The 2018 IWA Winners

First Place Winner: Caitlin Ryan

Essay title: Superheroes and Barbies (PDF link)

School: Greytown School, South Wairarapa.

Caitlin pictured (right) with her teacher, Alex Southall (left), holding the Author and School Trophies respectively.

Summary: Caitlin’s essay, “Superheroes and Barbies” is an astutely considered and superbly crafted exposition that explores the societal messages delivered to young people via gender stereotyping, “from the way we dress them, to the games they play.”


Judges commented:

Seamless integration of personal experience alongside referenced and thoroughly researched material. Evidence of wide reading. Arguments put forward with balance and clarity.

Your description of the class board game was excellent. This obviously made an impact on you and kudos to the teacher who took you through this exercise. I am sure both the boys and the girls were shocked when they realised their ingrained biases.

Please keep writing – you have much to say and a wonderful eloquence and clear voice.

Second Place Winner: Amelia Prebble

Essay: Collective Hope for Transformational Change (PDF link)

School: Wā ora Montessori, Lower Hutt

Teacher: Priya Gain




Amelia introduces her essay, Collective Hope for Transformational Change with a quote from Jacinda Ardern’s (2018) UN General Assembly address: “We must rediscover our shared belief in the value, rather than the harm, of connectedness.” Amelia explores the theme of connectedness through the power of experience, compassion, community, music and story-telling.

Judges commented:

I LOVED this hopeful piece which was beautifully written by a compassionate writer who has weaved their personal experiences and obvious love of the arts into a solution for overcoming many of the world’s problems.

A beautiful piece written from the heart by someone whose hope and joy is infectious. An appreciation for life in NZ is also wonderful to see and I loved the peppered references to things happening in the author’s own life.

It is clear you have been ‘collecting’ and reflecting in the build up to writing/finalising the essay – so important in effective story telling. Excellent piece.

 Meaningful personal connections made with the main message, without being too tangential.  Positive, hopeful and clear tone. Creative solution offered to a universal problem.


Third Place Winner: Kruz Fabian

Essay: Media Must Cease to Glorify the “Perfect” Body Image (PDF link)

School: Northcross Int School, Auckland

Teacher: Suzanne Hodgins

(Kruz Fabian pictured on the right with classmate and Cert. of Achievement Winner).


Kruz’s essay examines the marketing motivations and detrimental consequences that result from the persistent portrayal of glorified body images in the media.

Judges commented:

On point critical analysis of celebrity culture and functions of social media with evidence of solid research. Clever and very sophisticated use of language.

 A very important essay. We live in a time and society that is saturated with images and messages. Thank you.

Great writing which is clear, logical and persuasive. Writing with a maturity beyond your years.