Three Whangarei wordsmiths are all abuzz after coming out tops in the Northland Spelling Bee final and spelling their way it into the national final of the event.
Fourteen Year 9-10 students competed in the Northland final at Whangarei Girls' High School on Tuesday, hoping to make it into the national final in Wellington on October 27/28.
Only two of them were supposed to make it through to the national final, but after some tough rounds three young orthographers won though to the final after a tie-break.
Amelie Tuato'o, from Whangarei Girls' High School, correctly spelled dubious in the tie-breaker while Seb Pullman, Whangarei Boys' High School, correctly spelled affront and Gabriel Son, from Whangarei Boys' High School, correctly spelled trilogy. The three won airfares and accommodation to go to the national final.
New Zealand Spelling Bee founder Janet Lucas said it was a fantastic event with excellent support from schools.
There were 15 rounds of spelling, and initially just two students were intended to go through to the national final.
"But because of the high level of spelling, at the last minute we made the decision to take three students through. There was a big round of applause from the audience," Ms Lucas said.
"No one wanted to see any of the top three knocked out of the competition. It was really exciting."
Also taking part on Tuesday were Ronan Payinda, from Huanui College; Maata Pou, from Mangakahia Area School; Conor O'Brien, Kanoa Woollams, Patrick Moore, Bede McKenzie Glyn Fleming-Bone and Jack Slater, all from Whangarei Boys' High School and Shannon Porter Emma Hutchinson and Tegan Rutherford, from Whangarei Girls' High School.
The 2017 New Zealand Spelling Bee Champion will receive the title of 2017 Champion Speller and $5000 for the advancement of their academic studies.