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We all have something to say! Fresh Voices #1:

As the school year winds to an end, we were delighted to spend two days with some fabulous young writers at Waltham School in Ōtautahi Christchurch as part of our Fresh Voices- Writing for Wellbeing project funded by the Rātā Foundation.

The class, guided by tutor Mena, focused on the young writers' experiences, interests and imaginations. No one else but the authors, and certainly not AI, could have written these pieces!

All of the young writers are currently in Year 7. Prepare to be amazed by their insight and humour!

Part of the Process:

We started with lists which are a great way to generate ideas for writing quickly. We then played around with the words, the order of the words and the shapes of our writing as part of the redrafting process.

We were inspired by The Table a poem by Turkish poet, Edip Cansever** which uses lists of literal and metaphorical items that we can unload each day.

The Living Room Table


The door swings open and a young boy runs through the living room with his hands in the air. He places his toy truck on the strong brown table. The boy puts his favourite teddy bear on the table to keep it safe. The soft fuzz of the fur gives the table an uneasy feeling.

The boy puts his love for food on the table. The comfort and the variety of it. The table understands why the boy loves food. The boy cherishes all his memories as he places them on the table, all the good and bad things the boy has been through the table understands. The boy places the last piece of chocolate on the table for safe-keeping.

The boy listens with fear as thunder crashes; he puts the sound of thunder on the table. The table feels the fear as well. The boy slowly gets used to the sound of the thunder. The boy takes small sips from his hot chocolate and places the steaming hot chocolate on the table. The table enjoys the heat.

The boy picks up his Rubik’s cube and solves it. He puts the solved Rubik’s cube onto the table. The boy places a soothing fabric onto the table. The boy places all his worrying thoughts from school onto the table. Gradually the boy feels relief as, one by one, he figures out a way to solve his problems. The boy suffered as he resisted playing with the other kids outside, and yet he placed the suffering on the table.

The boy cherishes the table as if it is a living friend. As the boy grows older he places more stuff on the table. The table never complains nor does it ever break, and the boy whispers, “This is a strong table.” The boy comes rushing down the hallway just to thank the table for everything it has done for him.


Things that make me delighted. 😀

by Asal

I love how Indonesian foods like bihun goreng and nasi goreng taste in my mouth.

I like to do archery and karate for my mental health and well-being.

Listening to pop music relaxes me.

If I'm feeling upset, the first people who make me laugh are my friends. The best one is Beza.

Being with my family makes me happy when we go to the park and restaurants and watch movies together.

I like to find a good spot in the backyard and read.

The smell of flowers and being in a forest relaxes me.

Enjoying the hot summer days at the beach.

The rain makes me sleep well at night.

No chores? I can finally lay down and rest.


The Bed

by Makaela

The girl, filled with kindness and sadness, put her tears on her bed

She put all her worries and love on her bed

She put what she wanted and what she needed on her bed

She put all her feelings down on her bed

She put all the things she had seen throughout the day on her bed

She put what had been said to her that day on her bed

She put all her fun on her bed

She put her mum’s happiness, of the first time her mum had ever held her in her arms, on the bed

She put her four-year-old sister and all the games and the joy of spending time with her on her bed

She put her seven-year-old brother and their play fights on her bed

She put the motorbike that she had been building with her stepdad that's not quite finished and all the parts of the bike, like the motor and the tyres, on her bed

She put the memories of her cousins’ passing on the bed

She put her first birthday down on the bed

She put down the memories of the Christmas party that she has every year on her bed

She put her emotions on her bed

She put the taste of ramen noodles and chocolate-covered strawberries on her bed

She put her sickness down on her bed

She put all her pain on her bed

She put all her friends' names and looks on her bed

She put the eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two and one times tables down on her bed

She put her hopes of getting a car and all her other dreams down on her bed

She put the anime that she had watched that day down on her bed

She put down her conversations with her friends on the bed

She put her favourite drink, a caramel milkshake that she had been wanting to drink for a while on her bed

She put down all the emotional and physical scars on her bed

She put all the hugs and kisses that she had got down on her bed

She put all the water and air down on the bed

She thanked her bed for everything it had done for her

and that made it stand tall

and let all her worries go,

ready for the next time.


