Are you smart enough to beat the New Zealand Spelling Bee champion?

Are you smart enough to spell the word which decided the 2019 New Zealand Spelling Bee champion?

Year 10 student Sarah Wong, from Auckland's Diocesan School for Girls, faced 11 nail-biting rounds to claim victory in the face of fierce competition.

Sarah correctly spelled the word 'stalactite' to take out the title. She says she was "pretty surprised" to win and wasn't sure how she was going to get the large trophy home to Auckland on the plane.

She takes away the spelling bee trophy and $5000 towards her academic pursuits. 

Runner-up was Year 10 student Michael Yao from Auckland Grammar School who went out on the word 'aberrant'. He won $2000 towards his academic pursuits.

Third-equal was Year 10 student Josephine Holden from St Cuthbert's College in Auckland on the word 'equerry', and Megan Lake from Otumoetai College in Tauranga on the word 'irascibility'. Both girls won $500.

New Zealand Spelling Bee founder Janet Lucas says she was "thrilled" with the high standard of competition this year.

"It's a really tough event," she says. "Sarah qualified for the final last year and drew on that experience to get her to the end this year."

The Wright Family Foundation - which supports the spelling bee - says the vision of the Foundation is to create articulate readers and writers who go on to higher education with confidence.

"The event has the goal of expanding children's vocabulary and encouraging a love of language - which is something we are passionate about fostering," its chief executive, Chloe Wright, says.