National Championships Reports

2023

NZSDC welcomed 42 competitors to Wellington for the 35th national New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships in May this year. After hosting the National Championships online in 2022, it was brilliant to have 14 teams from 12 regions back in the capital, and to introduce two new regions (Counties Manukau and Southland) to the event in-person.

Following seven preliminary rounds, debating on motions ranging from the use of Chat-GPT in classrooms, to state funding of political parties, Wellington Black, Wellington Gold, Canterbury, and Central North Island broke to the semi-finals.

After spirited semi-final debates on the motion “this house supports the Hobbit law”, also known as the Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Act 2010, Wellington Black and Canterbury progressed to the finals.

The Grand Finals of the National Championships this year were on the motion that “this house believes that New Zealand should become a republic”. Participants and spectators watched a high quality debate, held in the Legislative Chambers at Parliament, ultimately won by Wellington Black.

The following students received speaker prizes at the 2023 competition:

  • Best Speaker of Nationals and Captain of the New Zealand Team: Isabella Cash (Wellington Black);
  • New Zealand Team: Isabella Cash (Wellington Black), Chris Ye (Auckland White), Olivia Simpson (Central North Island), Teresa Ng (Wellington Gold) and Ethan Jackson (Canterbury)
  • Most Promising Speaker of Nationals: Teresa Ng (Wellington Gold);
  • Promising Speakers: Clara Ballantyne (Otago), Luca Ririnui (Bay of Plenty) and Jamie Pett (Auckland Blue);
  • Highly Commended Speakers: Joe Howells (Northland), Lauren Chee (Auckland Blue), Lucas Liu (Auckland Blue) and Jess Licht (Waikato);
  • Reserves to the New Zealand Team: Luke Wylie (Canterbury) and Ella Whibley (Hawke’s Bay-Tairāwhiti).

Thank you to the Adjudication Core of Joe Ascroft, Piper Whitehead, Emily Partridge and Jaiden Tucker, and to the convenors, Umbar Sandhu and Valentino Tew, for all their hard work in the lead up to the tournament.

2018

The 2018 National Finals of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from the 25th – 28th of May at Victoria University of Wellington.

Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Kahurangi/Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago/Southland took part in the competition. This was the first year that Bay of Plenty competed in the competition. The regional teams comprised the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year.

Teams competed in seven preliminary round debates on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

  • This house would ban unions for workers in high skilled occupations
  • This house believes that settlements with indigenous groups should focus on current disadvantage rather than historical wrongs
  • This house would create Government controlled entity to directly undertake housing construction projects
  • This house would require sperm/egg banks to identify the biological parent at the request of the child
  • This house believes that the Democrats should prioritise traditional economic and social issues (e.g. cost of living, healthcare, education) over concerns about Trump’s presidency when communicating to voters
  • This house believes that all art should be displayed with the artist remaining anonymous
  • This house supports nationalism

After the seven preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Waikato, who broke first on six wins, Otago-Southland (five wins), Auckland White (five wins) and Auckland Blue (four wins).

Bay of Plenty and Wellington Gold were also on four wins but tied with the exact same number of speaker points and win points in fifth place.

On Monday morning the semi-finals were held at Queen Margaret College and St Mary’s College.

The motion for the semi-finals was: “this house supports sanctions being imposed on states that develop nuclear weapons programmes.” Auckland Blue defeated Waikato in a 4-1 split decision and Otago-Southland defeated Auckland White in a 2-1 split decision.

The Grand Final was hosted for the first time by Christopher Bishop MP in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament. We were delighted to have Justice Kos, President of the Court of Appeal, attend the Grand Final.

The motion for the final was that “This house would require MPs who leave or are expelled from their party caucus to resign from Parliament.”

Otago-Southland affirmed the motion and Auckland Blue negated. After an excellent and very close debate, Auckland Blue were declared the winners in a 4-3 decision.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2018 New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced, competing at World Schools in Zagreb, Croatia. The five member team is made up of Nicholas Goodman (Hamilton Boys’ High School), Lydia Joseph (Columba College), Sabrina Swerdloff (Otago Girls’ High School), Alan Zhang (Macleans College) and William Price (Westlake Boys’ High School).

The best speaker of the Championships was Nicholas Goodman, with Lydia Joseph being named captain of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team.

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is grateful to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable weekend – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and conveners Geneva Roy and Samuel Penno.

