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Kinsa Hays

I was living in Upper Hutt and in church one morning a lady mentioned in ‘Announcements’ about the club to help you get over fear of public speaking. I knew I should go and went with her to Speakwell in Lower Hutt a couple of times before doing the Short Course. That was in 2011. I gradually gained confidence although my first speech contest ran to 8.26 minutes! I’d recently returned from India and had too much to say about what I’d seen.

I entered my first writing contest and won nationally with a children’s fiction story incorporating a weka that stole my crocs while I was camping at Lake Brunner near Greymouth. Years later, and with much editing, it became a chapter in a book titled Wiremu Weka Treks the Alps currently doing the rounds of publishers. I attended the national conference in Hamilton in 2013 and listened to my room mate practising her speech with which she eventually won First internationally. I saw the effort required to become super-proficient in front of an audience.

I left Wellington, and missing the challenge of speaking, attended several Toastmasters sessions in Katikati, but chose to join PowerTalk in Matamata even if it meant travelling 1hour 15 one way for each meeting. After getting into the swing of this small club, and winning the club speech contest, I accepted the position (VP Education) of organising the club speaking programme. I entered the writing contest again in 2017 and won a clean sweep of all three categories nationally – fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I was there at Conference in Wellington when it was dramatically announced that PowerTalk International, or ITC, was closing.

I watch what might happen next to revitalise the New Zealand clubs with interest.