Blue Globe: Stories from the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetū


This term we ran a competition for students in school years 3-13 in which they selected a work from the Christchurch Art Gallery collection available to be viewed online and developed a piece of writing in response to that work.
We had a fantastic response with almost 300 entries responding to a vast range of works. 
Local writers James Norcliffe, Jane Buxton and Gavin Bishop judged the entries and were impressed by the high quality of work that students had submitted and they way that students used the works as a springboard for their writing rather than sticking with a descriptive piece.
Below are our finalists alongside the artwork they used for inspiration - enjoy!


Bodies swing

Like ghastly charms


On a chain of rope

Last breaths rattling

Like bracelets conversing

On an outstretched arm

Ella Somers
Year 11
Winner, Year 11-13

After running all day, I have found a place to hide. In the depths of a hunter's cellar, along with the bottles of cider. It is dark enough, just like the warren. The warren. Oh why did I ever leave?

Dad has been hunting all day. He says it has been long and hard. He has been looking for the Monkey Beast. I haven't seen it. Dad is the only one who has. He describes it as an ugly beast with a monkey's head and a boy's body. He says it is dangerous and will kill whenever it can. But how does he know that? How does he know when he has never seen it with his own two eyes? I don't know.
But he told me loud and clear: "If you ever see the Monkey Beast, Susanna, you run. You run for help Susanna or it will kill you. But never go looking for it. It will kill you whenever it can..."

It is almost night. The hunters will be going to bed now. Or maybe they are still looking. For me. What would they say? What would they think? If they saw me in their cellar. The Monkey Beast. But they are wrong. I am not what they think I am. I am not the beast they think of me. I'm just a boy. I mean no harm. I just want to go home. I just want to go home...

"Susanna go fetch me a bottle of cider from the cellar", he says.
So I go down to the cellar. I can hear him from down here. He is talking to himself again. He does that when he is drunk. He has been drinking again, and now I must get him another bottle. What am I doing? But I know it will be no use. Let him drink himself to death for all I care. I can hear him. "Beware the Monkey Beast. He will kill you. Beware of the Monkey Beast, Susanna. He will kill you..."

I can see the stars. They are coming out. I have never seen stars before, only heard of them in tales told by The Elder Monkey. He looks after us all. And I let him down. I strayed from the warren. I don't know why I did it...
Oh no. I can hear footsteps coming down the dark, narrow stairs on the way to cellar. What will they do? I try to shuffle back into the shadows, but it is too late. The door is opening. Oh lord, help me. Please help me...

I swear I didn't know. Honest I didn't. If I'd known I would have never gone down to the cellar to fetch that awful bottle of cider. I swear to you Lord. I didn't know! But it is too late. The door is open now. and there he is. The Monkey Beast. It's him. In our cellar. The Monkey Beast. I can hear dad talking upstairs. He is yelling now.
"The Monkey Beast will kill you Susanna! Beware! Beware! He will kill you Susanna, he will kill you!"

Abby Mason
Year 7
Winner, Year 7-10

Cherry Wolf

The rural village buzzed with life in the bowl-shaped valley, while wolves howled and ran across the plains above. It was curiously isolated from the rest of the world, but the most interesting thing about this settlement was the large number of cherry blossom trees surrounding the village as if they were guarding it. The blossoms were sacred to the people who lived there. The ground was thoroughly coated in the pink blossoms, and several drifted through the air as if it was a wedding day. The doors were kept open so that they blew into houses as well, as it was believed that this would bring protection from evil spirits. On the rare occasion wolves came down to the village, their pelts would be dusted with the blossoms. Seeing this sight was supposed to give the viewer good luck, as the wolves were sacred as well. Abusing a wolf with cherry blossoms on its pelt would result in eternal bad luck.

Mimi lay among the bushes, the fern fronds brushing her clothes. She came up here often, and if she was quiet she could catch glimpses of the wolves dashing after rabbits on the plains. They rarely strayed down to the village below, and if they did it was merely curiosity. Oddly, the wolves that inhabited these parts were hardly ever aggressive, they were even docile. Some people said it was the presence of the cherry blossom trees, but most thought it was the fact the village posed no threat to the wolves. Mimi liked seeing the wolves, and she had no fear that they would attack her. She noticed movement not far off, and stood up in delight. A dark grey wolf the colour of storm-clouds was trotting along, nose to the ground, with five pups. They were all a pale grey colour, and their pelts were still soft and fluffy, as they were not matured enough yet to have the shaggy grey coats of adults. Mimi wondered if their father was a reddish wolf she had seen a few times in the area.

