Waitangi Day has a tradition of great oratory and now students from around the country have the chance to write their own speech outlining what Waitangi Day means to them.

A nationwide speech competition has been announced by Waitangi Treaty Grounds for Year 11 students.

The theme is "What does Waitangi Day mean to me?", with entries open from September 1-29.

The Waitangi Speech Competition will give young people a platform to share their views in a public forum.


The winning student will receive return travel for two to the Bay of Islands with Air NZ, accommodation at Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia, courtesy of Westpac NZ, attendance at Waitangi Day functions on February 5 and 6 next year, and the opportunity to deliver the winning speech at Waitangi.

The winner also receives a certificate, a taonga and a carved trophy for their school to display for nine months. The runner-up will receive a certificate and a taonga.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds chief executive Greg McManus said the competition is all about inspiring young people to reflect on our national day and what it means for them.

"Some of the most interesting perspectives I have heard about Te Tiriti and nationhood have come from young New Zealanders so this competition is an opportunity to harness those perspectives and give them a forum for expression. We are very grateful to Air NZ and Westpac NZ for helping to make it happen."

Waitangi Treaty Grounds education manager Monika Kern is excited about hearing students' views.

"Young people of today are the leaders of tomorrow. As we are celebrating our national day, Waitangi Day, we need to ask ourselves what does this day mean to them? The Waitangi Day Speech Competition provides a platform to students to share their views with us all."

More information about the speech competition is available at www.waitangi.org.nz/education