Winners: Auckland Blue
Grace Baylis (Macleans College)
Yang-Fan Yun (Macleans College)
David Zhu (Macleans College)
Coaches: Kayla Grant & Aditya Vasudevan

Runners-Up: Otago-Southland
Lydia Joseph (Columba College)
Bridget Scott (Columba College)
Sabrina Swerdloff (Otago Girls’ High School)
Coaches: Joe Ascroft & Emily Williams

Promising speaker: Grace Baylis (Macleans College)

Andrew Stockley Cup for the Captain of the 2018 New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Lydia Joseph (Columba College)

Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the 2018 National Championships: Nicholas Goodman (Hamilton Boys’ High School)

Highly Commended speakers:
Peter Lang (Scots College)
Bridget Scott (Columba College)
Abbie Pool (St Kentigern College)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker:
Dominic Beaton (St John’s College)

Reserves to the 2018 New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Day-eth Smit (Waikato Diocesan School for Girls)
David Zhu (Auckland Grammar)

2018 New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Nicholas Goodman (Hamilton Boys’ High School)
Lydia Joseph (Columba College)
Sabrina Swerdloff (Otago Girls’ High School)
Alan Zhang (Macleans College)
William Price (Westlake Boys’ High School)
Coaches: Hamish Saunders and Nicholas Cross

2015

The 2015 National Finals of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from the 22nd-25th of May at Victoria University of Wellington.

Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Kahurangi-Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago-Southland took part in the 2015 competition. The regional teams comprised the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year.

Teams competed in seven preliminary round debates on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

  • This house would ban alternative medicines
  • This house supports the establishment of exclusive schools for LGBT students
  • This house believes Obama has betrayed the legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • This house regrets the commercialisation of indigenous art
  • This house would not prosecute individuals for minor crimes committed during protests of deaths of minorities at the hands of police officers
  • This house would televise all major criminal trials
  • This house believes that the income tax of individuals should be based on the wealth of their parents

After the seven preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Wellington Black, who were undefeated on seven wins, Auckland White (five wins), Central North Island (four wins) and Auckland Blue (four wins). Wellington Gold were also on four wins but had slightly fewer speaker points than Auckland Blue.

On Monday morning the semi-finals were held at Wellington Girls College and Wellington High School. The motion for the semi-finals was: “This house supports the partition of Iraq into three states: one for each of the Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish peoples” The top two teams qualified for the Grand Final, with Auckland White (affirming) defeating Central North Island in a 3-2 decision  and Wellington Black (affirming) defeating Auckland Blue by 4-1.

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon. Peter Dunne in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament. It was a particularly excellent line-up of distinguished guests . The judges for the final also included recently elected MP and former NZSDC President Chris Bishop. The motion for the final was that “This house believes that socially progressive movements in democratic countries should seek social change through the judiciary rather than the legislature.”, a highly topical subject given that arguments before the High Court in Wellington in the Lecretia Seales case were beginning on the same day.

Wellington Black affirmed the motion and Auckland White negated. After an excellent debate, Wellington Black were declared the winners in a 5-0 decision.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2015 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of Shakked Noy (Wellington High School), Peter McKenzie (Scots College), Emily Williams (Columba College), Georgina Lomax-Sawyers (Buller High School) and Rhaz Solomon (Wanganui High School)

The best speaker of the Championships was Shakked Noy, with Georgina Lomax-Sawyers being named captain of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team.

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is grateful to Victoria University of Wellington who hosted the Championships during the weekend.

Thanks too to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable weekend – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and many other helpers.

Winners: Wellington Black
Peter McKenzie (Scots College)
Shakked Noy (Wellington High School)
Sarah Mackenzie (Kapiti College)
Coaches: Nick Gavey & Richard D’Ath

Runners-Up: Auckland White
Liam Rawlings (Westlake Boys’ High School)
Karan Kalsi (Lynfield College)
Sookyung Choi (St Cuthbert’s College)
Coaches: James Penn & Edward Foley

Highly Commended speakers:
Meg Murray (Kerikeri High School)
Rachel Worthington (St Kentigern College)
Francesca Saavedra (Hamilton Girls’ High School)
Sookyung Choi (St Cuthbert’s College)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker: Gabrielle Penn (Wanganui High School)

Reserves to the 2015 New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Gabrielle Penn (Wanganui High School)
Sarah Mackenzie (Kapiti College)

2015 New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Shakked Noy (Wellington High School)
Peter McKenzie (Scots College)
Emily Williams (Columba College)
Georgina Lomax-Sawyers (Buller High School)
Rhaz Solomon (Wanganui High School)

Andrew Stockley Cup for the Captain of the 2015 New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Georgina Lomax-Sawyers (Buller High School)

Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the 2015 National Championships: Shakked Noy (Wellington High School)

2014

The 2014 National Finals of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from 23-26 May at Victoria University of Wellington.

Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Kahurangi-Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago-Southland took part in the 2014 competition. The regional teams comprised the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year.

Teams competed in seven preliminary round debates on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

  • That there should be gender quotas in the police force
  • That we should legalise performance enhancing drugs in sports
  • That government medical treatment should not be provided to individuals whose health problems are the result of them knowingly engaging in risky activities
  • That we regret the rise of social media charity and activism campaigns
  • That governments should heavily subsidise tertiary education in science, technology and engineering at the expense of humanities and the arts
  • That we should ban private funding of political parties and replace it with a publically funded system
  • That children should have a financial obligation to support their parents when they retire

After the seven preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Wellington Black, who had six wins, Auckland Blue (five wins), Central North Island (five wins) and Northland (four wins). Wellington Gold were also on four wins but had  fewer speaker points than Auckland Blue.

On Monday morning the semi-finals were held at Wellington College and the Travelodge Hotel.  The motion for the semi-finals was: “That the news and entertainment media should not depict the full horrors of war.” The top two teams qualified for the Grand Final, with Auckland Blue (negating) defeating Central North Island in a unanimous decision and Wellington Black (affirming) defeating Northland, also in a unanimous decision.

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon. Peter Dunne in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament. In the audience was a distinguished lineup of guests, including, Holly Walker MP (an alumna of the Championships) and Tim Clarke (Partner, Russell McVeagh). Dr Andrew Stockley, life member and former President of the Schools’ Debating Council, and Dean of Auckland Law School was also a guest.

The motion debated in the final was “That socially progressive individuals should boycott companies whose senior management express socially conservative views”, a topical issue reflecting debates currently occurring in the United States and other liberal democracies.

Wellington Black affirmed the motion and Auckland Blue negated. After an exceptional debate, Wellington Black were declared the winners in a 6-1 split decision.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2014 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of Liam Dennis (Hutt International Boys’ School), Harrison Fookes (Sacred Heart College), Arun Prakesh (St Kentigern College), Lucy Ellingham (Kerikeri High School) and Georgina Lomax-Sawyers (Buller High School).

The best speaker of the Championships was Lucy Ellingham, with Liam Dennis being named captain of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team.

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is very grateful to Russell McVeagh for its continued support of New Zealand Schools’ Debating, which allows these Championships to occur. We are also grateful to Victoria University of Wellington who hosted the Championships during the weekend.

Thanks too to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable weekend – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and many other helpers.

Winners: Wellington Black
Liam Dennis (Hutt International Boys’ School)
Georgia Bloor-Wilson (Wellington Girls College)
Peter McKenzie (Sacred Heart College)
Coaches: Richard D’ath and Nick Gavey

Runners-Up: Auckland Blue
Hannah Jones (Diocesan School for Girls)
Harrison Fookes (Sacred Heart College)
Arun Prakesh (St Kentigern College)
Coaches: Paul Smith & Lucy Harrison

Highly Commended speakers:
Hannah Jones (Diocesan School for Girls)
Matthew Bilton (Westlake Boys High School)
Georgia Bloor-Wilson (Wellington Girls College)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker: Rhaz Solomon (Wanganui High School)

Reserve to the 2014 New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Daniel Maier-Gant (St Andrew’s College)

2014 New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Liam Dennis (Hutt International Boys’ School)
Harrison Fookes (Sacred Heart College)
Arun Prakesh (St Kentigern College)
Lucy Ellingham (Kerikeri High School)
Georgina Lomax-Sawyers (Buller High School).

Andrew Stockley Cup for the Captain of the 2014 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Liam Dennis (Hutt International Boys’ School)

Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the 2014 National Championships: Lucy Ellingham (Kerikeri High School)

2013

The 2013 National Finals of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from 9-12 August at Victoria University of Wellington.

2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council, and a special Silver Jubilee dinner was held on the Saturday night of the tournament, attended by many alumni of the Championships. Sir Anand Satyanand, former Governor-General and Patron of the Council, was the guest of honour at the dinner.

Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Kahurangi-Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago-Southland took part in the 2013 competition. The regional teams comprised the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year.

Teams competed in seven preliminary round debates on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

  • This House would ban all forms of gambling
  • This House would subsidise traditional print, radio and TV media in response to the rise of online media
  • This House prefers elected Islamists to military dictatorships for the Arab World
  • This House would tie parents’ welfare payments to their childen’s health and education outcomes
  • This House believes the NZ Rugby Union should remove its current ban on overseas based New Zealanders playing for the All Blacks
  • This House would require both parents to take equal amounts of parental leave
  • This House would remove all restrictions on immigration from impoverished countries to developed countries.

After the seven  preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Wellington Gold, who had six wins, Auckland White (five wins), Wellington Black (five wins) and Auckland Blue (four wins). Northland were also on four wins but had slightly fewer speaker points than Auckland Blue.

On Monday morning the semi-finals were held at Queen Margaret College and the Travelodge Hotel.  The motion for the semi-finals was: “This House believes political party leaders should be elected by party members, not MPs.” The top two teams qualified for the Grand Final, with Auckland Blue (affirming) defeating Wellington Gold in a 3-2 decision  and Wellington Black (affirming) defeating Auckland White by 5-0.

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon. Peter Dunne in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament. It was a particularly excellent line-up of distinguished guests, including Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC, Holly Walker MP (an alumna of the Championships),  Hamish McIntosh (Partner, Russell McVeagh) and Jan Blair (HR Coach, Russell McVeagh). Dr Andrew Stockley and Rosemary Dixon, life members and former Presidents of the Schools’ Debating Council were also guests of honour.

This year Internet NZ were the Council’s official partners for the Grand Final, and motion debated reflected this, being “This House would not prosecute people for filesharing entertainment media on the internet.” Jordan Carter, the Chief Executive of Internet NZ also addressed the audience.

Auckland Blue affirmed the motion and Wellington Black negated. After an excellent debate, Wellington Black were declared the winners in a 5-2 split decision.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2013 New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of James Rankin (Westlake Boys’ High School), Chris Ryan (Howick College), Ailidh Leslie (Wellington High School), Callum Lo (Lindisfarne College) and Maddy Nash (Sacred Heart College).

The best speaker of the Championships was James Rankin, with Ailidh Leslie being named captain of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team.

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is grateful to Victoria University of Wellington who hosted the Championships during the weekend.

Thanks too to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable weekend – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and many other helpers.

Winners: Wellington Black
Liam Dennis (Hutt International Boys’ School)
Ailidh Leslie (Wellington High School)
Maddy Nash (Sacred Heart College)
Coaches: Stephen Whittington & Hugh McCaffrey

Runners-Up: Auckland Blue
James Rankin (Westlake Boys’ High School)
Andrew Winstanley (Auckland Grammar School)
Kayla Polamalu (St Mary’s College)
Coaches: Paul Smith & James Penn

Highly Commended speakers:
Liam Dennis (Hutt International Boys’ School)
Jack Garden (Wellington College)
Jesse Medcalf (Westlake Boys’ High School)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker: Georgina Lomax-Sawyers (Buller High School)

Reserve to the 2013 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Kayla Polamalu (St Mary’s College)

2013 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
James Rankin (Westlake Boys’ High School)
Ailidh Leslie (Wellington High School)
Maddy Nash (Sacred Heart College)
Callum Lo (Lindisfarne College)
Chris Ryan (Howick College)

Andrew Stockley Cup for the Captain of the 2013 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Ailidh Leslie (Wellington High School)

Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the 2013 National Championships: James Rankin (Westlake Boys’ High School)

2012

The 2012 National Finals of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from 10 to 13 May August at Victoria University of Wellington.

Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Kahurangi-Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago-Southland took part in the competition. The regional teams comprised the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year.

For the first time, teams competed in seven (rather than five) preliminary round debates on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

  • This House would make te reo Maori a compulsory subject in all New Zealand schools
  • This House would make beneficiaries use a payment card which could only be used for essential items
  • This House believes all states should have the right to develop nuclear weapons
  • This House believes punishment should never be an aim of the justice system
  • This House would re-elect Barack Obama
  • This House would end all funding for high performance sport
  • This House believes politicians should lead, not follow, public opinion

After the seven  preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Wellington Black, who were undefeated on seven wins, Waikato (four wins), Auckland White (four wins) and Central North Island (four wins). Kahurangi-Marlborough were also on four wins but had slightly fewer speaker points than Central North Island.

