Forty-four speakers from 18 schools will converge at the Civic Theatre next week for the Otago-Southland secondary schools' Manu Korero speech competition.
Competing students give a speech, without notes, for six minutes in the English section and 12 minutes in the Maori section. There is also an impromptu speaking section for senior students.
Organising committee member Gary Davis said the competition was important. "It's seen nationally as the premiere speaking event for Maori students."
Four competitors from Friday's event will travel to the national competition in Napier later this year.
"Those that go to nationals are looked upon as future orators for their region," Davis said.
"When you go to nationals, there are crowds of 2000 to 3000 people. It is huge."
The competition is held annually, hosted in Otago one year and in Southland the next. This year, organisers had done something different in the leadup to the event, he said.
Students were given an opportunity to design a T-shirt for the southern region competition. "We thought we'd give it over to the students to make something that would have meaning for our area."
The winning design is actually a joint effort by James Hargest High School students Edward Popham, 17, and Storm Cameron, 15. Judges couldn't choose between their designs so incorporated both into the final product, Edward said.
The Otago Southland secondary schools' Manu Korero speech competition begins at 8.45am on Friday, June 6 at the Civic Theatre.
- The Southland Times
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