The annual New Zealand Model United Nations (NZMUN) was held last week in Wellington. Over the course of four days, secondary school students from across the country convened at Victoria and Massey Universities as “delegates” to discuss a wide range of global issues, and around Wellington to socialise and have a good time.
This year’s theme was the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs), 8 goals the United Nations set back in 2000, the start of the new Millennium, to make the world a better place. These include lowering the rate of poverty across the world, increasing maternal healthcare, reducing child mortality and creating more educational opportunities regardless of race or gender – just to name a few. During the conference, several experts on each topic were brought in to speak to the delegates, some of which were simply University students, others being active volunteers in charitable organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO). The debate revolved around resolutions which were debated and deliberated on, leading to the ultimate vote on whether the whole resolution would be adopted.
Aside from the nitty-gritty part of the conference, there were fun, social opportunities abound. Delegates participated in an ‘Amazing Race’ of sorts, in which teams competed to complete a range of activities all across Wellington, which was a great way to see the amazing locations in the city. Going from Te Papa, at one end of the city, to Parliament at the other in 10 minutes was definitely not easy, but sure was a fantastic and exhilarating experience.
Dinners were held for our ‘regional groupings’, in which we met for a cultural meal with other delegates who were representing countries in similar regions to each other. Some went for Chinese Yum Cha in which dishes were seemingly endless, while others went for Mexican and had burritos and other foods. This was a fantastic opportunity to get to know a lot of people better and inevitably brought our regional groups closer together, with many of the Conference assistants mingling with the delegates.
Finally and possibly most memorably, the ball was held on the 6th floor of the swanky Amora Hotel. Guys brought out the suits and bow ties, and girls pulled out their fanciest shoes and dresses. A mini fashion show broke the ice, and after a while, the beautifully catered dinner course was served. Dancing came when everybody had their share of chicken and chocolate slice. Although the floor literally shook when everyone danced together, the building was built to withstand Wellington earthquakes and was sturdy enough to not collapse, so that was a relief. The ball stretched into the night, and refreshed many a delegate for the last day for NZMUN.
Overall, the event was a huge success. The amount of planning and preparation that had to have gone in to the conference must have been staggering, but it really paid off. Everything was so smooth and well organised; there were almost no hiccups the whole four days, which is truly astounding for an event of this size. The educational opportunities were fantastic, and the social experience was unforgettable. I highly recommend getting into Model UN events through UN Youth if you are not already involved – details below.
UN Youth website: http://www.unyouth.org.nz/
Official NZMUN blog: http://www.nzmodelun.unyouth.org.nz/blog-2/
Article By Drew Cannon. Photo by UN Youth NZ. Edited by Chris Yang and Suyoung Lee