About the Intermediate (Years 5 to 8) Writers Award

The Intermediate Writers Award is a unique non-fiction essay competition open to NZ Students, Years 5 to 8.

The Award is designed to offer a competitive and authentic opportunity for students to engage in purposeful writing.

The IWA promotes the idea of a writer’s voice/platform – whereby writers are:

1. Engaged in a nationwide conversation surrounding the essay starter; and

2. Composing arguments with a genuine audience in mind.

SCHOOLS - Why Register your Classes for IWA 2022

New Zealand Curriculum

The IWA is planned against the New Zealand Curriculum. It is designed to replace a teacher-led writing unit. Our team is comprised of experienced teachers, educators and academics.

Resources | Teachers & Students

Teachers : A Unit Cover Plan linked to the NZC, Assessment Indicators Cover sheet and the Essay Starter.  The Essay Starter is everything students need and includes the essay question, introductory reading material & guidelines for composition. It is designed to release teachers from the task of orientating students to the competition.

Imagine your School Winning

Your involvement in this competition signals to your students and your community that you recognise the importance of nurturing writing as a fundamental communication skill.

The top student and school will receive the prestigious IWA trophies as well as nationwide promotion of your success. There is promoted recognition and reward for the first three winners in each division. Our top three Year 7-8 winners are awarded $400 & gift voucher, $200 & gift voucher and $50 & gift voucher respectively. Our top three Year 5-6 winners are awarded $150 & gift voucher & gift pack, $50 & gift voucher & gift pack, $50 & gift voucher & gift pack respectively. Judges also award achievement certificates to highly commended and commended entries. All winning entries and highly commended entries recieve written feedback from the judging panel. Judges determine the number of highly commended and commended awards each year. Schools are encouraged to have their own internal competitions/prize givings.

STUDENTS - Why Enter IWA 2022

Win great Prizes

First Prize in the year 7-8 division is $400 plus a gift voucher, the author trophy and the school trophy. First Prize in the year 5-6 division is $150 plus a gift voucher and a gift pack.  More prizes for 2nd to 3rd place in each division. Judges also award certificates of achievement to highly commended and commended entries.

Get Involved

The Essay Starter will encourage you to think and write about the issues that affect you – a young person living in New Zealand in 2022. Engage nationwide with your peers and give your writing a platform from which to be heard.

Positive Participation

Being part of the IWA is a great experience and it will be a fantastic inclusion in your C.V. Participation and/or success is noteworthy in academic and future careers.


Find your Voice

The IWA promotes social and political discussion regarding issues and experiences facing youth in the modern world.

Unique New Zealand Writing Competition

In our information based society, written language is rapidly evolving in both form and function.

The IWA recognises the evolution of communication mediums, purposes and audiences. It is the only writing competition in New Zealand that opens up an authentic opportunity and audience for writing to be experienced as a social process.
It is uniquely nationwide and the first of its kind that requires the school to register instead of individual students. The deliberate connection of students and teachers on the one essay topic creates engagement and shared experience. It is this shared experience that creates the writer’s platform, and gives students a much needed avenue for their writing to find ‘voice.’

Our Process

  • Register – Schools enrol their classes, there are 3 options available. Low-cost entry.
  • Welcome Letter is sent out including a poster to promote the Award and your involvement in it.
  • Essay Starter (includes the essay question, reading material that orientates students to the topic and guidelines for composition).
  • Students are given class writing time to engage in the research and composition process.
  • The top three entries from each class are submitted to the national competition.
  • Entries may be submitted to the competition from September 1-30.
  • Judging panel sits October.
  • Winners notified in November-December.