Kuranui College student Nina Gelashvili is through to the semi-finals of the Race Unity Speech Awards after topping the Wellington Regional Championships at the weekend.
Ten students from across the region had to deliver a 7-minute speech about racism in New Zealand, including answering at least two questions and quoting a proverb from their faith or our culture.
Nina, a year 12 student, is Samoan and quoted a favourite Samoan proverb ‘Ņa o le gata e fasia, ae pupula one mata’ which translates to: ‘Only the snake will look at its killer’.
“I talked about our society. Will we be the snake who looks at racism and takes a stand and fights back, or will we be the snake which slithers under a rock?” explained Gelashvili. “We need to stop talking about it and discussing it, we already know what to do, so why aren’t we doing it?”
Her views on modern racism, and how society hides it from sight impressed her fellow speakers and the judging panel. “I talked about what happened in Christchurch, and how it shouldn’t take 50 lives for people to realise that racism still lives.”
Her ardor for the topic made it feel fluid and a lot easier for her to talk about it. “It’s been going on for so long and people need to come together and actually do something about it, because if we don’t, we’re heading in the wrong direction. We’re just going to keep repeating history and it won’t be very good for the upcoming generations,” commented Nina.
A passionate and talented speaker, Nina has performed outstandingly in other speech competitions in the Wairarapa, and is now taking her skills to a national level. Nina, along with Parekura Pepere from Rathkeale College who also placed in the competition, will be going through to the national semi-finals in Auckland on 10-11th of May.