New Zealand Schools’ Debating

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council (Te Kaunihera Tautohetohe ā-Kura o Aotearoa) Is A Non-Profit Organisation Proudly Sponsored by Russell McVeagh.

John McGlashan wins Otago Regionals

The Russell McVeagh Otago/Southland regional debating championship was held on the weekend of the 11th and 12th of March. It was once again a stellar event where the very best of the regions secondary school debaters displayed an impressive depth of knowledge in a diverse and challenging intellectual environment.

Given the size of the Otago/Southland region, the in-round debates were spread out across both the Friday and the Saturday, with four debates on the Friday, with an additional two on the Saturday. Teams debated a wide array of topics; from whether there should be a tax on sugary drinks, to whether there should be a quota for non-white actors in award ceremonies to whether those caught for non-violent crimes should be prosecuted.

Four teams broke to the Semi Finals of the Championships. These teams were Otago Girls 1, Columba 1, John McGlashan 1 and Logan Park High School 1. Spectators were treated to two high quality debates on whether Donald Trump’s candidacy was good for American politics. From the Semi FInals, Columba 1 and John McGlashan 1 emerged victorious and progressed to the Grand Final.

Before a nine judge panel and a hall filling out with a capacity for 300, the two teams were set to debate the final motion for the competition: This house regrets the fact that Governments memorialise the deaths of soldiers in past wars. In a clash that showed maturity well beyond their years, these students dealt with exceptionally respectful and well thought out cases that flowed with persuasive power. In the end however, only one could be crowned victorious, and in a 7-2 split decision, the title of champions for the 2016 Regionals competition was given to John McGlashan 1.

Winning Otago Regional Team 2016

What follows is a list of those who were received speaker awards at the tournament:

Best Speaker
Selena Ballantyne (Columba College)

Russell McVeagh Otago Southland Nationals Team:
Selena Ballantyne (Columba College)
Joe Garry (John McGlashan)
Grant McNaughton (Logan Park High School)

Otago Southland Regional Team 2016

Reserve to the Russell McVeagh Otago Southland Nationals Team:
Kelly Stitely (Otago Girls High School)

Most Promising Speaker
Oscar McGuire (Logan Park High School)

Highly Commended Awards
Beth Clearwater (Bayfield College)
Josh Mackay (John McGlashan)

“Gold” Squad – Year 13 development squad

  • Kelly Stitely of Otago Girls
  • Beth Clearwater of Bayfield College
  • Josh Mackay of John McGlashan
  • Louis Jennings of John McGlashan
  • Oscar McGuire of Logan Park
  • Casey Brown of St Hildas
  • Ben Clayton of Logan Park
  • Grace Sempers of Otago Girls

“Red” Squad – Year 12 and under development team 1:

  • Shanti Girande of Columba
  • Anna Roberts of Kavanagh
  • Lydia Christensen of Columba
  • Isabelle Robertson of St Hildas
  • Rebecca MacDonnell of Columba
  • James Williamson of Otago Boys

“Green” Squad – Year 12 and under development team 2:

  • Lydia Joseph of Columba
  • Sabrina Swerldorff of Otago Girls
  • Tom Acklin of Bayfield College
  • Anna Dawes of Otago Girls
  • Cam Olsen of Bayfield College
  • Beth Fitchett of St Hildas


No comments

Kerikeri dominate Northland Regionals again

The Northland Regional Debating Competition was held on the 28 February at Kerikeri High School.  9 teams travelled from around Northland to attend.

This year’s tournament was very high quality, with three preliminary rounds on topics such as imposing a sugar tax, and the media’s focus on the private lives of politicians. Following these three debates, Huanui 1 and Kerikeri High School 1 progressed to the Grand Final.

The Grand Final topic was “that major film and television awards should have racial quotas for nominating non-white actors.” Congratulations to Kerikeri 1 for successfully affirming the motion and taking out the competition.

A big thank you to the judges who made the long trek to Kerikeri and teachers who gave up their day for the tournament, and to Kerikeri High School who generously provided the venue.