On Monday morning the semi-finals were held at Turnbull House, a historic building in the Wellington CBD. The motion for the semi-finals was: “This House would privatise all state-owned enterprises”. The top two teams qualified for the Grand Final, with Waikato (negating) defeating Auckland White in a 5-0 decision and Wellington Black (also negating) pipping CNI in a 3-2 decision.

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon. Peter Dunne in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament, before distinguished guests His Excellency the Right Honourable Lieutenant-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General, Lady Mateparae, Tim Clarke (Partner at Russell McVeagh) Jan Blair (HR Coach at Russell McVeagh) and an audience of several hundred school students. Dr Andrew Stockley, a life member of the Schools’ Debating Council and former President of the Council was also a guest of honour.

The final debate was very memorable and of great quality. The topic, which the teams had only an hour to prepare, was “That people should have to pass a political literacy test to be able to vote”, with Wellington Black affirming and Waikato negating. After a very close debate, the Waikato team of Christopher Jury, Thomas Simpson, and Kayla Grant were declared the winners in a 6-1 split decision.

Waikato therefore successfully defended the title won in 2011. It is the first time in the 25 year history of the Championships that exactly the same students have won the Championships two years in a row.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2012 New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of James Penn (Captain, Wanganui High School), Thomas Simpson (Hamilton Boys’ High School), Jemima Lomax-Sawyers (St Mary’s College, Wellington), Edward Foley (Wellington College) and Ashley Varney (King’s College). The team will compete at the 2013 World Schools’ Debating Championships in Turkey.

Thomas Simpson from Hamilton Boys’ won the best speaker cup for the second year in a row.

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is very grateful to Russell McVeagh for its continued support of New Zealand Schools’ Debating, which allows these Championships to occur. We are also grateful to Victoria University of Wellington who hosted the Championships during the weekend.

Thanks too to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable weekend – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and many other helpers.

Winners: Waikato
Christopher Jury (Hamilton Boys’ High School)
Thomas Simpson (Hamilton Boys’ High School)
Kayla Grant (Hillcrest High School)
Coaches: Josh Baxter & Holly Jenkins

Runners-Up: Wellington Black
Oscar Shaw (Wellington College)
Edward Foley (Wellington College)
Jemima Lomax-Sawyers (St Mary’s College, Wellington)
Coaches: Stephen Whittington & Duncan McLachlan

Highly Commended speakers:
Oscar Shaw (Wellington College)
Kayla Polamalu (St Mary’s College, Auckland)
Boyd Becker (Greymouth High School)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker: Callum Lo (Lindisfarne College)

Reserve to the 2012 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Callum Lo (Lindisfarne College)

2012 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
James Penn (Wanganui High School)
Thomas Simpson (Hamilton Boys’ High School)
Jemima Lomax-Sawyers (St Mary’s College, Wellington)
Edward Foley (Wellington College)
Ashley Varney (King’s College)

Andrew Stockley Cup for the Captain of the 2012 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: James Penn (Wanganui High School)

Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the 2012 National Championships: Thomas Simpson (Hamilton Boys’ High School)

2011

The 2011 National Finals of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from 27 to 30 May at Victoria University of Wellington.

Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Kahurangi-Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago-Southland took part in the competition. The regional teams comprised the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year.

On Saturday and Sunday each team competed in five preliminary round debates at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

  • This House would reintroduce a youth minimum wage
  • This House would compel doctors to report suspected cases of domestic violence to the police
  • This House believes New Zealand should become a republic
  • This House would impose trade sanctions on nations that refuse to take action on climate change
  • This House believes the posession of drugs for personal use should not be a crime

After the five preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Waikato (five wins), Auckland Blue (four wins), Wellington Gold (three wins), and Kahurangi-Marlborough (three wins). Sadly, Wellington Black and Auckland White missed out on win points.

It is the first time that Kahurangi-Marlborough have reached the semi-finals of the competition.

The motion for the semi-final was: “This House would offer amnesty to dictators who step down”. Waikato defeated Kahurangi-Marlborough in a 2-1 decision and Auckland Blue defeated Wellington Gold, also in a 2-1 decision, setting up a Waikato v Auckland Grand Final.

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon. Peter Dunne in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament, before distinguished guests His Excellency the Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, Governor-General, Lady Satyanand, Hamish McIntosh, Partner at Russell McVeagh, and an audience of several hundred school students.

