Katikati Haiku Contest

The biennial Katikati Haiku Contest is open for entries!

Thanks to the good people at Kings Seeds, there are cash prizes on offer – $NZ100 for first, $NZ50 for second and $NZ25 for third. Plus, the contest offers a book prize for the Best Local Haiku. The junior section (17 & under) is offering $50 for first, $25 for second and $10 for third. All proceeds go to the Katikati Haiku Pathway project.

I’m judging the senior contest – in case you’re wondering, the entries go elsewhere to be sorted and judging is done ‘blind’ – and Catherine Mair the junior section.

Here are the rules:

  • Poems should preferably be typewritten, otherwise clearly handwritten. Several poems on one sheet are fine.
  • Submit 2 copies of each haiku with 1 only including your name, address, phone number (NZ only), e-mail address, and for the junior section only, age.  Junior entrants should be 17 or under on October 31.
  • Haiku should not have been previously published (including on the web or broadcast).
  • Entry fees: Senior, within NZ: $5 for every 3 haiku or $2 for 1 haiku. Overseas: $US5 for every 3 haiku or $2 for 1. Email Margaret for how to enter using PayPal. In the event that winners are from overseas, cash prizes will be transferred via PayPal.
    Junior, within NZ: $1 for up to 2 haiku. Please do not decorate or illustrate entries. Schools are welcome to send bulk entries.
  • Any entry not accompanied by the correct entry fee will be disqualified. Entrants send cash at their own risk. Make cheques payable to: Katikati Haiku Pathway Committee. No cheques drawn on banks outside New Zealand will be accepted.
  • Entries in hand by October 31. Post to: Katikati Haiku Contest, PO Box 183, Katikati 3166, New Zealand. Results announced in November.

If you’re new to haiku or are a teacher wanting to learn more for the classroom there is the excellent Learning to Write Haiku booklet prepared by Katherine Raine for the NZ Poetry Society.

If you’d like to read more deeply and/or brush up your skills, I recommend Haiku Techniques by Jane Reichhold, Guidelines for Editing Haiku by Lee Gurga and the practical advice of How to Write Haiku by Jim Kacian. There are many more useful essays in  Archived Articles at Haiku NewZ.

No excuses, get out there and write!


Katikati Haiku Contest

Yes, folks, the Katikati Haiku Contest is back on this year – and you have to be in it to win it! (I’m sure there’s a rugby analogy I should be using as per our Prime Minister’s example but, no.)

Kings Seeds, a great Katikati company that has recently gained BioGro certification and stocks New Zealand’s largest range of organic seed, sponsors the cash prizes – $175 for the senior section (18 and over) and $85 for the junior section (17 and under).

To enter:

  • Send two copies of each haiku, with one only including your name, address, phone number (not mobile), e-mail address and age, if entering the junior section.
  • Poems should be typewritten or clearly handwritten. Junior entrants should avoid decorating or illustrating their entry.
  • Entry fees are: Senior: $5 for every 3 haiku or $2 for 1. Junior: $1 for every 2 haiku.
  • Post haiku to Katikati Haiku Contest, PO Box 183, Katikati 3166, New Zealand. If you are entering from overseas, email the competition secretary for details on using PayPal for the entry fee.

Entries close on September 26. The judge for the senior section is … me!

Proceeds from the contest go towards the pathway project so please do think about entering.

If you haven’t tackled a haiku before, maybe these notes will be helpful.

An Introduction to Haiku

  • Haiku are one to three lines long; three is a good place for beginners to start
  • Haiku are written in the present tense – a haiku is what is happening now, it captures this moment
  • They contain at least one of the five senses – haiku that include more than just a visual picture, think about taste, sound, feel and smell, are often stronger
  • Try to write about a real moment, something you have experienced
  • Haiku should focus on the particular, not the general (ie, not the wide, sandy beach but a shell on the beach) – be a camera zooming in
  • Haiku are about nature, at least partly (including human nature)
  • They should be able to be said in one breath (about 20 syllables)*
  • They are written in two parts (see next note) with a pause between the ideas/images
  • They can contrast 2 images; surprise readers with the link (don’t write a “list” of 3 images, this is not a haiku)
  • Show, don’t tell – write just enough to make the reader want to know more; haiku are not an explanation
  • Avoid descriptions of emotion
  • Use everyday language, but avoid cliché or “poetic” words (ie, tranquil, o’er)
  •  Avoid simile or metaphor; use few, if any, adjectives and adverbs
  • Haiku are unrhymed
  • There is no need to use punctuation or capital letters; keep articles to a minimum.

*The 5-7-5 construction of haiku is now generally not used in English.

Further reading:

Ask at your local library for books on haiku, especially the taste of nashi, the 2008 anthology of New Zealand haiku.

Visit the Katikati Haiku Pathway. Buy a copy of the pathway guidebook (available at Katikati Information Centre, Katikati Craft Shop, and Books A Plenty, Tauranga).

Visit Haiku NewZ and read the archived articles (left-hand menu), especially Guidelines for Editing Haiku by Lee Gurga (May 2006), The Secret of Writing Haiku by Paul Miller (February 2014), although there are many useful essays there.