Winners: Kerikeri High School

Runners-Up: Huanui College

Best Speaker:
Aimee Leaming (Kerikeri High School)

Russell McVeagh Northland Regional Schools’ Debating Team:
Aimee Leaming (Kerikeri High School)
Ella Short (Huanui College)
Laila Abada (Kerikeri College)

Reserve to the Russell McVeagh Northland Regional Schools’ Debating Team:
Ella Rankin (Huanui College)

No comments

Hamilton Boys win Waikato Regionals in 2016

The Waikato Regional Debating Competition was held on the 5th of March at Waikato University. 18 teams travelled from around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty to attend.

This year’s tournament was very high quality, with three preliminary rounds on topics such as racial quotas in film awards and the banning of climate change denial. Following these three debates, four schools progressed to the semi-finals: Waikato Dio, Hamilton Boys High School, Tauranga Boys College, and Hillcrest High School.

Waikato Dio and Hamilton Boys High School were the two teams in an entertaining and closely fought final on the motion that “this house regrets the media’s focus on the personal lives of politicians.” Congratulations to Hamilton Boys for winning the debate and the competition overall.

A big thank you to all the judges and teachers who gave up their day for the tournament, and to Waikato University who generously provided lunch and a venue.

Winners: Hamilton Boys High School
Jacob Cheatley
Tim Ng
Alex LeComte


Runners-Up: Waikato Diocesan School for Girls
Emma Harris
Emma Fountaine
Amy Spittal

Waikato Diocesan

Promising Speakers:
Jonathan Tomlinson (Mt Maunganui)
Jonah Franke Bowell (Hillcrest High School)

Highly Commended:
Zara Olifent (Hillcrest High School),
Aneesha Dahya (John Paul College),
Emma Fountaine (Waikato Diocesan)

Reserves to the Waikato Regional Schools’ Debating Team:
Timothy Ng (Hamilton Boys High School)
Hugo Thompson (Tauranga Boys High School)

Waikato Regional Schools’ Debating Team:
Amy Spittal (Waikato Diocesan),
Alex Le Comte (Hamilton Boys High School)
Andrew Devitt (Tauranga Boys High School)

Best Speaker:
Amy Spittal (Waikato Diocesan)

No comments

Christ’s College wins Canterbury Regionals 2016

The Russell McVeagh Canterbury Regional Debating Championships were held on the 12th and 13th of March this year at the University of Canterbury and again showed the depth and breadth of debating talent in the region.

Fifteen teams from ten schools from around the Canterbury region competed in four preliminary rounds held on Saturday and Sunday morning and debated the merits of unpaid internships, home schooling, the media’s focus on the personal lives of politicians and giving development aid to non-democratic governments.

At the end of the fourth round the four top teams advanced to the semi-finals which were held on Sunday afternoon. Christ’s College 1 advanced undefeated on four wins while St Andrew’s College 1, St Margaret’s College 1 and Papanui High School 1 advanced on three wins.

The motion debated by teams in the semi-finals was “this house believes that the state should be liable for the injuries and deaths of homeless people.” Christ’s College 1 beat Papanui High School 1 in a split decision while St Andrew’s College 1 defeated St Margaret’s College 1.

The final was debated on whether or not Donald Trump was good for United States politics and in a close debate Christ’s College 1 (Matthew Moore, Hamish Thomas and Angus Dysart-Paul) prevailed over runners-up St Andrew’s College 1 (April Oakley, Harrison Smith and Isabella Garbutt).

Christs College - Winners 2016

Selectors and coaches for the Regional teams were impressed by the quality of debates and selected two teams to compete at the New Zealand Debating Championships in May. The speakers selected were:

Canterbury Black
Matthew Moore (Christ’s College)
Angus Dysart-Paul (Christ’s College)
Emily Wildy (St Margaret’s College)

Canterbury Black

Canterbury Red

Harrison Smith (St Andrew’s College)
Madeline Tilley (St Margaret’s College)
Chloe Goodsir (Papanui High School)

Canterbury Red

Isabella Garbutt (St Andrew’s College)
Sophie Harrison (Papanui High School)

A number of speaker prizes were awarded to individual debaters who excelled throughout the tournament.:

Best Speaker
Matthew Moore (Christ’s College)

Highly Commended
Zachary Withers (Burnside High School)
April Oakley (St Andrew’s College)
Amy Huang (Rangi Ruru Girls’ School)

The trophy for the Most Promising Team was also awarded which is awarded annually to a team that does exceptionally well that is comprised of debaters who are not in Year 13. This year the award was awarded to St Margaret’s College 3 which consisted of Aisha O’Malley, Millie O’Brien and Ruby Anderson who are all in Year 11.

