Race Unity Speech Award winners announced

The 10th annual secondary schools Race Unity Speech Award finals were held in Auckland on the weekend. The awards are organised by the New Zealand Baha’i community with support from the Human Rights Commission, New Zealand Police and the Office of Ethnic Affairs, as part of the annual observance of Race Relations Day.

Finalists were drawn from 160 Year 11-13 students from 14 different regions in New Zealand. They were asked to speak on the importance of cultural diversity and practical ways of improving Aotearoa New Zealand’s race relations. Winners received a personal prize and a prize for their school.

In presenting the awards, Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said the standard of the finalists was excellent and their speeches were an inspiration. Last year’s winner, Rayhan Langdana, from Wellington College, had been asked to repeat his speech at the New Zealand Diversity Forum and the government reception for Race Relations Day. This year’s winners would also be invited to speak at appropriate events.

Aperahama Hurihanganui, from Rotorua Boys High, was the overall winner and Mindy Hu of Chilton St James (Lower Hutt) was runner-up. Aperahama delivered his speech at the award finals, speaking in te reo Māori.

Other finalists were:

Claire Gourley, Bethlehem College, Tauranga

Meaghan Li, MacLeans College, Auckland

Rachita Castelino, Baradene College, Auckland

Maria Edwards, St Josephs Māori Girls High, Napier

Supreet Kaur, Macleans College, Auckland

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