The Process

The IWA Process

The Intermediate Writers Award is designed to be given to students in Years 5 to 8, in place of a teacher-led writing unit. The Essay Starter provides the teachers and students with everything they need to get started. Students may approach the competition entirely independently from the provided resources, or, if schools prefer, teachers may support and facilitate the project in their classrooms. The IWA encourages students and teachers to collaborate and to share and discuss ideas. Teachers are permitted to  scaffold the writing and research process in so long as the submitted essays are considered a true and honest reflection of the students own ideas and work. Students should be allowed class writing time to engage in the writing process. Teachers involved in previous years have allowed, on average, three weeks of class writing time for the students to complete their work. Most classes chose to hold discussions and sharing time. Many schools chose to hold their own prize givings. 

The Starter (essay question, writing guide, curriculum plan and assessment guide) is released April 5th, 2022. Teachers are then free to choose when, and for how long, they will offer the event in their classrooms.

Schools Registration

The first step is for schools to register and receive their Welcome Pack. The Welcome Pack allows the IWA team to touch base with teachers personally. It includes summarised information regarding the process, including all important dates to remember and a poster to promote the competition to your students.

There are three options to suit all schools, and are all low-cost.

  • Per Class – $45
  • 4-6 classes  – $150
  • 6+ classes  – $200
Register Now

Essay Starter (Available 11 April, 2021)

The starter is designed to promote engagement in a nationwide social and political discussion around issues that are important to today’s youth. The Award fosters connection, critical thinking and creativity.

The essay starter contains:

  • the essay question
  • background information and reading material to engage in the topic
  • instructions and guidelines for writing, for example, word limits.

Schools Assessment

The teacher selects the top three entries from each class to submit to the National Competition.

Teachers are supplied with an Assessment Indicators Cover Sheet should they wish to assess the writing for classroom purposes or use it as an opportunity to moderate writing across the school. The IWA does not require teacher assessment to be forwarded.

Schools can run their own prize giving prior to the National Competition.

Esteemed Judging Panel

Winners are chosen via a select panel of judges in October.

Schools will be notified with results in November. Judges provide written feedback to winners and highly commended writers from both divisions. All winners and schools will be listed on the website and Facebook page.


Great Incentives

We have a great range of student prizes including an amazing first prize in the Year 7-8 division of $400 + gift voucher and the honour of the Author’s Trophy & School’s Trophy for a year.

Certificates of achievement are also awarded by the judges for highly commended entries.


Get Involved

in the nationwide conversation


Make sure your school is part of this unique New Zealand competition. Give your students voice. Foster creativity. Teach writing as a communicative skill and nurture its power to connect. The IWA supports teachers. We supply the Unit Cover Plan, an Assessment Cover Sheet and the Essay Question and instructions. You have the option to use the IWA starter for your own assessment purposes and records if you choose. It is your choice how you run the programme, simply select the top three entries from your class to submit. Imagine if your school won.


This is your opportunity to get involved with issues that affect you. Your involvement signals that you agree that students need a platform to express themselves as writers. In this information based society your ability as a generation to connect with global and immediate audiences is unprecedented. The IWA provides connection. Let’s not forget, first prize winner receives $400 plus a gift voucher for themselves as well as recognition from the IWA for you, your school and your teacher.


Dr Matthew Farry

Director, Institute for Courageous Conversations About Race, South Pacific

A leader, educator and researcher in the field of equity and inclusion, migration, settlement, intercultural communication and anti-racism  in organisational development. Recent roles include Assistant Professor, Division of Social Sciences and Education, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon and Associate Dean International Education, Unitec, Auckland.

Rebecca Emery

Communications Adviser in the Equity Office of the University of Auckland

An Auckland based communications and advocacy professional. Rebecca has degrees in Law and English, a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism, and a Masters Degree in International Development. Rebecca has been very involved in the media, advocacy, research and communications work of international development organisations including Oxfam and Amnesty International. Rebecca is currently the Communications Adviser in the Equity Office of the University of Auckland.