Speech Topic

Give nothing to racism!

Tamika (Tammy) Smith, Whangarei Girls’ High School. Northland winner and national finalist

The theme for the 2018 Speech Awards mirrored the theme chosen by the Human Rights Commission for Race Relations Day this year and related to the Commission’s “Give Nothing To Racism” campaign: https://www.hrc.co.nz/news/give-nothing-racism/

Students were asked to refer to at least one of the quotations below during the course of their speech and show that they had considered each of the points that follow:

  • He ora te whakapiri, he mate te whakatakariri / There is strength in unity, defeat in anger/division (Maori whakatauki/proverb)
  • OR Close your eyes to racial differences, and welcome all with the light of oneness (Bahá’í Writings)
  • OR students can share a proverb from their own ethnic or cultural background that relates to the theme
  1. What would it mean to ‘give nothing to racism’? What would it look like?
  2. What can we do as individuals to eliminate racial prejudice? And what can we do as a community?
  3. What attitudes and values should we spread to replace and eliminate racism?
  4. How can we make ‘unity in diversity’ a reality and not just a slogan?

David Faalau-Solia, Sacred Heart College, Auckland Regional Winner and national finalist

Students were advised that they might find the following links and resources helpful when preparing their speeches:

https://www.givenothing.co.nz  This is is the Give Nothing to Racism campaign page. If you haven’t already seen it, be sure to watch Taika Waititi’s video asking us to give (nothing) to racism.

https://www.thatsus.co.nz  This is a page where Kiwis share their experiences of racism, and what it means to be a New Zealander. This website is a powerful example of how telling personal stories can have an impact – do you have a story that you could share in your speech?

Jessica Mehana, winner of New Plymouth sector and national finalist – Sacred Heart Girls’ College


The Race Unity Speech Awards have their own Youtube channel:


Have a look through videos of recent speeches to get inspiration for your own speech and ideas about how you can build on what has already been said.


Information for teachers

The Speech Awards provide an opportunity for students to develop the key competencies outlined in the curriculum:

Thinking skills – learning to use creative, critical, and meta-cognitive processes to make sense of information, experiences and ideas.

Managing self – self-motivation, a “can-do” attitude, and with students seeing themselves as capable learners.

Relating to others – the ability to listen actively, recognise different points of view, negotiate, and share ideas.

Participating and contributing – developing the capacity to contribute appropriately as a group member, to make connections with others in the group.

Feedback from teachers

“…congratulations on an amazing event. What an experience for our young people! I thought the winners speech was truly remarkable … Many thanks for the wonderful opportunity you provided our students with.”

“We have built up a little bit of a Cult of Race Unity over the years and it is really because of the experience the kids have from year to year; the overall atmosphere you have built up; the fun they have and the whole idea/topic… wanting to carry this good thing on…and on and on… You folk have something special going and it rubs off on the kids…they ‘sell’ it to their classmates and friends. I don’t have to do much…”

“It is such a great event and very worthwhile and whatever school I am in, I will always have students preparing for [the competition]. [My student] says it was one of the best experiences she has had at school so far.”