A poem that explores the emotional complexity of sibling relationships has been selected by judge and current Poet Laureate Ian Wedde as the winner in the National Schools Poetry Award 2012.

Haro Lee, from Auckland’s St Cuthbert’s College, won the Award with her carefully crafted poem ‘Passive Aggressive’, the story of one sibling saying goodbye to another who is leaving for college overseas. Ian Wedde praised the poem’s ‘understated poignancy and many deft subtleties’, and admired the way it ‘scores the rhythms of speech with well-judged breaks or emphases’.

Ian found judging the Award ‘a wonderful experience – 290 (and some) poems from the energy cauldron of young poets hell-bent on tackling everything.’ He was impressed by the ways in which the poets managed to make personal expressions of shared or familiar themes surprising or disturbing in some way. ‘These are not all predictable encounters,’ he said. ‘It was the diversity of the poems that made their collective impact so powerful.’


2012 Award winner : Haro Lee – ‘Passive Aggressive

Finalists : Olivia Whyte – ‘Ever to Forget the Elephant

Finalists : Jade Trim – ‘Waiting to Fall Off

Finalists : Ruby Solly – ‘The Beekeeper

Finalists : Maria Ji – ‘If I Ever Write a Poem

Finalists : Catherine Marshall – ‘You’ll remember

Finalists : Arie Bates-Hermans – ‘Queen’s Horse

Finalists : Beth Rust – ‘Spaces Between

Finalists : Sam Spekreijse – ‘I Forget

Finalists : Annie Stevenson – ‘once fluid movements are hindered by corrosion

Read the press release
Read previous winning and shortlisted poems