Over the past few weeks, Multiethnic Young Leaders helped to support the NZ Race Unity Speech Awards by providing judges and MCs for the esteemed speech competition, which is now in its 20th year.
Our members were involved with judging at the regional heat level, regional final level, national semifinal level, and national final level. This year, our Chair, Michelle Huang, was invited to join NZ Police Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha, Huti Watson from the NZ Baha’i Community, and Deputy Chief Executive Academic at MIT, Professor Martin Carroll, to judge the national finals of the awards, which took place at Ngā Kete Wānanga Marae at the Manukau Institute of Technology’s Ōtara campus.
Michelle noted that the calibre of speakers continues to increase year on year, and the normalisation or Te Reo Māori being incorporated into speeches is highly encouraging. Michelle also commended one of the speakers, Tamara Livingstone from Marlborough Girls’ College, for being the first finalist to use NZ Sign Language in their speech.
The national champion for 2021 was Lucia-Tui Bernards from Tawa College. In an inspiring and heartfelt speech, Lucia-Tui called for all secondary schools to have a race relations strategy, as well as a race relations youth council to ensure the voices of ethnic minorities are heard.
All of Multiethnic Young Leaders’ Founding Members — Michelle Huang, Naomi Simon-Kumar, Rayhan Langdana, Te Ariki Te Puni and Jess Jenkins– were former national finalists and national or regional champions of the NZ Race Unity Speech Awards.