Spoken Word Competition

White Ribbon are holding their first spoken word competition and it’s going to be a night of hot poetry, sizzling truths and fiery performances.

The theme of the night is ‘Respectful Relationships’ so get ready for some amazing rhymes and inspired takes on ending (men’s) violence in New Zealand.

The Spoken Word competition is being held on the evening of the 26th September at Wellington College, with some high profile judges including the Justice – Parliamentary Under-Secretary Jan Logie and some decent prizes (to be announced soon).



  • Poems must be the original work of the performer/s. Plagiarised material will result in disqualification.
  • Performers must be students at a NZ secondary school (or equivalent) and 15 years or older
  • Poets can perform by themselves or with a team.
  • No accompaniment by sound, props, or costume is allowed.
  • Each poem should be between 1-4 minutes (max of 5 minutes). Points will be deducted from the final score for exceeding the time limit — one point for going over time and an extra point every 30 seconds beyond that. For example: At 5:01 minutes you will lose a point. At 5:31 minutes you will lose another point.
  • No musical accompaniment. No props. No costumes. Personal poem transcripts permitted.
  • Judges hold up score cards using a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the highest.
  • Scores will be based on: performance, writing ability, uniqueness, and crowd reaction.
  • All performances must be inspired by the theme of ‘Respectful Relationships
  • All entrants must supply their script.
  • White Ribbon reserves the right to take photos and videos of the performers at the event and utilise the video/photos/script to promote Respectful Relationships.



You will need to provide your email address, school, name and stage name if applicable, and upload your poem. You may also upload a video of you performing the poem if you wish. You’ll also need to provide a photo for the programme and a brief bio for our MC so our MC can introduce you. Entry Forms Here

On the Night:

Information about the evening will be sent to all performers. There will be an opportunity for a brief sound check and we will send information to you about how the evening will run.



We hope to announce the prizes in the next few weeks. The bare minimum is $500 for first place and $200 for the runner up and $100 for third place. Your work could also feature in the November White Ribbon Campaign.


History of Slam Poetry

One of the most vital and energetic movements in poetry during the 1990s, slam has revitalized interest in poetry in performance. Poetry began as part of an oral tradition, and the Beat and Negritude poets were devoted to the spoken and performed aspects of their poems. This interest was reborn through the rise of poetry slams across America; while many poets in academia found fault with the movement, slam was well received among young poets and poets of diverse backgrounds as a democratizing force. This generation of spoken word poetry is often highly politicized, drawing upon racial, economic, and gender injustices as well as current events for subject manner.

A slam itself is simply a poetry competition in which poets perform original work alone or in teams before an audience, which serves as judge. The work is judged as much on the manner and enthusiasm of its performance as its content or style, and many slam poems are not intended to be read silently from the page. The structure of the traditional slam was started by construction worker and poet Marc Smith in 1986 at a reading series in a Chicago jazz club. The competition quickly spread across the country, finding a notable home in New York City at the Nuyorican Poets Café.

taken from https://poets.org/text/brief-guide-slam-poetry


White Ribbon’s Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme

The spoken word competition is part of White Ribbon’s Youth Ambassador Leadership Programme. You can find out more about this programme here and look at the resources for Youth Ambassadors here. White Ribbon NZ promotes respectful relationships to prevent men’s violence against women. An effective feature of White Ribbon’s strategy is to have Ambassadors, who are respected and influential role models, promoting White Ribbon messages to their network and community.

Ambassadors play a vital role in building support, visibility and promoting White Ribbon’s messages to new groups. They can keep the White Ribbon messages alive beyond the November campaign. Increasingly White Ribbon is targeting young men to promote respectful behaviour in their relationships with women.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: