The winner of the nationwide Waitangi Day speech competition was Te Hinenga Te Hemi from Avonside Girls’ High School in Christchurch. Her win was announced in Christchurch on November 6. Sophia Zhang from St Cuthbert’s College was the runner-up. The theme for the speech competition was: ‘‘What does Waitangi Day mean to me?’’ Waitangi Treaty Grounds education manager Monika Kern says ‘‘Young people from a wide range of backgrounds have taken the opportunity to share what Waitangi Day means to them, and I have been really impressed by the depth of their thoughts and their eloquence in expressing themselves.
Te Hinenga’s speech in particular showed how relevant Waitangi Day, and what it stands for, is to young and not so young people’’. The winning student receives return travel for two to the Bay of Islands with Air New Zealand, accommodation at Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge Paihia courtesy of Westpac NZ, attendance at Waitangi Day functions on the 5th and 6th February, and the opportunity to deliver the winning speech at Waitangi. The winner also receives a certificate, a taonga and a carved trophy for their school to display for 9 months. The runner-up will receive a certificate and a taonga.