were first published?

I was in my early forties, I started writing quite late in life, I wish that I had started sooner, but university study, travel and children kept me pretty busy.

How did you feel when you were first published?

Oh boy it was great. I won a short story competition, I won $500 which was a large amount of money to me. My story was published in a newspaper. Recently someone told me that they had cut the story out and still had it even though it was over ten years ago. I spent the money on an amazing pair of black boots!!

What is your favourite piece of writing?

I am very proud of some of my adult poems, a tremendous amount of work went into them. I wrote most of them when I was doing university study. I am very delighted to have a poem in the A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children, especially as the treasury has some wonderful New Zealand poets contributing to it.

Who published your work?

I have had work published in the School Journals but most of my writing is for an educational publishing company called Essential Resources. I have written a series called We Love Poetry and another series called Make Poetry Come Alive. These books are to help teachers teach poetry in an interesting way. Essential Resources sell my books all over the world, which feels very cool.

Which writers do you admire?

Gosh there are so many to choose from, but my favourite, favourite author is Margaret Mahy. I met her once and she signed a book for me. It is still one of my favourite possessions.



What a wonderful interview Wendy and the Extension Writing Group. Some great tips for writing too. Thank you!

5580s 5405s   Wendy’s Essential Resources page