Throughout the day they competed with each other but when winner of the most prestigious prize at Ngā Manu Korero was announced, students from schools around the region joined together to perform a haka.

Twenty-three students from nine high schools around Rotorua and Taupō competed at the regional section of the annual Ngā Manu Kōrero speech competition today supported by about 200 others.

The group performed a haka for the senior Māori overall winner Mokoinuiarangi Edmonds-Rangitauira from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata. They also performed one for the senior English overall winner Te Aumihi Hohepa from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata.

The competition included four sections: Tā Turi Kara (junior English), Rāwhiti Ihaka (junior Māori), Korimako (senior English) and Pei Te Hurinui (senior Māori).

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The students chose to speak on topics including te reo me ōna tikanga, education, whānau and aspects of Māori life and culture.

Rie Morris, chairwoman of the organising committee, Te Arawa Pouako i te Reo, said the event encouraged the participants to be proud to be Te Arawa.

Kahutia Te Hau, 16, spoke in the senior English category. Photo / Ben Fraser
Kahutia Te Hau, 16, spoke in the senior English category. Photo / Ben Fraser

"It is a celebration and acknowledgement of our rangatahi (young people) from secondary schools within the region of Te Arawa.

"It is a space in which our culture, people and language thrive, a kaupapa (subject) where we build on and form relationships, or whakawhanaunga, with other kura and people from our rohe.

"It is an occasion where we get to feel proud of who we are and what taonga we have."

Morris said the calibre of the competition was outstanding every year.

"The highlight of an event like this is being able to celebrate being Māori, being able to celebrate being Te Arawa ... being able to come together to celebrate and acknowledge our young people."

The category winners will go on to represent Te Arawa at the Ngā Manu Kōrero 2019 National School Speech Contest in Palmerston North in September.

The judges of senior English were Kingi Biddle, Anahera Bowen and Ibrahim Soloman, the judges of senior Māori were Haimona Gardiner, Mercia Yates and Hohua Mohi.

Cruz Karauti-Fox, Chanz Mikaere and Whakarongotai Hokowhitu judged junior English and Te Rangimonoa Tahi-Rangihau, Phillipa Mohi and Ruakiri Fairhall judged junior Māori.

Morris said each of the judges had a huge skill and knowledge base that made them suitable for the role.


Full results
Junior Māori
1st - Te Rangitakaroro Hiini, Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai
2nd - Kaya Koopu, Rotorua Boys' High School
3rd - Hineawa Hohepa-Gardiner, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Koutu
Senior Māori prepared
1st - Mokonuiarangi Edmonds-Rangitauira, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata
2nd - Ruameto Hamiora, Rotorua Boys' High School
3rd - Skyla Peneha, Taupō-nui-a-tia College
Senior Māori impromptu
1st - Mokonuiarangi Edmonds-Rangitauira, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata
2nd - Shay Tahana, Rotorua Girls' High School
3rd - Ruameto Hamiora, Rotorua Boys' High School
Māori overall
1st - Mokonuiarangi Edmonds-Rangitauira, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata
2nd - Ruameto Hamiora, Rotorua Boys' High School
3rd - Kahotea Gardiner, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Koutu
Junior English
1st - Paretoroa Webster-Tarei, Rotorua Boys' High School
2nd - Anamarija Pecotic, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata
3rd - Lahaina Kiel, Rotorua Girls' High School
Senior English prepared
1st - Te Aumihi Hohepa, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata
2nd - Katiana Ngata, Taupō-nui-a-tia College
3rd - Manaia Lewis-Wano, Rotorua Girls' High School
Senior English impromptu
1st - Te Aumihi Hohepa, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata
2nd - Phoenix Winiata, John Paul College
3rd - Manaia Lewis-Wano, Rotorua Girls' High School
Senior English overall
1st - Te Aumihi Hohepa, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata
2nd equal - Phoenix Winiata, John Paul College and Manaia Lewis-Wano, Rotorua Girls' High School