‘A difficult, honest admission of grief, written in restrained, effective language’ – that is how judge and current New Zealand Poet Laureate, Cilla McQueen, describes the winning poem in the National Schools Poetry Award for 2011.

Eden Tautali from Auckland’s St Cuthberts College won the Award with her poem ‘Nan’, addressing the death of her Nan and the experience of speaking at her funeral. While it has the hard bits about loss and regret, it also has the comfort of warm memories.

Entries came from senior secondary students all over New Zealand. Cilla said that their words gave her insights into a whole generation – ‘their feelings, relationships with people and with language, the ways they see the world – as only poetry can.’  She was impressed by how ‘these poets ask hard questions about society, spirituality and relationships.’


2011 Award winner : Eden Tautali – ‘Nan

Finalists : Amy Barnard – ‘Note for My Singing Teacher

Finalists : Lucy Brownlee – ‘What Matters is the Hiss of Powder

Finalists : Lachlan Dixon – ‘Being Pakeha

Finalists : Madison Hamill – ‘The Window

Finalists :Chelsea Lund – ‘Brother

Finalists : Alexandra Morris – ‘Grace

Finalists : Vinay Patel – ‘Turning a blind eye

Finalists : Hayley Russell – ‘Only Falling

Finalists : Nikita Ward – ‘The Green stone


Read previous winning and shortlisted poems