Speech from heart wins prize


Tuimaleali’ifano Fiso, 16, over­came sick­ness to speak with ‘‘flair, wit and pas­sion’’ to win her cat­e­gory at the na­tional Nga¯ Manu Ko¯rero speech com­pe­ti­tion.

The year 12 stu­dent from Up­per Hutt won the Se­nior English sec­tion at the com­pe­ti­tion for her speech on the im­por­tance of spir­i­tual heath in ed­u­ca­tion.

Hav­ing lost her voice on the last day of the com­pe­ti­tion in New Ply­mouth due to ill­ness, she was sur­prised when her name was called out as the win­ner.

‘‘I didn’t think I stood a chance. Ev­ery­one else was so good.’’

She picked her speech on spir­i­tual health from the list of top­ics be­cause ‘‘no one else was talk­ing about it,’’ and be­cause she felt it was par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant to her­self, her faith and her school.

Tuimaleali’ifano qual­i­fied for the com­pe­ti­tion by win­ning the re­gional Awakairangi ki te Wairarapa com­pe­ti­tion and went on to beat the top speak­ers from 15 other re­gions at Nga¯ Manu Ko¯rero.

Her te reo Ma¯ori teacher Tawai Frost said Tuimaleali’ifano’s con­fi­dence had shone through and she could not be any more proud of her.

‘‘Her speech was de­liv­ered with flair, wit and pas­sion. She had the au­di­ence cap­ti­vated and all eyes were on her.

‘‘She’s an in­spi­ra­tion to younger Ma¯ori and Paci­fica stu­dents who as­pire to go to the com­pe­ti­tion.’’

The Se­condary Schools Na­tional Nga¯ Manu Ko¯rero com- pe­ti­tion has been run­ning for 52 years with the aim of en­cour­ag­ing Ma¯ori stu­dents to de­velop skills and con­fi­dence in spo­ken Ma¯ori and English.

Frost said the com­pe­ti­tion was an im­por­tant in­stru­ment in pro­tect­ing and grow­ing te reo.

Tuimaleali’ifano, who has a Ma¯ori and Samoan back­ground, was proud of her her­itage and said it was amaz­ing to see so many stu­dents in one place speak­ing te reo and about Ma¯ori is­sues.

Sa­cred Heart Col­lege prin­ci­pal Maria Pot­ter said it was re­fresh­ing to hear such a young woman talk so pas­sion­ately about her spir­i­tu­al­ity.

She said one of the schools’ key goals was to en­sure stu­dents were com­fort­able with who they were and it was great to see Tuimaleali’ifano’s suc­cess at re­gional and na­tional speak­ing com­pe­ti­tions that pro­moted Ma¯ori lan­guage and top­ics.


Tuimaleali’ifano Fiso, 16, with the Te Manu Koro¯hi Te Ata Po¯ tro­phy which she won at the Nga¯ Manu Ko¯rero speech com­pe­ti­tion.

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