Matariki: Reach for the Stars Poetry Competition



NEWSFLASH: DEADLINE APPROACHING EARTH: Midnight Friday May 14th


We look forward to reading your Matariki: Reach for the Stars poems.

Don't forget the deadline is Friday May 14th

Entry by the form on this page: ENTRY


The next issue of Write On magazine is due out during Matariki 2021 so it’s time to explore the stars, constellations, galaxies, nebula and all things outer space.

Put your ideas together in a poem that sparkles with sensory detail and surprises.


Enter your poem in the Write On Reach for the Stars Competition by May 14th 2021. Details and entry form are all here: Competition details.



Here are some poetry writing tips:


  • We have asked for a poem about the stars, constellations, galaxies, nebula and all things outer space but we love it when we discover something else underneath—a hidden narrative/ personal insight/ or meaning— something only you could have written.


  • If we read the words pretty, beautiful, ugly or scary then we'll know you forgot to take this advice from the writer, CS Lewis.


Don't use adjectives which merely tell us

how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. ...

Don't say it was “delightful”;

make us say “delightful” when we've read the description.

CS Lewis.


  • While we're talking about adjectives, please remember to be selective with the adjectives you use. Help us focus on one important idea rather than using lots of different adjectives within one line. Is it colour, or size, or action that you want us to notice at this point in the poem? Don't bombard us with all three.


  • Precise nouns and lively verbs are really important to give your poem clarity and to help transfer what is in your mind to the reader's mind.

A tūī is a clearer image that just bird.

It fluttered or swooped is a livelier action than flew


  • We love scientific details or references to real places, myths, historical events, people etc. If you know some cool stuff then slide a little of that into your poem (where it fits!).


  • Look at the shape of your poem on the page. How does the layout support the words? ** Please note that MOST poems are justified to the left and NOT centred. You need a good reason to centre your poem.


  • Check the start of your poem- this needs to be a great line to drop the reader right into the poem.


  • Check your last line - this should leave the reader satisfied yet still thinking. If you've ended with an explanation then consider deleting it but using something from that line as your title.


  • Give your poem a title!


  • We can't emphasise enough that rhyming poems are really really hard to get spot on! Slip in the occasional rhyme or half rhyme for special effect but choose most words for their meaning, not their rhyming quality.



You can find more poetry writing tips here.

Also check out some of our past posts on odes, acrostics, list poems, instructional poems.

And read some of the poems on our blog or in a Write On Magazine to get an idea of what other young New Zealanders are writing.






(c) Write On School for Young Writers, 2021