The 2013 Russell McVeagh Auckland Regional Schools Debating Championships were held over the weekend of 6 – 7 April at St Kentigern’s College. True to form Auckland enjoyed a high turnout with 28 teams participating and 19 of Auckland’s best judges giving up their time to adjudicate debates.
The teams debated many challenging topics, including whether doctors rather than parents should make important medical decisions on behalf of children, whether state housing should be built in wealthy areas, whether private contributions to political campaigns should be banned and whether we should introduce 50% quotas for women in the police force.
The eight teams progressing forward to the quarter-finals were Westlake Boys 1, Grammar 1, St Mary’s, St Cuthbert’s, Kristin, Westlake Boys 2, King’s and Howick. In the Grand Final, Westlake Boys affirmed and Auckland Grammar negated the motion that New Zealand should not accept skilled migrants from developing countries. The debate was of an exceptionally high quality and the judges were split 4-1 on the result. Grammar ultimately took out the debate, winning the Claire Ryan Cup, and should be very proud of being unbeaten throughout the whole tournament.
Over the weekend, the judges were closely watching the speakers in each team to determine who would be the recipients for various speaker awards. The recipients are listed below:
Convener’s Cup for the Best Speaker: Andrew Winstanley, Auckland Grammar School
Most Promising Speaker: Matthew Bilton, Westlake Boys High School
Highly Commended Awards: Elspeth Hughes and Annie Huang from King’s College
Promising Speaker Awards: James Manning from King’s College and Seran Rasanathan from Auckland Grammar School
The adjudicators also selected a squad of nine speakers. Over the next two – four weeks, these speakers will be slotted into two teams of three and three reserve spots. The two teams will travel down to Wellington in August to compete in the Russell McVeagh National Schools Debating Championships. Members of the squad are Andrew Winstanley and Alex Johnston (Auckland Grammar School); Kayla Polamalu (St Mary’s); James Rankin, Jesse Medcalf and Matthew Bilton (Westlake Boys’ High School); and Kellin Wang and Sabrina Yeh (St Cuthbert’s College).
Many thanks to the judges, teachers and especially to Chris Hodder from St Kentigern’s College, without whom the weekend would not have happened.
Auckland Regional Convener 2013