Students flex their native tongue
Secondary school oratory will be in full flight this weekend.
The creme de la creme of Auckland secondary school speakers will be on stage at the Dream Centre in Manukau this weekend.
Nearly 80 students from 38 schools across greater Auckland will compete for the right to represent Auckland at the 2012 National Manu Korero Speech Contest in Nelson later this year.
Organisers are expecting 1000 supporters. It's the first year the Auckland regional contest will be held outside of a school, a sign that it's outgrown itself.
"Let's face it, a school can't stop its curriculum for three days for a competition. Plus the size of it meant schools were finding it harder to host," regional co-ordinator and Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae principal Arihia Stirling says.
"Mainstream schools are getting savvy about providing Maori experiences for their students and they do very well. We've got competitors from Pakuranga, Howick and Baradene colleges."
With six theatres and ample free parking the venue is the perfect stage for the contest, she says.
But the focus is all on the competitors and their bravery.
"After being involved with Manu Korero for 27 years as a teacher, co-ordinator and coach, I still get scared for them, all the kids."
It will be the final crack for Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae year 13 student Taylor Taranaki who will be trying his best to repeat last year's success as a national winner.
"You can't describe the feeling up on the podium, seeing and hearing all your supporters."
It will be schoolmate Jerry Daniels' fourth time at competing for higher honours.
"You've still got to stand up in front of a massive crowd. Not forgetting your words is the main thing and trying not to rush through it. The nerves are still always there."