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National Spelling Bee on Again

11 January 2006

National Spelling Bee on Again

Year 9 students keen to represent New Zealand at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the United States have summer to work on their spelling following the announcement that the competition will be happening again.

A list of more than 300 words which will be used in the first few rounds of the regional spelling bee competitions is available on for students to begin learning.

Last year several hundred students competed for the honour to attend the US final and many more are expected to do the same this year under the banner of the Plunket National Spelling Bee 2006.

Plunket have committed to sponsor it for the next three years so younger students, inspired by the event can also plan for the day when they can compete.
Charlotte Roose, a 12 year-old from Hillcrest High School in Hamilton, became the country’s first ever representative at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the USA in May last year.

Janet Lucas, Event Manager, says having Plunket and a pool of associate sponsors including Radius Pharmacy and Franklin Electronic Publishers, committed to repeating the Spelling Bee for a second time is wonderful.

“This is a big opportunity for Year 9 students who love words, understand the etymology of words and have a penchant for travel.

“Flying half way across the world to compete at the 79th US Spelling Bee promises to be a life changing experience,” she says.

“As well as the main prize of a return trip for two to Washington DC, there are a number of other prizes including $3000 worth of Franklin electronic dictionaries for both the top spellers and schools who support the event.

The Plunket National Spelling Bee is open to all Year 9 students under the age of 16 and eligible for a passport.

They can register online English teachers at all colleges will also be sent details about the event.

The word list, prepared by John Ansell, Spelling Bee Judge, aims to help spellers with their preparation for the competition.
John says whilst the words are reasonably common, some don’t sound at all like they look and would trip up most adults.

“Unless you are a truly exceptional speller you’ll need to do your homework to succeed,” he says.

Several finalists from each of the four regional competitions will go through to the final in Wellington on 1 April.

The winner of the final will be this country’s second representative at the US Spelling Bee which is the world’s longest run academic competition and has been held more times than the Academy Awards.

In America it attracts more than nine million competitors hopeful of winning a place in the championship final.

“It is a great honour – and somewhat unbelievable – that New Zealand is able to take part.

“The Spelling Bee is a really exciting opportunity for students to participate in a fun event and show off their spelling prowess.

The competition, inspired by the American Oscar-nominated movie documentary Spellbound, is overseen by a charitable trust.

For information about competition dates, registration, study and the rules, go to The deadline for registration is 10 March 2006.


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