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Moments and Milestones: Christchurch Heritage Week 2022

Last week, during the Christchurch Heritage Festival, we ran three masterclasses exploring both the heritage of inner city Ōtautahi Christchurch and ways in which we can write about the ideas in our heads.

Our collection walk took in Victoria Square, Oxford Terrace, The Kate Sheppard National Memorial, Worcester Street and Cathedral Square. We discovered many taonga and surprises along the way including fascinating plaques, artworks, sculptures, fountains, poems etched into the pathways and two coin-operated red phone booths!

We started by writing Origin Poems exploring using words and metaphor to convey our own milestones and moments. Here are a couple of snippets.

Origins Poem by V N Year 7

I am from the land of blistering heat and blue mountains.

I am from sun spilling through the hospital window like a stream of honey.

I am from the balcony of my small town house, thinking it was miles tall.

I am from feathers of all colours swarming to collect seeds for their breakfast.

I am from endless blankets of grass with dogs basking in warmth.

I am from the soft scraping of lead on paper.

Origins Poem by P T-B Year 7

I am from the city of chaos and destruction

I am from the hours spent in hospital worrying, crying, wondering

I am from why can’t I go outside with my brother?

I am from horror characters created in my mind, living in my mind

I am from hundreds of words published into pages, into books, into me

During our walk we collected images and words on our phones. Our collaborative Found Poems are coming soon!

We each selected one photo from our collections to conduct a fastwrite, thinking on the page.

Thinking on the Page: The man in the water by MD, Year 8

I felt confused by the man frozen in the water. Why had he not moved? What tremendous burden held him there?

He gazed longingly at the water where his feet should have been. All he saw was the occasional leaf disrupting the reflection of his stone cold expression. I wondered what a life he must live. The only contact he got was when two fish swirling around his legs. Even the fish had each other. He was alone. Unable to move. Never being able to experience all the wonderful things this world had to offer.

All he could do was stand. If he was tired, he stood. If he was cold, he stood. Surely the one who put him there had a good reason. If they knew what pain the man would endure all day every day, he must stand for something very significant. There must be someone who the man's presence brings joy to.

He must stand there in the water, to tell a story, any story. But what story?

Thinking on the Page: Ducks in Victoria Square by V N Year 7

Tiny grey and brown ducklings waddle, wings flapping to keep balance, trying to catch up with their mother.

I wondered what it was like to have no worries in the world, to fly, to swim in the shady cold river, to feel wind brushing against my soft feathers.

The ducks were graceful, wet feathers among reeds, admiring every etch in the stone statue, every ripple in the water.

Blooming gardens and spouting fountains.

A site of history where pride meets grief and good meets guilt.

Though the ducks know nothing of this.

They don't know of the bloody rampages and harrowing journeys

They only know the soft swaying of tree branches

and the way fish swim through water.

We finished our wonderful day of writing by using another picture to tell a story. We hope to see these stories redrafted and published in the future.

Thank you to our young writers and to our supporters The Christchurch Heritage Festival and Christchurch Libraries.

(c) Write On and the young writers


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