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Wellington Black wins NZ Schools’ Debating Championships

Wellington Black wins New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships

Wellington Black secured the winner’s trophy in the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships on Monday, ousting Auckland Blue in a high quality debate on whether those sharing entertainment media over the internet should be prosecuted.

The New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council partnered with Internet New Zealand for the Grand Final. InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter noted that the clash between copyright industries and technological change has been around ever since copying technologies were developed.

"From the rise of the player piano, to radio, to the record player, the VCR and audio cassette and now the Internet, technology and content creators have had their debates. What is clear is that human creativity has always continued to grow, and that markets will evolve. The same will occur with music and movies today - I am sure of it.

“The ability of the grand finalists to grapple with these complex issues was impressive, and both sides provided useful insights into how policymakers and creators could respond to these challenges”

The Grand Final was again hosted by Hon Peter Dunne MP in the Legislative Council Chamber of Parliament, and was attended by the Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC, Holly Walker MP (an alumna of the Championships), Hamish McIntosh and Jan Blair (representatives of the Council’s long-term sponsor, Russell McVeagh). In addition to distinguished guests, hundreds of school students from the Wellington area attended the final.

The final was the culmination of a weekend of debating between thirty six of New Zealand’s top secondary school students at Victoria University of Wellington.

“The quality of the debate in the Grand Final continues to impress”, remarked New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council President Desley Horton.

“It is also thrilling to see the development of debating across the regional competitions we run each year. Russell McVeagh’s support of the Council over the last 15 years has given thousands of students across the country the opportunity to compete for a place in the National Finals each year.

“As the Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC observed after the Grand Final debate, the future appears to be in very good hands.”

Teams from Wellington, Auckland, Canterbury, Otago-Southland, Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Central North Island, Waikato and Kahurangi-Marlborough took part in seven preliminary rounds of debates, confronting issues such as requiring parents to share equally in parental leave, allowing open immigration from impoverished nations, and whether or not the New Zealand Rugby Union should require All Blacks to be based in New Zealand.

Students are advised of the topics just one hour before the debate, and are not permitted to take any written materials into the preparation room.

In the semi-final debates, where Auckland White and Wellington Gold bowed out of the competition, students debated whether political party leaders should be elected by party members or the caucus.

The best five speakers at the tournament were named as members of the Russell McVeagh NZ Schools Debating Team. The team consists of captain Ailidh Leslie (Wellington High School), Maddy Nash (Sacred Heart College), Callum Lo (Lindisfarne College), James Rankin (Westlake Boys’ High School) and Chris Ryan (Howick College). Kayla Polamalu (St Mary’s College) was named as reserve to the New Zealand team.

This year was a special milestone for New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council, marking 25 years since its founding and the first national championships in 1988.

To commemorate the event, a Silver Jubilee Dinner was held where a number of friends and notable alumni of the Championships attended to celebrate the competition’s history. Former patron of the Council and Governor General, The Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, was the guest of honour at the Jubilee celebrations, and offered his thoughts on the importance of debate and the Council’s work during a speech that evening.

Results from the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championships National Finals 2013

Winners: Wellington Black
Liam Dennis (Hutt International Boys’ School)
Ailidh Leslie (Wellington High School)
Maddy Nash (Sacred Heart College)
Coaches: Stephen Whittington & Hugh McCaffrey

Runners-Up: Auckland Blue
James Rankin (Westlake Boys’ High School)
Andrew Winstanley (Auckland Grammar School)
Kayla Polamalu (St Mary’s College)
Coaches: Paul Smith & James Penn

Highly Commended speakers:
Liam Dennis (Hutt International Boys’ School)
Jack Garden (Wellington College)
Jesse Medcalf (Westlake Boys’ High School)

Rosemary Dixon Cup for the Most Promising Speaker:
Georgina Lomax-Sawyers (Buller High School)

Reserve to the 2013 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Kayla Polamalu (St Mary’s College)

2013 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
James Rankin (Westlake Boys’ High School)
Ailidh Leslie (Wellington High School)
Maddy Nash (Sacred Heart College)
Callum Lo (Lindisfarne College)
Chris Ryan (Howick College)

Andrew Stockley Cup for the Captain of the 2013 Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools’ Debating Team:
Ailidh Leslie (Wellington High School)

Russell McVeagh Cup for the Best Speaker at the 2013 National Championships:
James Rankin (Westlake Boys’ High School)


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