Rise Above Our Limits | 2020 Competition

Many thanks to all those who took the time to enter our 2020 Schools Competition. Our judges faced difficult choices with such a wide range of wonderful and imaginative entries. 

The competition showed the value of the creative arts in dealing with adversity and challenges. It also demonstrated how a creative and optimistic spirit was unleashed in many people during lockdown. We hope all those who entered will continue to use their creativity and imaginations to ‘Rise Above the Limits’!


Winning Entry:
Hannah Tarlton-Kahui
Howick College


i began my journey a soul without form
but my spirit has made a home
in this delicate skin and bone,
the soft ridges and harsh edges of my female self
my mother taught me
not to measure my self worth on the scales
because i am more than my body
i am the rivers, currents flowing wild with energy
i am a portal between nothing and life
so why am i weak to show femininity
this body is the home i grew up in
and i will live in my curves,
the peaks and valleys of my finely crafted landscape
freckles and scars sprinkled over my skin like a dusting of snowflakes
my mind is a thunderstorm
and lightning bolts kiss my hips
look but do not touch
the caress of my fingertips will burn to settle within your skin
—growing up to build a home within myself


Embracing myself and my form for everything I am; overcoming societal barriers especially in regard to femininity. Poem.
Hannah Tarlton-Kahui

Second Place:
Sophie Henwood
St Cuthbert’s College

My painting symbolises the globe, and the shared limitations we are experiencing whilst separated in our bubbles. The person holding the balloon represents rising above the challenges, with the balloon symbolising optimism and the importance of using it to make the most of the current limitations we face.
Sophie Henwood

Third Place:
Malisha Munidasa
Avondale College


My entry is about the mental struggles youth have during this lock-down. Through a stop-motion video I wanted to convey the idea that we all can Stop, Think and Reflect and let go of our negative feelings and have a more positive outlook on life.
Malisha Munidasa


Highly Commended

Nathan Smith, Northcote College

Natey lives the life of a kiwi

Salty sea A-frames peel from Whangamata’s point break.
Nateys pipeline vision of ocean currents on a mission.
He takes the rip like a highway to the back breakers.
Natey flicks Tama a shaka as he duck dives the shore break.
Flax bushes provide him with a rustling snare of acoustics.
Black sands magnetize his heart with the mana whenua.
Kina and TuaTua source Natey with a hit of protein.
Sunsets of blood red sky as the day turns to night.
The beach clears as families head home for a bite.
Some remain.
Natey and Tama, salt rats of board and fin,
Cutting through the oceans delicate, soft, skin.
What will the roaring swells of last light bring?
With the rise and fall of the oceans sea saw.
Natey waits for a wave, with an almighty roar.
Natey is lifted high into the air,
The face of the wave gives him an almighty scare.
In this might of fury and of nature’s tease,
he drops in and rides the tunnel for a moment of peace.
At this moment worries and troubles seem to ease.
One with the ocean, and spat out as nature’s release.

This is a poem that I wrote about surfing and the passion i have towards it. All though during these times I am unable to go and surf I used my senses and imagination to remember the feel and thoughts associated with riding the ocean.

Nathan Smith


Millie Caughey, St Cuthbert’s College

I am free because I can build a rocket ship. In my back yard. From sticks and bricks and junkyard metal. My own flag, stitched from old dishcloths, will fly above it. Safety be damned. I can fix faulty wiring with duct tape.

I will put on my fish bowl helmet. My rubbish bag suit. Then erupt into the sky in a cloud of burning petrol. Old friends, long past their bedtimes, will watch as I disappear into the black.

The oxygen tanks may begin to empty, the engines may begin to falter. But I will wave at my family below me. And they will unwittingly wave back. I will be so big. And the world will be so small.

I will float into the nothingness. Tethered to safety only by knotted fabric scraps. I will hold planets in the palm of my hand. Jump from comet to comet until the soles of my shoes wear thin. Until my craft finds its way home, I will build new space stations from corrugated iron.

I live in a junkyard. But I am free because I can build a rocket ship.

A (very) short story from the perspective of a young child looking out on their world with hope. 

Millie Caughey

Jehaan Fitter, Howick College


Sometimes, you can see what you want, you can visualise it but the only thing holding you back is the barrier, the limits that are presented to you. Break through them, and you will be closer to achieving your goals!

Jehaan Fitter


The figure is physically bound and is unable to move (representing the current limitations due to the pandemic) so they have resorted to using the power of the mind (portrayed by cranes as a symbol of freedom, good fortune and happiness.) This illustrates the creativity/strength of the human spirit.

Austin Melville

Austin Melville, Northcote College

Sam Harrell, Kerikeri High School 


“The Astroneer” is a short film I made during lockdown, combining phone footage I had taken in the last few months, and scenes created using what was available to me at home. Quarantine restricted me from physically going places, but with imagination I could still go beyond the stars…

Sam Harrell



The KEECT would like to thank the following judges for the time and effort they put into the difficult task of selecting the winning entries:

Judy Darragh (ONZM) – artist
Lisa Harrington – sponsor and owner of Timeless Images Photography
Dr Jane Horan – CEO and Researcher
Cathy Carter – Photographer and Multimedia Conceptual Artist
Christina Sayers Wickstead – Editor and Social Entrepeneur
Louise Zacest – General Manager, Strategy & Partnerships, Healthcare NZ

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