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The Logan Park High School pupil was named the best debater at the Russell McVeagh New Zealand Schools' Debating Championships in Wellington yesterday, and has been selected as captain of the New Zealand representative team.
Kieran (18) was captain of the Otago-Southland regional schools' debating team which reached the semifinals before being knocked out by an Auckland team.
But Kieran's speeches in the preliminary rounds made a great impression on the selectors.
New Zealand Schools' Debating Council president Christopher Bishop said Kieran had a commanding stage presence, mixed with strong analysis and convincing argumentation.
Kieran paid tribute to his Otago-Southland team members Ava Atkinson-Barclay (Columba College) and James Tocher (Bayfield High School), and believed it was the first time in nearly a decade a team from Otago and Southland had reached the semifinals.
Kieran was also named captain of the Russell McVeagh New Zealand schools' debating team, which is made up of the five best speakers of the tournament.
They were Kieran, Nick Orr (Auckland Grammar School), Sophie Boot (Christchurch Girls' High School), Duncan McLachlan (Wellington College) and Aric Shakur (Palmerston North Boys' High School).
The team will represent New Zealand at an international tournament in early 2011.
"It's absolutely fantastic.
"I really enjoyed it and I'm really looking forward to doing some more debating - this time against international competitors."
Teams from around New Zealand took part in five preliminary rounds during the weekend, debating whether euthanasia should be legalised, tertiary education should be free, and if prisons should be privatised.
Wellington won the tournament, beating Auckland in the final.