How to enter

Michael McLeod, Regional Winner, New Plymouth Sector

Here are your options:

  • online: go to the “How to Enter” tab, then the drop-down “registration” tab to complete the form.  Make sure you select the right region according to where you live
  • email:  complete a hard copy entry form (which your school will have), then scan and email it to your regional coordinator, whose contact details are on the form
  • post:  posting your entry form to your regional coordinator (this option is not available in all regions)

Who can enter

The competition is for senior high school students in years 11, 12 and 13 in the following regions:

  1. Northland
  2. Auckland
  3. Waikato
  4. Tauranga & Western Bay of Plenty
  5. Rotorua/Taupo
  6. Gisborne
  7. Hawkes Bay
  8. New Plymouth, South Taranaki & Stratford
  9. Palmerston North, Whanganui and Manawatu
  10. Wellington/Lower North Island
  11. Upper South Island
  12. North Canterbury
  13. Central South Island
  14. Dunedin

By entering the competition students agree that their image and speech may be used to further promote the Speech Awards. However, if any student objects to this, they are asked to let us know and their wishes will be respected.

The timeline for all regions except for Auckland (see below) is as follows:

Friday 6 April                                                        Deadline for entry

Wednesday 11 and/or Thursday 12 April        Regional heats

Friday 11 May                                                        National semi-finals (in Auckland)

Saturday 12 May                                                   National Final (in Auckland)

Timeline for Auckland only

Thursday 29 March                                              Deadline for entry

Wednesday 11 and/or Thursday 12 April         Regional heats

Tuesday 1 May                                                       Regional semi-finals

Friday 4 May                                                          Regional final

Friday 11 May                                                         National semi-finals

Saturday 12 May                                                    National final

How speeches are judged

Speeches must be between 7 – 8 minutes long and can be delivered in either Maori or English. Any speech less than 6 1/2 minutes or more than 8 1/2 minutes may result in the contestant being disqualified.  All contestants are required to provide an electronic copy of their speech prior to competing.

The allocation of marks is based on the Toastmasters’ model: Content 50%; Delivery 30%; use of language 20%. However, if a student demonstrates particular creativity or originality in presenting their speech; if the speech is particularly inspirational / motivational; or if it contains realistic and practical suggestions for improving race relations in Aotearoa/New Zealand, this will be reflected in the judges’ marking.  Visual aids are not permitted.


At the regional level and for the national semi-finals there will normally be three judges, often including a member of the NZ Police, the Human Rights Commission and, where possible, the Office of Ethnic Communities. For the national final there are usually five judges, representing the NZ Police, the Human Rights Commission, the Office of Ethnic Communities, the Speech Communications Association, and Māori.

Feedback from Police Inspector serving as a Judge

“Can I thank you and the organisation for allowing me the privilege of sitting in and judging …. There was some great talent on display and competition was really tough. It was most enjoyable and a fantastic learning experience. You mentioned Police as the major sponsor and I can see why our organisation continues to be part of this.”