2013 Winners Short Story Competition

Year 9 Winner

ListenSound is magical

Simeon Ensing, Fraser High School

Music is magic but very few people can use it. Fortunately there are people among us who have the ability to pick up an instrument and express all emotion into it.

“Tika”, shouted Pakari! “Are you there? We need to go, the van is leaving soon, and we don’t want to be late for Koro’s Tangi”. “Coming, I’ll be there in a second” echoed the voice of Tika throughout the valley and he leapt bare foot across the mossy rocks that bordered the creek. As he ran he noticed the sound of the water from the creek and chorusing of the bell birds and tui. “It is the music of our great Atua” he thought.

The Homeha family arrived in Kawhia at the marae and everybody stepped out of the family van and the salty beach air surrounded them. Tika immediately ran to the edge of the retaining wall and sat down, legs dangling over the edge. It was full tide and the waves licked his toes. A tear slid down his cheek and dripped onto the rough beach grass. Tika felt a hand on his shoulder and heard the voice of his father “Son, we have to go in now”. Tika wiped his face, inhaled deeply and stood up and walked to the marae with his dad.

Inside the marae he saw his cousins, aunts and uncles. Some had tears of joy of remembrance, some had tears of sadness for loss, some were just smiling and others singing.  Tūmanako was the oldest of the men of the Homeha family. He stood and welcomed everyone then gave a Karakia and blessed the food. The tables were loaded with food but Tika didn’t feel hungry so he decided to walk over and sit beside James his cousin. James smiled warmly and just sat there playing a guitar that he had found lying against the marae wall. The sound was beautiful. Tika listened and took it in.

When everyone went to bed that night the music stayed with him and followed Tika into his Dreams. That night Tika had a dream, there he saw Koro smiling and pointing to a guitar that Tika had never seen before. The sounds of the sea gulls woke Tika early the next morning. He left his tent, walked across the spongy but rough kuia beach grass, kicked off his jandals and went to the shore and sat on a big rock his toes digging into the fine iron sand. As he sat there Nana walked up to him and gave him a hug and squeezed his hand and whispered “Koro wanted you to have this” and she handed him the guitar from his dream and he played the most beautiful music. This was the first time Tika had ever held a guitar yet he played beautiful songs from his heart and he thought to himself “I just can’t leave it alone; it’s a part of me”. He sat and made some magic.


Year 10 Winner:

Paper Cranes

 Vida Quivooy, Chilton Saint James School

The day dawned much the same as any other. Drizzle still greyed the windows, the walls were still creamy yellow, and the curtains were still offensively lacy. There was still a piece of paper tacked beside the door which still read my name: Kevin Cruickshanks, my age: 40, my diagnosis: terminal.

As usual a nameless nurse in green scrubs came to my room at around 8:00. As usual she wheeled me down the corridor and as usual I watched the rows of doors marching past, always going but never leaving.

We arrived in the lounge and I sat in my usual spot. My back to the window, too bored with the endless struggle of life to bother looking at the busy street outside. The lounge looked the same as any other day, the only change a red bandana that peeped over the back of the couch and a missing patient. She had been kind but no one would miss her, no one knew her, her time was too short.

And so I occupied my mind watching the red bandana bobbing, and counting down the minutes till death, in the evening I was wheeled back to my room past the still marching doors.

The next day dawned much the same as the previous. Drizzling and grey, yellow and lacy. My name was still Kevin; my lungs were still killing me. I was wheeled past the marching doors and into the lounge and deposited as usual. The red bandana had moved, or rather the woman wearing it. She sat in the vacated armchair beside me facing the window. She was hunched forward, folding squares of paper into cranes and they coated her lap in a sea of white.

She smiled “Do you mind?”

“Mind?” I asked

“The cranes” she said “the man I sat beside yesterday hated it.” She laughed a little and sat up straighter.

“I don’t care” I replied.

“My name’s Aimee by the way.”


She folded another bird. And I watched as she added it to her pile, losing it to the masses already there. I remembered stories about how when one folded a thousand cranes one was granted a wish. I didn’t believe them, there wasn’t time.

“Why do you bother?” I asked.

“Making a thousand cranes?” she asked back.


“I can’t leave it alone now” she grinned “I’m at nine hundred and nineteen”

“It’s pointless”

“Does that make it less worth doing?” she took a fresh paper and gave it to me “I’ll show you how to make them” she folded the paper delicately and I tried to copy. The end product was something vaguely resembling a bird and I added it to her pile.

“Thanks.”  I said.

The next day dawned much the same as the previous. Still drizzling, still Kevin, Still marching.  And I sat in my usual spot watching the world run by in the street below.