Otago Southland Debating Championships

Sunday 31st March 2019

A great many teams were left quivering in fear at the mention of duelling with the men of McGlashan.


The morning was promising, promising to all that had decided to show up to the event that is. A great many teams were left quivering in fear at the mention of duelling with the men of McGlashan. The day was a day that promised a battle of wits. As we formed a small enclosure of John McGlashan men to stave off the encroaching pressure radiating from all the colossal beings around us. We contemplated what was ahead of us. The absolute linguistic lashing that was ahead of us. Our concerns were all but confirmed as we looked at the other schools and their quirks.

We overheard the cacophonous cry of Columba assimilating as a single consciousness; we looked at the straight backed Mountain folk of James Hargest; and were in awe of the confidence emanating from Otago Boys’. After maintaining our wall against the harrowing winds of chaos, we came to terms with the Debate. We walked with purpose, with confidence. Riding off of the high of our win of the “Cats vs. Dogs” debate, we felt that we’d hold our own. Barend, Neil and I walked into the assigned room, went to sit down and begin prep for the day.

“The room is actually reserved for the AFF Team, you all need to leave.” said one of the girls from the opposing team.

“Yeah… we were um… Good Luck!” said Neil, in an attempt to recover the small speck of competence that completed the facade. So, clearly we won a valuable lesson in the first debate. However the actual debate? We lost that. The glorious crusade that could possibly have been, was kneecapped and then buried 6 feet under. As we went about the next couple minutes of feedback, we went on to conquer greater heights. We found ourselves pitted against a team that we thought we’d fair well against and then… we lost. We were quite bewildered by this and asked the Adjudicator. We were then informed that the format that we used to argue was one that wouldn’t hold the most impact in the way that we dispersed information. We took this to heart and got some insightful advice into how we can improve and finally pulled back a win. A win, that was sweetened by the fact that we had the same Adjudicator for this debate and we could show off our advancement.

Our next few debates were neck and neck, as we slowly came to our own and came to terms with the rapid improvement that was being facilitated in this trial by fire. The weathers of these flames of Tartarus lent itself to shape and contort our formless styles and ideas into somewhat reliable content. We won another debate the next morning and were rewarded with peanuts. The Adjudicator at the time enjoyed our style that we’d honed and especially enjoyed Barend’s yarn that he spun during his POI.

For our last debate, we went up against OGHS, the team that we’d faced first. A chance unfolded in front of us. A chance at redemption. We walked to the room and sealed the door, for “The room is actually reserved for the AFF Team...”, the debate was a blind one. Which means that we would leave immediately after finishing our points, without the possibility of getting feedback nor receiving the results.

We begun a fevered preparation - we knew that we could beat them. Or at least put up a fight that extended past us floundering like fish.

We’d built a case capable of weathering the sands of time, we were willing to run our ‘Hail Mary’ play, our piece de resistance. We hit on all our points; we sprinkled our learnings from the year throughout, and put the cherry on top with the Leader’s reply. With the advice from our previous Adjudicators having given us confidence, I’d been informed about how to finally do a Leaders reply. To take a position of extreme bias and infer that if the Adjudicator was to give the win to the other team, then the consequences would be dire.

We weathered rebuttal, Point of Informations, and scathing stares from our most well-respected opponents. We walked out of there confident. For we’d done our best and were impressed with the improvement that was set out in front of us, we’d proven ourselves to have improved to the team that we believed mattered the most. A team that had witnessed us at our beginning, at our most fresh-faced, and unfamiliar. The day as a whole netted us a total of 3 wins from 6. One that was won in spirit, and two that were won from the hard work that we’d put in place after our rebirth through the blazing fires that the competition had stoked.
Ezekiel Nielsen


The three speakers for the Year 12 team that entered the Otago and Southland Debating Regionals were Ned Hancox, Nathan Dockerty and Krishan Luxmanan. Ned spoke first and gave the leader’s reply, Nathan spoke second and Krishan spoke third. The competition began on Saturday, the 9th of March 10:00 am with the briefing.

The first debate was against James Hargest 2, a friendly team from Invercargill. We lost the debate, but afterwards our adjudicator gave us some helpful feedback, pointing out our most major mistakes such as our badly fleshed-out points and suggesting ways to improve. After this, we ate our lunches. In the second debate, we faced James Hargest 1. We lost for similar reasons to the previous time and were given similar feedback. The third debate was against Otago Girls 2, which we won. This time, the feedback focused on our planning process. Feeling optimistic, we began the fourth debate against St Hilda’s 2. This was a close debate in which we felt satisfied with our case. We lost, but once again gained valuable feedback. This was the last debate for the day. It was 8:00 pm and we felt tired.

The fifth debate began at 10:30 am on Sunday. The opposing team was Kavanagh 2. Despite our best efforts, we lost the debate. The primary feedback we received from this focused on our rebuttal. Our final debate was also against Kavanagh 2. This was a tense debate due to a controversial motion. We lost this debate as well, leaving us with a final ratio of 1 debate won and 5 debates lost.

After this, the semifinals began. Two of our three team members stayed to watch these, in which very good debating was done. The four teams in the semifinals were Columba 1, Columba 2, Columba 3 and Otago Boys 1. The final winner was Otago Boys 1. Overall, we had an enjoyable and educational experience, despite the tiredness that occurred and our lack of victories.
Nathan Dockerty