Porirua student's speech to shine on the national stage

Te Kura Maori o Porirua student Te Paea Te Tana (left) is set to compete in the upcoming Nga Manu Korero National ...
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Te Kura Maori o Porirua student Te Paea Te Tana (left) is set to compete in the upcoming Nga Manu Korero National Secondary School Speech competition in New Plymouth. Her classmate Hitira'a Mahana Tahau-Hodges (right) took part last year.

Being bilingual in English and Maori is paying off for students at Te Kura Maori o Porirua as they represent the Wellington region on the national stage.

After winning the Nga Manu Korero regional speech competition in August, Te Paea Te Tana, 14, is off to New Plymouth this month to represent her Kura at the national contest.

The idea behind the long-running competition is to encourage students to showcase their oral literacy skills in English and te reo Maori through prepared and impromptu speeches.

"It's cool to know two languages – it brings out a confidence in me, especially with the opportunity to speak in front of an audience, Te Paea said.

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"You can speak your mind and know what you are saying is valuable"

Her topic for this year's national competition is 'Fluency in Te Reo Maori is the cornerstone of our culture' – a well-timed topic with Maori language week this month.

With the competition looming for Te Paea, her classmate Hitira'a Mahana Tahau-Hodges, 14, who competed last year, had been on hand to offer some first-hand advice

"Be confident in yourself, don't think about the competition side too much, don't worry about the placing – we will still be proud of you."

Hitira'a won the Sir Turi Carroll English trophy at the national competition last year for her speech on the topic "'time waits for no-one".

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This contest commemorates the late Sir Turi Carroll, a revered Kahungunu leader who stood firmly in both the English and Maori worlds.

Hitira'a said it had taken a lot of hard work to adequately get ready for the high-calibre competition – something she was happy to do.

"I had to prioritise my spare time to properly prepare for my chosen topic ... It takes a lot of time to write, memorise, rehearse and tweak your speech."

Despite the time-consuming nature of crafting such a speech, Hitira'a had fond memories of the competition and wished Te Paea all the best.

"The main point of Nga Manu Korero is to speak up and inspire people to do the same. Oh, and don't look at the judges."

*The Nga Manu Korero national competition will be held from September 20-22 in New Plymouth.

 - Stuff

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