Many rangatahi who have represented Manawatu Horowhenua at National Manu Kōrero competitions have come out on top, and some of those past champions are now sitting on the other side of the judging table and now those tables have turned.
Te Ataakura Pewhairangi (Ngāti Porou) former National Manu Kōrero winner, says "Its great to come back and support the next generation of orators."
Hona Black (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Rarawa) who has also secured a few Manu Kōrero championships in the past, he adds "Its different sitting on this side of the table, but its great to see the standard this year."
These judges have all stood in the spotlight when they were at school, however, the significance of this group, is that most of them represented this region.
"It brings back memories of when I stood on this stage, however, the standard has risen and I'm so impressed by all the speakers that have stood today," says Pewhairangi.
She also says she can see a major difference in the competition today to when she once stood on this stage.
"There are a lot of female speakers standing on the stage, that's one of the biggest differences. When I competed there weren't many girls that competed."
Some of these rangatahi have used their voice to lay down challenges.
"To hold on to our customs, to speak the language not only this week of Māori Language Week, but this month of Mahuru Māori and so on," says Pewhairangi.
"You can hear the concerns of this generation," adds Black.
It is also the platform where rangatahi get to express themselves.
Pewhairangi says, "This is the stage you see and hear the thoughts and the desires of our young people for a better future."
"A person who is taught at school, at home and on the marae, will flourish," says Black.
The competition continues tomorrow with the Rawhiti Ihaka and Sir Turi Carol sections.