Logan Park pupil's speech win makes it two in a row

Dallas Bowler-Scott
Dallas Bowler-Scott
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.

Riani Wainui-Dunn
Riani Wainui-Dunn
''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 section.

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 national finals.

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 place.''

Jacobi was second in last year's New Zealand final of the Race Unity Speech competition, and selected as a Youth MP for Youth Parliament.

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.

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