Southern pupils compete in speech competition

17:00, Jun 06 2014
Verdon College pupil Nola Cassidy
ACTIVE VOICE: Verdon College pupil Nola Cassidy competes in the senior English speech section of Manu Korero Haka at the Civic Theatre in Invercargill.

They blended their culture's past and whanau's future into carefully crafted speeches.

Each with months of preparation behind them, hours of repeating the chosen words over and over again and days researching those who had come before them, 44 teenage speakers took to the stage yesterday.

The annual Otago-Southland secondary schools' Manu Korero speech competition featured the region's top Maori speakers.

Eighteen schools, including some from Dunedin, took over the Civic Theatre for the event.

Competing students gave a speech, without notes, for six minutes in the English section and 12 minutes in the Maori section. There was also an impromptu speaking section for senior students.

Organiser and James Hargest College teacher Nathan Tane said the event was a chance for pupils to speak on a range of topics from "YOLO - you only live once" to "who has the authority to change tikanga".

The competition had grown every year and was extremely popular with the teens, many of whom had returned this year, he said.

That was the case for Hargest pupil Anaru Anderson. The 15-year-old competed in the speech competition last year and was a part of his school's kapa haka group at this year's competition.

"It's pretty cool; it's about bringing all the schools together to speak and have a friendly competition."

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