Making it into the semi-finals of the North Island Novice Debating Tournament was a first for one University of Waikato debating team earlier this month.
The team of Stephen Taylor, Sarah Hyde and Elaine Gyde were undefeated through four preliminary rounds and were ranked second after making it through to the semi-final. The team members are all studying and on top of debating commitments, both Sarah and Stephen are competing in the Bell Gully Senior Mooting Final. Elaine has also been selected to attend the US Embassy Young Leaders Conference at the end of May.
Great future for debating at Waikato
Waikato debating team President Rochelle Monk was pleased with not only the team's performance, but with what this means for the future of debating at Waikato.
“All our teams performed well, showing that each year we are growing as a society and gaining more depth and increasingly talented debaters. To be undefeated after the preliminaries is a huge achievement and I am really proud of everyone.”
University of Waikato Debating Society hosted 125 debaters and judges in the tournament, which is called Thropy. The Waikato team was narrowly beaten by Victoria University, which won the tournament.
This was the best attended debating tournament hosted by Waikato University. The other Waikato teams ranked highly out of the 32 teams in attendance, with judges commenting on the depth and strength of the society as a whole.
The tournament takes place across a weekend every year, alternating between the University of Waikato and Massey in Palmerston North. There are four preliminary rounds where each team of three has 30 minutes to prepare to speak for six minutes on a range of topics from whether politicians have a right to privacy, to whether Te Reo Māori should be compulsory in high schools. Students from Auckland, Victoria and Waikato are able to participate, and judges came from as far as the University of Otago to take part.
Waikato Debsoc, in its fifth year, has hosted Thropy three times with teams in the past only narrowly missing out on competing in the semi-finals. The next tournament teams will be attending is the prestigious Australasian debating championships, taking place in Otago in June.