Regional Maori oratory competitions - such as Nga Manu Korero - give rangatahi the confidence to stand tall and express themselves, says a speech coach.
Ruapehu College in Ohakune is playing host to the annual event this on 24 June and 25 June, with hundreds of students and supporters coming from Taranaki and Whanganui to compete for senior and junior categories in te reo and in English.
Merrilyn George, who heads the college's Maori language department, says she gets a thrill when she sees shy students grow into confident articulate speakers who overcome their fear of public speaking.
It inspires her to see rangatahi lifting their self esteem through kapa haka and whai korero (oratory).
Ms George says when students first start out they are nervous and lack confidence but she gets a "buzz" as they develop a sense of mana, and that's the buzz for her.
Nga Manu Korero competitions include an impromptu section, and senior and junior trophies which will be contested on Sunday.
On Monday the Pae Rangatahi competitions will decide for the best secondary school cultural groups.
All competitors are aiming to represent the Taranaki-Whanganui region at the nationals in Nelson in September.