Topic: Ngā Manu Kōrero

What lies ahead for female orators?

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
  • North Island: East Coast

Judges at the Manu Kōrero national speech competitions say it's a platform for female orators to grow and develop into leadership roles.

Te Ataakura Pewhairangi says the competition fosters female orators.

“It's only the men who maintain whaikōrero, so maybe that's a challenge to all the kapa in years to come, is to enable women to speak as orators or to allow women, the voices of women, to be heard,” says Pewhairangi.

Previously a national champion and now judge, Te Ataakura Pewhairangi says Manu Kōrero competition is where her roots are.

“Through Manu Kōrero I got out to the world, Manu Kōrero gave me a place to stand within my Māori world, it's a foundation for youth to get out to the world,” says Pewhairangi.

She says that in the Manu Kōrero competition there are far more female speakers in the junior section than in the senior section.

 “I believe this is due to there being less female teachers in secondary schools who are encouraging women to stand and speak as orators,” says Pewhairangi.

Judging in the English section is Dale Takitimu.  She says today's generation are on another level and is a reflection of the contribution by those such as Katerina Mataira.

 “It's the result of raising children within their own customs and language, the positive outcome of Te Aho Matua, that great gift left by Te Heikoko for all,” says Takitimu.

An independent award is given to recognise the highest placing female speakers.