During Youth Week 2020 VOYCE bought in Spoken Word superstars Daisy Lavea-Timo and Dietrich Soakai to run a series of workshops on spoken word.

There was a 30-minute taste tester session where young people could come along and get an introduction to slam poetry and spend some time working on a collaborative poem.

We then ran a two-part workshop where young people got to have a go at writing their own poems! Over the course of the three sessions, VOYCE had 9 people attend with most getting involved in both the taste tester and two-part workshop.

We did activities around word association and coming up with metaphors and similes, and we watched videos and analysed the lyrics. We wrote poems together about different emotions and were given writing prompts to have a go at writing our own poems about where we come from and who we are.

The absolute highlight was coming together with different care-experienced young people from all around Aotearoa from Whangarei down to Dunedin, learning and sharing together to create art. Below are a few poems written together by our care-experienced rangatahi.


Overwhelmed LOOKS like a devil trying to eat you up, a giant mouth of darkness, the more you look into it the deeper it seems to be. It looks like a train coming at you!

Overwhelmed SOUNDS like an angry growl, an inconsistent scream in your ear that you can’t get rid of, no one else can hear it but you. It sounds like doubt.

Overwhelmed TASTES like a sour apple and becomes the bitterest thing you have ever had that you can’t swallow. It’s like left over food that has been there for a week, you don’t want to waste it and yet you have to eat it. It’s like blood, sweat and tears, salt water and cheap vodka

Overwhelmed FEELS like an anchor, like concrete, a ball that is going to explode from the pressure coming from all directions, and it’s like gasping for air, where you’re under water and can’t reach the surface, you can’t rise and yet you must.

Overwhelmed SMELLS like a sewage tank that has spilled on the highway, now that’s bad. Perfume so overwhelming it doesn’t smell good, sometimes you have too much good stuff and when it’s too much it’s too much.


It looks like the sun exploding from overheat, the glue that puts together the shards of despair, it’s a gemstone shining bright, and curtains opening up to let the light in 

It sounds like popping candy in your bitter mouth 

It feels like the soft summer breeze over your skin, like a big ball of fire after winter 

It smells like freshly brewed green tea after a hard day

It tastes like warm, sweet pastries on a cold winters day


Love looks like Puni popo, Sunday roast, a toddler baby

Love smells like KFC roses on Valentine’s Day 

Love tastes like bitter and sweet, its sweet but bitter at the same time – dark chocolate, the Otara Markets, like AAAAAALLLL the food, spending all my pocket money on food. 

Love feels likes bungy jumping without a rope hoping the other person will catch you, like a warm explosion in your chest, an anchor that sits, it grounds you and holds you in place.

Love sounds like Adele, Whitney Houston singing ‘I wanna dance with somebody’, Christmas songs, like I can’t wait for you to come home, like a sappy Christmas song that plays in Supermarkets, laughing at your own dry jokes.