Winning Entry:Opening the Mind’

Juwairiyah Sahib, Hobsonville Point Secondary School

Second Place: ‘A Brighter Future’
Janine Ramos, Carmel College

Third Place:

Cybella Maffitt, St Cuthberts

This image of the head filled with various gears, tapes, etc., meant to be representative of imagination and education. The face model is intentionally a blank mask, not a specific person, allowing this image to become a universal one. I believe that the way to forge a better future is through fostering imagination, creativity, and academic exploration.

Congratulations to our Finalists

Kelsey Beet, Orewa College
“Focusses on over-fishing of commercial fishing boats and the effect that this has.”

It is early, golden rays of sunshine flit over dewy grass as we launch into the glassy still water for a day of diving. However, a while later, we surface, empty handed. We struggle to get anything in our catch bag anymore, let alone fill it like when I was younger. Crayfish are now so scarce in the Hauraki Gulf that they are considered ‘functionally extinct’. Unfortunately, for many commercial boats, fish are not a farmed species. Funnily enough you can not enclose them in a paddock and collect the correct quotas when needed. This won’t feed the country.
So here is my challenge to you today. Voice your opinions, the power of social media is only growing. We have proven time and time again that if we stand together we can let the ball of change begin to roll. To create a sustainable future for not only our children, but ourselves also, we need to act now. The fish stocks are at crisis point. And they are going to stay this way if we don’t spread our message. So I ask you to make your stand. We are in this together.

Kiara Theron, Carmel College

For me, a brighter future for New Zealand is one where all people feel like their dignity as a human is respected. One where people feel empowered to lift themselves up. To achieve greater things. One where people feel loved.
To help forge this future, I want to dedicate my life to helping others through medicine. Doctors that treat their patients with love and respect are essential to creating this future for New Zealand. The health of our people should be our priority and I want to help change our medical system so it can do its primary purpose; caring for people.
There are many inequities within New Zealand’s health system that are having catastrophic impacts on our future such as New Zealand’s high mental illness and suicide rates. Mental wellbeing is something that I believe has been severely neglected and that we should all take it seriously. Other issues that I want to work to address are health disparities between different groups especially for Maori and Pasifika. I want to actively work to care for our people so that they can also help forge New Zealand’s brighter future.
He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.

Leilani Ram, Auckland Seventh-day Adventist High School

Forging a brighter future to me means establishing a safe and optimistic environment for our youth and community. I dream to become either a doctor, neurosurgeon or forensic scientist. I dream that a few years from now I can help people in the clinic, and help my people realize their full potential. In fields like medicine or business there are not many pacific Islanders because we tend to believe that it is too hard or we are labelled to believing we are only worthy of jobs like trades, working in factories, pick and packing and many more. I believe I can make a change to the way we think and forge a brighter future that will give hope for everyone to strive and beat the stereotype we may individually face. It only takes one person to encourage the rest, I want to be that person for my people and those who are afraid to step outside their comfort zone. I have a dream to change the way we as Pacific Islanders think. If we challenge them now, we can open a brighter door for tomorrow.

Banisha Pratap, Papatoetoe High School

The glittery blinding light that hides behind ears; that magical spot of nervous longing where love is resurrected. A ward against the evil that seeps in kohl from a small silver tin. I wish I could paint the world in this black paste, keep it loving and bright and pure. A safe cocoon of stibnite.
When I was young, I remember swallowing a piece of gum and my aunt tried to scare me by saying that trees would grow in my stomach. Branches and leaves poking from my ears and mouth. So I went to the store and bought every packet of gum I could afford.
What a horrible world we live in. Trees don’t grow inside our stomach and people hurt other people. The world has become the wrong kind of green. It’s rotting and the people living in it have no choice but to do the same.
I want to keep believing in the impossible, to hope that somewhere under all that gum, there is a branch in my stomach. To stretch for hope and love as a natural instinct. To make a crystallised world where our light will fracture happiness into infinity until that’s all there is.

Macauley Cunningham, Edgewater College

Our past?
It left us here.
Our hopes, our dreams?
Belittled; made more unlikely
day after day.
Our outrage?
Ridiculed by those
who profit from suffering.
Our prophets, our champions?
Insulted by those
in power.
Our country?
by prejudice;
by fear;
by greed.
Our voices?
Our resolve?
Our people?
Our purpose?
Our detractors?
Our goal?
A future.
One we can be proud of.
Our future?

Joesph Hesayasu, Lynfield College

“A poem in the style of the Ancient Greek epic poems, written in response to the student climate strikes, demanding our leaders listen to the warnings of the younger generation.”

A burning, drowning paradise
Ignored a warning given thrice
That surged upwards from the deep
Tentacled terrors, with evil beaks
For lifetimes, the land kept the beasts at bay
But oceans rose, took the land away
The sun grew hotter, set forests aglow
The creatures floated to our homes
Horror! Carnage! Devastation!
Houses smashed open like crustaceans!
Though the children pleaded with heart and soul
Almost all were devoured whole
This loss of life could’ve been avoided
Were the people not so narrow-minded
Caught up in petty bureaucracies
They did not heed his prophecies
He told them to make preparations
Unite past class and social station:
“Set battlements at the seafront
Be armed, ready to confront
Though some may perish, that is life’s bind
Small sacrifice for all mankind
For time is your foe, not fiend or kraken
They can be stopped afore they awaken!”
But alas they ignored his impassioned plea
So the wine-dark creatures claimed their progeny
In casting aside his advice
They chose to pay with their lives
So our children’s children should take note
That when hope seems lost and the earth is smote
Avoid another tale so dire
Heed the warnings of the Squid Messiah.

Holly Minter, Kamo High School

Ruahine Kea, Northland College

Moanaroa O’Connell, Kamo High School

As a proud, young Māori wāhine I have dreamt that someday we will all live in a world where ‘Culture’ and ‘Equality’ become the norm of everyday life.
Where there will be no need for the idea of racism to be acknowledged.
 Racism is happening all around us.
Within our schools, wider communities, workplaces and media.
We as individuals will have at some stage in our lives whether we knew it or not been a victim of Racism and also be guilty of this act. 
However, it’s not too late to start making positive headway for generations to come.
To forge this brighter future that I hope to one day reach, I aim to learn about other people’s cultures and build strong relationships while doing this.
I believe that by doing this we will establish connections with people from diverse backgrounds which can be key in helping every single one of us make significant changes in our communities. One day it won’t matter whether you are black, white, yellow or blue because at the end of the day we are all equal.

We are one. 

I can’t wait for this dream of mine to become a reality for all.



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