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Lions Young Speechmaker Contest Finals Contestants

Lions Young Speechmaker Contest Finals Contestants from around New Zealand battle it out to be king

The national finals of the Lions Clubs Young Speechmaker contest will be held in Hamilton on Saturday 4th September 2004 continuing a proud Lions tradition of over 25 years.

A total of 93 students from all over New Zealand entered regional contests held recently in each of the ten Lions Club districts. The 20 selected finalists will now represent their district in the finals in Hamilton this coming weekend.

Sponsored this year by East Hamilton Lions Club, the competition exposés the countries top young speechmaking talent, some of whom move on to achieve great things.

2002 winner, Turanga Merito (20) of Rotorua, was last week named the adult Simba in Australia's biggest theatre production, Disney’s The Lion King.

Open to 17-21 year olds, each entrant makes a five to six minute prepared speech and an impromptu speech of up to two minutes. The winner receives a six week, all expenses paid, trip to the United Kingdom during the Christmas holidays. The runner up will be invited to attend a Lions International Youth Camp near Rotorua, which will host 40 students from 21 countries.

National Coordinator, Lion Kerry Beach of Hamilton, is amazed at the talent of contestants and the camaraderie which they show for each other.

“As each year rolls around it is so interesting to hear another twenty gifted individuals battle it out. There is always great talent on display so I am pleased I don’t have to judge! Lions is celebrating 50 years of service in New Zealand this coming year so it is a great achievement that this prestigious event has been held around the country annually for over 25 years.

While the competition is tough, they are all bonded by the experience. The encouragement we get from those involved is outstanding and keeps us inspired to organise this outlet for New Zealand’s young speechmakers,” says Mr Beach.

Judges will consider voice and grammar, speech structure, development and speech value and effectiveness. Finals judges this year include Lucie Armstrong - Immediate Past International Director of Lions, Gary Baillie - Head of Department of English at St Paul’s Collegiate and Josephine Wood, a speech communication consultant from Hamilton.

The contest will be held in the St Paul’s Collegiate School Chapel and is open to the public from 10.00am to 3.00pm on Saturday 4 September.

“We encourage the public to come along and enjoy this unique event. Entry is free and the talent is sure to surprise,” said Mr Beach.

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