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Bravery Rings Clear In Children's Writing

Monday November 29

Bravery Rings Clear In Children's Writing

Bravery - be it physical or emotional - was the over-riding theme of the two winning stories in the 2004 Nestlé Write Around New Zealand: Nestle Tuhi Amio Whenua creative writing programme.

Courtney Lee, a Year 7 Taradale Intermediate School (Hawke's Bay) student and Natasha Ironside, a Year 8 Nelson College for Girls Preparatory School student, have taken home the two overall prizes in the programme announced this morning at a special presentation held in Auckland.

Courtney's story, A Door Closes, tells of a boy who cruelly taunts an old lady, only to watch her suffer intensely when her dog dies. He has to battle his conscience to approach her and offer her comfort. Natasha skilfully tells her tale, Courage in the Dark, about a boy who rescues himself, a baby and a dog from a house fire - only revealing at the end that the boy is blind.

Nestlé Write Around New Zealand: Nestlé Tuhi Amio Whenua is a short story writing programme in which year 7 and 8 children compete for a share of $60,000 worth of prizes on offer nationwide.

This year's programme also stands out for the exceptionally high number of entries received. More than 12,000 stories were written by New Zealand children, compared to around 8,500 in 2003 - an increase of 40%.

National coordinator, Kaye Lally of Auckland City Libraries, says: "The incredible depth and writing talent displayed in the winning entries is a fine tribute to the literary skills young people have and the work of some inspirational teachers all around the country. "

Maurice Gunnell, Nestlé New Zealand's Manager Corporate Services says: "Nestlé Write Around New Zealand is designed to stimulate originality and creativity in writing for Year 7 and 8 school children and we are delighted with the exceptional level of interest this year and the high standard of the stories."

The two students have already received $500 worth of New Zealand books for their school library and a bag of Nestlé goodies for winning their regional writing event. Natasha and Courtney win a computer package for taking the overall prize in their year.

At the national presentation held at the Auckland Central Library each national finalist (30 in total) received another collection of New Zealand books for themselves. Excerpts from the 30 stories were read by actor Jennifer-Ward Lealand and the presentation was attended by Tessa Duder, one of New Zealand's finest children's authors.

Nestlé Write Around New Zealand: Nestlé Tuhi Amio Whenua is a Nestlé funded community programme coordinated by Auckland City Libraries and supported by public libraries around New Zealand.


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