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Haiku Competition Attracts Entries From Far And Wide – It’s A Tie!

Lorraine Brasch, graphic by Elise Goodge

For several years the Whanganui based community group; The Guyton Group Trust, has organised an event to celebrate National Poetry Day, marked annually on 27 August. This year the trust took a different approach and decided to run a competition to encourage wordsmiths to turn their hand to the art of haiku. The competition, ironically, couldn’t have come at a better time. The Level 4 lockdown giving people extra time to work on creative projects. This was reflected in the number of entries to the competition, totalling over 200. Entries came from all over New Zealand and as far afield as Croatia. Entire classes from schools entered, encouraged by their teachers. Some people entered multiple haiku. Entries came from people of all ages and the trust received feedback from families that it was a great lockdown activity.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response and the quality of entries,” says Guyton Group Trust co-chair Elise Goodge. “This is the first time we have run a competition for poetry day and based on the response to this one it is likely we will run one again.”

The Guyton Group Trust enlisted the help of Aaron and Saori Scythe to judge the competition. Aaron and Saori met while Aaron was working and living in Japan. Upon returning to Aotearoa, they settled here in Whanganui. Aaron is a ceramicist and illustrator who draws on Māori and Japanese cultural influences in his work. Given their arts pedigree and appreciation of haiku The Guyton Group Trust felt, as a judging team, they were uniquely qualified to pick a winner from the many entries.

After much deliberation Aaron and Saori were left unable to settle on just one winner. They had narrowed the many hundreds of entries down to just two and found it impossible to choose between them. An anonymous donor came to the rescue and donated $100 to The Guyton Group Trust. Thanks to this donation the trust was able to award both entrants as winners and both haiku will eventually feature in the Guyton Street poetry trail.

The winning entries are by Lorraine Brasch, from the Wairau Valley, and Lola Fisher (aged 13), from Whanganui. Aaron says of the entries, “The piece written by Lorraine Brasch was chosen because it was a very classical Haiku piece, and the imagery was quite clear and beautiful through the words used. The piece by Lola was chosen because it holds what and why Haiku is popular still. The joy of life and a moment in it.

We especially enjoyed that it was not trying to be a traditional Haiku as such.”

Aaron, Saori and The Guyton Group Trust wish to congratulate the joint winners and thank the many entrants for their time and creative efforts. This competition has proved that poetry as a literary artform is still beloved by Kiwis of all ages.

Kiwi Summer by Lola Fisher, graphic by Elise Goodge

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