Inspiring orator makes national semi-finals

Isabella Drummond is the voice of the future!

The talented Year 12 orator last featured in Te Reo o Te Roto when she made the finale of Ngā Manu Kōrero in 2021.  And 2022 has started strong, with Isabella competing in Polyfest as part of our very successful Te Rerenga Wāna. But wait – there’s more! Isabella has now made it through to the national semi-finals of the Race Unity Speech Awards.

“The Race Unity Speech Awards are a platform for senior high school students to express their ideas on how we can improve race relations in Aotearoa,” says Isabella. “It is a nationwide competition where youth across New Zealand have the opportunity to challenge their oratory abilities and share their vision for race unity. I heard about this speech competition a couple years ago as a junior student, and I knew that I wanted to compete once I was a senior.”

Seeking out more information from Mrs Hodges – the teacher in charge of speech competitions at WGHS, Isabella registered and then set out to write her eight-minute speech.

All participants are given the same topic, which this year is “Ngā matimati nō te ringa kotahi – The fingers of one hand. “I interpreted this topic to mean that the suffering of oppressed groups in society affects the well-being and progress of us all,” says Isabella.  “I talked about how we are all connected through our common humanity, and we are therefore linked like the fingers of one hand. ‘We are one team, one nation, one people’. I used the same speech for each heat/stage throughout the competition. I will also be using the same speech at the National Semi-Finals, on 25 June at Ngā Kete Wānanga Marea, MIT, Otara.

The first stage of the competition was competing in the Auckland heats. They separated all Auckland participants (20 students in total) into two heats. Four winners from each heat moved through to the Auckland semi-finals.

“I was the top speaker in my first heat, so I moved through to the Auckland semi-finals. From the Auckland semi-finals, they selected four students to move forward to the Auckland finals. I was again selected to move forward. At the Auckland finals I was very humbled to be selected as the runner up; placing 2nd in the whole of Auckland.  Now the top 15 speakers from across the country compete at the national semi-finals. I believe this is something I can be proud of, considering there were 122 entries nation-wide.”

Isabella will be competing for a spot in the top six to progress through to the National Finals, which will be held the following day. We wish you all the very best and are proud that you are representing WGHS!