Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Kiwi school debating team on top

New Zealand's unbeaten school debating team has come out on top after the first eight preliminary rounds of the World Schools' Debating Championships in Turkey.

The first-placed team will now go up against Canada in the knock-out phase of the competition on Sunday night.

If New Zealand wins that debate they will go up against either Peru or Ireland in the quarter-finals the following day.

NZ Schools Debating Council president Desley Horton said the team had had a competitive draw in the preliminary rounds, but were pleased with their form heading into the knock-out phase.

New Zealand has won the world championships four times since 1988 and reached the quarter-finals last year.

This year's team comprises captain James Penn from Wanganui High School, Thomas Simpson from Hamilton Boys' High School, Ashley Varney from Kings College and Edward Foley from Wellington College.

A total of 48 teams have participated in this year's tournament.

- APNZ

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