Committee Name: Summit of the Maori Iwi, 1860
Undersecretary-General: Jose Villalobos Gonzalez
Deputy Undersecretary-General: Julie Antão
Chair and Crisis Manager: John Erath and Stephen Golden
Topic A: Handling the Aftermath of the Failed Waitangi Treaty
A Letter from the Chair
Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua- As man disappears from sight, the land remains
Kia ora delegates, and welcome to the Summit of the Maori! The year is 1860, and the Maori King Tāwhiao has called the chieftains of iwi (tribes) and hapu (sub-tribes) from across the North Island of modern-day New Zealand to discuss the possibility of war with British settlers. The cause? Gradual encroachments on Maori land claims since the signing of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, culminating in active aggression towards the Maori heartlands. Though we are but temporary flashes on this earth, the land that our ancestors tended is permanent, and we must not let it fall into foreign hands.
This committee will put delegates at the heart of colonialism and allow them to experience firsthand the development of colonial systems. Today, New Zealand is unique among settler societies in the role its native people play in its society and culture. Unlike the US and Australia, where native populations were nearly wiped out, Maori comprise over 10% of the island’s population, and Maori language and culture have seeped into every aspect of daily life, even for Pākehā (white) populations. Delegates will see the development of the colonial system, and have the opportunity to actively shape the future in their favour. Will the Maori make peace with the British? Assert their right to exist as an independent protectorate? Drive the British off the island completely? Or will they be crushed under the colonialism and imperialism of foreigners? That is for you, delegates, to decide.
Ngā mihi nui,
Chair, Summit of the Maori Iwi