The winners of Ngā Manu Kōrero were announced this afternoon. But some Wellington schools feel their students have been handicapped by the process for picking the speaking order.
But the rules don't apply to all speakers. Each speaker's name is drawn from a hat except for the host of the event.
According to the conditions set by the organisers, the hosts have also been delegated to conclude the event.
The concern is that this issue will have an impact on the speakers.
Principal of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna, Kanapu Rangitauira says, “It's always hard for the first speaker to be marked by the judges, if the past is anything to go by.”
The matter was taken to the organising committee before the competition. According to the committee, there is no harm in standing first.
Ameria Kiriwera says, “This is a competition. Regardless if you're up first or at the end, it is up to the individual to give it their all.”
One of the Pei Te Hurinui judges agrees that these concerns aren't new.
Tamati Waaka says, “This is not a new issue. My elders say that if you're the first speaker, you won't win.”
But he argues that this is not the case all the time. “In 1995, I was the first speaker, and I won that year!” says Waaka.
Perhaps the results will determine how this issue plays out.