A moving speech earned first place and tears in Mosgiel last Friday.
St Peter’s College pupil Grace Turipa (17) won the prepared speech division of the English section in the Manu Korero speech competition.
The Otago Southland Maori Speech competition was held at Taieri College in Mosgiel.
St Peter’s College deputy principal Darren Jack said he was stunned by the response he saw after Grace delivered her speech.
“You know when some of the judges had tears in their eyes it was a powerful speech,” Mr Jack said.
He was proud not only of Grace for coming second overall, but the level of speaking and the way the pupils conducted themselves.
“It was a stunning opportunity to see the rangatahi in their element and have St Peter’s represented in their element so highly,” Mr Jack said.
Grace (of Ngai Tahu, Ngati Porou and Tuhoe descent) said she had seen other pupils return from the competition inspired by the environment they were in and thought she would give it a go.
There were set options of topics to choose from.
“The one that stood out the most to me was ‘I tried to keep quiet but my ancestors wouldn’t let me’,” she said.
The time frame for the speech was six minutes, which she went over marginally.
It was worth the point deduction, as she still scored 99 out of 100.
“My speech was about me being raised in a Pakeha society and being one of very few Maori, causing a lot of shame for my heritage in school.
“This speech was a way for me to speak out and take pride in my identity as a Maori.”
Next year Grace will attend the University of Otago to do a double degree in psychology and performing arts.
“To be able to help other people I can use both degrees, concentrating on mental issues, particularly with Maori youth,” she said.