CSDC runs a round robin competition throughout the year, which is split into two grades.  We aim to hold six rounds per grade per year, as well as a Finals day.  Rounds for 2018 will be run on a Thursday evening, normally from 5:00pm – 8:30pm.

The Senior Championship for Years 11-13 runs over 6 rounds throughout the year, followed by semi-finals and finals. Debates are limited preparation, with speaking times of 6-7 minutes for substantive speeches and 3-4 for replies.

The Junior Championship for Years 9-11 runs over 6 rounds throughout the year, followed open semi-finals and finals as well as novice semi-finals and finals. Speaking times are 5-6 minutes for substantive speeches and 2-3 minutes for replies.


CSDC runs three tournaments throughout the year, below is some information about each tournament.

Regional Championship

The first, and most prestigious, is the Canterbury Schools’ Debating Championship.  The tournament takes place over two days, after which a school team will be crowned regional champions. There are also prizes for best speaker and most promising speaker. A Regional Teams is selected from the competitors, to represent Canterbury at the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Championship.

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

  • Speeches are 7 – 8 minutes, with points of information between the 1st and 7th minutes.  Replies are 3 – 4 minutes.
  • The tournament consists of six rounds, semi-finals and a grand final.  The final is normally attended by the council’s patron, adjudicators from around New Zealand and past and present sponsors of CSDC.
  • The tournament is intended for senior speakers; however able students from other age groups are welcome to compete, at the discretion of the school.
  • Entries are initially limited to one team per school, and may be expanded at the discretion of the regional convener.
  • In the past topics for the Grand Final have been sponsored by interest groups and corporate bodies.  If you are aware of a group who would be interested in sponsoring the final they should contact the CSDC president.

The then Canterbury Schools’ Debating Championship for 2018 was held in March at the University of Canterbury.

Junior Regional Championships

Junior Regionals is a fantastic day-long tournament for Junior and Intermediate speakers (years 9 – 11).  The tournament consists of one prepared debate, two limited preparation debates and a grand final.  Speeches are 5 – 6 minutes, with points of information between the 1st and 5th minutes and replies of 2 – 3 minutes.

Senior Impromptu Championships

Senior Impromptu is the most exciting and fast-paced tournament offered by CSDC.  The tournament is relatively young, first established in 2008.

There are two speakers in a team, speeches are 4 – 6 minutes in length with replies of 2 – 3 minutes and there are no points of information.

The most unique element of Mini-Press is method for allocating ‘side’ and ‘topic’ which is as follows:

  1. A coin is tossed.  The winner of the coin toss must choose between the right to select the motion, or, the right to decide which side of the motion they will argue.
  2. The team with the right to choose the motion is given a list of two motions,  they the have one minute to select the motion for the debate.
  3. Once the motion is announced, the opposing team has one minute to decide whether they will affirm or negate the motion.
  4. From the time when the sides are announced, teams have five minutes to prepare for the start of the debate.
  5. Debate!