She may only be a teenager but for Taradale High School student Lealani Siaosi being old has got to be pretty good.

And for a gathering of "older" people who were entertained by Lealani and five fellow Hawke's Bay high school students that was rather good to hear.

Her Great being old speech saw her carry off first prize in the 14th annual Napier Secondary Schools Speech Competition which was organised by the Taradale U3A (University of the Third Age) and staged at the Taradale Town Hall on Wednesday.

As well as taking the main prize, which was judged by members of the region's Toastmasters clubs, she also picked up the People's Choice Award and the Oratory Award for the library of the winning school.


The town hall was almost packed to capacity to hear the six students who spoke on a variety of subjects, all of which in some way had to take into consideration the generation gap and demonstrate the impact of youth and age upon each other.

Titles included The Things I have Learnt from my Parents, Youth in the Community and Teenagers and the Elderly - are we really chalk and cheese? - the latter by Reihine Roberts-Thompson of St Joseph's Maori Girls' College took second place while Savanna Hiha from William Colenso College was third with Time Waits for No One.

To the delight of the audience, in the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare's death, Richard Beere of Napier Boys' High School in his speech A Lesson from Shakespeare Himself took the opportunity to comment on "crabbed age and youth cannot live together", a quote attributed to the Bard and which earned Richard a commended award.

Unfortunately, for Lealani it was a case of "time waits for no one" and she had to leave before receiving her award as she was due to take part in The Big Sing at Waiapu Cathedral that same morning. Her English teacher Hamish Crafar collected it for her.