University to host big debating event

Paul Hunt.
Paul Hunt.
The Otago University Debating Society (OUDS) has won hosting rights for the word's second-largest debating competition, with up to 500 people likely to visit Dunedin for the tournament next year.

OUDS president Paul Hunt said the society won hosting rights for the Australasian inter-varsity debating championships - known as the Australs - after narrowly defeating Bali in a vote of universities in the Australasian debating community.

Teams from universities around Australasia and Asia compete in the annual event.

The event, said to be the second-largest debating tournament in the world, was tentatively set down to be held at the university during the first week of July, with 400-500 likely to attend, Mr Hunt said.

Being chosen as host was in itself recognition of the strength of the society and having the event in Dunedin would be a chance to further raise its profile, he said.

It would also be a boost to the city's economy, with debaters staying in Dunedin hotels, and encouraged to stay on and explore the wider region.

University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne congratulated the society for winning hosting rights.

''On behalf of the University of Otago, I would like to warmly congratulate the debating society on winning the rights to host this world debating tournament.

"I am extremely proud of the depth of talent in debating at the University of Otago and I look forward to their continued success,'' Prof Hayne said.

Queen's High School has taken part in debating for some time.

The newspaper yesterday published a quote in a report on the final of the Dunedin Schools' Debating tournament that suggested otherwise.