Beyond This Story, 2014
A stated objective of Tauranga Writers, New Zealand’s longest-standing writing group, is to support and encourage emerging writers. To this end, in 2012 the group established the Write Off Line series of anthologies to provide a vehicle for teen writers to publish their work, and the equivalent Beyond This series of anthologies for intermediate school students.
In Beyond This Story, our latest intermediate school collection, students were asked to write a piece of hyper-fiction, a narrative inspired by a real person or true event, preferably with some New Zealand connection. The stories we received were entertaining, poignant, informative and hugely diverse. They included stories of historic events like the Tangiwai disaster, the 1918 influenza epidemic, the Napier earthquake, and Cook’s landing at Young Nick’s Head, as well as more contemporary events such as the Christchurch earthquake, the Cave Creek tragedy, Cyclone Bola, and the loss of Flight 901 on Mount Erebus. Personalities revealed in the stories included sports heroes like Lovelock, adventurers Hillary and Norgay, inventors like Rutherford, and political personalities such as activist Hamiora Pere, and suffragette Kate Sheppard. With no less than 400 submissions from 63 schools, we did get some double-up of theme, and yet no two stories were the same. New Zealand intermediate students offered us their individual perspectives on the people and events that have shaped, and still shape, their world. Beyond This Story includes a selection of those stories.
While we would like to have published every student’s story, sadly that wasn’t possible. But no one went away empty-handed, as every entrant received individual feedback and suggestions for improving their work. Naturally, we didn’t do this without help, and we’d like to thank our panel of judges and our fellow Tauranga Writers members for their valuable input.