Haka Powhiri welcomes hundreds for national speech competition
This year's Ngā Manu Kōrero speech competition has kicked off with a haka pōwhiri for about 1000 people from around the country.
The national secondary speech contest will see students from 52 schools across Aotearoa come together to vye for a top spot in a number of English and Te Reo Māori, impromptu and prepared categories.
The competition is intended to encourage the development of skills and confidence of Māori high school students in spoken English and Māori.
The contests are in four categories: Pei Te Hurinui Jones, Korimako, Te Rāwhiti Ihaka and Sir Turi Carroll. Competitions are held at three levels – school, regional and national.
Now in its 52nd year, the national final will be hosted by iwi of Aotea (Taranaki and Whanganui) and held at the TSB Stadium on Thursday and Friday.
Iwi representative Wharehoka Wano said it was the first time since 2006 that the finals had been held in the region.
He said it was an honour to host such an important Māori event, which was about establishing future leaders and keeping the reo alive.
"It's a great opportunity...it's a very significant event in the Māori and secondary schools calender," he said.
"A lot of those ones who have been recipients over the years have gone on to show strong leadership within tribes and have become well known figures."
Wano said there was only one participant from Taranaki who made it through to the finals.
New Plymouth Boys High School student Michael McLeod would compete in the senior English section.
The Year-13 student was no stranger to public speaking and had won a number of speech contests in the past, including making it to the finals of previous Ngā Manu Kōrero compeitions.
"He's done well in these competitions over the years," said Wano.
On Thursday, participants will take the stage and on Friday a prizegiving ceremony would be held.