"Papa? What is going on?" Mimi asked, shocked. She had returned to find the entire village in a state, with children huddling together and adults shouting frantically. Men wearing strange clothes were angrily pushing through the crowd, they held long, thin metal sticks. Finally they got through the mass of people, and started walking up the hill. Anxious people milled around everywhere, murmuring. Mimi broke into a run and started following the men. She had a sickening feeling in her stomach which worsened as she saw the men gathering at the top of the slope. They didn't spot Mimi, but they shouted at one another in a foreign language. Mimi flattened herself to the ground, unsure what to do. The men soon left, and Mimi crouched down and waited. Before long there was a harsh banging noise that Mimi had never heard before, and the men returned carrying something large and limp between them. She gasped in horror and started to run. The limp shape was the red wolf she had seen recently, and it was dead.

Mimi charged back into the village, tears stinging her eyes. She shouted out what had happened immediately, and several people started yelling angrily. The men came back down the hill, carrying the wolf they had killed. They had to fight even harder this time to get back through the crowd, with enraged villagers blocking their path. In the end they had to drop the wolf and run to escape the mob. Mimi rushed forward and picked up the wolf by its shoulders, struggling to drag it back to the edge of the village, but it was far too heavy. She stopped and gazed longingly at the wolf's beautiful red fur, then realized other members of the community were coming forward to help. Together they brought the wolf to a cherry blossom tree and dug a hole beneath it. Just before they placed the wolf gently in the grave, Mimi shouted with joy and pointed to its fur. There were cherry blossoms on it.

The men came back most days, and each day they killed a wolf. However, they never got to take it. Mimi and her friends would always block their way till they put the wolf down. The amount of graves under the cherry blossom trees was growing.

Finally, one morning Mimi followed the men, and this time she stayed with them out of sight until they stopped. Mimi's heart skipped a beat when she realized they were by the den of the pups she had seen on the day the red wolf was killed, and dread filled her when she saw the mother wolf approaching. One of the men raised their metal stick, and the wolf froze. Mimi couldn't take it anymore. She started yelling and waving her arms, standing in front of the wolf. "Stop!" she screeched. She pointed to the den, where the pups were cautiously poking their heads out. The men stopped, clearly unable to understand her. Then they looked at each other and started walking away - they could not shoot Mimi. Astonished, Mimi realized they were leaving. They did not come back the next day. Or the next. They never returned.

One spring evening much later when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, Mimi was walking down the lush, green slope back towards the village, delighted. The five pups had grown into young wolves. Mimi looked sadly down at the old graves underneath the blossoming trees. A flicker of movement caught her eye, and she looked up in surprise to see the mother of the five pups, her grey pelt still shining and beautiful. They watched each other for a while, the wolf standing very still. A light wind blew and a few petals fell, landing among her soft, thick fur. The she-wolf stayed motionless a few moments longer, then waved her tail and ran off into the night.

Elizabeth Milne
Year 6
Winner, Year 3-6

The Man

I am the black
Hat that conceals
Hia racing mind.

I am the coat
That weighs down
On his abundant
Shoulders, holding the
Burden of pain.

I am the sky
That stares at him
With eyes of rain

I am the bright
Sun that plunges to the ground
Like his heavy heart.

I am the man
Who has lost
My daughter.

Mahina Kanavatoa
Year 7
Highly Commended, Years 7-10

Clowning Around

Chuckles rubbed his make-up as he sagged down by the dressing table. He wanted to tear the flimsy synthetics out of his wig. Or smash the mirror with his chair. Humpty was gone. Jester left last week. Now this...

The emergency meeting had been a disgrace. Rainbow complained that the cream pies weren't gluten free anymore, even though she knew that they were having budget cuts.

Giggles sat as though her seat were inhaling her, and Tootsy didn't arrive until after all the mini hot dogs were gone. As soon as his size twenty two shoes were through the door, Rainbow let loose a torrent of abuse. Tootsy was unreliable. He was too creepy. He would never regain his glory days freelancing in Paris. The pair came to blows over who didn't wear a hair net under their wig and gave everybody head lice.

