Isabella shines at Ngā Manu Kōrero Speech Competition

Year 12 orator Isabella Drummond is no stranger to winning speech competitions. You’ve already read about her a couple of times in our school newsletter this year.

Her latest success was at the ‘Ngā Manu Kōrero Speech Competition’, held on Friday 1 July at Ngā Puna o Waiōrea – Western Springs College.

Here she shares her experience at the competition, winning Top Female Speaker and placing second overall. She is pictured above with (from left), Maddison Gerbes (former student and current Kapa Haka tutor), Kaianne Henare and Caitlin Jenkins (both Kapa Haka friends and supporters). The picture below is of the school contingent that went to the competition to support Isabella.

“This event celebrates the chance for young Māori orators to compete among the secondary schools in Tāmaki Makaurau. Speakers, from Years 9 to 13, can use their voices and share their opinion on a topic of their choice. The competition supports the use of Te Reo Māori or English as the medium of expression. This year, I competed in the ‘Korimako’ division for ‘Senior English’, which involved giving a 7-minute prepared speech, and a 3-minute impromptu speech.

“My prepared topic was ‘My journey to reclaim my reo starts with me’ and my impromptu topic was ‘It’s hard being a teenage in 2022’. It was a memorable moment for me to share my prepared speech, as I was able to express my experience of reclaiming/learning te reo Māori, a language that I have a deep connection with, yet growing up felt distant from.

“In the impromptu preparation room, we were given five topics to choose from, and the topic ‘It’s hard being a teenager in 2022’ caught my eye. I decided to focus on teenagers being exposed to over-consumption of technology; social media, cyberbullying, online school from 2022 isolations, etc. I thought myself, and other teenagers could relate to this, especially with the world becoming increasingly reliant on technology in recent times. We start to lose human connections with each other.

“I was very humbled to be awarded Top Female Speaker and 2nd Place Overall in Auckland at this prestigious competition. It was great to have senior Te Reo Māori language students and Kapa Haka girls come to the event and support as well. It was a special day – I hope other WGHS students consider participating in the competition in the following years.

“In previous years at Manu Kōrero, I have stayed at prize-giving by myself, as the others tend to go home in the afternoon, so it meant a lot having Maddi, Kaianne and Caitlin stay.  Neither Maddi, or Matua Eddie coached me with my speech, but they both showed endless support. I have known Maddi for a few years now as we used to be in Kapa Haka together when she was a student at WGHS. She came up from Wellington to watch and support me at Manu Kōrero.

In terms of goals for speaking competitions, I would love to return to Ngā Manu Kōrero next year. After placing first last year and going to Nationals, then coming 2nd this year, (not to mention the other speech competitions I have participated in i.e Race Unity Speech Awards, Lions Club Speechmakers), I feel like I have already achieved my goals… so now in the future, I would compete not necessarily to win, but to share my voice and passion.”