The freezing temperatures in Tokoroa was certainly a talking point recently when more than 21 secondary schools gathered to compete in the Tainui Waka Ngā Manu Kōrero Regional Competition 2017 last Friday.

Ngāti Haua welcomed Te Ariki Tamaroa Whatumoana Paki, and the largest number of entries of speakers for the competition and their supporters into the South Waikato Sport and Events Centre Complex.
For Paparauwhare Campbell and Makarena Te Moanapapaku-Stephens from Te Wharekura o Maniapoto, taking the stage for their first time was a thrilling challenge. “It was definitely nerve-wracking but also exciting to be up their amongst their peers from other schools”, they said. Paparauwhare started the Te Reo Pākehā stage for the Senior section with her topic ‘Without foresight or vision, our people will be lost’. Following close behind her was Makarena for the Junior section.

Making a return to the stage was Tangirau Papa, also from Te Wharekura o Maniapoto, who last year won the Rāwhiti Ihaka Trophy (Junior Section Te Reo Māori). Tangirau was feeling the usual nerves but was also more excited about this year. “It takes our speech to a whole new level, especially competing in the Senior Section. But I’m happy and really looking forward to what our day brings”, says Tangirau.
Congratulations to both Makarena for gaining second place in the Te Reo Pākeha Junior Section, and to Tangirau for gaining second place in the Te Reo Māori Senior section, who also placed first as Top Senior Female Te Reo Māori.
It was inspirational to see other Maniapoto kura taking part in the competition and congratulate the following rangatahi:
• Laykin Crown (Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Taumarunui)
• Te Kūiti Stewart, Matariki Hughes & Te Mata-a-Riki Raro (Te Wharekura o Ngā Purapura o Te Aroha)
We look forward to next years competition where we hope to see yet another talented group of Maniapoto rangatahi taking the stage.