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Fine delivery proves a winner in the Tongan speech competition

Age was no barrier for Pacific Christian School Year Eight student Joseph Piliu when he competed in the Statistics New Zealand speech competition on the Tongan stage at the cultural festival Polyfest on Saturday 16 March.

Despite being only in Year Eight, Joseph won the Year Nine competition with his speech about the International Year of Statistics 2013. Fellow Pacific Christian School student Etuate Lau’i also did well in the same competition taking out third place despite only being in Year Seven.

In his speech Joseph spoke about what statistics had taught him from population and social information through to economic data.

“The question I ask everyone here is: who tells us about our true economic situation? It is the commitment and hard work of Statistics NZ that enables all of us to know our economic situation today. I close this speech by thanking Statistics NZ for bringing to us the latest information on our country’s economic situation. 2013 is the International Year of Statistics and it is important we celebrate this very important event in our Pacific community”.

After the great results Pacific Christian School manager Lisita Paongo said that while the school only went up to Year Eight, the boys entered the Year Nine competition because it was good practice. The school has entered the competition for the past four years and it has placed each year.

“Both Joseph and Etuate are good speakers, they have good delivery,” said Ms Paongo.

The speech competition, sponsored by Statistics New Zealand, was held over three days and saw students from the Niuean, Samoan, Tongan, and Cook Island communities deliver speeches in their native language.

Along with Joseph and Etuate who claimed prizes, there were over 60 winners in the speech competition across the four languages and age groups from Year Nine to Year 13.

Figures from the 2006 Census show there were over 140,000 people in New Zealand able to hold a conversation in a Pacific language. Samoan is spoken by 85,428 people, followed by Tongan with 29,496 speakers, and the Cook Islands Māori with 9,702 speakers.

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson, who was at Polyfest on Saturday to hand out prizes to winners on the Tongan stage, said the competition was an opportunity to showcase the value, use, and relevance of statistics and build statistical awareness among young people and their families.

Tongan speech comp year 9 winner – Polyfest 2013

Tongan speech competition, year 9 winner – Polyfest 2013.
From left – 'Ofa Ketu'u from Statistics New Zealand; Pacific Christian School student Etuate Lau'i; Hon Maurice Williamson, Minister of Statistics; Pacific Christian School student Joseph Piliu (winner); and Pacific Christian School Manager Lisita Paongo.

Return to our page on International Year of Statistics 2013 for more information.

Return to the Statistics2013 page on this website. 

Page updated 18 April 2013

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