E Tū Whānau Spoken Word Competition 2021

“It’s the voice of Aotearoa, and that’s a powerful thing”

The inaugural E Tū Whānau Spoken Word Competition 2021 concluded with great excitement on 27 August, with the announcements of the competition winners. This is the first time E Tū Whānau has hosted a spoken word event and it was a massive success.

Kasi Valu and Kyllah Iosua took out the main prizes with their extraordinary pieces. Competition host, acclaimed spoken word poet Te Kahu Rolleston, was hugely impressed by the talent and topics shared by so many entrants through this event.

“Nowhere else have I seen such an amazing collection of spoken word poetry. It’s the voice of Aotearoa, and that’s a powerful thing.”

Te Kahu Rolleston
Dreams of Diversity by Kyllah Iosua (Ngati Kahu) – Winner, Rangatahi Category

The three competition judges agree. “Beautifully crafted”, “powerful”, “strong word-play” and “gems hidden between every line” are some of the comments they made about the winning entries. Grace Iwashita-Taylor, Jai Selkirk and Moerangi Tetapuhi are all well-established in the spoken word and slam poetry community and brought to the judging process many years of experience, knowledge and commitment to this growing artform.

The theme for the competition was Ngā Moemoeā: Hopes and dreams for my world, my future, my whānau. Entrants were also asked to also make a connection in some way to the E Tū Whānau  kaupapa.

In the Eyes of my Niece by Kais Valu – Winner, Open Category

E Tū Whānau Kaiwhakahaere, Heni Turner, says that the competition carries on the legacy of Ann Dysart (Te Rarawa), the founding kaiwhakahaere of E Tū Whānau, who passed away at the start of this year.

“Ann Dysart was passionate about everyone’s voices being heard – especially those that are often silenced. Her vision was that the E Tū Whānau spoken word competition promotes people’s hopes and kōrero, and that it makes Aotearoa New Zealand more diverse, inclusive and strong. She also wanted people to have fun when sharing the kaupapa,” says Heni.

“We celebrate that Ann’s vision has been fulfilled by the power and courage of all those poets who entered our first spoken word competition.”

Heni Turner

E Tū Whānau Spoken Word Competition 2021 Winners

Rangatahi Category (18 years and under)

1st place ($2,500 in cash and a special prize package delivered in partnership with Action Education):  DREAMS OF DIVERSITY, Kyllah Iosua, Ngāti Kahu  (Auckland).

2nd place ($1000): NGĀ PUNA WHAKAATA O ŌKU TŪPUNA, Ali’itasi Vae’au, Manawa Paki, Akacia-Jane Rewita; Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whakarewa i te Reo ki Tūwharetoa (Taupō).

3rd place ($500 in cash): FALL OF 3 KINGS, Kate Laughter, Ngāti Porou (Auckland)

Highly commended ($250 in cash): KANOHI KI TE AO, Oceania Pene, Te Arawa (Rotorua)

Open Category (19 years and over)

1st place ($2,500 in cash and a special prize package delivered in partnership with NZ Poetry Slam): IN THE EYES OF MY NIECE, Kasi Valu (Wellington)

2nd place ($1000): I PRAY, Harirewa Rachel Tairaki (Kaikohe)

3rd place ($500): MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH, Ryan Teura, Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa, Ngāti Rongo-U, Ngāti Porou (Auckland)

Highly Commended ($250): TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, Cody Stipich, Ngāti Awa (Wellington)

People’s Choice Award ($1500): DEAR JACINDA, Kasi Valu (Wellington)

The E Tū Whānau Spoken Word Competition 2021 logo

Want more?

Check out the E Tū Whānau YouTube channel to view all the competition entries

Visit the E Tū Whānau Facebook page and Instagram.

Read about the E Tū Whānau vision, values and journey.