The Floor

by Leinard

The young boy felt joyful most of his life so he placed a soft pillow and a cozy blanket on the floor. The young boy placed his favourite blue hoodie on the floor. Then he placed his favourite foods like glazed doughnuts and pancakes down on the floor.

He placed his memories of playing hide and seek with his brother and sister on the floor. He placed his birthday presents and chocolate cake on the floor. He grabbed a basketball and remembered the time he first played basketball so he laid it down on the floor. The boy remembered when he first started cooking so he grabbed a pan and laid it down on the floor.

He was thinking of a recipe to make pancakes so he placed the flour, baking powder, eggs and sugar all on the floor. Then all he could think about was nine times nine equals eighty one so he placed that on the floor. He looked up into the sky and thought of the clouds in the sky so he placed the clouds on the floor.

The young boy had always wanted a trampoline so he could jump on it all day long so he placed his dream on the floor. The young boy placed his fear of heights down on the floor.

The young boy was grateful because the floor did not collapse. It might have made a few noises here and there but it never complained.

So the boy congratulated the floor for carrying his stuff, his memories, his thoughts and his dreams and fears.


School camp

By Shakyla

It was my first school camp and I was feeling very ready for it.

There were 5 beds. 4 single and one double bed.

The beds in the cabins were so uncomfortable my back was sore the next day.

Orienteering was hard on our bodies—running and walking for 2 hours through a forest we had no clue where we were going.

The other team was yelling for help but we kept our answers to ourselves.

Running up and down the hill, most of us fell, or almost fell over.

Watching all the other teams struggle to find the answer was interesting.

Listening to all the birds chirping blocked out the sound of the other teams.

The pools were as cold as ice.

When you go down the hydro sides you can feel all the cold wind around your body.

The feeling of the cold wind around your body kinda just disappeared into thin air.

Listening to all the kids screaming so loud you couldn't hear the birds around you.

All the kids on one bus made it very loud.

A lot of relationship drama happened on the bus on the way back to Christchurch!


The Kitchen Bench

by John

The joyful boy puts his favourite stuffed toy rabbit on the kitchen bench.

Peanut butter and jam with soft white fresh bread he also puts on the kitchen bench.

He places his brain thoughts on the kitchen bench.

His Mummy puts sweet soda on the kitchen bench for him to taste.

He sees Dad's tools on the kitchen bench

one day he will be an electrician like he is.

He puts his family photos on the kitchen bench where he keeps all his memories.

He puts his colourful crayons onto the kitchen bench.

Then he puts his red toy car he got for Christmas onto the kitchen bench.

He puts his jar full of beetles, ladybugs and grasshoppers onto the kitchen bench.

The boy places the sound of cicadas and grasshoppers onto the kitchen bench.

That was all he could ever put on that kitchen bench.

He has used all the things that he could find in his bedroom.

When he has no friends anymore

he puts stinky fish onto the kitchen bench,

he puts mouldy bread on the kitchen bench,

he puts his anger and sadness on the kitchen bench.

The kitchen bench is his strong buddy carrying all this weight.

He thanks it for always being there.

He would only sometimes complain if he bumped his elbow on the kitchen bench but it had always been there since the family arrived.

He felt that maybe the kitchen bench had feelings and emotions.

He wished one day he could make more friends again.


Excerpts from "A Perfect Christmas"


The speakers power up and the mics turn on. The person with the mic tests and greets the other people from my church thanking them for coming to this Christmas party. All the laughter and music die down to listen to what the person up front is talking about.