No comments

Wanganui win CNI Regionals in 2016

The Central North Island Regional Tournament was held on the 12th and 13th of March at Saint Peter’s College in Palmerston North. 18 teams travelled from around the region to attend the tournament, the most the region has seen in a number of years.

The calibre of the tournament was incredibly high, with five preliminary rounds on the Saturday and Sunday to determine who would break for the semi-finals. Debate motions ranged from the popularity of reality television in New Zealand to the memorialisation of soldiers.

The four teams who broke were Wanganui High School A, Palmerston North Girls High School 2, Collegiate, and Wanganui High School B. From these semi-finals, Wanganui High School B and Collegiate progressed through to the finals.

The motion for the final round was “that major film and television awards should have racial quotas for nominating non-white actors” with Wanganui High School affirming, and Collegiate negating. After a high quality debate, Wanganui High School were announced as the unanimous winners of the Central North Island regional competition.

An additional thank you to the adjudicators who travelled for the tournament.

Winners: Wanganui High School B
Jeanne-Marie Bonnet
Connor Cresswell
Jack Southee

Runners-Up: Collegiate
Grayson Nepia
James Ensor
Jonathon de Jongh

Best Speaker
Gabrielle Penn (Wanganui High School)

Most Promising Speaker
Denzel Chung (Palmerston North Boys’ High School)

Promising Speakers
Grayson Nepia (Collegiate)
Aidan Berkhan (Palmerston North Boys’ High School)

Highly Commended
Catherine Reynolds (Saint Peter’s College)
Kaia Costanza-van Den Belt (Palmerston North Girls’ High School)

Central North Island Squad
Gabrielle Penn (Wanganui High School)
Jackie Hazelhurst (Wanganui High School)
Denzel Chung (Palmerston North Boys’ High School)
Milo Costanza-van Den Belt (Palmerston North Boys’ High School)
Alister Hughes (Wanganui High School)
Jeanne-Marie Bonnet (Wanganui High School)

No comments

Applications for Coaching and Judging WSDC in 2016

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council will be sending a team to WSDC in Stuttgart, Germany between 19 – 29 July 2016. The Council is looking for suitably qualified coaches and adjudicators from New Zealand to attend the tournament for its duration.


Council is opening applications for the NZ team coaches for up to 2 coaches. Council will be subsidising each coach so that coaches based in New Zealand will only have to contribute $1000. The subsidy will include the registration for each adjudicator (which covers accommodation, transportation, attendance at Worlds social events and most meals).

The general requirements of coaching the team is as follows:
  • Attendance at Worlds from 18th – 29th July.
  • Training your team: Coaches will be required to train the team prior to the announcement. Council has a coaching budget available to compensate you for your costs in travelling for coaching.
As such, if you are interested in applying to coach, please email Hamish Saunders at [email protected] by 10pm on 15th April with:
  • Whether you are interested in coaching
  • Whether you are applying as an individual, have a preference as to who you coach with, or are applying as a combination.
  • Anything else you would like us to know in order to inform the decision (e.g. coaching, debating, adjudicating, familiarity with the schools style).


To support the attendance of NZ adjudicators at the tournament the Council is opening applications for up to 3 subsidized adjudicators.

The Council will be subsidizing each adjudicator so that adjudicators based in New Zealand will only have to contribute $1500. The subsidy will include the registration for each adjudicator (which covers accommodation, transportation, attendance at Worlds social events and most meals) and flights to Germany.

Adjudicators need to have experience at judging debates in the WSDC-style (the same style used at our national and regional competitions), command respect as an adjudicator, and be able to deliver adjudications in front of large school audiences. Adjudicators will also be expected to play a role supporting the NZ contingent at Worlds. Any applicants who, in the view of the Council, do not meet those requirements may not be selected as a representative NZ adjudicator eligible for the subsidy.

Please submit your application to the Vice President of the Council ([email protected]) by 10pm on 15 April 2016. Please also provide debating/adjudicating CV and referees.

The Council will advise successful applicants for both the coaching and adjudicating positions of a result by 22 April 2016.

