Writers Published in ODT

By Various | Posted: Sunday March 4, 2018

3 of our students had writing selected for publication in the Otago Daily Times in March.

Paxton Hall, Viviane Dalphin and  Mary Locker  were all featured, along with Isla Thomas' photography. Isla's work in photography was recognised with an Outstanding Scholarship in Photography in the 2017 NZQA exams. In her portfolio she questions the role of the sacred in every day and banal activities. These works are influenced by David Hilliard.

See the published writing below.


By Paxton Hall Year 10

I am

The mother

Of myths and


The daughter

Of space and time

The lonely


Of dimensions

I am

Auspicious, propitious

(plants find me delicious)

Mysterious, metaphorical,

A granter of wishes

I am

An everlasting beacon

Always silently guiding

A serene, peaceful harbinger

I am

A blade slicing through the shadows

Revealing my quarry with a blinding ray

Shining mercilessly through the gloom

Of the night

Like You and I

By Viviane Dalphin Year 10

Rumbling, Crumbling down down down

Spinning, Whirling round round round

Cascading through the endless night

Stopping bouncing in the light

Shattering dreams and shattering hopes

Running sliding down the slope

Wet drips of streams trickle by

New faces and friends, time to try

Screams of those who fall through

Learning learning trying new

A Gentle crunch of branches insures

Hiding, hiding playing by law

I’ll stay hidden forevermore

I spy an animal my child says,

I turn and look, I follow her gaze

I see a cow grazing far far away

I tell her to listen I tell her to see

I tell her this cow is no different from you or me

We are the same it and I

We both breathe

We both have needs

This cow is an animal like you and I

Underneath It All 

By Mary Locker Yr 13

Masks. Cold, hard, impenetrable. Hard to create, and all but impossible to strip away.

Take, for example, that girl in the corner. Notice her calm aura and the peacefulness on her face. If you ground that porcelain to dust under your heel, no doubt you’d find a mind in turmoil, turning and churning with what she has learned from the day's hard toil. Boiling over with people, poetry, politics, and plans that have been foiled. But wearing a mask makes it easy you see, for her to pretend that the burden she carries is not the world in its entirety, and so she feels in control. If she showed what she was thinking, feeling, seeing in her mind’s eye, it would be simply too much to bear, and the world would turn away from this bright mind in a dark place.

An old man on a bench, who finds too much joy in the world for someone his age, has wrinkles that are fake, unshakeable faith, and white hair at odds with the way he has been made. His mask is not of his own making; it is a gift accepted unwillingly, that has been given to him out of necessity, and has built up so gradually that one day he looked in the mirror and only recognised his eyes. However he is old only in years - in body not mind. Behind the mask of elderly wisdom is the kind of youth that is hard to find, evergreen and irreplaceable. It pays no heed to what other people can see, to the way things ought to be and persists in spite of itself.

And the boy in your class, let us not forget him. The one you think is an imbecile, a dunce, a cretin. Nothing good for you to say, except that his attitude is never aimed at you. He wears a mask too. A guise of indifference to those around him, a mask that hides a broken heart. It gets stronger every time he sees a certain pair of eyes, and although it makes the fist in his chest squeeze tighter, he is glad, for it holds the pieces together, and keeps them from falling apart. The callous character he plays is merely hiding the ache, saving it for a rainy day. That way, no one will notice when he lets go, and the salt flows, not so very different from the drops on the window.

Time moves on.

The girl in the corner. Notice her calm aura and the peacefulness on her face. She has pretended for so long that her thoughts are pedestrian, nothing out of the ordinary, that she fits in. And the truth is that they are, she does. She has forgotten how to think outside the box, how to find joy in her own company. She always wonders whether she is truly happy, whether she was not less lonely when she was able to revel in the abstract and extraordinary. But it is too late.

The old man on the bench. He has forgotten how to find joy in the world. He has forgotten most things now, including what it was like to be young, what it was like to be a tall upright pine with a clear view and an open mind. The mask that he was given was preparing him for what was to come, because you see, the rest of him has caught up, and he is now every bit as old as he seems to be.

The boy in your class. Being obnoxious has become a habit, although you must admit that he’s mellower now. His indifference is no longer feigned, he genuinely doesn’t care about the eyes that once caused him so much pain. That is because his heart has healed, has been squeezed back together like clay. And, like clay, time has hardened it, so that it will not be so easily broken again.