National Student CHOGM 2018

From left to right:
Olivia Frogley (Craighead Diocesan High School Timaru)
Georgia Hawthorne (Timaru Girls’ High School)
Hannah Gee ( Timaru Girls’ High School)
Dominic Wilson (Burnside High School Christchurch)

National Student CHOGM is the premier annual event hosted by Commonwealth Youth New Zealand.

In this setting, high school students will get to take on the role of Head of Government or Foreign Minister of a Commonwealth member state, or as a special envoy from an observer organisation. Held over two days in Wellington at Parliament, delegates debate everything from climate change to monetary policy from the perspective of the government they are representing.

Delegates also get to participate in a model Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) scenario where they are tasked with resolving a burgeoning conflict between two fictional member states.

This year The Royal Commonwealth Society Canterbury branch subsidized four Canterbury students to attend.

With their teachers:
 Joyce Shankar-Kay(TGHS) and Richard Brown (TGHS)
Christine Hainstock ONZM Canterbury Vice President

Students’ Reports’

Georgia Hawthorne and Hannah Gee
CHOGM stands for The Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting, early September two Timaru Girls’ High School Year 13 students, Georgia Hawthorne and Hannah Gee, were lucky enough to represent the growing superpower of India in the yearly student CHOGM in Wellington. The opportunity alone was amazing and helped clear up any doubts the girls had about future pathways. The people Georgia and Hannah met in attendance were inspirational to say the least, such as the former Governor General Anand Satyanand and several current Members of Parliament. In the process of being delegates both Hannah and Georgia made some lifelong friends who have similar interests both academically and politically. Between the debates, quick researching and inside knowledge about politics the experience was one that could never be replaced and will likely stay with them for years to come.

We would like to thank our sponsors and supporters for helping us attend and participate in CHOGM 2018; especially the TGHS Old Girls’ association and the Royal Commonwealth Society Canterbury branch.

Olivia Frogley
This year, I attended the National Student Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) with the generous support of the Royal Commonwealth Society of Canterbury. Held in the New Zealand Parliament buildings, this event gave me a great insight to international relations and New Zealand politics. I was the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the St Vincent and The Grenadines delegation, and I was paired with a student from Nelson College for Girls. 
Together, we extensively researched the culture and values of our country so we could effectively represent it. We debated over topics ranging from climate change to security, and were well informed by the guest speakers of each plenary session. The Meeting also involved workshops such as research and policy making: where the countries were grouped by location and had to come to an agreement on a policy about an issue they all faced. Many of us chose climate change refugees, and we believe this is an issue we will have to voice our opinions on in the future. 
We also attended a State Dinner and had the pleasure of listening to the keynote speaker Guled Mire, an inspirational speaker highlighting the plight of refugees in New Zealand and how they are assisted by the education we offer. Other opportunities we had included participating in a Crisis Session, meeting politicians, touring Victoria University, and watching a Parliamentary Question Time – all of which were very interesting! This event not only improved my negotiating and debating skills, but also sparked a further interest in politics and international relations. It was highly worthwhile, and I would encourage any high school student interested in politics or debating to attend.  
Dominic Wilson

Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou, Tena Tatou Katoa. Kia Ora! My name is Dom Wilson and I was lucky enough to attend CHOGM this year for a second time thanks to the funds I received from RCS Canterbury.
I was the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the UK last year, and this year I was the Head of Government of Australia.
The two day conference being held in the Legislative Council Chamber at Parliament, is an amazing way to build on team work, communication, and thinking skills.
We had plenary sessions on Human Rights, Trade, Security, Climate Change and open topics.
Being Australia, I put in amendments such as establishing a inter commonwealth Climate Change commission, recognising climate change refugees, banning asylum seekers, and more.
The conference can be quite tricky at some points especially when your views, conflict with the views of your said country. For me, that was particularly the cause with refugees. However, that is part of the skills you learn at the conference.
While at the conference, I was lucky enough to be able to be toured around Parliament with the Hon. Dr. Megan Woods, and meet with one of my local MP’s Matt Doocey.
All round, the conference is an amazing experience, and every time I go I learn more about myself, and our political system and build on so many skills that will help me get into politics in the future.
I would like to thank RCS Canterbury for their donation towards me attending the conference, I probably would not have been able to go without it. So seriously, thank you.

RCS welcome, Christchurch, Canterbury NZ 8053