Speaking gift is in their blood

03:47, Jun 03 2009
DOUBLE WIN: Rukuwai Allen, 18, won two trophies at the Manu Korero speech competition.

It’s hard to get a word in at the Allen household. And that applies if you’re speaking English or Maori.

Rukuwai, 18, and Mohi Allen, 12, are fluent in both tongues and came home with an armful of trophies from the Manu Korero regional speech competition.

They were up against pupils from some of Auckland’s biggest and best resourced schools.

SPEECH CHAMP: Mohi Allen, 12, holding his trophy for his Maori speech.

But that didn’t stop them scooping the honours.

Rukuwai came first and third in two divisions of the senior English category.

Mohi also placed third in the junior Maori segment after giving a 10 and a half minute talk without using cue cards.

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"I just learnt what I had to say off by heart and kept going over and over it," he says. "I was pretty nervous because the place was really packed."

Both youngsters come from the Nga Kakano Christian Bilingual School in Henderson, which has just 65 pupils.

Their father is principal Te Rangi Allen.

Around 1000 students from 22 Maori, bilingual and English-speaking schools gathered at Western Springs College to compete in the annual contest.

Among them were pupils from Waitakere College and Kelston Boys High School.

Rukuwai says it was a great experience.

"I loved getting to meet new people and the atmosphere was pretty cool," she says.

Western Leader