Two goldfish took one of the category prizes at the 70th anniversary Rotorua Speech & Drama Competition at the weekend.

Matilda Florence, 8, and Florence Smith, 9, performed a two-minute play, Fish, from a book of short scenes to win the category of under-14 years small group drama duo.

Asked by the Daily Post about their performance, Florence said it went "quite well".

She said it was good to have Matilda on stage with her because it helped her feel calm as she had been nervous beforehand.

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Their speech and drama teacher, and Florence's mother, Bridget Donovan, said the girls took about nine lessons to perfect their play.

She said they both had great memories and the ability to learn quickly.

Ms Donovan, a drama teacher at Rotorua Girls' High School who also takes private students, had herself performed at the Rotorua Speech & Drama Competition when she younger.

The competition was held at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre from Saturday and continues today. It is open to children aged from 5 up. Anyone who wants to take part may enter, for a fee, and competitors can enter up to six categories. Categories include prepared readings, poetry, improvisation and group dramas.

Ms Donovan said the competition was an "amazing experience" for children.

She said it helped them overcome nerves - "by feeling the fear and doing it anyway" - and gave them a sense of accomplishment as well as having fun.

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Achla Patel, one of eight volunteer committee members who organise the event, said the weekend had been "really good".

There were 200 participants this year, with some coming from outside Rotorua.

Mrs Patel said it was a supportive environment for participants, with families and competitors encouraging and supporting one another.

Her daughters, Priya, 17, and Nishali, 10, have taken part for several years.

Mrs Patel encouraged children and their families to come along next year.

"It would be good to get more people involved - the kids have a great time."