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Speech contest: Growing confident kids

The 2017 HIllmac Electrical Junior and Intermediate School Speech Contests will once again allow children in years 5-8 from around the region to demonstrate their knowledge of hazards, natural disasters and how to prepare for them.


The inaugural contest took place in September 2016 and was restricted to year 5 and 6 students. Twelve children from six schools prepared and delivered a three-minute speech on the theme of natural hazards and disasters.


In 2017, feedback received from the initial event along with sponsorship from Hillmac Electrical will see the event expanded to include Intermediate students (year 7 and 8). 


Contest organiser Anna Coleman of the Confidence Company says after arriving in Hawke’s Bay 18 months ago, she was surprised to discover there were no existing, region-wide, speech contests that were directed at children at senior primary and intermediate schools.


“My aim was to take the angst out speeches and to support students to structure their thoughts in an easy way rather than write it out word for word, like an essay, so I designed a ‘talk’ poster which has been really well received. I go into the schools and provide ideas for the teachers as well as there seems to be a lack of support for teachers around oral language.


“The Hawke’s Bay contest is modelled on the Auckland Primary Principal’s Contest in Auckland, which has been running for over twenty-five years. The Auckland event involves thousands of children and provides the platform for primary/intermediate competition which the 'best of the best' can aspire to take part in. It’s fully embedded in the schools’ calendars, which she is the goal for Hawke’s Bay.”


The central theme of the 2017 contest is around natural hazards and disasters.


Anna Coleman said that“Judging by the reaction of contestants from the 2016 contest, students love the topic. They become totally immersed in the subject, learn more about the 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake, the devastating effect that a tsunami can have on buildings and people and begin to understand the real need to make a plan and be prepared.”


“One of the most important learnings is what actions they should take in the event of an emergency. Teachers then weave this information into their curriculum.”


The event is split into two age groups with the finals for both sections being held at the National Aquarium of New Zealand. The best speaker from each school gets to present their speech at the Hillmac Electrical Speech Year 5 and 6 final on Thursday, September 21 or the Hillmac Electrical Intermediate Contest on Thursday, September 14.


The contests will be judged by the Ambassador for Hastings, Councillor Henare O'Keefe JP and three others who will be recruited from the region’s Toastmasters.




Anna Coleman is grateful for the support from Hillmac Electrical Ltd who have signed on as the naming rights sponsor for 2017-2019. "This gives the contest some surety for future years, and allows me to spend time in schools to promote the event and support teachers in their efforts to teach oral language. Without the support of Hillmac Electrical, it would be impossible to continue with the contest.”


The 2017 Hillmac Electrical Junior & Intermediate School Speech Contest is also supported by the regional economic development platform Great Things Grow Here™.


Hastings District Council economic development project officer Sam Jackman said a key area of focus for ‘GTGH’ was community engagement; "taking the brand into the classrooms, centres of learning and the homes of our younger citizen’s will help advance pride in the Hawke’s Bay region, the outstanding quality of its people and the local, national and global achievements generated within it".


“This is the second year that Great Things Grow Here has been involved and we will continue to offer assistance and support to grow this into a region-wide initiative and annual event specifically tailored for our future generations.”


Anna Coleman says “I am also grateful for the support of Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group. Civil Defence’s mascot Stan, along with Tamati the 'Impact' superhero on all the publicity posters and 'talk' posters helps children understand the need to be prepared for an emergency. The school resource ‘What's the Plan Stan’ is also an invaluable tool in educating children on the impact of disasters.” 

4 October 2017

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