Tootsy gave as good as he took. Rainbow's act was tacky and dull. He didn't show up to rehearsals. When Tootsy stood up and threw a fruity cocktail in Rainbow's face the insults paused. Then Tootsy grabbed his bag of props and made for the door, but not before Rainbow recovered. Soon they were bellowing at the top of their lungs, belittling each other and besmirching the good name of clowning.

Chuckles looked at their cracked make-up and realised that it was the stress getting to them, but Tootsy was going. He exited the tent, leaving a far too loud silence behind him. Chuckles refused to look at Rainbow. Instead, switched his gaze to Giggles, whose seat had shrunken her to half her usual size and drained all the colour from her face.

Chuckles picked up his bus ticket. It had been locked up in his drawer all along, just in case. He picked up his juggling balls and stared at the ticket. Thirty minutes till the bus came. Chuckles sighed and turned out the light.

Charlotte Boyle
Year 9
Highly Commended, Years 7-10


Waves of neglect,
ripple through the mining town;
the once bustling place,
now spotted with decay.

Casting an eerie shadow
over the town and station,
the great mountains loom dangerously,
not a soul
knows when the next pebble
could create a downpour of rubble,
a landslide,

This is one of the reasons
the people left.
They were afraid
for themselves.

Wooden crates
dream of businessmen in bowler hats
and black steam engines
adorned with a brocade of rust.
They imagine
how it would feel to store
gold dust,
one last time.

As the dawn turns to dusk,
a sense of realization
overcomes the station.

The gold ran out.

They are never
coming back.

Teresa Campbell
Year 7
Highly Commended, Years 7-10

Bolton street 1969

Mr Pickwickle sat among many green leaves
Fences swarming around him like bees
A headstone swayed past a strong smelling pine
On Bolton street 1969
Boxes and bags Galliwagged past
Causing sand to retreat to coming last
Roots scampered past in the conga line
On Bolton street 1969
Mr Pickwickle was swathed in raking thorns
And his body howled like clamouring horns
But still he lay in his hand a dime
On Bolton street 1969
The dime held a picture and a name as well
Which stared at the trees as they quavered and fell
The surroundings leaped up and shouted they were fine
On Bolton street 1969
The colourful twingbirds whizzed around trunks
And lumbering caloohs sat atop bunks
Weird and whimsical creatures amongst the vine
On Bolton street 1969
There were jelligans and cordfish
And orangolees and boardnish
Rolabats and bunglehine
On Bolton street 1969
Mr Pickwickle Lay deep in thought
His brain power the opposite of close to naught
his nose wafted in a scent of pine
On Bolton street 1969

Sophia Gillespie
Year 6
Highly Commended, Years 3-6


One day I'll see the sunflowers
swirling and whirling
wind blowing the sunflowers
all day long in the valley
along the green grass every day

swirling and whirling
all day long

as long as it goes
green and yellow

all day swirling and whirling
like grass

Emma Zhen
Year 3
Highly Commended, Years 3-6


"Hello Mrs Brown," said Johnny

"Hi Johnny'' she replied. "Ok class settle down. Today we will be...Johnny! Are you daydreaming again?''

"No Miss..."

But his head, it's full of things like dragons and sea monsters and knights in shining armour. There is a fierce battle going on between dragons and knights and...

"to the headmaster now!"

"NOOOOOOO!! The headmaster's office is as deadly as a troll's fart times a million gazillion trillion. He knows that when you go in there you never come out again, which sent a shiver down his scrawny little spine and he was right! When he opened the door it was pitch black. Johnny walked in and BAM the door shut behind him!

"Hello..." he said as something brushed against his arm.

"Hello Johnny I have been expecting you," said a figure in the darkness

"Who's there?!"

"It's me Johnny, the headmaster, the one that is going to kill you!"

"AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH" Johnny ran for the door but he didn't make it.

His back got skinned by a machete and he fell to the ground where he got slaughtered on the spot!

"Johnny, did you just make that noise?" asked Mrs Brown. I've had enough of your silliness. "Go to the headmaster!"

Harrison Thomas
Year 4
Highly Commended, Years 3-6