The Poetry Project

The Poetry Project aims to encourage creative writing among children and young people through school and community workshops.

The workshops encourage school-age children to write poems around an event of cultural significance. The workshops are led by local poets, who take the children through the creative process.

The children write their poems on an illustrated poster, which can be displayed in their school or community. Parents and other community members are involved in the experience through the public displays, performance and readings.

The Poetry Project is pitched at younger students and is offered through schools. It is suitable for senior classes at primary school (Year 5 and 6) and intermediate schools, and also works for secondary students. The workshops encourage all students to write creatively, with benefits for their literacy, thinking and presentation skills. 

The workshops are usually held in the school and require teacher support. Teachers benefit from experience how creative writing can be taught. In 2014, more than 450 students in schools throughout the Auckland region were involved in the programme. There were 22 workshops in all.

Workshops in different parts of Auckland in 2009, 2010 and 2011 have encouraged children to write A Million Poems for Matariki.

In  2012, with the development of the Auckland super-city, poems are also being written about A Thousand Poems for Our Place in West Auckland.

Workshops have been available to a range of schools throughout the Auckland region since then, on a variety of themes, with the support of Auckland Council and now with support from Creative New Zealand. In 2015, one of the themes of the workshops is Anzac.

The project is a collaboration between the Michael King Writers’ Centre and the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc), which is supported by The University of Auckland. 

A Million Poems for Matariki was initially developed by the Devonport Community Coordinator Maire Vieth and poet Michele Leggott on Auckland’s North Shore in 2009. The Poetry Project then broadened its scope ito encompass other themes and other Auckland communities, with workshops all over the region. The programme is now led by the Michael King Writers' Centre.  

The workshops and events have generated not only a wealth of poems but resource materials for teachers and communities leaders wanting to undertake poetry initiatives of their own. 

The Poetry Project’s web site  contains information about the programme to date, and resource materials for teachers or community coordinators to use.

Contact the Michael King Writers' Centre for further information on the project, by email or phone 09 445 8451.


Examples from A MILLION POEMS FOR MATARIKI  chalked on North Shore school playgrounds in 2009


Matariki poem

Margaret Mary Slack dancing with her poem, Matariki 2009