The final debate was humorous and passionate. The topic was “That New Zealand needs Don Brash” with Waikato taking the affirmative side and Auckland the negative. After a very close debate, the Waikato team of Christopher Jury, Thomas Simpson, and Kayla Grant were declared the winners in a unanimous decision.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2011 New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of Nick Orr (Captain, Auckland Grammar School), Edward Foley (Wellington College), Rayhan Langdana (Wellington College), Thomas Simpson (Hamilton Boys’ High School) and James Penn (Wanganui High School).

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is very grateful to Russell McVeagh for its continued support of New Zealand Schools’ Debating, which allows these Championships to occur. We are also grateful to Victoria University of Wellington who hosted the Championships during the weekend.

Thanks too to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable weekend – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and many other helpers.

Winners: Waikato
Christopher Jury (Hamilton Boys’ High School)
Thomas Simpson (Hamilton Boys’ High School)
Kayla Grant (Hillcrest High School)
Coaches: Josh Baxter

Runners-Up: Auckland Blue
Nick Orr (Auckland Grammar School)
Ishika Jayasinghe (St Cuthbert’s College)
Frederick Thursfield (King’s College)
Coaches: Stephanie Thompson and Glenn Riddell

Highly Commended speakers:
Ishika Jayasinghe (St Cuthbert’s College)
Kayla Grant (Hillcrest High School)
Nick Fenton (Wellington College)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker: Christopher Jury (Hamilton Boys’ High School)

Reserves to the 2011 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Kimberley Savill (Nayland College)
Lucy Harrison (Mt Albert Grammar School)

2011 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Edward Foley (Wellington College)
Nick Orr (Auckland Grammar School)
Rayhan Langdana (Wellington College)
Thomas Simpson (Hamilton Boys’ High School)
James Penn (Wanganui High School)

Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the 2011 National Championships: Thomas Simpson (Hamilton Boys’ High School)

Andrew Stockley Cup for the Captain of the 2011 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Nick Orr (Auckland Grammar School)

2010

The 2010 National Finals of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from 6-9 August at Victoria University of Wellington.

Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Nelson-Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago-Southland took part in the competition. The regional teams comprised the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year.

On Saturday and Sunday each team competed in five preliminary round debates at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. In rounds one and two, the teams had to grapple with “advised topic area” impromptu debaters, where they were told the general theme of each round a month in advance, but the actual topic only one hour before.

In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

  • This House would privatise prisons (advised topic area: Privatisation)
  • This House believes Turkey should join the European Union (advised topic area: The European Union)
  • This House would legalise voluntary euthanasia
  • This House supports free tertiary education
  • This House believes that developing countries should be exempt from measures to combat climate change

After the five preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Auckland Blue (five wins), Central North Island (four wins), Wellington Black (three wins) and Otago/Southland (three wins). Canterbury Red and Canterbury Black unfortunately missed out on the semi-finals on win points.

The motion for the semi-final was: “This House believes the Maori Party is good for New Zealand politics”. Wellington Black defeated Central North Island in a 2-1 decision and Auckland Blue defeated Otago/Southland in a unanimous decision, setting up an Auckland v Wellington Final.

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon. Peter Dunne in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament, before distinguished guests His Excellency the Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, Governor-General, Lady Satyanand, Hamish McIntosh, Partner at Russell McVeagh, and an audience of several hundred school students.

Also attending the final were Tim Harding and Ross Bell, the Chair and Executive Director of the NZ Drug Foundation, and Gerard Vaughan of the Alcohol Advisory Council. Both organisations were the Partners for the National Finals of the Championships, and the topic for the Grand Final reflected the two organisations’ desire to see reasoned and sound public debate about drug issues facing New Zealand.

In a superb debate, the Wellington Black team comprising James Gavey, Thomas Mitchell and Duncan McLachlan successfully affirmed the topic “This House would ban all forms of alcohol advertising” against the Auckland Blue team of Nick Orr, Jessica Storey, and Frederick Thursfield, winning in a close 2-1 split decision.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2010 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of Kieran Bunn (Captain, Logan Park High School), Nick Orr (Auckland Grammar School), Duncan McLachlan (Wellington College), Sophie Boot (Christchurch Girls’ High School) and Aric Shakur (Palmerston North Boys’ High School). The team will compete in an international tournament in early 2011.

