Waikato win Nationals

Waikato win Nationals

The 2008 National Finals of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from 23-26 May at the Victoria University of Wellington, Law School. The Championships are the premier schools’ debating competition in New Zealand. Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Nelson-Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago-Southland, took part in the competition. The regional teams comprise the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year. On Saturday and Sunday each team competed in a mixture of prepared and limited preparation debates at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

  • This House believes New Zealand should elect its MPs through FPP rather than MMP (prepared, rounds one and two);
  • This House would force large companies to adopt a quota for women in senior positions;
  • This House would use military action to overthrow the Burmese junta;
  • This House supports public, rather than private, ownership of utility companies

After the five preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Auckland White, Wellington Gold, Wellington Black (one loss each), and Waikato (two losses).  The motion for the semi-final was: “This House would offer amnesty to dictators who voluntarily step down”. Waikato defeated Auckland White in a 4-1 decision and Wellington Gold defeated Wellington Black in a 5-2 decision.

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon. Peter Dunne in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament, before distinguished guests the Commissioner of Police, Mr Howard Broad, Mr James Palmer, Partner at Russell McVeagh, Helen Bichan from the Bioethics Council and an audience of several hundred school students.

The Waikato team team consisting of Jessica Jackman, Tom Chen, and Luke Craven successfully affirmed the topic “This House would force journalists to reveal their sources” against the Wellington Gold team of Holly Jenkins, Julia Wells, and Johanna McDavitt, winning a narrow 3-2 victory. In doing so they became the first Waikato team to win since 2001, and only the second in the competition’s twenty year history.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2008 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of Maria English (Wellington Black), Holly Jenkins (Wellington Gold), Tom Chen (Waikato), Ben Kornfeld (Auckland Blue), and Jen Savage (Central North Island). Maria English was named Captain of the New Zealand team for 2008 and also received the Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the Championships. Kurt Purdon from Otago was named as the reserve to the team. The team will compete at the next two World Championships, in Washington in September and Athens, Greece, in February 2009.

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is very grateful to Russell McVeagh for its continued support of New Zealand Schools’ Debating, which allows these Championships to occur. Also to the Police Act Review and the NZ Police as the National topic sponsor, The Bioethics Council as the regional sponsor and Victoria University as the host of the Championships at the weekend. Thanks too to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable success – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and many other helpers.

Tom Chen (Hillcrest High School)
Luke Craven (Bethlehem College)
Jessica Jackman (Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Hamilton)
Coaches: Max Harris and Akif Malik

Wellington Gold
Holly Jenkins (Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt)
Julia Wells (Wellington East Girls’ College)
Johanna McDavitt (St Mary’s College)
Coaches: Clodagh O’Connor-McKenna and Kathy Scott-Dowell

Highly Commended Speakers:
Nick Cross (Scot’s College)
Nupur Upadhyay (St Cuthbert’s College)
Sam Horner (Wentworth College)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker:
Luke Craven (Bethlehem College)

2008 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team Reserve:

Kurt Purdon (Otago Boys’ High School)

2008 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:

Maria English (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)
Holly Jenkins (Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt)
Jennifer Savage (Wanganui Collegiate School)
Ben Kornfeld (King’s College)
Tom Chen (Hillcrest High School)

The Andrew Stockley Cup for Captain of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:

Maria English (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)

The Russell McVeagh Cup for Best Speaker at the Championships:

Maria English (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)