Students from Aranui High and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School in Christchurch have been awarded first and second place respectively in the 2015 Lois Middlemiss Memorial Award.
The award is an annual competition for poetry, and winners were named on Saturday, NZ Women’s Suffrage Day, at the Kate Sheppard Memorial on Oxford Terrace in Christchurch.
Convener for the Lois Middlemiss Memorial Award, Judith Sutherland of the Christchurch Branch of the National Council of Women, says the aim of the award is to encourage secondary school girls to gain a better understanding of women’s issues.
“We want young women to take a topic and explore it from a personal perspective,” she said.
And that’s exactly what Bethany (Beth) Walters from Aranui High School and Amy Huang from Rangi Ruru Girls’ School did.
Bethany’s poem, which received first prize, is entitled ‘I Would Never Do This To You’. It is a thought-provoking critique of the current political scene from her perspective.
Amy’s poem is entitled ‘Speech of the Female Candidate’ and is a tongue-in-cheek address by a woman about what she will do when she becomes Prime Minister.
Ms Sutherland said the quality of entries was very high and encouraged girls to start looking ahead to next year.
“Perhaps with pay parity so prevalent in the news at the moment and the Midwives pay parity case due to be heard in the High Court early next year, that may be an inspiration for some,” she said.
“But of course anything that inspires our young women is welcome and encouraged.”
With Bethany and Amy, around 20 people including Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Christchurch City councillors Ali Jones and Pauline Cotter, gathered Saturday morning at the Kate Sheppard Memorial on Oxford Terrace in the central city to acknowledge the 122nd anniversary of New Zealand women gaining the vote is known as Women’s Suffrage Day.
Photo credit – Ali Jones PR