This year’s competition

Elsie Locke Writing Prize 2022

Toitoi and the Elsie Locke Trust are proud to announce the 2022 winner of the Elsie Locke Writing Prize is Emma Geddes, age 12, from St Andrews College in Christchurch.

Emma won with her poem, Boy and the Grasshopper, which has been published in Toitoi 29 along with illustrations by Max Senior, age 13. You can read Emma’s poem at Writing Prize winners.

This year we asked young writers aged 5 to 13 to develop a piece of writing inspired by New Zealand history or Elsie Locke’s work for peace, the environment, women’s issues and her community. Submissions could be writing of any sort on any topic – past, present or future.

The winner receives $250 and their story is published in Toitoi. Emma also receives a copy of Toitoi’s latest hardback publication, Jillion 2.

Toitoi Editor, Charlotte Gibbs, says: “It was a joy to partner with the Trust and to work alongside Elsie’s family to celebrate her life and work in this annual competition. She has inspired some incredible creative writing by young people all over the country”.


Elsie’s granddaughter, Jessie Moss, and her great-granddaughter, Kaahuia, age 12, judged the competition and commented:

“Emma’s cleverly crafted writing makes use of every word. Over seven short verses, her story-like poem says so much.

“From a tiny creature’s point of view, Emma illustrates a large and complex issue. In the overwhelming scale of human devastation of our planet, Emma’s writing demonstrates how we can each make small positive changes everyday.

“Elsie was a conservationist and loved our natural  spaces. Emma’s writing would have made her beam with joy – to know that children are enjoying nature and learning about the interconnections of life, and are taking pleasure in sharing this through writing.

“In describing a universal act of human exploration Boy and the Grasshopper shows if we are engaged with our surroundings humans can adjust and correct their actions to the benefit of the environment.”


Toitoi publishes a quarterly journal of work by young writers and artists ages 5-18. They publish material with an original and authentic voice that other young people can connect to and be inspired by and that reflects the cultures and experiences of  life in New Zealand.

For more information, see the Toitoi website, or contact the Toitoi team at