...Then it was time for the kids. The game was musical chairs. The adults set up the musical chairs and the kids around me started getting excited and jumping around, the adults had to calm the kids down. I started walking because I didn't feel like dancing at that time, my mind slowly started to drift away, and out of nowhere, the music stopped. I tried to sit down but I missed… I FELL IN THE MIDDLE OF TWO CHAIRS! Everyone started laughing in the good friendly way, not the bad bully way. I laughed as well. The game continued until one of my friends was victorious, his prize was a Favourites box. He was over the moon.


things that personally make me happy.


When I get to discover a new world in anime

like My Hero Academia

that isn't real, but I want to find out more.

When I spend time with my family

and have fun playing backyard games

and swimming in the pool.

For me, listening to music is like leaving the room I'm in

and finding a place to be without any worries.

Listening to the rain on a warm but silent night.

Exploring my taste buds with all different kinds of food.

Building a snowman or making snow angels.

I love summer when it's hot but has a cold breeze.

When I'm given something that is challenging but also fun in math.

When I can escape reality and get away from everything in books.


The Little Girl and The Kitchen Bench

by Shakyla

The little girl was filled with the joy of life.

She climbed on a step stool and she put her happiness onto the kitchen bench.

As well as her worries,

the worry when her dad and mum told her she was going to be a big sister,

the happiness of the day her little sister was born,

and the love she has for her sister that is never-ending.

She put these memories onto the kitchen bench.

She had a teddy bear that she would take everywhere.

Nobody was allowed to touch it. It was hers and only hers.

She put her teddy onto the kitchen bench.

Her favourite thing to eat was cookies-and-cream ice cream

because that was her mum's favourite ice cream.

She put a tub of cookies-and-cream ice cream down onto the kitchen bench.

1+1 was in her head so she put the number 2 onto the kitchen bench.

As well as a line from Dora that was stuck in her head.

She was thinking about her dad so she put a picture of him onto the kitchen bench.

Some days she would think about having an ice-cold chocolate with 4 ice cubes.

The sound of the ice cubes hitting the sides of the glass made her feel better and lighter. She put it onto the kitchen bench.

The smell of roses made her feel calm.

She put roses onto the kitchen bench.

All she wanted was a cold lemonade so she put lemons

onto the kitchen bench.

After all of that, she thanked the kitchen bench

and went off to finish the day.


Things that make me happy

by John

Hanging out with Leinard and Quero at school

Playing Roblox in my room in the dark

Eating sisig or crispy pata at home or in restaurants

Swimming in pools that aren't too filled with people

Playing outside on the trampoline with Ysabel and Ava

Playing as a rebounder in basketball with my friends at school

Drawing my own anime characters

Drinking sweet drinks like coke and milkshakes

Having a birthday party with lots of rice, sisig, pork barbecue

Watching ‘One Piece’ on the couch by myself

Listening to ‘My Ordinary Life’ on Spotify while resting in bed

Doing activities I haven't tried before


Things that make me happy

by Leinard

Biking around the neighbourhood

with my friends, Enzo and Ethan.

Watching anime like Bleach and One Piece.

Cooking pancakes and chocolate chip cookies.

Sleeping on my cosy bed after a tiring day.

Playing Basketball with my dad

or my friends Quero and Roinjay.

Eating glazed donuts and vanilla ice cream.

Listening to songs by Bruno Mars.

Playing Minecraft and Roblox with my friend Quero.

Running around at school or in the backyard.

Playing hide and seek around my house

with my brother and sister.

Eating cake at my birthday party.

Running around outside my tent

when we go camping.

Listening to my dad’s jokes.


Excerpts from "School camp" 🏕️

by Asal

My first school camp and I felt excited for it.

Our camp was in Hanmer Springs so it was a bit cold. Me and my group went orienteering in the forest to get more familiar with our surroundings. It was probably one of the best memories I’ve had at camp. We were the first group in the forest because we ran. Our mission was to get the most points by finding numbers. How could we find the numbers? We had a map with us so we just followed what the map had to say. We had a watch so we could go back to the starting place at the correct time.

