Pupil’s ‘100 days’ as PM speech wins out

St Peter’s College pupil Eli Puna won the Te Manu Motu Trophy at Ngā Manu Kōrero regionals in...
St Peter’s College pupil Eli Puna won the Te Manu Motu Trophy at Ngā Manu Kōrero regionals in Waihōpai last month. PHOTO: BEN ANDREWS
A St Peter’s College pupil will become the first from Gore to compete at a national speech competition for Māori pupils later this year.

Eli Puna will travel to Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) in September with four other Ōtākou (Otago) and Murihiku (Southland) competitors to compete in the Ngā Manu Kōrero national secondary school speech competition at Spark Arena.

Last month, the 14-year-old pupil was awarded the Te Maasasanu Motu Trophy after he achieved first place in the Sir Turi Carrol Contest at the Ngā Manu Kōrero regionals in Waihōpai.

Upon learning about the win, he noted that someone had told him he looked "casual" as the announcement was made.

"I was happy that I was the first person in Gore [to win].

"That was a big achievement."

At the event he competed against 12 other year 9 and 10 Māori pupils with a speech titled ‘My First 100 Days’.

The speech had to be between five and six minutes long and no cue cards could be used.

Eli’s speech detailed what he would do as the prime minister during his first 100 days in the role.

When Eli got on stage to speak he remained calm, he said.

"Before getting up there I was getting myself hyped up.

"But on stage, seeing who was in the crowd, the nerves went away."

The crowd cheered and laughed throughout the speech, he said.

Whaea Vanessa and Matua Wayne took the St Peter’s College Te Ao Haka class to support him on the day, which he was thankful for.

The class stood behind him on stage and performed a waiata and haka after his speech.

He would perform the same speech with a few "adjustments" when he competed next, he said.

"It’ll be a new challenge to get up on stage at Spark Arena."

However, he looked forward to the challenge, he said.

His father, Glenn Puna, said the pair spent about five hours practising the speech.

"I’d say overall he would have done the speech for five hours, a five and a-half minute speech," Mr Puna said.

Eli had been doing speeches since he was about 9.

He was always second.

"Finally that curse is broken by winning this trophy."