A powerful speech about using education as a weapon to
defeat poverty, crime and the inter-generational cycle of
hardship has won Jacobi Kohu-Morris the Nga Manu Korero Otago
Southland speech contest for the second year in a row.
The 17-year-old Logan Park High School pupil was delighted
with his win in the senior English section and was looking
forward to representing the southern region again at the 2014
national final in Hastings in September.
''Let's just say I was the youngest competitor and near the
bottom of the board last year.
''But this year, I'm a little bit wiser. Who knows what
will happen?''Jacobi will be joined by Otago Girls' High School
pupil Dallas Bowler-Scott (15), who won the junior English
They were among 41 speakers at the regional competition, held
in Invercargill recently.
Te Wharekura o Arowhenua School (Invercargill) pupils Thomas
Aerepo-Morgan (16) and Riani Wainui-Dunn (14) won the senior
Maori and junior Maori sections, respectively.
All four pupils will represent the southern region at the
Jacobi's speech highlighted the need for schools to focus on
improving Maori attendance, engagement, retention and
achievement in order to address the negative national
statistics they present.
He said education was ''the gateway to better outcomes in all
areas of life''.
''I want to inspire the nation to lift itself to a better
Jacobi was second in last year's New Zealand final of the
Race Unity Speech competition, and selected as a Youth MP for
He was also in the team which represented Otago at this
year's Sheilah Winn Shakespeare competition in Wellington,
and will return to Wellington again later this month to
represent Otago at the Model United Nations.