Hamilton City Young Farmers member Memphis Wright used to dread public speaking.

"I have always been absolutely terrified of speaking in front of crowds," said the 21 year old. "I'd move around nervously while I spoke and spend most of the time with my head buried in my speech notes."

But Memphis' confidence began to grow when she joined the club's debating team earlier this year.

"I put my hand up because I decided it was time to take the bull by the horns," she said.
Memphis was her club's first speaker when it clashed with Lincoln Young Farmers in the national final of the NZ Young Farmers Debating Competition.


The verbal sparring match took place in front of a large crowd in Invercargill.
The moot was that horses should replace quad bikes on New Zealand farms. The Hamilton City Young Farmers' team of Memphis, Rebekah Te Rito and club chair Steven Law won.

"It was a bit surreal really. I had such a ball on stage. It was great being able to present an argument and entertain the audience," said Memphis. "I thought Lincoln were tough opponents. They were strong and did a good job at capturing a crowd."
The debate was the sixth for Memphis this year and she has a few tips for people lacking confidence.
"Practicing in front of the mirror is really helpful. Think of the audience as your friend and know what you want to say," she said. "Most of our debate prep usually focuses on what we think the opposing team's arguments will be."
Sponsorship from NZ Young Farmers clubs helped cover travel and accommodation costs.