With a few thousand people in Whangarei for an event hailed for promoting te reo Maori motels are reaping the benefits as schools fill the rooms.
The three-day 2016 Nga Manu Korero National Secondary School Speech Contest kicked off yesterday at ASB Stadium with a rousing powhiri performed by a combination of schools throughout Northland. The ground shook as the students performed a haka as schools from outside the region were welcomed.
Dena-Maree Hemara said a few thousand people would be in Whangarei for the event which is one of the biggest promoters of te reo Maori in the country.
"It is one of the most renowned events for young Maori and young orators so this event has a very strong history which definitely continues to revive our language and culture. [It] also showcases our talented students," she said.
Three Kensington motels are benefiting from the event.
Monica Nance, manager of Continental Motel, said three schools were staying at the motel - two which had students competing and one which had come as support.
"We're full. Out of 18 units, half the bookings are schools and I suspect a few more individuals who have come to support," she said.
Ms Nance said most schools, some who had come as far south as Palmerston North, had booked to stay three nights but one booked an extra night with the intention of travelling further north. She said it was the second week the motel had been fully booked following last week's National Hockey League competition.
"It's a big thing for Northland, Whangarei is on a buzz," she said.
Ms Hemara said there will be 18 regions competing at the event and each region will have four speakers and a support team.
Kingswood Manor Motel manager Zuriana Van Rijswijk said the motel had no vacancies and schools and supporters had filled 14 rooms.
Ms Van Rijswijk said the motel had also benefited from last week's hockey competition.
"It's so good for business, definitely with all these bookings," she said.
Schools were also filling the rooms at Kensington Motel. The manager, who did not wish to be named, said schools had taken five one bedroom units and a studio room.
Ms Hemara said she while visiting the region she expected schools would head out and have some fun.
"A lot of schools will be eating out and playing tenpin bowling and maybe movies," she said.
The 2016 Nga Manu Korero National Secondary School Speech Contest will continue today and tomorrow.
To view a livestream of the event visit tehiku.nz/nmk16.