The Open Verse Junior (17 years or younger) and the Haiku Junior (17 years or younger) categories for both individuals and schools will be open for entries on April 20, 2023.

The Open Verse Junior category has a theme, which means poems should include this theme. The theme is MYTHOLOGY, and it can be interpreted in any way the youth poet wishes.

Young poets entering the Haiku Junior category can write a haiku based on the mythology theme if they wish, but it is not a requirement.


Mythology is a collection of ancient tales and legends that tell the stories of ancestors, the origin of the world, natural events such as violent storms, and gods and heroes of a particular people. The purpose of a myth is to explain why people, animals or things are the way they are and to help us make sense of things. Myths tell why certain animals might fly only at night, for example, or they tell the tale of supernatural beings such as satyrs.

Myths tell us about the beliefs and values held by a certain culture and they teach lessons. They exist in every culture and country around the world and Aotearoa New Zealand is rich in mythology.

Examples of myths:

  • Hercules and the Lion 
  • Jason and the Argonauts
  • King Arthur and the sword in the stone
  • Tír na nÓg or the land of eternal youth in Irish mythology.
  • The phantom waka of Lake Tarawera
  • Thor from Norse mythology
  • Pandora’s box

So, you could write a poem about fairy spirits at the bottom of a garden or Achilles and Hector or the phantom waka on Lake Tarawera before the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. We also have modern myths such as Batman, Wonderwoman, The Incredible Hulk, and Spiderman, and poems can be written based on modern myths.


Open Junior poems are to be 32 lines or less (not including the poem’s title or stanza breaks). Any poem exceeding this length is immediately disqualified.

No names or identifying details can appear on the poems.

Poem entries must be accompanied by an entry form, which is available below.

The Haiku Junior entry form is also available below.


There are so many myths and legends from around the world, so here are some resources to spark ideas.

When the Youth competition opens on April 20, there will also be a special announcement – an opportunity for a young person to have their artwork featured.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. When is the deadline?



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