New Zealand Team - Worlds Reports


Written by Isabella Cash, 2023 New Zealand Schools' Debating Team Captain

After an incredible Nationals in May, we got right into training - engaging in seminars on a range of topics, regular chats about the news, plenty of drills and practice debates, including against teams from Japan, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

Before WSDC, we headed to Bangkok for the Asia World Schools Debating tournament. We were knocked out in the octo-finals, affirming the motion “This House would grant medical professionals the right to utilise all organs of deceased individuals” against team Malaysia. The tournament finished off with a lovely finals dinner at which Chirs Ye was awarded a prize for being ranked third in the Novice tab. We are so thankful that we were able to attend this tournament as we learned a lot from it and it was a great warm-up for WSDC.

With a few days off before WSDC we explored Bangkok, and then Hanoi, visiting temples, beautiful gardens, cafes and malls and eating some delicious food along the way. We were even able to visit the New Zealand embassy in Hanoi and meet the ambassador. Amongst the excitement we got a lot of prep done for our four prepared motions learning everything there is to know about the World Bank, the Nine Planetary Boundaries framework, Somaliland's sovereignty and farmer cooperatives.

After a brief delay due to a typhoon, WSDC began. We debated the National teams of China, Macau, Hong Kong, Malaysia, England, Sri Lanka, Chile, Canada, Australia and the USA. We made it to the octo-finals where we lost to the tournament's eventual champions the USA, in a challenging debate negating the motion “ This house believes that it is against the interests of organised religion to emphasise strict requirements for personal religious commitments”. We finished ranked 13th out of 65 teams, and Chris Ye was ranked 22nd in the world on the speaker tab.

This experience was truly unforgettable and I really enjoyed bonding with my awesome teammates, meeting some incredibly talented and kind speakers from around the world, and exploring Vietnam’s beautifully rich culture. I cannot say thank you enough to all those who made this opportunity possible, especially NZSDC and the New Zealand Schools Debating Foundation for your financial support and everyone back home who cheered us on, we could feel your aroha all the way in Hanoi. Thank you to Aylish for being New Zealand's judge and team manager, and to coaches Ailidh Leslie, Tony Huang, and assistant coach Callum Hackston for the many many hours you dedicated to coaching us. You taught us so much and took amazing care of us during our travels.


Written by Kathy Scott Dowell - Captain, 2006 New Zealand Schools' Debating Team

The New Zealand Schools Debating team, comprising of Kathy Scott Dowell (Captain), Sam Coldicutt, Dan White, Craig Riddell and coach Hamish Flanagan, spent the July school holidays at the World Schools Debating Championships, held in Cardiff, Wales. We really enjoyed our time in Wales, and took every opportunity to improve our debating skills and have fun!

The debating at Worlds was of a very high standard and we really felt challenged by the other teams. The schools where we debated seemed huge, and most of them spoke Welsh, but we were made to feel very welcome by staff and students alike. Each debate was in front of an audience of about 200 students; many of whom I think just enjoyed listening to our funny accents. We won seven out of our eight preliminary rounds – we will always remember the fantastic debates we had against Israel and Singapore in particular, where both teams put together excellent cases, and it was a real battle over every point.

Debating, preparing, researching and writing kept us very busy, but we managed to find time to do some social things too. During the trip, we visited the Wales Millennium Centre, had dinner at the Temple of Peace, attended a Welsh food night, saw a debate held at the BBC studios, and got to know the other competitors really well.

We faced Canada during the octo-finals, debating the moot ‘That the government should subsidise the traditional arts of minority cultures’. Despite our very best efforts, we unfortunately lost –though we managed to convince at least one of the three adjudicators. Lots of people had come to watch us, and they were all very supportive and kind, but it still took us a while to gather our thoughts and regain our composure.

The finals were held in Cardiff’s town hall between Australia and Ireland, which Australia eventually won. That night we attended an amazing Closing Dinner in the Town Hall, which was one of our favourite nights of the trip.

The New Zealand team because very close, and we had such fun with people from 36 other countries across the globe. Being taught to tango by the Argentinean team, learning Irish slang, trying Peruvian food, and swapping stories with Estonia, Sri Lanka and Lesotho are just some of the memories I’ll keep forever. We learnt so much about debating while we were away, and we learnt so much about the world too. We thoroughly enjoyed the World Schools Debating Championships, and thank the Council very much for giving us the opportunity to go on such an amazing trip!


The 2004 New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team competed at the 2005 Worlds Schools’ Debating Championships in Calgary, Canada. New Zealand won six of the eight rounds of the competition, enough to see them qualify for the Octo-finals in 8th position. They debated against USA in the Octo-finals, and lost a closely fought debate 2-1. That result left New Zealand ranked 9 of the 31 teams at the competition. In the individual rankings, all of the New Zealand team featured in the top 50, with Stephen Whittington the highest ranked at 8th. The Championships were won by Australia for the third time in a row, beating England, 5-0 in the final.

The members of the 2004 New Zealand Schools Team were:

  • Lewis Bollard
  • Chris Foulkes
  • Polly Higbee
  • Stephen Whittington

The coach was Sayeqa Islam, a Victoria University law student.