Tag Archives: Remarkables primary school

Zara’s Halloween poem

Thought we should have one Halloween poem! Spooky stuff Zara.


Erie darkness in the sky as night is closing in. I tend to shiver a little bit as the vampires around me cry.  I start walking as the zombie shadows surround me.  I walk up to my spooky house and go to sleep.

From Zara age 8 Remarkables Primary School Whenua 2

Posting poems on Poetry Box – a remarkable car or two excuse the pun

Next year I will introduce a new timetable of things on Poetry Box as I aim to have a busy year writing!

But this year I always post my favourite poems from the challenges I set.

I sometimes post my favourite poems that have come from a school visit.

I don’t post poems sent to me that don’t fit these two things as I need time to do my own work.

This poem was sent to me after my visit to the fabulous Remarkables Primary School in Queenstown on Wednesday. I suggested all kinds of poetry things but one thing we played with was the last line of poem. I suggested testing out five different endings. I really like the ending Maddy came up with in this poem. Great job Maddy!


Cars roar
Cars glide
Cars run along the highway
Cars crash
Cars smash
Cars slip here and there
Cars go to the garage and have a nap.

Maddy -Age 8-Year 4-Remarkables Primary School-Class Whenua 2

The Treasury Interviews: Max S interviews Doc Drumheller

The Interviewer: My name is Max Sinclair. I am a Year 6 student who lives in Queenstown, New Zealand and I like soccer. I go to Remarkables Primary School.

The Interviewed:


Doc Drumheller (2)

Doc Drumhelller (Jason Clements) was born in South Carolina but now lives in NZ as an author. He teaches in the School for Young Writers and has won numerous awards. He edits a literary magazine called Catalyst.


The Interview:

What inspired you to become an author?

I have always enjoyed writing, as a young boy I enjoyed writing stories, funny rap songs, and parody lyrics of popular songs. One of my first loves in the arts is music and as a teenager I became obsessed with the music and lyrics of Bob Dylan. His songs are like musical poems and I love how he expands awareness. I carried my harmonica with me everywhere and made up songs while I went for walks, then I began reading poetry that influenced Bob Dylan, and have been writing poetry ever since.


What were you feeling when your first book came out? Why?

The first time you see your work in print is very exciting, it’s a bit like Christmas time and birthdays rolled into one. I still feel a sense of joy when a journal arrives in the mail, not only because I like to see my poems in print, but because I love to read other writer’s work. I believe you never stop learning, and keeping that excitement alive makes all the hard work feel like fun.


Are you an illustrator as well?

I love art, and enjoy drawing, but wouldn’t call myself an illustrator. I have worked with many artists, and have had one of my poetry books illustrated.


What poem of yours is your favourite?

My favourite at the moment is: ‘The Republic of Oma Rāpeti’ (see below). I am a very keen gardener and was annoyed when GST was increased, especially the tax on food. Instead of staying grumpy, I worked harder in the garden and wrote a poem about it.


When you were young, what did you want to be?

My father died when I was seven years old and I wanted to become a medical researcher and find a cure for cancer. This experience is what made me become a writer, because at an early age I asked questions about the world around me, and now that I am older I still ask questions, and my poems are often attempts at finding an answer.


What was your first book?

My first book was called: Blueprint for Resurrection or Destruction and it was inspired by the mapping of the human genome. Science is still one of my interests and this book was the first part in a ten-year, ten-book project I have just completed called: 10 x (10 + ˉ10) = 0. My first book of haiku is called Snake Songs and it was illustrated by my friend Rua Pick.


Note from Paula: What a great interview Doc and Max!  Thank you. Doc has a poem in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children that has such delicious detail and it sounds good in the ear.


The Republic of Oma Rāpeti


I planted a fruit and vegetable garden

out of protest against the rise in GST.


The finance minister disguised as a rat

hides in the corn row counting my kernels.


The opposition leader is a bumblebee

passed out drunk from the marigold’s nectar.


The minister of education is a caterpillar

growing fat off the cabbage patch kids.


But I refuse to use sprays or lay poison

because all are welcome in my garden.


To all the urban hippies waging invisible wars

go and plant a cucumber in your combat boots.


Sow a field of carrots to fuel your rebellion

like a roving republic of running rabbits.







The Treasury Interviews: Maddie, Benji, Tasman and Ella interview David Hill

Bio of Writing Group

The group is a Year 7 and 8 Extension Literacy class at Remarkables Primary School, consisting of four students: three Year 8 girls (Maddie, Tasman and Ella) and one Year 7 boy (Benji). All are avid readers, devouring a range of literature from classic to contemporary novels. The group are the Southern Kids Lit champions and came ninth at the National Championships earlier in the year ({Paula- Congratulations!). They meet once a week to discuss literature, looking at the thematic nature of books, the motive and nature of characters; and to swap ideas about new authors and quality books they have read (Paula — I am looking forward to meeting you all!).