No comments

Auckland Diocesan School for Girls enjoy victory at Auckland Regionals 2016

Auckland’s most enthusiastic and proficient debaters gathered for the Russell McVeagh Auckland Regional Debating Championships on the 19th and 20th of March. Some 28 teams from a diverse range of schools competed in the tournament, hosted by Auckland Grammar School.

Over four preliminary rounds on Saturday, students debated issues including banning unpaid internships, creating term limits for MPs in New Zealand, ending the provision development aid to undemocratic governments, and the topical question of whether awards shows such as the Oscars should have quotas for nominating non-white actors. The pool of adjudicators were incredible impressed with how well all teams grappled with such contentious, pertinent, and important issues.

This quality of debate was reflected in the quality of the teams breaking to the knockout rounds, held on Sunday. Like the previous year, one team came out of Saturday unbeaten; however, this year it was Lynfield College 1 that took the mantle. They were followed by eight teams on three wins, one of whom (Sacred Heart 2) had to miss out on the quarter finals on the basis of speaker points. The diversity of strength at this year’s tournament was also exemplified by the fact that all eight quarter-final places were filled by different school; no single school managed to break more than one team into the knockout rounds.

In the quarter-finals, Saint Kentigern College 2, Howick College 1, King’s College 2, and Macleans College 1 all bowed out after tight losses on the in a debate about providing funding directly to iwi for the provision of state services such as education and welfare. On a motion about doctors, rather than parents, making important medical decisions for children, Westlake Boys High School 2 narrowly lost their semi-final in a 2-1 split decision to Lynfield College 1, while Saint Cuthbert’s College 1 were edged out by Auckland Diocesan 1.

The final was held in front of an enthusiastic audience on the motion ‘This house believes that party leaders should be elected by their members rather than caucus’, Diocesan 1 came out the victors in a unanimous decision, negating the motion.


The quality of the tournament was also reflected in the need to invite a number of speakers back on the Sunday for a series of ‘selection debates’, culminating in the selection of six outstanding speakers (listed below) for the two Auckland Regional Debating Teams, who will compete at the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools Debating Championships in May.

Best Speaker
Karan Kalsi (Lynfield College)


Auckland Blue
Ford Gooch (Westlake Boys High School)
Umbar Sandhu (Howick College)
Piper Whitehead (Auckland Diocesan)

Auckland White 2016

Auckland White
Geneva Roy (King’s College)
Karan Kalsi (Lynfield College)
Zachary Wong (Macleans College)

Reserves to the Regional teams
Sam Baker (Westlake Boys High School)
Tiffany Goh (Saint Cuthbert’s College)

Highly Commended Speakers
Hogan Wang (Auckland Grammar School)
Tate McGregor (Saint Kentigern College)
Jia Dua (Lynfield College)

Most Promising Speaker
Harry Ashley (Lynfield College)

Prize Winners 2016

No comments

Wellington College win Wellington Regionals

The Wellington Regional Debating Championship was held over the 19th and 20th of March at Wellington Girls’ College. This year we had entries from 16 extremely high quality teams from around the wider Wellington Region.

Five preliminary rounds were held across Saturday and Sunday. Teams debated topics ranging from whether a tax should be implemented on sugary food and drink, to whether quotas should be introduced for non-white actors at the Oscars.

The four teams that broke to the semi-finals were Wellington College, Scots College, Queen Margaret College and Wellington East Girls’ College. Hutt International Boys’ School were very close to breaking but missed out on speaker points.  The teams debated whether iwi should be given funding to provide social services, such as education and welfare, directly. Wellington College and Scots College progressed through to the final from two very good debates.

The final was held in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd. The motion was “That the US should intervene militarily in Syria”. Scots College affirmed and Wellington College negated. After an excellent debate Wellington College were unanimously crowned the Wellington champions for 2016.

From the weekend two teams were selected to represent Wellington at Nationals. Special thanks to all the adjudicators who gave up their time to judge over the weekend. A big thank you also to Wellington Girls’ College for hosting yet again.

