Tag Archives: Fairburn school

Cracking good owl poem by Te Ringa Tu Graham (Y6)






Wake my adorable owl,

As day falls and night awakes,

People drown in their sleep,

 and you arise to see the darkness of night.



Floating through the calm air,

The warm pressure of the summer breeze,

 jumbles under the fury wings of the owl.

The air tickles the feathers,

As it listens to the natives snoring in their huts,

 under its slick body.



Listen to the familiar everyday noises,

The howling, the hooting,the big z sounds

Climbing out the windows of houses,

The trees and rivers flow through waves of air.



Swooping down on its curious victims,

The tough magnificent owl,

rips its prey from the wavy grass,

Its victims slashed,

kept in its talons until it reaches its nest.



Striking fiercely through the prey,

 on the dirty muddy ground,

The mighty owl keeps its grip on lock,

until the rays of the sun hit the blue sky.



Eat the scrumptious prey,

As the screams silenced, the prey is dying,

You don’t feel bad instead you feel happy.

For you have something to feed your family.



Sleep peacefully,

As darkness drops to its knees,

and the sun angers towards the earth,

You slowly drift to sleep.


Te Ringa Tu Graham Rm30


Fairburn School, South Auckland



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drawing by Kashira Rainey, Year 5, Room 30, Fairburn School 









A dazzling new poetry collection from Fairburn School in Otāhuhū




A few years ago I was writer in residence at Fairburn School in Otāhuhū thanks to a programme initiated by The NZ Book Council. It stands as an extra special memory.

I was so delighted when Principal, Frances Nelson, popped the 2017 book in the post for me. Staff and students get right behind the author visit and the school just hums with poetry. This year Janice Marriot and Zech Soakai got the school exploring the theme, ‘cultural identity’.

I love the book and know from experience this is only the tip of the poetry treasures popping through the school.

Congratulations on this wonderful project. I am full to the brim with poetry joy.








Celebrating the South Auckland Writing Project in Schools last night – my photo celebration


Ōtāhuhu Pātaka Kōrero Ōtāhuhu Library was packed last night for the launch of the books from the Writer’s Residencies in South Auckland Schools.

Thanks to The New Zealand Book Council and the Ōtahuhu Rotary Club, this project was launched in Term 3 and 4. Five writers were based in five Ōtahuhu schools.

As you know I got to go to the very lovely Fairburn School (I posted lots about my visits!).

The place was packed! The children were glowing with pride. All the hard work from students, teachers and writers had resulted in four beautiful books (one is on its way).

I found it a very moving occasion; along with the school residency, it was a year highlight. I thank everyone who made it possible so very much.

I especially thank the students and teachers who filled Fairburn School with poetry joy. Wow!



The Principal of Fairburn School (Frances Nelson) shows me their book for the first time. My face says it all. I was over the moon at the look of it. They had used The Letterbox Cat as a model. I couldn’t wait to find a secret corner to read all the poems.


Fairburn students made beautiful speeches in celebration of the project and their new book.


The cover of the book is so zingy. It is like a Dr Seuss cover. Wow!




I loved it when Hammad read his poem out. I loved hearing about my Mad-Hatter Actions. It is so true. I spotted myself doing some during my thank-you speech! I was on the verge of tears when I heard this read aloud.


I loved the way some of the poems are from my workshops and some are inspired by classes after my sessions in the hall. I loved that mix. It felt very special to discover the poem ripples.





I especially loved seeing some picture poems as the children had done outstanding examples of these in my workshops. I posted some on the blog.


I loved discovering the gorgeous illustrations by children. What fun they must have had. How hard the teaches must have worked!


I love the way Room (Y0/1) made class poems. Gorgeous! Great picture too!


I loved the way the poems took me back to the children who write them. I remember how hard Orlaith worked on this one. It was so very good to read it again.



Here I am with Catriona Ferguson (CEO of The NZ Book Council) – we were given beautiful flowers.

What an utterly special occasion. yes I laughed and i cried and oohed and aahed as all the schools shared their wonderful books and writing.

I have read the book from cover to cover and I am so impressed. Congratulations students, your poems are magnificent.  I am so proud of you. Can’t wait to catch up for a visit next year.

A memorable night.

Thank you!


The finished picture poems have just arrived from Y3/4 at Fairburn School – wow! I adore them

As part of my visit, we did picture poems – as you know I love doing these myself.

You need your EARS and your EYES working hard! You could call these shape poems and you could call these concrete poetry but I call them picture poems.


a    p i c t u r e     p o e m    p l a n

First we went hunting for words to match the subject (as many as possible).

Secondly we made word patterns or word strings. We picked three words then made patterns with them to make word strings.

Thirdly we drew a quick outline of our subject.

Fourthly we picked where to put the words. Around the outline or fill the subject up! (You can’t do both).

Lastly we put the words in to make the picture.  You can draw in little details. You can just use pencil or you can add a bit of colour in the details. Let the words make the picture though.


you can      g i v e    i t   a   t i t l e     if you like


Congratulations my Y3/4 writing group. I got goose bumps when these arrived in my email box. They look so good and they would be such fun to read aloud. How you read them is over to you.

As much as these are PICTURE poems they are SOUND poems.


I loved every one of them so it was hard picking a few to put on this post. You all worked so hard on these. A big thank you to the teachers who helped you to finish them.


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On being the Writer in Residence at Fairburn School in South Auckland

For the past six days I have been the Writer in Residence at Fairburn School in South Auckland.

What an extra special experience – there are so many fabulous things I could share but here are fourteen things I loved about working in this school.



The teachers, the librarians and the management team are so supportive. What a warm, friendly, inspiring bunch of people. It makes a big difference when you are a guest.



