A Wellington teenager with English as her second language is heading to the national spelling bee championship.
Amanda Dharmasekhara beat 61 other spellers from around the Lower North Island at a regional competition on Monday, clinching the win with a correct spelling of 'narcissistic'.
Amanda's father Ranil Dharmasekhara said he and his wife Uthpala Jinadasa were both very proud of their daughter's achievements - even though she didn't practice until the night before the bee.
''We are migrants, so to come far, we didn't expect her to go that far, so we're really pleased.''
The family migrated from Sri Lanka in 2004, and Amanda's first language is Sinhalese.
Wellington Girls' College Year 10 student Uma Sreedhar was knocked into second place by 'sciatica' and Year 9 student Jenny Whipps, also from Wellington Girls' College, settled for third place after incorrectly spelling 'deciduous'.
Horowhenua College's Jotham Harris was fourth after four tie-breaker rounds with Onslow College's Barnard Patel -Barnard misspelled 'thoracic' and Jotham correctly spelled 'auxiliary'.
More than 200 spellers in Year 9 and Year 10 from around the country made it to regional spelling bees and the contestants have not been whittled down to 16 national finalists.
The National Vegemite Spelling Bee champion, to be decided at an event at Circa Theatre on October 12, will win $5000 and a trophy.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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