Due to many other commitments and a nasty dose of the flu, the 2005 Russell McVeagh Otago-Southland Regional Schools’ Debating Championship was a small affair this year, with only 10 schools competing at the tournament, which was held on Saturday 28th May.
The tournament was held at St Hilda’s Collegiate School, who were last year’s winners. Throughout the day teams debated both sides of the prepared topic, “That it should be compulsory to vote in New Zealand General Elections”, and two impromptu motions regarding NCEA and the drinking age.
Although the tournament was small there was of a high standard of debating and the break to the semi-finals was very exciting. The semi saw Otago Girls’ High School, James Hargest, Bayfield and Columba College debate, “That Schapelle Corby should serve her time in Australia”, and produced two extremely high quality debates on a very controversial and recent topic. In the final, Columba beat James Hargest, affirming “That the New Zealand cricket team should not tour Zimbabwe.”
At the conclusion of the day, the speakers chosen for the Otago-Southland team were: Rachel Laing (Captain) from Columba College, Kate Lawson-Bradshaw from Otago Girls’ High School, and Shaun Musuka from Bayfield. The reserves and development squad are: Martha Hackshaw (Columba), Sashika Samaranayaka (OGHS) and Helen Mather (James Hargest.) Shaun Musuka was named as the Most Promising Speaker, and the best speaker of the day was Kate Lawson-Bradshaw.
Special thanks must go to all of the adjudicators who gave up their Saturday to attend the tournament, and especially to those schools who travelled from out of Dunedin to compete. It is difficult to run a tournament across such a large geographical region, and the dedication of students and teachers who travel for several hours to attend the tournament is commendable.