Judges at the national Ngā Manu Kōrero competition say the grammar in the delivery of impromptu speeches has improved. The first day of the competition kicked off in Gisborne with the senior students taking the stage.
“There are those who learn, who go and research content to speak about, and those who capture the thoughts within them on the spot, they're the ones who bring the youthful zest,” says Tamati Waaka.
Juding in the senior Māori Pei Te Hurinui Jones section, Tamati Waaka says marking the grammar of the speakers this year is a difficult task due of the level of excellence.
“Back in the day there were errors with the possessive vowels 'ā' and 'ō'. It's not like that now, that could be a result of full Māori language immersion education and parents who speak Māori,” says Waaka.
As a judge in the senior English section, Kaapua Smith says it's hard to separate the quality of the impromptu speeches from the prepared speeches.
“You're starting to see whakaaro Māori come through in a different way in how they articulate different kaupapa. You're starting to see a variety in how it's expressed in their kōrero,” says Smith.
Smith says youth are are now using modern day language.
“You're also seeing engagement is what is contemporary for these ones today so you know you've got references to Fortnite, references to Snapchat, references to social media, but you've still got those references back to our tīpuna,” says Smith.
Tomorrow the younger speakers will battle it out in the junior English and junior Māori sections.