Announcing the winning poems of the 2022 Poetry New Zealand Yearbook Student Poetry Competition


We are thrilled to announce the winning entries from the 2022 Poetry New Zealand Yearbook Student Poetry Competition.

The first prize winners will be published in the Poetry Aotearoa Yearbook 2023, releasing in March next year. Congratulations again to all the winners of the competition, and thank you to everyone who entered.

This year’s winners are:

YEAR 11:

FIRST: Chantelle Xiong, ‘Aged’: A poem with a striking, distinctive voice, honed and original in its leaping images, harnessing the power of making unexpected connections.

SECOND: Molly Laurence, ‘Recipe of a Nation’: A piece that made powerful, sustained use of a central allusion, voiced with controlled and compelling tone, with a potent and memorable final line.

THIRD: Amelia Smits, ‘Like a Woman’: A poem with raw force of address, making hard-hitting statements in a tough, determined tone, with real political fight in its veins.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Oliver Dempsey, ‘my skin feels like paint’: A poem with effective physicality in its use of imagery, delivered with an engaging tone.

YEAR 12:

FIRST: Jayne Ault, ‘William II’: All of Jayne’s pieces were extremely strong, holding the darkness at their core in focus with tight tonal control, staring down tough subjects with a brave, confronting voice.

SECOND: Elizabeth van Wijk, ‘Love Letters Lost’: A remarkably accomplished dramatic piece, beautifully sustained in the form of intimate letters from mother to child, showing poised formal control and real maturity.

THIRD: Oriana Ewens, ‘Teine Afakasi e Tolu’: Another richly voiced piece with real presence and power, framing experience with skillful focus and making beautiful use of the energies of her mother tongue.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Safa Nazari, ‘Dear Taliban’: A piece demonstrating moving lyric power in its potent personal address; rhythmic, politically charged and impassioned.

YEAR 13:

FIRST: Hannah Wilson, ‘Medusa’: A fierce yet contained confrontation with dark subject matter, making stunning use of mythic allusion to frame and voice a disturbing age-old scene. One of a range of poems that were all extremely strong, from an exciting young poet.

SECOND: Hashitha Murthy, ‘ma’: This piece captured real emotional force in its rhythmic voice-driven beats, using dynamic contemporary form to frame an intense personal address. The killer line ‘I was never fed love / so I learnt to lick it off knives’ leapt off the page!

THIRD: Ocean Jade, ‘seventeen beneath the screen’: Some dazzling word-play from a poet with an exquisite and electric sense of sound, with strong pull, social bite and rhythmic attack.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Conor Doherty, ‘Winter State of Mind’: This poem connects smoothly with the reader with its relaxed, conversational tone; once again, I really loved the flavour of all of this poet’s pieces, which showed a range of vocal energies and observational skill.