Speech competition major tool in promoting te reo

By Mikaela Collins

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Iri Edwards, from Pompallier Catholic College. Photo / John Stone
Iri Edwards, from Pompallier Catholic College. Photo / John Stone

A national speech competition, which is one of the biggest promoters of te reo Maori in the country, will bring thousands to Northland, an organiser says.

The Nga Manu Korero Regional Speech Competition will be hosted by Bay of Islands College next month but the national competition will also be hosted by Northland at Whangarei's ASB Stadium in September.

Organiser Edith Painting-Davis said the national secondary school speech competition would bring thousands to Whangarei. She said there are 60 speakers from 15 different regions and various different schools who will bring about 40 to 50 support people with them.

"It's all about showcasing Te Tai Tokerau. We've been approaching businesses saying 'Hey we can promote your business for free, if your costs can reflect that,'" she said.

The last time Northland hosted the Nga Manu Korero nationals was in 2008 in Kaitaia.

The competition is separated into five categories: Ta Turi Carroll - Junior English; Rawhiti Ihaka - Junior Maori; Korimako - Senior English; Pei Te Hurinui Jones - Senior Maori, and; the Ta Himi Henare bilingual section, a category only Northland has.

Ms Painting-Davis said the event was a major tool to promote te reo Maori. "It's really the only secondary school [focused] te reo Maori speech competition in the country. It's very prestigious. I've been to a few over the years and what I've noticed is an improvement in the level of fluency. I think in the past you had people who were learning a Maori speech where as now you have students who are fluent and it's really obvious," she said.

The regionals are at Bay of Islands College on June 9 and 10, and the nationals are at Kensington's ASB Stadium from September 20 to 22.

- Northern Advocate

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