The results and speaker awards for the tournament are listed below:

Winners: Wellington College
Ben Stockton
Nick Webster
Tim Rutherford
Alex Sinclair

wellington 2

Runners Up: Scots College
Lachlan Parlane
Andrew Tang
Manraj Rahi
Peter McKenzie

wellington 1

Best Speaker
Peter McKenzie (Scots College)

Wellington Black
Peter McKenzie (Scots College)
Michael O’Brien (Wellington College)
Brooke Kinajil-Moran (Wellington Girls’ College)

Wellington Gold
Ben Stockton (Wellington College)
Sam Penno (HIBS)
Ursula Crawford (Wellington East Girls’ College)

Reserve to the Wellington teams:
Anya Bukholt-Payne (Wellington High School)

Highly Commended Speakers
Sam Porta (HIBS)
Catherina Lee (St Catherine’s College)
Finn Connell (HVHS),

Promising Speaker:
Alvien Benitez (HIBS)

No comments

Applications Open for the Chief Adjudicator, Adjudicators and Motions Committee for the Nationals Finals

The New Zealand Schools Debating Council has now opened applications for the following positions for the 2016 National Finals of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships:

  • Chief Adjudicator of the National Finals (1)
  • Adjudicators of the National Finals (no set number)
  • Motions Committee for the National Finals (no set number)

Below you will find role descriptions for each of the above three positions. To apply, please send a short debating and/or adjudication CV to the Vice President of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council ([email protected]) by 5pm on Tuesday April 5th. Appointments will be made sometime the following week. Please pass this message on to all who might be interested.

Chief Adjudicator

The Chief Adjudicator heads the Motions Committee for Nationals (explained below). They also advise the Council on the appointment of adjudicators for Nationals. During the weekend the Chief Adjudicator is responsible for the allocation of adjudicators to debates (preliminary rounds, semi-finals and Grand Final) and the running of the draw. The Chief Adjudicator is also head of the panel which selects the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team.

The Chief Adjudicator obviously must be available to be at Nationals in Wellington from 27 – 30th May. The Council will meet the flight and accommodation costs of the Chief Adjudicator should they hail from outside Wellington.


We are also looking for adjudicators for Nationals.

If you:

  •  are experienced at judging schools’ debates;
  • can deliver articulate oral adjudications;
  • command respect as an adjudicator; and
  • are available to be in Wellington from Friday 27 – Monday 30 May;

Then we’d love to hear from you.

Judges from outside of Wellington will have their flight and accommodation costs covered by the Council.

Motions Committee

The Motions Committee consists of the Chief Adjudicator and up to 4 individuals. The Committee decides all the motions used at Nationals.

To apply for any or all of the above positions, please send a short debating and/or adjudication CV to the Vice President of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council ([email protected]) by 5pm on Tuesday April 5th. Appointments will be made sometime the following week.

No comments

Hawkes Bay Regionals 2016 – Karamu High School Wins

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Debating Championship was help over the 5th and 6th of March. This year a record 22 teams entered from across HB and the quality of teams was exceptional.

The four teams that broke to the semi-final were Campion on four wins, Karamu High School A and B on 3 wins and Napier Boys’ High School A on 3 wins as well. After two high quality semis both Karamu teams advanced to the final.

It was a hotly contested final between both teams, which in the end was won by Karamu High School A in tight decision.

Over the weekend the Hawke’s Bay squad was selected as well. This included 5 members and will be narrowed down to 3 at a later date.  The members are Mikel O’Connell (Karamu), Caitlyn Clark (Karamu), Liam Silverwood (Napier Boys’), Brianna Otto (Napier Girls’) and Myles Ashworth (Campion).

All the adjudicators were impressed by the high quality of the tournament. Hawke’s Bay is a region that has some serious debating potential and the enthusiasm of the students is key to this.

Winners: Karamu High School A
Georgia Boyes
Catitlyn Clarke
Mikel O’Connell


Runner Up: Karamu High School B
Romy Crawford
Kate Jones
Abigail Hussey

Promising Speakers
Oliver Chamberlain (Karamu)
Holly Davison (Karamu)

Highly Commended
Georgia Drummond (Napier Girls’ High School)
Rose Coffey (Napier Girls’ High School)

Hawke’s Bay Squad
Mikel O’Connell (Karamu High School)
Caitlyn Clark (Karamu High School)
Liam Silverwood (Napier Boys’ High School)
Brianna Otto (Napier Girls’ High School)
Myles Ashworth (Campion)


Best Speaker
Caitlyn Clark (Karamu High School)

No comments

Next Page »