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Youth Week Spoken Word Competition

Youth Week Spoken Word Competition

Thank you to everyone who submitted entries to our first ever Ara Taiohi Youth Week Spoken Word Competition! We were super excited with the number, quality and calibre of the pieces and the thinking that had going into the poems. It was amazing to hear the intention and the quality of writing from across Aotearoa!

We were super excited to award these awesome poets as our inaugural winners at Te Ahurei a Rangatahi's Youth Week Showcase on Friday 27 May in Hamilton!!

1st place to Ellie Cockfield





2nd place to Emma Herkt

Joint 3rd place to Faga Tuigamala and Joshua Tan (not pictured)

Read what our judges Ramon Narayan, Action Education Manager and Spoken Word Poet and Michael Moore, Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa Youth Coach, Regional Director for Spoken Word Poetry had to say about this year's entries!

Wow!! The quality and calibre of poems was awesome! Judging was tough! Too tough!! 

Our criteria was that it needed to connect and resonate with the theme ‘Young people only care about themselves’ also, how it sounded, the use of language and poetic devices and did it leave us with an impact. An impact it certainly left! 

“Do Young People Only Care About Themselves” We heard a resounding no, an articulate, a strong, a thoughtful, reflective and commanding NO! They care about their community, their families, the environment, social justice and equity, about love, their peers and so much more. We heard the voice of our future leaders. We heard YOU and were so impressed by the dialogue that you presented, thank you to everyone who entered and for making our job so difficult.
What a refreshing sound the young voices of our nation make when asked to speak. 

Ramon Narayan


What we received were exuberant insights of youthful perspective, a snapshot of how young people overcome the burdens of wrongful perception. 

And boy, was it diverse, surprising, uplifting, painful, honest, clever and brutally introspective. There were anthems of inspiration, personal poems wrenched from the depths, writing of superb quality and clever dedications to masterful poets.

When young people offer up stories like this, I see it as a blessing and opportunity to bridge our misunderstanding. You all have stretched my landscape as a youth worker and remind me why I love this work. Speak on, the future needs your voices. ✌  
Michael Moore


Entries are now closed for Ara Taiohi Youth Week Spoken Word Poetry Competition and we'll be announcing the winners during Youth Week 2016!

The comp was open to anyone aged 12 to 24. Create a poem, record it on your phone or camera. The poem can be recorded as a video or audio file.

Your poem should be no longer than 2 minutes and respond to this year's theme: 'Young people only care about themselves'. You can interpret the theme in any way you chose - agree, challenge, share a story that shows why this is or is not the case.

1st prize is $200 worth of vouchers, 2nd prize is $150 worth of vouchers and 3rd prize is $100 worth of vouchers. Winners will be announced during Youth Week 2016.

The competition will be judged by two judges who are spoken word poets and teachers of spoken word. They will judge on the poem and delivery but not on the quality of the audio/video track itself. 

Teachers, youth workers and others working with young people in Aotearoa. If you'd like to incorporate this competition into an activity you are running check out Action Education's Spoken Word Poetry Guidelines for tips and tools to run your own spoken word workshop with young people.

Any questions Facebook us or email us