The Race Unity Speech Competition, created in honour of Race Relations Day (21 March), is about giving youth an opportunity to speak their mind about race relations in Aotearoa, helping the country working towards a brighter, more united future. New Zealand students in Years 11-13 can participate in their local regional heats in April, and progress to the national semi-finals and finals. They must give a speech between seven and eight minutes in English or te reo Maori, addressing at least two of the provided open-ended questions and including a relevant quotation or proverb, either from those suggested or from the participant's own culture.
Each year, a relevant theme is provided, and the website provides useful additional resources on the subject for inspiration. Students can compete for the top prize of $2,000 (split between school and student), and there are other prizes for second place and finalists as well. Speeches are marked on content, delivery and language, with bonus considerations for creativity and originality, motivational or inspirational aspects, and realistic suggestions for the improvement of race relations in NZ. Since its creation in 2001, more than 2,000 students have competed in the Race Unity Speech Competition, and speeches have been viewed online over 600,000 times.
The organisation also runs a Race Unity Hui on the day of the Speech Competition National Finals. In this event, young people come together at a marae to learn, discuss and share their thoughts on race unity, as well as listen to keynote speakers in important roles.
Regional heats will take place between 4 – 10 April 2020, outside of school hours.
National semi-finals and the final will be held in Auckland on 15 and 17 May 2020
For more information visit the official website here.
Anyone can compete, with selected students progressing to semi-finals or finals
No equipment cost
Participants should have good communication and writing skills to advance in the competition
National events are over two days; students must also prepare and write their speech