Northlander to contest national Race Unity Speech comp

Tuhoro will participate in the national semi-finals in Auckland on May 12 and, if successful, will advance to the national final which will take place the following day.

Contestants also have the opportunity to attend the annual Race Unity Conference where they will be able to delve deeper into issues surrounding race relations in New Zealand.

Local organiser Nancy Rishworth says the national speech competition, initiated by the New Zealand Baha'i community in support of Race Relations Day and the Diversity Action programme, is now in its 17th year.

"The contest has steadily gained momentum and is now taking place in 14 regions from Northland to Dunedin. It provides a platform where young people can freely express their views. The standard of competition continues to increase and the thoughtfulness and creativity of the students in articulating their views on this important subject continues to inspire", Rishworth says.

"This speech competition targets youth as champions in promoting racial harmony and challenges them to think of crucial issues facing not just young people, but society in general."

Seven senior high school students from Northland competed in regional heats of the Race Unity Speech Awards held last month at the Baha'i' Centre in Whangarei. The seven to eight minute speeches were on the topic "Standing up to racism – that's us!"

The judging panel this year included Sergeant John Larkin of the NZ Police (chief judge) who was supported by Shayne O'Shea of Toastmasters, and Paula Wilson a barrister a solicitor and trustee of Te Puna o Te Ao Marama Trust (Te Ataarangi Community Te Reo Maori Education).