My friends and I had a lot of fun while orienteering. We were singing, actually, more like screaming, we were running around like crazy monkeys. As we were orienteering we bumped into another group and we were startled because they just came out of nowhere. They started to ask us for help but we ran away from them because we didn’t want to lose our winning streak.

Over the birds chirping and the leaves rustling under our feet, we heard the other group chasing us. We ran even faster, the wind breezed in our faces while we were running. It was amazingly exhausting.


10 of my favourite things in the world :)

by Quero

Trying different types of traditional food, like sisig, halo-halo, and taho.

Eating sweet chocolate especially made from Cadbury.

Playing many different games like Brick Wall, and Ripper tag.

Playing mind-boggling puzzles and solving the Rubik’s cube.

Playing All-Star Tower Defense on my devices.

That’s lots of playing!

Spending active time with Leinard, John, and Roinjay.

Enjoying time outside with my family,

Scoring points in basketball.

The warm season of spring.

Listening to creative jokes –

like hearing about my Dad’s construction site

where they totally nailed it!


Excerpts from "My First day of school"

by Leinard

My mum and dad walked to my class with me. I was scared and nervous. Then the teacher greeted me. I was shy so I hid behind my mum. She told me not to be shy so I stopped hiding.

The teacher's voice sounded calm and nice, which gave me quick relief. After she asked what I wanted to do I was too nervous to answer so I just pointed to the Lego. When I was settling in, I built a car and a tower. A kid lightly tapped my back asking if I wanted to play with him. I was really nervous and scared so I just nodded. Then he introduced me to his friends. They all greeted me nicely and asked what my name was. I was reluctant at first but then I said my name. It took them a while to get it but in the end they got it.


The Couch 🛋️

by Asal

I came home and sat on my couch. I set aside my sadness, my anger and my worries on the couch. All of a sudden, I felt alive. I saw my beloved bow and arrow no one is allowed to touch or play with. It is the most precious thing I own. Given by my Grandfather. I set aside my bow and arrow.

The people I love and the people I dislike were moved onto the couch. I put aside my past memories and my present ones onto my couch. My angry memories and my happy ones. My sad memories and my exciting memories. Past to present, present to future.

I set aside my thoughts and all the things I overthink. What my sister said and what my brother said are just lying down on the couch restlessly.

I was longing for a vanilla ice cream. I took some out but then I just sat there staring at the ice cream, not touching it at all. All of the things I put on the couch were there staring at me. The couch wobbled, struggling to hold the weight of everything, trying not to fall. Then it stood strong as ever holding the weight. The couch held everything up for me.


The things that make me the happiest

by Shakyla

Family dinner all together on a Saturday night at Nana’s.

On my birthday my dad wakes me really early to say happy birthday first.

Taking Hamlet, my Nana’s tiny dog for a walk on a warm day.

Having a long conversation with Makaela and Poppy.

Playing Monopoly with my friends and family.

Listening to ‘Try’ by Pink while cleaning my room.

Going outside on a warm spring day.

Seeing ducks paddling down the river

with their ducklings playing Follow the Leader.

On a silent night, the sound of rain

running down my window.

And Saturday morning sleep-ins.


and something completely different that came from a Writer's Warm Up:

Talking to….


Me: Hey Spiders I know you can hear me.

Spider: Go away!

Me: Just answer my question.

Spider: Fine but only one question.

Me: Ok are you guys like government spying tech that spies for the government?

Spider: …

Me: Hey answer back, you said you would answer me.

Spider: …

Me: And he's gone.

Me: Oh well.

Me: Hey Flies!

** The Table by Edip Cansever was translated by Julia Clare Tillinghurst and Richard Tillinghast.

(c) Write On and the Young Writers 2023


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