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Children Growing Awareness of Biodiversity: One Speech at a Time

Nuhaka School prepares for speech contest 4 Copy

The Hillmac Electrical Junior and Intermediate School Speech Contest’s new topic for 2018 has got Bay students talking! 

‘Biodiversity in your backyard’ is the topic for both Junior and Intermediate contests, and has encouraged 16 Hawke’s Bay schools to take part, with other schools still to confirm. 

The speech contests will be held at the National Aquarium of New Zealand for Juniors (Years five and six) on Thursday 30 August, and for Intermediate (Years seven and eight) on Thursday 6 September, both at 6 to 8pm.  The contests are open to all Hawke’s Bay schools and to the public.

“We have partnered with Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay, a brand-new initiative, which changes the focus of the children’s speeches from natural disasters to biodiversity this year,” says speech contest organiser, Anna Coleman of the Confidence Company.  “There is a groundswell of interest in biodiversity locally. Kids are fascinated about what is in their backyard, from harakeke (flax) to kereru, eels and kowhai.”

Genevieve Bennett from Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay says: “We are thrilled to be involved with the Hillmac Electrical School Speech Contests this year, to engage with schools and raise awareness of biodiversity throughout Hawke’s Bay.”

Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay combines a wide range of conservation and environmental enhancement groups who are committed to working together so that Hawke's Bay's biodiversity is enhanced, healthy and functioning.

Hastings schools taking part are - Mahora, Frimley, Heretaunga Intermediate, Hastings Intermediate, Parkvale, Sherenden, Te Mata, Tūtira.  Napier schools – Bledisloe (pictured), Greenmeadows, Napier Intermediate, Nelson Park, Reignier, Tamatea Intermediate, Taradale Intermediate. Wairoa schools – Nuhaka (pictured), Wairoa College.

Mahora School’s Deputy Principal, Tanya Greig says: “We are delighted to take part in the Hillmac Electrical Junior Speech Contest.  We have a hundred and forty seniors involved and it ties in with our current biodiversity project, 'A Teaspoon in Time'. It's going to be a real challenge to narrow down to only one student to go through to the final competition at the Aquarium.”  

Out on the Taihape Road, at Sherenden and Districts School, Principal Haisely Robsin says: “Environmental awareness of biodiversity is a theme we are passionate about.  It provides another opportunity for our students to hone their speech-making skills and to pit them against the region's best.”

Kiwibank has come on board as a sponsor this year. Hastings Kiwibank Manager, Mairin Gallagher, says:  “We see real value in supporting a cause which promotes confidence in children and gives them the tools to stand up and talk about a topic that is dear to our hearts - biodiversity and how to protect our kiwi, flax, seeds, wildlife and waterways.”

Organiser Anna Coleman is grateful for the ongoing support of chief sponsor Hillmac Electrical Limited, and for this contest Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay, the regional economic development brand ‘Great Things Grow Here™’, and the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

13 August 2018

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