A development team was also chosen to compete in the same tournament. The team is James Penn (Wanganui High School), Kimberley Savill (Nayland College), Michael Prendergast (Kerikeri High School) and Timothy Robinson (St Bede’s College).

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is very grateful to Russell McVeagh for its continued support of New Zealand Schools’ Debating, which allows these Championships to occur. We are also grateful to Victoria University of Wellington who hosted the Championships during the weekend and the Drug Foundation and ALAC who were the Council’s Partners for the National Finals.

Thanks too to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable success – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and many other helpers.

Winners: Wellington Black
James Gavey (Scots College)
Thomas Mitchell (Wellington College)
Duncan McLachlan (Wellington College)
Coaches: Clodagh O’Connor-McKenna and Stephen Whittington

Runners-Up: Auckland Blue
Nick Orr (Auckland Grammar School)
Jessica Storey (St Cuthbert’s College)
Frederick Thursfield (King’s College)
Coaches: Stephanie Thompson and Glenn Riddell

Highly Commended speakers:
Olivia Hall (St Cuthbert’s College)
Jessica Storey (St Cuthbert’s College)
Cameron Price (Napier Boys’ High School)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker: Kimberley Savill (Nayland College)

2010 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Kieran Bunn (Logan Park High School)
Nick Orr (Auckland Grammar School)
Duncan McLachlan (Wellington College)
Aric Shakur (Palmerston North Boys’ High School)
Sophie Boot (Christchurch Girls’ High School)

Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the 2010 National Championships: Kieran Bunn

Andrew Stockley Cup for the Captain of the 2010 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Kieran Bunn

2009

The 2009 National Finals of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from 7-10 August at Victoria University of Wellington.

Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Nelson-Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago-Southland took part in the competition. The regional teams comprise the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year.

On Saturday and Sunday each team competed in five preliminary round debates at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. This year instead of prepared debates for rounds one and two, the teams had to grapple with “advised topic area” impromptu debaters, where they were told the general theme of each round a month in advance, but the actual topic only one hour before.

In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

  • This House would means-test superannuation (advised topic area: Superannuation)
  • This House would abolish trial by jury (advised topic area: Judicial Reform)
  • This House supports global nuclear disarmament
  • This House would prevent skilled migrants emigrating from the developing world to the developed world
  • This House believes fertility treatment is a choice, not a right

After the five preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Wellington Gold, Wellington Black, Auckland Blue (four wins, one loss) and Auckland White (three wins, two losses). Otago/Southland and Northland narrowly missed out on win points.

The motion for the semi-final was: “This House would never recognise governments which take power through military coup”. Wellington Gold defeated Auckland White in a 4-1 decision and Wellington Black defeated Auckland Blue by 5-0, setting up an all-Wellington final for the first time since 1996.

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon. Peter Dunne in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament, before distinguished guests His Excellency the Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, Governor-General, Lady Satyanand, Hamish McIntosh, Partner at Russell McVeagh, and an audience of several hundred school students.

The Wellington Black team comprising Carlos Bowkett, Maria English and Jodie O’Neill successfully affirmed the topic “This House would make citizens initiated referenda binding on government” against the Wellington Gold team of Nick Cross, Julia Wells and Jasmin Moran, winning in an unanimous 5-0 decision.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2009 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of Maria English (Wellington Black), Nick Cross (Wellington Gold), Jasmin Moran (Wellington Gold), Aria Newfield (Auckland White) and Josh Baxter (Auckland Blue). Maria English was named Captain of the New Zealand team for 2009, retaining the Andrew Stockley Cup she won in 2008. For an incredible third time in a row, she also received the Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the Championships. Corinne Marti from Northland and Rory Nolan from Auckland Blue were named as the reserves to the team. The team will compete at the next World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in February 2010.

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is very grateful to Russell McVeagh for its continued support of New Zealand Schools’ Debating, which allows these Championships to occur. We are also grateful to Victoria University of Wellington who hosted the Championships during the weekend. Thanks too to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable success – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and many other helpers.

