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Auckland Grammar School has a proud and distinguished history in debating and public speaking. The Auckland Schools Debating (ASD) Competition is the largest regular debating competition operating in New Zealand and has produced some of the most successful debaters in the country over the past three years.

Catering for over 1,000 students in the Auckland region, the ASD offers debates to students from Form 3 to Form 7, from beginners to students capable of competing on an international level. Students are challenged to consider a wide range of issues, ranging from New Zealand’s nuclear free policy to the assassination of foreign leaders as a tool of foreign policy.

Debate Styles

In addition to the usual prepared rounds and impromptu rounds, a new style of debating was introduced in 2009, known as ‘advised topic rounds’.

Prepared Rounds

In a prepared round, the moot and sides are announced in advance (at least a week in advance for preliminary rounds). Teams are encouraged to research and prepare their case but to also rebut the case of the opposition team during the debate.

Advised Rounds

In this style of debating, the general topic of that round is announced at least a week in advance. However, the final moot (and sides) are not announced until one hour before the start of the debate. Teams use that one hour to finalise their case.

Impromptu Rounds

In an impromptu round, the moot and sides will be announced at the venue one hour before the debate is scheduled to start.

Students interested in taking up debating should contact R. Wright in the English department or contact him via email.

2022 Captain of Debating Michael Yao has been debating for the School throughout his tenure at Grammar, and he enjoys talking about interesting ethical and political issues. He spoke to Headmaster’s Heritage Committee member Mark Galloway about how debating has helped him to become an open-minded thinker – watch his full interview below.

Public Speaking

Students involved with public speaking at Grammar may take part in two competitions held at the School each year – the Victor Macky Trophy and the Martin Sullivan Trophy.

Open to all year groups, the Victor Macky trophy involves a 5-8 minute speech and is either serious or light-hearted. The Martin Sullivan Trophy, also 5-8 minutes, is a more serious competition open to seniors only (Forms 5, 6 and 7). The winners collect a prize and are awarded their trophies at Prizegiving.

Interested students should see R. Wright in the English department or contact him via email.