The 2011 Russell McVeagh Hawke’s Bay Regional Debating Championships were held over the the weekend of 5/6 March at Lindisfarne College in Hastings. This year there were 8 teams entered from 6 schools, and although this is fewer than in the last years all the participants were extremely enthusiastic and also displayed the huge strides in talent that the region has taken over the last few years. This made the tournament an extremely competitive one, which is evident by the fact that across 5 rounds of debating, no team remained unbeaten and no team failed to pick up at least one victory.
The tournament began on Saturday afternoon, with teams debating both sides of a prepared motion about the use of the death penalty on criminals which made for some impassioned and well-informed debates. Then in the first impromptu round later in the day, teams debated whether voting should be compulsory. On Sunday morning teams had two more impromptu rounds on banning gang patches and international whaling rights.
Before the grand final was held, all the participants enjoyed watching a spirited show debate one the government actively supporting atheism put on by the adjudicators. This was well-appreciated by the crowd and opinions were mixed about the winner of debate though everyone enjoyed the spectacle! Afterwards the break was announced and two teams had clearly risen to the top of draw by garnering four wins. These teams were Karamu High School and Napier Girls High School who progressed to the final on the topic of whether university education should be reserved for the best and the brightest.
The grand final was an extremely well-contested and close debate, with both teams mixing knowledge, analysis and humour to good effect in what all the adjudicators agreed was the best quality final for many years in the region. Ultimately though, Napier Girls prevailed in a 4-1 split decision, deservedly taking away their first title after many years of consistent performances.
The winners, Napier Girls’ High – Stella McMullen, Lauren Sye, Elise Munden
The following prizes were awarded:
Hawke’s Bay Development Squad
x (Lindisfarne College)
Raphael van Workum (Karamu High School)
Luke Reisima (Lindisfarne College)
Hannah Hawkins-Elder (Gisborne Girls’ High School)
Joseph Beattie (Karamu High School)
Zac Fairhall (Napier’ Boys High School)
Hawke’s Bay Schools’ Debating Team
Many thanks must go to Fraser Harrison and Lindisfarne College for the sterling job they did in hosting the tournament this year. They continue to step up year after year and have been great supporters of Hawke’s Bay debating for which we are very grateful. Also, thanks to the judges who travelled up from Wellington to lend their expertise: Asher Emanuel, Daniel Wilson, Jenna Raeburn, Jodie O’Neill, Christopher Bishop, Richard D’Ath and Johanna McDavitt. Also thanks to all the schools for attending and continuing to showcase their improvement and debating talent.
Udayan Mukherjee & Cameron Price