Richie McCaw wins literary honours for 11 year old girl

18 December 2012

15 of the country’s most talented young writers have been recognised in the 2012 New Zealand Post 'Magical Tales by Kiwi Kids' writing competition.

The winning stories, selected from more than 3,000 entries, cover a diverse range of subjects – including a cat stalking a bird, a fishing outing steeped in Maori tradition, and a deaf girl contemplating how her differences make her special.

Several of the winning entries have a sporting theme – including Auckland schoolgirl Tess Vroegop’s short story where she imagines the honour of escorting the All Black skipper onto Eden Park:

"I look up at the All Blacks towering above us.
Soon, we will be with them on the field. One of
them beckons me. I walk up and grasp the hand
of Richie McCaw as we walk onto the field."

That story, “Playing Rugby with Richie McCaw”, and the other winning entries have been lavishly illustrated by Learning Media and will be available online free for others to read and enjoy.

“We decided to put the winning stories online this year so that everyone can access them and see the budding talent which exists within our school children,” Nicola Airey, head of sponsorship for New Zealand Post said.

“In the past two years we produced a printed book with the winning entries, which was available for sale.  By making these stories freely available we want to maximise the number of people who can access this young talent on display.

“Making these stories available online also recognises the effects of Government initiatives such as Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB), the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), and Network for Learning - which are changing the learning landscape.

“With 99.9 percent of students on track to receive ultra-fast broadband capability by 30 June 2015, it’s clear that schools need online content that is engaging, curriculum-linked and, above all, Kiwi focused," Nicola Airey said.

The winning stories – including illustrations and background notes – can be seen at

“Practice Makes Perfect”
by Freddie Field (10) of Waingaro School in Ngaruawahia

I bark viciously at the sheep, ordering them to move. Finally they listen. Halfway along, one decides to bolt from the group. A few barks and it’s back with the others.

“True Colours’
by Charlotte Williams (11) of Ross Intermediate School in Palmerston North

When I draw, I’m alone with my thoughts, completely uninterrupted in my noiseless world. Through my drawings, I can be vibrant and loud, clever and brilliant – all the things that I would love to be described as in real life.

“A Victory Shot”
by Jamie MacTaggart (12) of Iona College in Havelock North

Huddled up like a family of penguins, we go over the game plan. All I hear is mumbling; until my name is called. “Jamie, just whack it in there like there’s no tomorrow.” Great! The pressure is on me.

“Crippled Twigs and Fallen Branches”
by Karla Hayward (12) of Rangi Ruru Girls’ School in Merivale, Christchurch

My trembling legs were becoming lazy and sore; my feet slopped and dragged across the dirt. Crunch! Loud and clear. I wasn’t alone.

“Death Encounter”
by Aimee Pedersen (9) of Maunu Primary School in Whangarei

We arrived. An encounter with death. CLOSE UP. I felt a rumble, and my heart skipped a beat. All of a sudden, we travelled downhill at the speed of light, rushing down the slippery slope.

“The Silver Falcon”
by Pippi Duncan (9) of Belmont Primary School in Auckland

I feel cool air rush past my moon-coloured feathers
The air is my playmate as I soar through the bright blue sky.

“My Family”
by Casey Vincent (9) of Pekerau Primary School in Te Awamutu

Frosty and Sid (our bunnies) would be zebras. They are escape artists in real life, so the black-and-white stripes of prisoner suits would be a great new look for them.

“The Swim Race”
by Luke Brannigan (10) of Raumati Beach School in Raumati Beach

I’d looked down that lane so many times. I’d been in it so many times.
I’d been in it so many I’d actually grown to like swimming lessons.

“Top Catch”
by Euan Hilton-Crump (10) of Vauxhall Primary School in Auckland

This silvery fish came out of the sea, knowing that it had met its match. I wove a flax leaf through the gills and held up the tired fish as proud as I can be. I am Māori, this is my heritage.

“My Story”
by Brooke Allen (12) of Ilminster Intermediate School in Gisborne

Just then Anna barged in. If she found out about the bread, I would be booted out faster than William could chuck down a cream doughnut. Her brow was a fierce rage of anger, and her button nose screwed up so tight it was a dent in the middle of her face.

"The Trouble with David”
by Jack Kelly (9) of Mt Maunganui Primary School in Mt Maunganui

A poof of porcelain dust rose gently from the destruction. I closed my eyes and shook my head, hoping it was just a bad dream, but with no luck. My ball sat perched on top of the evidence.

“Uncle Lee”
by Jake Wills (11) of Dovedale School in Wakefield

Scars litter his bare limbs and face like worn leather, showing that he’s had a life outdoors. The amount of hair on his body acts as insulation in the cold months.

“Rugby Playing with Richie McCaw”
by Tess Vroegop (11) of Pasadena Intermediate School in Auckland

Soon, our coach was going to call out the name of the person who was going to walk out onto Eden Park holding the hand of Richie McCaw, captain of the All Blacks. Coach unravelled the list. “And the winner is … June Mareano!” I gasped. The world spun.
And then I blacked out.

“A New Friend”
by Charlotte Smith (11) of Hampden Street School in Nelson

Now Emerald is one and a half years old. She has still got that same cuteness from when we got her, but she is a bit more, well … destructive. She knocks her heater, filter, and thermometer off the wall, so the filter makes bzzzzzz noises all night.

“The Feline Siege”
by Solomon Feenstra (12) of Ridgway School in Wellington

Inside the cage, Freddy the budgie perched contentedly on her swing. Her elegant plumage was the same colour as the light that streamed into the room from outside. Half a metre away, sitting on a chair, muscles tense, with fur the colour of liquid smoke and fresh fallen snow, Lilo watched with the fine-tuned awareness and intensity of a true predator.