The children are warm and friendly and are prepared to give things a go. Whenever I walked through the playground, it seemed like hundreds of children came running up, saying ‘Hello Paula Green’ with big smiles. So welcoming.



I love the way the children joined in when we made up poems in the hall. I did three sessions and each time the hall buzzed with poetry.

Here is one poem we made up (inspired by a very foggy Auckland Monday morning – my first drive to the school).


Out of the Fog

Out of the fog the icy grass

Out of the fog the blackbirds squawking

Out of the fog the blue grey mountains

Out of the fog the white dog barking

Out of the fog the moving shadows

Out of the fog the humans walking

Out of the fog the hedgehogs crawling.




I love the way some classes went off and wrote poems after my interactive performances.  Room 19 not only went away and wrote poems but performed at the Family Sharing Day on Friday. Such vivid language. Such ocean pictures growing in my mind as I listened. Every poem was a gem but here are four of them.

photo 1 photo 3 photo

photo 2



I loved the way the New Entrant class left the hall and made up a poem that they performed on the Family Sharing Day. They stood on stage in a long line, in front of the audience, and each child said their line. What courage. And they said their lines so beautifully.


Kids play outside (Isaac)

Kids like to skate (Ernett)

Kids play in  mud (Talita)

Kids can put their boots on (Drae)


Kids have hair (Aisea)

Kids can cook (Ryan)

Kids can hide (Jasmeet)

Kids can learn (Yogyeta)


Kids like to read (Triansha)

Kids can sit (Juelz)

Kids can swim (Neti)

Kids like shopping (Shresti)

Kids love toys (Sueao)


Kids can laugh (Coco)

Kids are big and strong (Izhaan)

Kids are Superheroes (Koni)




I did a wild-card workshop with 16 children from Y2 to Y6 who have stretching imaginations and a love of words. We did picture poems but it was pretty hard going through all stages and finishing the poems in one hour. I like picture poems to look good but also sound good so you play with reading them out loud! This is great way to jam with words.

I loved the way Otile brought back her finished poem to show me! I especially like way she made a windy rain cloud and a heavy rain cloud.




I loved seeing a hen walking to school one morning and getting an idea for a poem. I wondered what class it was going to visit. It remind me of my ‘Peacock is Over the Moon’ poem in my book Flamingo Bendalingo!

photo 1




I loved reading the poems that Y5 and 6 had displayed in the hall and discovering some children had written about the visiting poet (me!). I laughed at the line ‘Mad Hatter actions’ in this poem. Wonderful! So I am like a Mad Hatter! Just the poetry surprise I love.

photo 2



I loved being interviewed by a bunch of budding journalists (Anna, Solomone, John and Orla) with the help of Mr Choong (he had great ideas and such energy!).

When the video is posted on YouTube I will post a link. The group has put a lot of work into the interview. My favourite question was to think up three words to sum up poetry or my poetry career (play, music, joy).



All week I worked with sixteen Year 2 students doing writing. Wow! Such poetry buzzing and steaming in the room. Ears and eyes were working hard. Sad to say goodbye.


The Tree

My tree is a

strawberry tree.

Cats crawl in

my tree.

Owls hoot in

my tree. Birds chirp

in my tree. My tree

is thin.

My tree sways and

makes a lot of noise.



The Sun

Blazing fiery yellow

sun sizzles, Matariki stars

shine bright on us.

Tiger hot blazing

sun, sparkly shining

hot sun.




I worked with twenty Year 3/4 students all week — hunting for words, playing with words on the line, building images, using ears. The room was popping and simmering with poems. Sad to finish!



Birds flying high

flapping and diving


In the night

peeking out windows


Searching for birds

I look for


tui  every time.

Nardia Y3


The Sky

Eclipses star moon

black orangish yellow,

and covered clouds

white sun sinking.


Seagulls, fantails and


taking food

chirping drifting,


diving and flying

pictures of clouds

in slow motion.

Jashvir Y4


My Tree

He has dark green

tree leaves

wsssshh   wsssshhh   wooh   wooh

from the tree,

and the owl sleeping.


I told people

to stop hurting Max.

He grows me plenty of apples

for lunch.

I love Max

and he loves

me his

secret is he’s happy

every time

I’m around.






I worked with twenty Y5/6 students for six days. Words went flying, eyes went searching, imaginations soared, ears listened to the music on the line. Wonderful! It was sad to say goodbye.


Spring Evening

Dim misty moon

big bright blossom

rosy red rose

ripe red apple

green grass growing

rosy red robin

big bonfire

beautiful twilight moon.

Jordan Y5


Spring Bees

Bees harvesting nectar

buzzing bees flying

following orders.

Making honey

dodging spiders

fierce fighters.

Flying in blue skies

watching humans play

flying by.

Allerton Y5



Flowers grow

into sunflower petals

on top

of the dark

brown soil.



The Forever Tree

Tall weak tree, branches

swaying, leaves falling,

skins cracking, crows sitting

on dead branches.

Reminds me

of a tree upside

down that will

never ever talk again.





I was so surprised and delighted when a Junior class performed James K Baxter’s whale poem in the hall (it’s in The Treasury of NZ Poetry for Children and one of my favourite Baxter poems) . The class recited it beautifully and we all gasped when up popped the big black whale with the flicking tail. Genius!

The Family Sharing Day was a spectacular day and I adored all the plays and poems  – the classes had worked so hard to celebrate Oral Language Term! I especially loved the way old stories became new stories. What a great idea this was.



I loved the way the whole school glowed with poetry. I drove home on Monday afternoon (yesterday)  (Day Six) and felt full of delicious poems. Wonderful. More than that though, I glowed with the way this very special school had welcomed me into their whanau.


t h a n k  y o u

x P a u l a




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