Ioana Yule Manoa, a Year 12 student at Northcote College in Auckland, is the 2016 winner of the National Schools Poetry Award, judged by 2016 Creative NZ/Victoria University Writer in Residence Anne Kennedy.

Ioana won first place with her poem ‘History’. She says finding out about her winning poem was an amazing feeling. ‘I’m really excited that my work will be published and shared throughout New Zealand. I’m looking forward to the Masterclass where I’ll have the opportunity to meet published author Anne Kennedy, as well as the other finalists.’

Ms Kennedy says she found Ioana’s poem the most ambitious in the group.

‘History feels fresh and new, while also placing itself among other poetry with its reference to Tomaš Šalamun’s poem of the same name. It’s audacious but also humble. It’s saying: “I don’t know everything about poetry, I’ve learned from a master, and this is my version; but my version really is mine.” After many readings, Ioana Yule Manoa’s poem still excites and surprises me, it hums in my ear, and in the end, it moves me.’

Entries came from secondary schools all over New Zealand. ‘The enormous range of poems was variously moving, funny, sad, political, personal, rhythmic, structured, free, and sometimes all these things,’ says Anne Kennedy. ‘I got a sense of just how daring young writers are.’

2016 Award winner : Ioana Yule Manoa – ‘History

Finalists : Mira Karunanidhi – ‘The Universe

Finalists : Jamie McKenzie – ‘The Girl Sitting Next To Me

Finalists : Caleb Morgan – ‘Indian Wedding

Finalists : Eva Poland – ‘King Country

Finalists : Nina Richardson – ‘Inside out

Finalists : Huyen Thu – ‘How much is too much for remembering?

Finalists : Lily Van Buskirk – ‘The last real home is you

Finalists : Kassandra Wang – ‘The PWF

Finalists : Zhouai Wang – ‘It’s 2016


Read the press release
Read the Judge’s Report
Read previous winning and shortlisted poems