Waitara High School student Aroha Broughton Pue is carrying on her family's oral tradition in the Nga Manu Korero national secondary school speech competition in Nelson this week.
The 17-year-old will be representing the Taranaki and Whanganui regions in the senior Maori section at the event, which features top high school orators from around the country.
Aroha is following in the footsteps of her aunt Tamzyn Pue who competed in the event 17 years ago.
The year 13 student said qualifying for Nga Manu Korero was a huge achievement for her.
“I've always wanted to do Manu Korero as it's very important to me,” she said.
New Plymouth Girls' High School student Libby Wichman will also be competing in the junior English section.
The senior Maori section which Aroha will be participating in is considered the most prestigious of the competition's four sections: junior and senior English, and junior and senior Maori.
The topic of her speech is “Ka noho au i te poho o tōku whare, ka whakaaro noa” which translates to, “I sit on my porch at home and ponder”.
In her speech Aroha discusses how she would run a kohanga to help care for the Maori language - especially the Taranaki dialect.
“The kohanga movement is important in preserving our language,” Aroha, whose family has been heavily involved in the kohanga reo movement both local and nationally, said.
“It's important because our language could be lost if we don't continue to look after it.”
Her choice of topic is poignant as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the national kohanga reo movement.
Aroha said when she finished school she hoped to get into television or radio, but would also love to be involved in kohanga reo.
Her aunt, Ms Pue, said she and Aroha shared a number of similarities, including how they qualified for Nga Manu Korero.
“The thing is we didn't qualify in Taranaki,” Ms Pue said. “We both qualified in Ruapehu College in Ohakune.
“It's important also that all four students who are representing Taranaki Whanganui affiliate to the iwi of Taranaki.
“I just don't know what to say but that I'm really proud of her.”
Tipene Bryant is a Witt journalism student.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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