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Manakau youngsters show writing talent


Students at Manakau School are showing they have impressive writing skills.

The teacher of Huia class (Year 7/8) Lorne Singer says he’s lucky to have an engaged class of many talented students who learn from each other as much as from himself.

“I have a number of young writers who are extraordinarily talented and writing at a level that would do well at higher secondary school levels,” Lorne says.

Francesca Dale-Low, Austin Kendrick and Tane Thomsen stood out when the class was asked to produce some creative writing. Lorne sent several samples to Ōtaki Today.

“There are two samples in particular from one student [Austin] that I would like to share. It is fascinating that a 12-year-old has formed such strong feelings about what it is he perceives some politicians to be like [see below]. I agree with many of his sentiments.

“He has also written about a Covid experience using a ‘show not tell’ technique that we have been working on in relation to moment in time writing.”

WRITERS: Manakau School writers, from left, Austin Kendrick, Francesca Dale-Low and Tane Thomsen.

Photo Ōtaki Today

Ōtaki Today was impressed enough to reproduce some of the samples (this page), and editor Ian Carson visited the pupils at school.

Austin, Tane and Francesca said they weren’t sure if they would have a writing career, but all being aged only 12, there’s plenty of time and new writing to be done yet. As enthusiasts and competitors in various activities, their sporting skills appeared to excite them more at this stage of their lives.

 They all said, however, that they enjoyed the experience of writing.

“I enjoy it, but we’ll see where it goes,” Tane said.

Fransesca said she enjoyed the wide scope of creativity possible with writing. And Austin said:

“You can be alone with your computer and write whatever you want.”


Writing samples


By Tane Thomsen

A trickle of slimy green water comes from a gash in the lifeless concrete roof. I felt like a rat, hiding from impending doom in my subterranean den. A lone candle flickered like a leaf in the wind, this is my only light. Life is no longer measured in years, every minute feels like it could be my last. A crusty loaf of bread is the only food that I have left, a rusty brown jug holds my only water. Only a few days ago I was playing in the golden brown fields of wheat, and now I’m trapped, buried alive by a pile of twisted metal and jagged concrete. My only hope is rescue, but in a city suffering so much destruction, rescue seems a long way off.

(About a child in the ruins of Mariupol, Ukraine.)


By Austin Kendrick

Fake morals.

The reasons you give are useless

Abuseful and distrustful

It’s a lie and you know it

Don’t pretend

Or try and hide it

You have me divided

Your fake morals

Your lies

You’re a phony

Wearing a disguise

I believed you

Well I tried

Now I want to see you cry

You’re a politician

Who says let cut down emissions

Stop abusing your position

Maybe work on living conditions not

When your enemies start dissin’

But your morals are fake

And your life is a lie

Put on your mask

Wear your disguise

See the humanity in our eyes

And tell us all your lies.

Tell us why you’re perfect

Why you’re worth it

Worth a try

Tell us why you should be no1

The top dog

Super guy

Hear us ask you questions and get indirect reply

Listen to the accusations

and then proceed to deny

Your truths are lies

Your rights are wrong

Your fake morals kept intact

So once again I’ll tell you to tell the truth

And tell us why you shouldn’t be sacked

So politician here’s a mission to end your addiction to power

And to greed

Stop lying and saying that you’re trying

To stop watching us dying and show us what we need.


By Francesca Dale-Low

Crunch. The shiny red skin had broken. A satisfied shiver ran through my body. My smile was evident, I wasn’t trying to hide it. I was leaning over the fence, watching and observing, as it nudged through the juicy ripeness, contained in a ripe red skin, that sparkled like the sun on the sea. Peaceful sun-rays gently shine down on my face, that was contorted into a wide grin. The animal was finished eating and it wanted more, so I gave it more. I was happy here, I could stay here forever.

(About feeding a pig at an apple orchard.)


Collaborative poem

Farewell, below, is a collaborative poem by a five-person group of 11-12 year olds at Manakau School. The writing challenge was to construct a poem based around three randomly selected words within 30 minutes. Before this the class discussed the power of rhyme, rhythm and repetition. The words were farewell, jungle and ranch. This group decided to base their poem around climate change.

Sea levels risin’

Temperatures climbin’

Rain is peltin’

Ice caps meltin’

Glacier retreatin’

Jungle heatin’

Where will this lead?

It ain’t fleetin’


Manakau youngsters show writing talent



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