Writing Competitions

Our 2022 Student Writing Competition

We loved holding last year’s lockdown writing competition, and collaborating with our incredible judges and prize sponsors to deliver students a fun opportunity amidst our national lockdowns. It was wonderful to see the enjoyment shared by both students and teachers throughout last year’s competition!

We hope we can achieve that once more with our 2022 NZ student writing competition! It’s now up and running, so we invite class groups or individual students to participate!

Our two biggest goals are:
– show students that writing (and learning writing skills) can be fun
– improve students’ writing skills by increasing confidence, self-direction and agency

Those participating (as a school, class or you even just a few keen individual students) will have the opportunity to craft their entries with the help of our writing skills tool, Stylefit. We loved hearing about our participating schools’ experiences with the software during the 2021 writing competition – here’s a video snippet on student motivation!

If you’d like to participate, get in touch via the contact form or by writing directly to anna@stylefit.org. We’ll either extend your current Stylefit licence or open up a trial version for the duration of the competition. You can also find out more about how it works by booking a demo or having a look at the feedback features here.

Our Judges

We are excited to announce the five amazing authors judging this year’s writing entries!

Jo Emeney

Judging Year 11-13 Category

Poet Johanna Emeney says that Felt, her new collection of poems, explores teaching, animals and how emotions and “the things that have hit me hard over the past decade” are felt in the body. Johanna Emeney teaches creative writing at Massey University.

Poems that elicit some bodily response. Anything that could not hold my attention for its entirety is allowed a second read, but the poems which gripped or surprised me made it straight into the ‘yes’ pile. It is not easy to spark something in a reader – curiosity, empathy – but innovative use of language, structure or narrative perspective can do that, and leave her thinking about the lines long after the poem has been put away. I approached the selection of pieces for this edition of Poetry New Zealand as I would approach putting together an anthology of poems which I’d like to read over and over again.

Robyn Pearce

Judging Year 9-10 Category

Robyn Pearce is an international speaker, educator and author. She specialises in time management and productivity and is in demand here and Australia. She has several best-selling titles on productivity-related topics mostly published by Reed Publishing. In 2019 & 2020 she updated all of them. They are now available on Amazon and IngramSpark. She published her first historical novel, in May 2020,  ‘It Happened On Fifth Street: A tale of forgotten heroes’ and is now working on the next two fiction titles in The Freedom Series.

Tessa Duder

Judging Year 7-8 Category

Tessa is an immensely successful NZ author with more than 50 books published for both young and adult readers.

The Alex Quartet, regarded as New Zealand classics were recently re-issued in one volume by children’s publisher One Tree House.

‘I am absolutely delighted to see these back in print,’ says Tessa.

She has consistently advocated for children’s literature and was awarded an OBE in 1994 for this. She has also edited and published anthologies. In 2020 she received the Companion of New Zealand Merit (CNZM) and later that same year she received the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement in fiction.

Anna Kenna

Judging Year 5-6 Category

An award winning and respected journalist and children’s book author, Anna worked for more than 30 years as a magazine writer then a television reporter and producer. Programmes she worked on included highly regarded current affairs programme 20/20 and the ever popular Fair Go. Since then Anna’s established herself as a successful author for young readers with her best selling Viola Vincent Reporting series. The latest of these follows Viola’s investigation into a polluted waterhole, where she unwittingly stirs up tensions in a community that run as deep as the river itself. Viola Reporting- Troubled Waters was announced as a Storylines junior fiction Notable Book 2021.

Suraya Dewing

Judging Year 4 Category

After achieving her Master of Creative Writing, MCW (Auckland University, NZ) in 2009 Suraya established an international writers’ network, The Story Mint. At the same time she created Stylefit, an interactive tool that immediately gives feedback so writers can edit in real time. A version designed specifically for education is presently going into schools. After winning a story competition with a collaboratively written short story set on the Silk Road in the 15th century, Suraya and co-author, Hemali Ajmera were offered a publishing contract. The resulting novel, The Trader, is due out shortly.

Our Prize Sponsors

Just like last year, we have some incredible prizes lined up for the best three writers in each category of the competition. Have a look below at the companies sponsoring this writing competition – maybe they’ll give you an idea as we’re definitely not spoiling the surprise!

Books sponsored by Matakana Village Books

This wonderful boutique bookshop reflects owner Mary-Liz’s passion for books.

She has generously donated a book for each place getter in each section of the writing competition. She is personally selecting each book once we’ve got our winners.

Virtual Reality Experience

Place getters who get a ticket to VR Voom Virtual Reality experience will have a blast when they leave this world behind and enter the wild world of the imagination. These writers will discover the limitless possibilities of creative storytelling combined with innovation. Learning is best when we play.

Free Stylefit Subscription for 1 Year

Use our specially developed writing tool to help you with your creative writing, essays, study reports and anything else! You’ll get immediate feedback on your work and learn how using your Parts of Speech influences your writing style.

1-on-1 with the Author of The Trader

An entertaining hour with the founder and creator of Stylefit where the place getter meets with her individually. They will talk about writing and do some together. The place getter will receive an autographed copy of her latest novel, The Trader!

Win a Noel Leeming Android Tablet!

A few talented writers will be in the running for our Android Tablets, sponsored kindly by Noel Leeming!

PaperPlus Prize

We have five large stationery packs to give away to a place getter in each category! Thank you, PaperPlus!

Judges’ Signed Novels

Our wonderful judges are offering a couple of their signed books as part of the prizes for our place getters! Thank you very much to our amazing judges!

New Zealand Geographic Subscription

New Zealand Geographic is an iconic magazine that features stories about our country. It fills the gaps about places and events we half know. For example, its most recent issue explains the story behind Matariki.  The same issue also covers the importance of kelp. But the story that really caught our eye was about a gathering of photo journalists at Ngaruawahia. The photographs and the story about the forgotten town gave us hope that it and other towns like it will eventually come back to life. This beautifully produced magazine that comes out every two months is full of award winning photography and in-depth articles. This year, NZ Geographic has donated a year’s subscription for one of our winning writers.

Gold Media Hoodies

Wonderful videographer, Rocky Gold, CEO of Gold Media, is adding to our prizes with these very lovely hoodies. Rocky offers professional videography and photography services for commercials, branding videos, advertising, real estate and personal projects. Gold Media is currently working with Stylefit on a very exciting project!


At MOTAT* you can magically travel through time by riding on trams, then exploring scientific innovations. MOTAT also offers an extensive STEAM education programme known to inspire the tamariki.

Stylefit gratefully accepts MOTAT’s support with an annual pass.

*Museum of Transport and Technology

Congratulations to the winners of our 2021 Writing Competition!

Hundreds of students from across New Zealand came together virtually during our national lockdown to participate in our exciting writing challenge! A massive well done to all those who participated and we hope you enjoyed your free Stylefit trial! Thank you to our three brilliant judges, authors Sarah-Kate Lynch, Anna Kenna and Shirley Wine, for reading all the entries and picking out our winners.

If you’d like to participate in our 2022 Writing Competition, make sure to check back on this page for updates or subscribe to our brand new newsletter by getting in touch with anna@stylefit.org. Our next competition is planned for the winter of 2022!

Here are our 2021 winners and their winning prizes!