On Saturday 23rd March, 20 teams from eight schools across the Kahurangi-Marlborough region gathered at Nelson College for Girls for the 2013 Regional Schools’ Debating Championships. Over the course of the day junior and senior teams competed together on the same motions in four preliminary rounds, before separate junior and senior finals to determine this year’s winners.
For the first round of the day an advised topic area of ‘schools’ had been set, and teams got into the swing of the competition on the motion ‘This House would ban all forms of streaming in schools’. The remaining three preliminary rounds were entirely limited preparation, so with half an hour of prep behind them for each round teams debated the motions: ‘This House believes that there should be equal primetime television coverage of men’s and women’s sports’; ‘This House supports a “starting out wage” for young people, which is lower than the minimum wage’ and ‘This House believes that important medical decisions about children’s health should be made by doctors and not by their parents’.
At the end of four rounds a strong performance from Nelson College saw their two senior teams ranked in first and second place, setting up an all Nelson College senior final on the motion ‘This House believes that the government should build state housing in wealthy suburbs and neighbourhoods.’ In a 2-1 split decision, Nelson College 1 defeated Nelson College 2 to finish the day as champions of the senior competition.
Meanwhile a memorable junior final saw defending champions John Paul II High School face the junior team from Nayland College, whose impressive performance in the preliminary rounds had left them ranked third highest at the competition behind the two Nelson College senior teams. Debating the motion ‘This House believes that the media should not be allowed to intrude into the private lives of public figures’ John Paul II High School took the win to secure the Sounds Air Cup for a second year.
Following the finals, six speakers were named to the Kahurangi-Marlborough regional squad for 2013: Clara Van Wel (Marlborough Girls’ College), Nick Erasmuson (Garin College), Georgina Lomax-Sawyers (Buller High School), Charlie Norton (Nelson College), Hugo Lawrence (Nelson College) and Henry Neas, also of Nelson College. Three members of this squad will go on to represent the region at the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Debating Championships in August.
Also recognised with individual awards were two Highly Commended speakers, Lucy Upton of Nelson College for Girls and Max Clarke of Nelson College. The best junior speaker at the competition was Finlay Langelaah of Garin College, and Charlie Norton capped off a very successful day for Nelson College when he was named the best speaker of the competition.
With many speakers getting their first experience of debating at the competition it was great to see such a high turnout and level of enthusiasm across all teams, so congratulations to all who got involved on what was a really good day’s competition. Thanks go to all the teachers who gave up their time to work with teams and attend the competition, and in particular to Nelson College for Girls and staff member Jo Marris for hosting this year.
Thanks are due also to the adjudicators who travelled across from Wellington for the day: Desley Horton, Udayan Mukherjee, Jodie O’Neill, Will Chisholm, Joe Connell, Richard D’Ath, Oliva Hall, Jake Brown and Kimberley Savill. Finally, our ongoing gratitude to Sounds Air for their generous sponsorship of the regional team. Support from Sounds Air is invaluable in enabling training sessions to take place in the lead up to Nationals, which provides a fantastic opportunity for speakers in the squad to develop as well as contributing to the success of the region on the national stage in recent years.