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Lest We Forget poetry competition

James Drake

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira

Finalists have been chosen in response to war in poetry or prose on the theme of the Western Killing Fields for the 12th annual Lest We Forget Poetry Competition. Part of our World War I Centenary commemorations, the competition is open to all ages.

The Western Killing Fields

The theme for the 12th annual Lest We Forget Poetry Competition is the 'Western Killing Fields'. After the ordeal of Gallipoli, New Zealanders found themselves sent to the Western Front in France and Belgium.

During the battles for the Somme and Ypres, the cost of war was high for New Zealand, which saw many of its blackest military days. In 1917, as well as the relentless fighting, 14 of our conscientious objectors were shipped to the front line, conscription was extended to Māori and the New Zealand Tunnelling Company took a lead in the preparation for the Battle of Arras. This year you can respond to these events and more.

The competition winners for 2017 are:

18+ category

Madison Nonoa, 'A Witness For Every Mother' - Rototuna, Hamilton

Declan Mulcahy, 'Cousins' - Volunteer Guide at Auckland Museum

Greg Hall, 'Flowers From the Battlefield' - Devonport, Auckland

12 - 17 category

Jed Munro, 'I Think I Should Know You' - Pinehurst School

Sophie Sun, 'The Sun Rises' - Waiatarua, Auckland

Sophia Redgrove, 'The Empty Space' - Northcross Intermediate

Aria Rhodes, 'Lost Soldier' - Pinehurst School

11 and Under category

Maia Cully, 'The Burchem Cellars' - Northcross Intermediate

James Drake, 'Dear Friend & Taniwha' - Kadima School, Auckland

Georgina Farrington, 'Dearest Ma and Em' - Northcross Intermediate


Listen to or watch the poetry readings by our finalists:

Entries have been judged by a panel of Museum writers, curators, and educators. The judges’ decision is final. Finalists, chosen from each age category, were invited to read their entries at the Museum on Anzac Day at 1pm. Finalists in the 11 and under category will also have their poems published in the children's publication, Toitoi.

  • Past winners 2016

    Listen to the 2016 finalists of our Lest We Forget poetry competition. The poets read their verse in the World War One Sanctuary as part of our Anzac Day commemorative programme.

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  • Past winners 2015

    Listen to the 2015 finalists of our Lest We Forget poetry competition. The poets read their verse in the World War One Sanctuary as part of our Anzac Day commemorative programme.

    Read more
  • Information for teachers

    Here's some extra information to help teachers who might like to include the Lest We Forget Poetry Competition into their classroom activities.

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