I had the pleasure to be a judge for The National Schools Poetry Award a few years ago and think it is a terrific feature of our writing landscape. Aside from the competition, the Wellington workshops are a great opportunity for young writers passionate about poetry and song writing to come together. I endorse this proposed campaign strongly. In my experience, writers came from all over New Zealand, under the umbrella of poetry, to share, to develop and to take off in myriad writing direction directions.
This just out from IIML:
The National Schools Poetry Award was set up by Bill Manhire in 2003. Last year we had to cancel the Award due to a lack of funds. This year Creative New Zealand has given us half what we need to run a full Award. To make up the shortfall we’re launching a Boosted fund-raising campaign. For most of the decade the Award has been running, we’ve been in the wonderful position of having private sponsors (Bell Gully at the start, then NZ Post). Times are tough and now we’re looking for wider support. We’ll be sending out links soon.
In the meantime here’s a great testimonial from Vanessa Scott, Head of English at Pakuranga College: ‘I believe this Award has lifted the profile of poetry within the school and shown the school community how young people can excel in literature and the arts, and that these achievements are just as valid as those won on a rugby field.’