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Heritage: Not his brightest moment

This piece was written at a masterclass exploring past, present and future. We wrote in different tenses using a heritage photograph of The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora.

by Mack Johnston, Year 9


As you enter the grand hall to take your final exam for the year you look around at the high arched ceiling and the grand platform where your headmaster shall sit. You inhale deeply in a wave of anxiety — the air tastes like burnt tobacco on the back of your tongue. The ground beneath you begins to creak angrily as the hardwood adjusts to your weight. The light from the windows takes your attention, and, for a brief moment, you find comfort in the swaying trees beyond the panes. You are led to the front of the hall to sit down at a desk only a few feet from the headmaster.


The headmaster walked into the grand hall that he has become too familiar with in recent weeks. The air was warm and dry as he entered the large expanse. He took a seat not too far from the burning logs to relax for a while before overseeing the third exam of the week. He pulled a cigar from his inner blazer pocket and lit it from the fire he was sitting in front of. It was not his brightest moment.


As you sit the exam, you will face many difficult topics, with increasingly difficult questions. You will hate the algebra. Halfway through the trigonometry section, you will find that you didn’t study for those trigonometry questions. You will leave the hall with a hollow feeling in your body. You will feel terrible when the arched pine-wood doors close behind you with a deep slam and your friends walk away comparing answers.

Thanks to Creative Communities and Christchurch Heritage Festival for supporting our masterclasses.

(c) Write On and Mack


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