Rotorua Boys High School student Jack Potaka has taken top honours in the national final of the ANZ RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition, winning a trip to Gallipoli to attend ANZAC Day commemorations.
Jack’s speech beat seven other year 12 and 13 regional finalists to win the competition in Wellington on Monday. Jack’s prize includes a trip to Gallipoli for the 2014 ANZAC day commemorations, a $1000 travel fund, trophy, laptop computer and digital camera.
The prize was presented by the Governor General, Lt Gen, The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, RSA national president Don McIver and ANZ head of corporate affairs Peter Parussini.
The 16-year-old student impressed the judges with a passionate speech about the first fully qualified Māori pilot in the RNZAF, Porokoru Patapu John Pohe. Jack delivered an inspiring speech entitled ‘The Forgotten Hero’ detailing Porokoru’s determination to learn to fly and his successful career in the air force before he was shot down in Germany, captured and later executed.