Tag Archives: northland tour

Northland Tour: Let’s get Skyping – this is a great way for authors to have sessions with schools throughout NZ

For the next few weeks I am doing follow-up Skype sessions with some of the schools I visited in Northland. I have done this before with Ngaio School in Wellington but this is on a bigger scale. Each school has come up with something different. All will be workshops but ranging from 16 to 75 in a session!

Yesterday I kicked it off with a writing workshop at Matarau School (just out of Whangarei). I was over the moon with how well it went. The only technical hitch was when the children spoke, it sounded like they were in the ocean (or a swimming pool) and I needed a dolphin interpreter (the teacher). But that worked! Every single student hooked into their own private poetry zone with supreme focus. Once they were into the process, one by one they, held their drafts up to the camera, and I was able to give feedback and mini challenges as I do in a classroom.

The poems were so good. I can’t wait to share at the end of the Skype season.

This is just amazing to me as it seems with support from people like The NZ Book Council (and on this occasion UNESCO) I can now work in rural out-of-the-way schools that hardly ever get writer visits.

w  o  n  d  e  r  f  u  l

excuse the fuzzy photo of my screen  you can see me in the right hand corner taking the photo


Northland Tour: Celebrating Maori Language Week can be very moving

Kia ora young poets,

I have always wanted to post a poem in Te Reo and today I can do it which is perfect timing.

This morning I was in my local supermarket and children from a nearby school were giving all the shoppers a lesson in Te Reo. We had to say the names of things we buy as they held up the posters. Children showed us to pronounce words, then we copied. The supermarket handed out scrumptious muffins and scones. Wow!

When I visited the very lovely Mania View School on my tour, the Te Reo class recited this poem they had written and then sang a waiata. I felt very welcomed by these gifts. Thank you. The gift of song is very precious.



Tiramarama nga whetu

Nga tuahine e whitu

Tiramarama Matariki e

Ka kite i te Moata e

He whakanui te Tau Hou

O te Iwi Maori e Matariki e!


The bright shining stars

The seven sisters

Shining bright for Matariki

You’ll see them early morning

Celebrating the Maori New Year

It is Matariki e!

photo 2 photo 1





Northland Tour: Some more poems from Onerahi School

This was the first school I visited on my tour and even though the poetry popped and crackled in the workshops (WOW! three workshops with about 75 children in each), I only posted one by Liam. I went back to my motel and fell asleep!

Here are some others that hooked me:


Kaitaia Cape

Black, white flag moves

brown kiwis hide away

the height of 100 ft

very far away.



blue house creaking

green bright pollen grass smell

white and brown dogs barking

the sound echoes

the bright blue sky with

white bright clouds

drifting through the sky.

Cars rumming on the road

the sun slowly drifting through

the sky also

people walking, talking.



Misty rain dropping

frosty outside walls

dew in the trees

aeroplanes zooming

freezing grass

water dripping

from cabbage tree leaves,

flax growing

from the rain,

flug lights

shining through

the windows.



People chanting, scores rising

light glows

balls rolling

down the oily alley

pins scattering

people smiling

teddy bears dropping

levers moving

buttons pushing

people playing games

winning noises

birthday singing.



Sunny skies

and sandy beaches,

grassy hills

and moving creatures,

bright pink starfish

and big huge whales

clear blue sea

and dolphin tales.



Water waving

people bathing

sand swishing

fish wishing

kids digging

life guards grinning

workers singing

dogs barking

and walking.



A big wild pig

in deep green trees.

A big deep strong

stream rushing to me.

The trees waving

around because

of the strong wind.




A big white box

filled with cold air

fruit veggie

freshly made juice

sitting n the shelf

four fat suasages

roasting on the plate

leftovers to share.




Baby was snoring,

woke up

‘Get ready!’


still laying

not moving

eyes close again.










Northland Poems: Kerikeri High school poems with great wintry moods!

I was so tired by the end of the week I didn’t get to post these. Visiting two groups of Year 7 students at Kerikeri High School was a wonderful experience. The sound of pencils scratching on the paper as the students got right into their poetry zones was spectacular. It deserves a poem.

A big thank you to the warm and firendly teachers and librarians. And for the delicious lunch!

Here are a few poems that struck me from this visit! Love the detail in these and the made-up words.


Chilly Winter

Frosty crystals forming

chilly wind howling past

bare trees moaning

this is winter.



Winter Awakes

Winter awakens

beds of frost

burning flames, winds singing

chimneys smoking, windows defending

flakes falling

sleds slicing

skis gliding, snowballs flyng

eyes awidening

winter has arrived.




Frosty grass, still

clouds like marshmallows,

cold toes.

