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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!