Waikato Literacy Association, Term 2 2022

Committee News

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Kia Ora! from our Committee

President - Kylie Te Arihi

Secretary - Kerry Horan

Treasurer - Mel Sargent

...and the rest of the hard working gang!


Feana Tu'akoi - 2022 Tom Fitzgibbon Award winner

Congratulations to Feana Tu’akoi, winner of the 2022 Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award for her manuscript ‘A Perfect Failure'. Feana has long been a supporter of the Waikato Literacy Association and often been one of the selected authors inspiring young writers at our Young Authors Day.

The Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award is for an original junior novel manuscript. It is administered by Storylines and sponsored by Scholastic NZ. It is awarded annually, when merited, to the author of a work of fiction for children between eight and 12 years of age. As part of the prize the manuscript is guaranteed publication.

The award was established in 1995 to recognise the outstanding contribution made by the late Tom Fitzgibbon to the growth and status of children’s literature in New Zealand.
For many years Head of the English Department at North Shore Teachers’ College and the Auckland College of Education, Tom founded the Children’s Literature Association of New Zealand and later became the first chair of the New Zealand Children’s Book Foundation, forerunner of Storylines.

Feana Tu‘akoi is a Kirikiriroa-based writer, with a strong background in educational writing. She has over 220 published titles to her name, including stories, poems, picture books, school readers, plays, articles, activities, chapter books and radio stories. Seven of her nine trade books for children have been named in various awards and her work has been translated into several languages.

Feana is 2022 Massey University Writer in Residence. Feana began writing when her four children were pre-schoolers, as she was unable to source books that included Tongan characters, Tongan ideas, or even Tongan legends. She considers it vital for her children to be able to see themselves in print and to read about people and situations that make sense to them. Much of her writing has included Tongan characters and bicultural families like her own. Her hope is that Pacific children who read her work will recognise the value in their own stories and feel empowered to become our writers of the future.

Selected bibliography:

  • What Is a Fish?, te reo edition He aha te Ika? (Scholastic 2007).
  • What Is a Reptile?, te reo edition He aha te Ngārara? (Scholastic 2007).
  • What Is a Mammal?, te reo edition He aha te Ngoteūû? (Scholastic 2007).
  • What Is a Bird?, te reo edition He aha te Manu? (Scholastic 2007).
  • What Is an Amphibian?, te reo edition He aha te Kirihātua? (Scholastic 2007).
  • Freaky Fish, illustrated by Eleanor Meecham [Kiwi Bites] (Puffin 2008).
  • The Water Fight, illustrated by Christopher White (Mallinson Rendel 2008).
  • Jonah’s First Day, illustrated by Samantha Asri, te reo edition Te Rā Tuatahi Mō (Scholastic 2010).
  • Lest We Forget, illustrated by Elspeth Alix Batt, te reo edition Kei Wareware Tatou na Kāterina Mataira nga kupu Māori (Scholastic 2011).
  • Awards:
  • 2022 Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award for ‘A Perfect Failure’
  • 2022 Massey University Writer in Residence
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2012 Picture Books List for Lest We Forget
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2009 Junior Fiction List for Freaky Fish
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2008 Non-fiction List for What Is a…?series
  • New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2008 Non-fiction Finalist for What Is a Fish?
  • LIANZA Elsie Locke Award 2008 Finalist for What Is a…? series

(Information courtesy of Storylines trust)

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Exciting Events Coming Soon ....

Murray Gadd Workshop

"Being an Effective Teacher of Writing”

(June 30, Maeroa Intermediate)

We are very excited to be able to offer you all this workshop session with Murray Gadd this June.

Murray is a very knowledgable and experienced researcher who, amongst other things, works directly with schools across NZ on inquiry projects aimed at lifting the engagement and progress/achievement of students in literacy, particularly writing.

His session with us will cover why the teaching of writing is still so important in the New Zealand context and what research (including Murray's own) tells us is critical in the effective teaching of writing.

However, the main focus will be on what these critical dimensions might look like in Year 0-8 classrooms. As such, it will be a practical session centred around actions that teachers might undertake in the classroom.

If you are interested in knowing more about what Murray's background is, hop online to his website

Workshop with Louise Dempsey

"Teaching phonics and word learning to support reading and writing in the middle and senior (primary) years"

(July 28th, venue t.b.a)

We are also really excited to have enticed Louise Dempsey back to share with us all some of her wisdom around the benefits of teaching phonics and word learning as part of our literacy programmes.

Lock in the date and keep an eye out for the registration form which will be coming out in the next couple of months.

Young Authors & Illustrators: Saturday 13th August (Term 3)

Our very popular student event is all set to go ahead at Berkley Normal Middle School. Year 5-8 students spend the day attending workshops with a variety of local writers and/or illustrators- Lewis Morgan, Sarah Johnson, Andrew MacDonald, Des Hunt, Feana Tu'akoi and Amy Harrop.

Book the date and watch out for more information and registration details later in the term.

William Pike Event: Thursday 18th August (Term 3)

Spend the afternoon listening to an inspirational tale of resilience. William Pike is very sought after as a motivational speaker. As a published author and teacher (in his younger years) he will certainly have some powerful messages to pass on to us as educators. This teacher event will take place at Berkley Normal Middle School.

Registration details will be sent out to schools later in the Term.

2022 NZLA Conference- Taurangawaewae: our voices, our stories

The Auckland Literacy Association will be hosting this year's annual conference in Parnell, Auckland. Keynote presenters will be: Russell Bishop, Ben Brown, Charlotte Gibbs, Peter Johnson (USA), Ken KUNZ (USA), Rae Si'ilata, Sir Ian Taylor

If you are interested in hosting a workshop at the event, submissions are now open (close 1st July 2022).

For more information on the conference and/or how to make a workshop submission, go to

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WLA Scholarships for the NZLA Conference

Our local Council (the Waikato Literacy Association) is offering 2 one-off scholarships to cover the registration fee for the NZLA Conference in Auckland.

If you think you would really benefit from attending this year's conference, please use the form below to apply.


Sharing our Love of Literacy

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Have anything to share?

...Feel free to email me any news or information that you think our members would be interested in and I will post it on our Facebook page.

We would also love to see any photos of children enjoying literacy learning or examples of fabulous writing by your students so, share away!