Time to dip into some warm

slippers and start the





Green trees frosting

water ice cold

fire heating house

cosy woollen blanket


Ice skating, driftly

white gentle clouds

seagulls resting

pumpkin soup steaming

pot ready, on stove

for ,,,

hot chocolate to warm

me up.








Northland Tour: winding my way home

My Northland Tour is not yet over as I am doing a few weeks of Skype sessions with the schools which will be fun.

But on Saturday I spent the WHOLE day driving home as I stopped at LOTS of places. I went to the market in Kerikeri and LOADED up with citrus fruit, veggies, bread and cheese.

I went inside The Stone Store and bought some heritage seeds.

I drove out and went aside the Mission House at Waimate. The second oldest house in New Zealand. Looking at the old beds and the old walls and the old floor I could just feel the history, hear the voices of the past. Important things happened in this house that helped shape the country we are today.

I went to Waitangi (I have been here so often because I love it) and stood on the big wide stretch of green grass and looked out at the big wide stretch of sea. The tall flag towering. The tourists huddling. Again it felt like I stepped back into the past in a place where very important things happened.

I ate fish and chips at a cafe at Paihia that jutted out into the water. I NEVER eat fish and chips but suddenly I wanted some and they were delicious.

Then I drove home and it was good to step into my warm and cosy place and see the two cats and the two dogs and Michael. It felt strange that our daughters weren’t there but I felt so full to the brim of good things that happened on my tour, it made up for it, just a little bit.

photo 1 photo 3 photo 2 photo 1 photo 2


Northland Tour: two poem gifts from Ohaeawai School

When I visited Ohaeawai School, the Year 6 class had two treats for me.

A boy stood up and recited a poem he had written at home about the mountains! Amazing.

And another boy, Drezique, showed me this concrete poem he had written on his gadget because he knew I was coming that day. Amazing! I totally agree with his poem.

Thank you. I can post Drezique’s poem.

Screen shot 2015-07-27 at 9.10.01 AM

Northland Tour Snapshots

Well I have finished my tour sessions but I still have a few weeks of follow up Skype sessions. 

I had an utterly fabulous week so a big thank you to The NZ Book Council, UNESCO (who sponsored it), The National Library, the schools, teachers and pupils. 

I knew I would be too tired to drive back to Auckland today and I was so right. I went back to my very lovely motel and fell asleep. 

Then I headed down to the Stone Store to go for a walk. It was dusk so I was walking in the half light. Everything was shut yet it felt like I was walking in history. Walking back in time to when Maori and Pakeha first started living together. In the half light.  I kept imaging all the other feet before me. The other voices. In the half light of dusk. 

Then two dogs burst out of a car and dashed and crashed and splashed into the bitter cold estuary. With the geese and the ducks and the pukeko. I waited for feathers to fly and screeching and scratching but the dogs swam off into the cold. 

A hen followed me back to my car. 

Little poems everywhere. 

Now to celebrate the end of my tour, all the fabulous words in the air and on the page, I am eating dinner at Wharepuke. Yum. I am going to have three courses. 

Just to celebrate. 


Northland Tour Another adorable poem from Ohaeawai School

I loved the words that came flying from this poem. What a fabulous session we had. I was sad to leave. Kia ora Room 2. 


Pillow chest

combed feathers

plump and greedy

flapping flying squawking

searching for luscious berries. 

Like drums

winds beating in the air,

crackling branches,

the kereru pecks


The night comes, the kereru sleeps. 

Northland Tour Oromahoe School is a slice of paradise

I spent the afternoon here in this gorgeous wee country school. Then did a workshop with teachers and librarians who travelled as much as an hour to get here. It was fabulous. 

The teachers were warm and friendly and got stuck into poetry. Thank you!

It was a blue sky day with a surprising chill so we went on the hunt for winter poems again in the children’s workshop. Here are some of the poems. I had taken photos of others but lost them as my phone was full. Do send them to me. 


The sky is grey

and the clouds

are black and

everybody gets




The winter sun

shining on my face. 

I got to my 

feet and looked out

my window and I

saw trees, I saw

birds but most of 

all the beautiful frost. 

I took a 

breath and relaxed. 


Swaying trees white

raindrops frost black

on water lightening thunder


my mum knitted a jumper. 


On a winter’s day

the frost covers the

garden walls. On an

icy day I love pancakes or

porridge. Then I curl

up on a couch and read

a book. 


A Winter’s Day

Cold and frosty

ice solid grass and water

covers the earth. 

Big chunks of hail

stones raining down to

the land as if it was really raining. 


That’s My Dog

As the day slivers and pivers

as the tui tweets

and squawks,

the frosty grass

sticks to her fur

as she shivers

and pivers

she holds her

paws close 

to the door

until we open it,

then she

cosys up by

the fire. 

She puts her

paws wide apart

until someone

kicks her out.