A Rotorua high school student has beaten out dozens of others from across New Zealand to win the Speech New Zealand Shakespearean Monologue Competition.

John Paul College Year 12 student Eamon Walsh was named the winner for his interpretation of Bottom's monologue in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The competition was held to commemorate 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare and was open to New Zealand residents of all ages.

The judge was acclaimed New Zealand actress Robin Payne who has spent a lifetime acting in theatre throughout the world.


Eamon was presented with a certificate and $500 reward on Tuesday night at Princes Gate Hotel.

"When Mrs Thurston [JPC drama teacher Gabrielle Thurston] rang me up and told me I had won I didn't believe her for a bit. I knew there were a few professional actors who had entered the competition so didn't think I had a chance.

"I've always done drama, it's a real passion of mine. I love the way you can have fun with it but also make the audience think about key issues and topics. I was happy to be recognised nationally for this."

Eamon said he enjoyed performing Shakespeare and believed the ancient playwright was given a hard rap by modern audiences.

"It's quite cool to perform Shakespeare because once you get past the language barrier you realise the themes he writes about are still relevant today.

"For my interpretation I wore a more modern costume to try bring it into the 21st century. In my feedback the judge said that was a good interpretation and a way to make it more relatable."

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