Personal Addition #18 – NPGHS

NPGHS stands for New Plymouth Girls’ High School (my school!!). I’ve said a few bits and bobs about my school in New Zealand in other posts but then I remembered there’s this video that my school made to show overseas for international students and since I always get questions about my school, if you want to see the uniforms, campus, hostel, and also a few accents (which I know you love) then you can now watch this video 🙂


Personal Addition #17 – Te Reo Maori

Téna koutou katoa! Hello everybody!
A lot of people ask me about whether I speak another language in New Zealand, and while there is a widely spoken native language, I don’t speak it (I wish I did!).
Te Reo Maori is the native dialect and is used by about 10% of the NZ population. Even for those who aren’t fluent, we still use the language every day – the national anthem is sung in Maori and English, it’s used on the evening news, and we also get taught numbers and colours and a whole lot of songs (waiata) in primary school.
Despite not being born in NZ, I got involved in the kapahaka program at my primary and intermediate schools, and it was something I really enjoyed. Kapahaka is a Maori performance style, and we would take part in competitions of song, dance, and haka, in full costume. It was a really cool way to be part of the Maori culture, perform, and be part of a close team! Here’s a video of my high school’s kapahaka group (all girls, plus some staff members):

Here are some Maori words in common use in NZ and around the world:
Kiwi – aha! Bet you didn’t know that you’ve been using Te Reo Maori in everyday life!
Aotearoa – this is the Maori name for New Zealand, it means ‘the land of the long white cloud’.
Kia ora – this is a casual greeting when you see someone you know.
Haere mai – this means welcome!
Kumara – this is what Kiwis call a sweet potato.
Whanau – this is the Maori word for family.
Haka – if you’ve ever seen the All Blacks play, then you’ll probably know they traditionally perform a chant to the other team before the game, which is called a haka. Different groups have their own specific haka, but the national one is the most well known. Here’s a video of it:

Personal Addition #16 – AFL

Just like with netball, most Canadians have also never heard of the sport I like to watch most – Aussie rules/Australian football.
When I first watched it I thought it was ridiculous, but now I love it. Most of the games are played in Australia, but I was lucky enough to see one live when I visited Melbourne last year. For the past two years my favourite team, Hawthorn, has won the league championship, and while it’s very uncommon for teams to win three seasons in a row, I hope the Hawks can do it! AFL is becoming more popular around the world, including Canada! The Canadian women’s team is the world champions for women’s AFL outside Australia itself.
Here’s a photo of Hawthorn after they beat the Sydney Swans in the final last year:


Personal Addition #15 – Rugby

I decided I would join the Sturgeon girls’ rugby team last month, and since then we’ve been practicing at least twice a week. Our first game will be an exhibition game next week and I’m getting anxious about it! Even though I’ve watched hundreds of rugby games before, that’s entirely different to playing the game! I definitely think I’m getting better at tackling and getting tackled, the more I practice.

Newspaper Blackout Poetry Reflection

Doing newspaper blackout poetry was an interesting process. At first I thought it would be quite hard to figure out a sequence of words from a newspaper article but when I started looking, it turned out to be much easier than I expected. A big challenge was trying to have the sequence make sense, and sometimes this meant changing my poem a lot because I couldn’t find a particular word I needed. I’m very happy with my third poem ‘Closure’ as it makes more sense to me.

This is a style of writing I had never tried before and is different to anything I’ve ever done, but it was more enjoyable to me because it was a more creative and visual task than other styles. It was unique in that there was less choice in the writing – you couldn’t always say exactly what you wanted – like you were co-authoring with the newspaper.

I learned I like to be creative with my writing, and I need poems to make sense for me to enjoy them. This style of writing was fun to try out and made it a lot easier to create poetry, something that I usually detest.