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.
Karan Kalsi (Lynfield College)
Ford Gooch (Westlake Boys High School)
Umbar Sandhu (Howick College)
Piper Whitehead (Auckland Diocesan)
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)