Last week, New Zealand college students gathered to attend the first-ever Model East Asian Relations Conference (MEARC), which was held at Macleans College.

MEARC is a student-run and student-led initiative that welcomes New Zealand college students of all cultures, backgrounds, and experience levels with MUN-type events to attend a day of debate regarding international affairs in East Asia and get the chance to meet speakers from government and political backgrounds. The event aims to enhance participating students’ writing, speaking and research skills, and also aid students in discovering what they would like to pursue as their future career by introducing them to speakers.

Delegates had to represent their country’s views in a total of four debate topics regarding issues in East Asia, which included:

  1. English Education
  2. Carbon Footprint Reduction
  3. Decreasing Population and Low Birth Rates
  4. Which Nation Has The Best Food
Delegates debating which nation has the best food

In addition to the day of debate, participants also had the opportunity to meet Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown for a speaker session.

Brown shared insights on his journey and career path that led him to his role in the National Party today, offering invaluable advice to young people interested in pursuing a career in politics, recounting his own experiences and challenges. The importance of skills such as communication and engaging others were also emphasised during the speaker session, with suggestions that students should continue attending MUN-style events, take a broad range of interest in subjects, and read genres like biographies, history, as well as politics.

Attendees were also encouraged to participate in the political process and contribute to society, alongside discussion on topics that young people should focus their energy on, emphasising important areas such as population, CO2 emissions, birth rates, and climate change.

Simeon Brown speaks to attendees

The smooth operation of the event was run by Aaron Huang (Rutherford House) and Nathan Rao (Rutherford House) alongside the supervision of Miss Hsu and Mr Yang, both of whom have special thanks for allowing the event to come to fruition.

Over the span of just one short day, participants were able to successfully develop their skills in debating, research, as well as negotiations to achieve the respective goals of their nations and benefit East Asia as a whole. Furthermore, the speaker session with Simeon Brown in addition to the day of debate created an extremely enriching and highly rewarding time for participants. The first-ever MEARC turned out to be a successful event, with attendees leaving with positive experiences and satisfaction with the day spent at the conference.

June 25th, 2023
Aaron Huang
Photography by Nathan Rao

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