Hato Hohepa wins historic O'Shea Shield after 46 years

By Taroi Black

The winners of the O'Shea Shield 2021 / Photo Source - St Joseph's Māori Girls' College

St Joseph's Māori Girls' College has won the prestigious  O'Shea Shield for the first time in 46 years. The shield is awarded to the winner of a speech competition among Catholic secondary schools in the Wellington and Palmerston North dioceses and has been run for 70 years.

To win the shield, the 17 colleges must enter their contestants in six categories: junior, senior, impromptu and prepared, oratory, debating, religious questions, drama and scripture reading (reo section and English section). This year's event was hosted by Viard College in Porirua. 

Year 13 student Te Waimarie Callaghan, 17, clinched the win for Te Kaipanui I nga Karaipiture o te Reo Maori section for scripture reading. She said it was a significant result overall for her kura.

“Aue – we are honestly lost for words but we’re so overjoyed about the whole thing,” Callaghan says.

Other students who were instrumental in the overall prize and also received individual cups were Lileigh-Rae Coffin who took out the English section for scripture reading, while Silve Alo, Horiana Smallman and Holley Carlson were announced winners in debates.

The host college arranges for appropriate adjudicators for each element of the competition, with marks out of 100 being moved into a range from 1 – 6, to ensure a just comparison among college results. The range grade (1 - 6) for each element result becomes each college’s mark for that element.

“We’re so lucky to bring the shield back to our Hato Hohepa School and our wider community,” Callaghan says.

The standard was high in all categories, as the total results showed.

Three Colleges were 2nd equal: St John’s Hastings, Sacred Heart New Plymouth and St Patrick’s Town, Wellington.

St Joseph's Māori Girls' College will now host the O’Shea Shield competition in 2022.

“It will be a huge role for us to run.," Callaghan says. And she wonders if some of those who leave this year will return to help the school to defend the title.”