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Wellington hosts major debating tournament

For immediate release

23 June 2006

Wellington hosts major debating tournament

There’s going to be a lot of talk in Wellington in July as the city hosts the biggest university debating tournament in Asia and Australasia; and the second biggest in the world.

The Buddle Findlay Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships kicks off in the capital on Sunday 2 July as 80 teams from universities in Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand vie for the title of the best team in the Asia-Pacific region.

The competition is being hosted and sponsored by leading law firm Buddle Findlay and Victoria University of Wellington, and organised by the Victoria University Debating Society. The tournament’s Patron is Hon John McGrath, a Judge of the Supreme Court.

“We believe this will be the biggest Australs ever”, says Victoria law and politics student Christopher Bishop, who is the Tournament Convenor. “We’re looking forward to a great week of debates about important global issues in the home of politics in New Zealand”, he says.

The Championships’ Opening Ceremony, on Monday 3 July, is a formal powhiri and cocktail function at Te Papa, with Hon Marian Hobbs in attendance. The Member for Wellington Central will also host an exhibition “Women’s Debate” at Parliament on Wednesday 5 July. Georgina Beyer MP will chair a comedy debate between Australia and NZ at the Loaded Hog bar on Friday 7 July, and Hon Peter Dunne, a long-time friend of debating in New Zealand, will host one of the semi-final debates on Sunday 9 July.

“It’s going to be an awesome week, and we have some fabulous events taking place. The University and the Students’ Association are both supporting the Championships and the Boston Consulting Group is a major international sponsor”, says Mr Bishop.

“All the debates are open to the public, and so it’d be great to see the “most intelligent electorate in the country” come and support the tournament”, he said. All the debates up to the semi-finals are being held at Victoria University’s Pipitea campus. The semi-finals are in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament, and Old St Paul’s Cathedral.

The competition ends with a Grand Final debate in the Michael Fowler Centre on Sunday 9 July. A special award to commemorate the life of the late Jock Fanselow will be presented to the best speaker in the Grand Final. Jock was a champion debater and lawyer, who died earlier this year.

New Zealand last hosted the Championships in 1999, and Victoria University has won the championships three times in the past – in 1980, 1982, and 1998 – making it the third most successful debating university behind Sydney and Monash (in Melbourne).

More information about the tournament can be found at
The schedule of events is at


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