Bio of David Hill

David Hill (born Napier 1942) currently resides in New Plymouth and is a popular and versatile New Zealand author, who writes juvenile and adult fiction, poetry, plays, textbooks and who makes frequent contributions to radio, newspaper and NZ journals. Graduating from Victoria University with an MA (Honours) in English Literature, David went on to teach English in secondary schools for 14 years, before leaving to write full-time. His books have won numerous awards and he won the much-coveted Margaret Mahy Award in 2005. His books include See Ya Simon, My Brother’s War, Running Hot, No Safe Harbour, Duet, Coming Back and Right Where It Hurts. In his spare time, David likes reading, tramping, astronomy, supporting the All Blacks and playing with his grandkids.


The Interview:

Hello, you remarkable Remarkables,

Thanks for the excellent and thoughtful questions. Here are some confused replies.

You are obviously a very versatile writer, able to produce quality novels, plays, poems and articles. How does your mindset or approach differ, when writing in these different genres?

Not very much, actually. For everything (except poems, possibly), I take heaps of notes, usually scribbled in my untidy handwriting in a notebook that I carry with me almost everywhere. Then I cluster other ideas/incidents/lines around these notes, and something starts to build, very slowly, like a whole lot of cells slowly linking up. Poetry – and I write very few poems – is the only genre in which I try to build the whole thing in my head before I write it down. Everything else, including plays, articles, reviews, are stories in one way or another, and I guess my approach is the same for them all.

If you could have been the writer of any book of all time, what would it be and why?

Very difficult. Animal Farm by George Orwell: one of the saddest, most honest books I know, because it’s the story of a noble, glorious idea gone wrong. The Road, by US writer Cormac McCarthy, a disturbing adult novel of a man and his son crossing America after some terrible holocaust. Very grim, yet full of love and hope. Or almost anything by Maurice Gee.

Which character in your books do you most closely identify with and how/why?

Actually, there are bits of me in most of my main male characters – and bits of my son Pete and my grandsons. Maybe Peter Cotterill in Journey to Tangiwai. He and I both grew up in Napier, went to Scouts, had a paper round. He’s named after my son; and “Cotterill” is a family name. And yes, there was a girl like Barbara Mason whom I was a bit sweet on….

If you could rewrite the ending to any of your books, which would it be and why?

No, none of them, sorry. I like to end my books with the main character starting on a new phase in their life, and I guess I’m happy to leave them like that.

How do you overcome writer’s block? I make sure I keep sitting there for at least 10 minutes. I’ll re-read ALOUD the last few sentences I’ve written. I’ll make the characters talk, or ask questions, or I’ll jump in time and place to a new scene. These don’t necessarily solve things completely, but they help.

 See Ya Simon is an all time favourite of our group. What inspired the story?

One of my daughter Helen’s best friends did die from Duchenne MD when they were in Year 10. His real name was Nick – you might notice the book is dedicated to NJB. Helen is in the book; the pretty little dark-haired Nelita with her terrible jokes is very like my daughter as a teenager. I wanted to write something to acknowledge how brave she was when Nick died. It was meant to be a short story, but it grew into a novel. Nathan has bits of me and my son. Other characters are often based on kids I taught when I was a high-school teacher.

Can you tell us how you go from an initial idea to writing the novel?

As I said above, I take heaps of notes. That includes research. I’m trying to write a novel just now, set in a POW camp for Japanese prisoners in NZ during WW2, and that’s needed lots of research. I also build up character profiles – what they look like, names, favourite sayings /food / music, etc. When I’m ready, I write the first draft in hand-writing for 3 hours a day, stopping EXACTLY after the three hours are finished. When it’s finished, I transfer it to the computer (which means lots of changes), then I revise and revise. I probably go over it about 12 – 15 times. I’m lucky; I’ve got time. Please don’t think that everything I write gets published. I have heaps of rejections.

Hope that helps, folks. Best of luck with your reading and YOUR writing.

David Hill


Thanks for a great interview David and the Remarkables! David has three poems in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children. David’s poems often have an infectious sense of humour but sometimes they offer a striking image, such as in ‘Seasons.’

9780143305910 9781742532653 9780143308584 693056 9780143308157

On Sunday night we strolled around the streets

On Saturday night we strolled around Queenstown’s streets. The food stalls took you all round the world, the flame thrower drew you in, the music caught your ear every which way.

Queenstown Carnival

More layers on the ever before, it’s like
I am a puff ball rolling down the streets
of Queenstown past the Remarkables
Primary School stand of hot dogs
and chocolate brownies, the Kapa Haka
group hitting sweet harmonies and the
flame thrower spinning and turning
red streaks of heat in the cold night.