Young Speechmaker Contest

The Lions Clubs of New Zealand offers youth from 17-21 years of age the opportunity to participate in a national annual public speaking competition. Entry is free and open to the public through their local Lions Club.

The competition is open to all young adults who will be aged 17 to 21 inclusive on 30th June of the year of the competition.

Entry is free for all contestants and Club, District and National competitions are all open to the public.

The District competitions must be completed by 14 June 2021 and the National Final will be held in Wellington on Saturday, August 14th 2021. The winners at each District final are expected to be available to compete at the National Final. There are certificates presented to all contestants and prizes for the winners at Club, District and National contests. Travel will be provided by your sponsoring local Lions Club.

Clubs may select a speaker through a Club competition operating under the same rules as the District Competition and bring contestants to the District competition. Families are welcome to attend the competitions at all levels in support of their Young Speech Maker.  There will be a small charge for families and the general public to cover the cost of any food provided. All charges for the contestants will be covered by their sponsoring Lions Club.

The prepared speeches are to be no less than six minutes and no longer than eight minutes long. Any subject that is the original work of the contestant can be presented. This competition requires a spoken presentation in English (New Zealand), with rap and non-English languages only acceptable as an adjunct to the main presentation in English. Original props such as posters, flash cards, images, and simple graphs or diagrams may be used to support the message of your speech. Voice projection and your physical presentation of the speech is an important aspect. Contestants may use prompting notes, mobile phones, tablets, or cards if required.

The same format will be used at all levels of competition. Contestants may use the same speech (or variations of the same main speech) at all levels. The competition is made up of two separate speeches. In the morning session, contestants will present their prepared speech on a subject of their choice in the random order of their names being drawn.

In the afternoon session, all contestants will speak in drawn random order. They will come forward and be given a written ‘starting phrase’ of not more than five words.  They will then have one minute to prepare notes prior to presenting an impromptu speech using the starting phrase lasting not less than one minute, and no longer than two minutes.

As an example the ‘starting phrase’ could be – “And then she told me,” 

Contestants can take the starting phrase in any direction they wish. Humor is recommended for such a short speech, but we recommend that you follow a single theme. Our advice is to not make it too complex.

In both speeches, contestants will be penalised for being under or over time. Timing lights will be used to assist speakers. 

The winner will be the speaker with the best combined score from both speeches.  

All contestants will be provided with transport, food and support by the local Lions Clubs who sponsor them from across New Zealand.


District Young Speechmaker Competition judges will be independent of the contestants and suitably qualified people.  The National competition judging panel in Wellington is an experienced and independent group of judges so a high standard of performance is expected.




Available to Download 

Competition Rules and Application Form

District Briefing - Lions & Judges

For further information contact your District Youth Chair or MD Coordinator Jack Hayes

MD202 Coordinator – Young Speechmakers Contest
Jack Hayes
Masterton Holdsworth Lions Club
Tel:  (06) 377 2911
Email: speechmaker(at)

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