The 2005 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships (“Nationals”) was contested by 12 regional teams from around New Zealand and was once again a great success. The tournament was held at the Victoria University Law School from 6-9 August in Wellington and was convened by Hamish Flanagan. Accommodation for the tournament was again provided by the Portland Hotel, Thorndon. The Shazza remains much remembered but rarely missed!
As is now custom, the tournament was officially opened on the Friday night at the Russell McVeagh offices. After a bite to eat, training debates took place on the topic: “This House would raise the drinking age back to 20.” In the preliminary rounds, the teams debated:
- This House would only give international aid to developing nations on the condition of reforms to women’s rights (prepared rounds 1 and 2)
- This House would give the State the power to make vaccinations compulsory
- This House would ban religious ceremonies in state schools
- This House believes assassination is a legitimate tool of foreign policy
After five rounds, the four teams announced as breaking to the semi finals were Wellington Gold, Auckland White, Northland, and Wellington Black. Waikato narrowly missed out, after being on the same number of wins as Wellington Black but having lost to them in Round four. The semi-finals were limited preparation debates of one hour on the topic: “This House would establish a sex offender registry.” In the all-Wellington semi,Wellington Gold defeated Wellington Black in a 2-1 decision. In the other semi, Auckland White defeated Northland in a unanimous decision.
The Grand Final was once again hosted by the Hon. Peter Dunne MP in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament. The guests of honour were Her Excellency the Governor-General, the Hon. Dame Silvia Cartwright, Patron of the New Zealand Schools Debating Council, and Dr James Palmer, a Partner at Russell McVeagh. The motion for the Grand Final was: “This House would extradite to people to face the death penalty.” Auckland White affirmed and Wellington Gold negated. After an excellent final, Claire Ryan, the Chief Adjudicator of the weekend announced that in a 2-1 split decision, the winners of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools Debating Championships were Auckland White. This was the first time Auckland had won Nationals since 1993.
The members of the Auckland team were: Nathanael Grey (Macleans College); Mitchell Cooper (Kristin School) and Dipra Ray (Mt Roskill Grammar School). They were coached by Sacha Judd and Tim Mullins.
The Runners-up were Wellington Gold: Heath Hutton (St Patrick’s College, Wellington); Tim Duignan (St Patrick’s College, Wellington) and Ioana Gordon-Smith (St Mary’s College). They were coached by Ranald Clouston.