Winners: Wellington Black
Carlos Bowkett (Wellington College)
Maria English (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)
Jodie O’Neill (Chilton St James School)
Coaches: Polly Higbee and Clodagh O’Connor-McKenna

Runners-Up: Wellington Gold
Nick Cross (Scots College)
Julia Wells (Wellington East Girls’ College)
Jasmin Moran (Chilton St James School)
Coaches: Kathy Scott-Dowell and Seb Templeton

Highly Commended speakers:
Tom O’Brien (Canterbury Black)
Jodie O’Neill (Wellington Black)
Kurt Purdon (Otago/Southland)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker at the 2009 National Championships: Cameron Price (Hawke’s Bay)

Reserves to the NZ Schools Debating Team:
Corinne Marti (Northland)
Rory Nolan (Auckland Blue)

2009 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Maria English (Wellington Black)
Nick Cross (Wellington Gold)
Josh Baxter (Auckland Blue)
Aria Newfield (Auckland White)
Jasmin Moran (Wellington Gold)

Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the 2009 National Championships: Maria English (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)

Andrew Stockley Cup for the Captain of the 2009 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Maria English (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)

2008

The 2008 National Finals of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships were held from 23-26 May at the Victoria University of Wellington, Law School. The Championships are the premier schools’ debating competition in New Zealand. Twelve regional teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island, Wellington, Nelson-Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago-Southland, took part in the competition. The regional teams comprise the best speakers from the hundreds of debaters who competed at various regional competitions held earlier in the year.

On Saturday and Sunday each team competed in a mixture of prepared and limited preparation debates at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus. In the preliminary rounds the teams debated the following topics:

  • This House believes New Zealand should elect its MPs through FPP rather than MMP (prepared, rounds one and two);
  • This House would force large companies to adopt a quota for women in senior positions;
  • This House would use military action to overthrow the Burmese junta;
  • This House supports public, rather than private, ownership of utility companies

After the five preliminary rounds, the top four teams were Auckland White, Wellington Gold, Wellington Black (one loss each), and Waikato (two losses). The motion for the semi-final was: “This House would offer amnesty to dictators who voluntarily step down”. Waikato defeated Auckland White in a 4-1 decision and Wellington Gold defeated Wellington Black in a 5-2 decision.

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon. Peter Dunne in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament, before distinguished guests the Commissioner of Police, Mr Howard Broad, Mr James Palmer, Partner at Russell McVeagh, Helen Bichan from the Bioethics Council and an audience of several hundred school students.

The Waikato team team consisting of Jessica Jackman, Tom Chen, and Luke Craven successfully affirmed the topic “This House would force journalists to reveal their sources” against the Wellington Gold team of Holly Jenkins, Julia Wells, and Johanna McDavitt, winning a narrow 3-2 victory. In doing so they became the first Waikato team to win since 2001, and only the second in the competition’s twenty year history.

After the Grand Final the members of the 2008 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools Debating team were announced. The five member team is made up of Maria English (Wellington Black), Holly Jenkins (Wellington Gold), Tom Chen (Waikato), Ben Kornfeld (Auckland Blue), and Jen Savage (Central North Island). Maria English was named Captain of the New Zealand team for 2008 and also received the Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the Championships. Kurt Purdon from Otago was named as the reserve to the team. The team will compete at the next two World Championships, in Washington in September and Athens, Greece, in February 2009.

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council is very grateful to Russell McVeagh for its continued support of New Zealand Schools’ Debating, which allows these Championships to occur. Also to the Police Act Review and the NZ Police as the National topic sponsor, The Bioethics Council as the regional sponsor and Victoria University as the host of the Championships at the weekend. Thanks too to everyone who contributed to making the Championships such a memorable success – adjudicators, coaches, chairpeople, and many other helpers.

Winners: Waikato
Tom Chen (Hillcrest High School)
Luke Craven (Bethlehem College)
Jessica Jackman (Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Hamilton)
Coaches: Max Harris and Akif Malik

Runners-Up: Wellington Gold
Holly Jenkins (Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt)
Julia Wells (Wellington East Girls’ College)
Johanna McDavitt (St Mary’s College)
Coaches: Clodagh O’Connor-McKenna and Kathy Scott-Dowell

Highly Commended Speakers:
Nick Cross (Scots College)
Nupur Upadhyay (St Cuthbert’s College)
Sam Horner (Wentworth College)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker: Luke Craven (Bethlehem College)

2008 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team Reserve: Kurt Purdon (Otago Boys’ High School)

2008 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Maria English (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)
Holly Jenkins (Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt)
Jennifer Savage (Wanganui Collegiate School)
Ben Kornfeld (King’s College)
Tom Chen (Hillcrest High School)

The Andrew Stockley Cup for Captain of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team: Maria English (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)

The Russell McVeagh Cup for Best Speaker at the Championships: Maria English (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)

2005

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.

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.