Runner, scientist, artist, mathematician… and writer!


Throughout this year, Year 9 student Keshia Linyard has stacked up numerous awards, across many different subject areas. Now, her writing has been published in the 29th Toitoi journal, after being shortlisted for the prestigious Elsie Locke writing prize.

It has been a phenomenal first year at Nayland College for 14 year old Keshia Linyard. She has excelled in just about everything that she has put her mind to. 

One of her first achievements was placing 5th in the regional cross country competition.

Keshia Linyard — Image by: Supplied

Keshia went on to compete at the New Zealand Orienteering Nationals where she placed 2nd in the Sprint distance, 4th in the middle, and 3rd in the long distance. She also competed in the NZ Secondary Schools National Cross Country.

Then, in September, Keshia joined some fellow Year 9 ‘mathletes’ and entered the regional ‘Nelsomathix’ competition, which saw teams from local schools going head to head in a mathematics competition. Keshia and her teammates Femke Kleinloog, Luke Halcrow and Jamie Harding, placed second in the competition.

Year 9 Nelsomathix teams (placing 2nd and 6th) — Image by: Nayland College

In October, Keshia stacked up more awards at the Cawthron Scitec Expo, entering two projects and winning awards for both. Her ‘Fight or Flight’ project, looking at the effects of climate change on native birds, won the Supreme Art Award, and her second project, ‘Impacting our Waterways,’ won first place in the Year 9-10 category. 

Ngāti Rāura chair Olivia Hall with the Scitec 2022 Supreme Art Award Winner Keshia Linyard from Nayland College. — Image by: Cawthron Institute

Today, we celebrate Keshia’s success in writing. 

Since Year 8, Keshia has had around five of her writing pieces published in the Toitoi journal. This year, the editors contacted her and suggested she enter the Elsie Locke Writing Prize competition. Keshia submitted a piece titled ‘Korora,’ a beautiful story about a girl and a little blue penguin. Korora was one of six nationally that were shortlisted; an incredible accolade for Keshia!

Image by: Supplied

While Keshia clearly has a gift for writing, becoming a writer wasn’t something she saw on her horizon. “It’s just something that my teacher recommended and then it’s kind of just grown,” she said. “I think it’s just a skill that you need for everything else and it’s just something I enjoy; the creativity of it, and then being able to illustrate my own stories as well.”

Now that Keshia is 14 years old, she is above the age limit for submitting pieces to the Toitoi journal and is on the look out for similar opportunities. However, the Toitoi editing team farewelled her with these words:

“We have been delighted to have the opportunity to publish Keshia’s work in Toitoi over the past couple of years. Keshia is a super talented and creative writer and artist with an astonishing eye for detail in her creative work. We’re excited to see what the future has in store for her!” – The team at Toitoi.

To order a copy of the Toitoi journal containing Keshia’s piece, visit:

Congratulations Keshia and we look forward to seeing where your talents take you!

By Sarah Luton