Today, after two years of no Ngā Manu Kōrero competitions due to Covid-19 lockdowns, Waikato Ngā Manu Kōrero has returned and the best Māori and English speakers from secondary schools around the Tainui rohe met on the Putāruru stage.
Fourteen schools participated today with four national placings up for grabs. They are junior and senior English and junior and senior Māori to represent Tainui Waka at this year's National Manu Kōrero Speech Competition in September, which will be held in Palmerston North.
Today's venue was special as it was in the district of Dr Pei Te Hurinui Jones, who was a master of both Māori and English language and culture. He was also an adviser to Te Puea Hērangi and spokesman for both King Koroki and his successor Queen Te Atairangaikaahu.
The senior Māori section of Manu Kōrero and its national trophy are named after Jones.
Ngā Manu Kōrero is in its 55th year and is a Māori and English speech competition for secondary students. The competition encourages fluency in Te Reo Māori and English.
High calibre speeches
It began in 1965 as the Korimako contest and commemorates Jones, who died in 1976. There are four sections, Sir Turi Caroll junior English, Te Korimako senior English, Te Rāwhiti Ihaka junior Māori and Pei Te Hurinui Jones senior Māori.
Event organiser Aaron Koopu said he was overwhelmed by the high quality of speeches, both Māori and English, and was particularly happy to hear the rangatahi giving their all after the two years of silence.
“It is clear to see the high calibre of speakers in today's competition and in due time they will become great leaders in our Māori world.”
One of the 24 judges today, Paraone Gloyne, also made special mention of Jones.
Dr Pei Te Hurinui Jones
"I believe our elder Pei Te Hurinui would be proud of where our Māori world is at today," he said.
Gloyne also said the confidence and use of language were what the judges were looking for.
Schools and students who will be representing Tainui waka at this year's National Ngā Manu Kōrero in Palmerston North in September are: Tā Turi Kara/junior English, Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patatere/ Waiatara Borell- Crown; Rawhiti Ihaka/junior Māori, Te Whare Kura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere/ Arihia Pomare; Korimako/senior English, Te Wharekura o Ngâ Purapura o Te Aroha/ Pounamu Diamond; and Pei Te Hurinui jones/ senior Māori, Whare Kura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere/ Kimai Hīreme.