What the judges said …..
Year 9 ‘Listen, Sound is magical’
This piece was a real stand-out in the finalists, providing a snapshot of grief turning to joy and wonder. The beginning creates a frame, which asserts a very particular wisdom, and the narrative that follows legitimises and supports the theory, giving the protagonist ‘Tika’ an almost mythic presence. The language is perfectly musical, natural, and yet not over the top, with simple metaphor strengthening the connection between Maori and the land. The happenings of the tangi are quick, like memory, and there is much love felt between characters. The movement into a dreamscape seems to stick with the narrative, leaving the dream world and the real world to intersect, creating a musical, magical, calming space
Year 10 ‘Paper Cranes’
A very elegant, composed piece of writing. The story is extremely touching in its search for hope, and deals with this material with ease and humility, which is great to see in a writer so young. The cyclical narrative and repetition reinforces many of the themes present, including death, but also the act of creation. I feel as if the writer had an understanding of what was to be presented, and managed to stand outside of the story and take a look back into it, which shows an understanding of narrative as an idea, something that exists beyond the page. The language is simple and direct, with metaphor used sparingly, which shows great control. The real beauty in the story, I think, comes from the near-completion of things: a life, a conversation, a friendship, a myth. The rest is untold, allowing the reader to remain in the world.