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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

[The University]

The New Zealand University was founded in 1870 under the New Zealand University Act of that year, the Act being subsequently amended in 1874. The first Council assembled on the 31st of May, 1871. The University is governed by a Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, and Senate of twenty-four members in all. The first Senate consisted of a certain number of gentlemen appointed by the Governor, but these nominated appointments ceased in 1884, and although some of the original members still remain, all new members of the Senate are elected. The vacancies, as they occur, are filled up alternately by the Senate and by the Convocation of the University. The Court of Convocation consists of all graduates of the University of two years standing and upwards. The present Convocation numbers about 420 members. The Senate meets annually, when its session extends over a period of two or three weeks. It usually assembles in one of the four principal cities, the annual session being held about the month of February in each year. Special sessions of the Senate are held as may be required. The duties of the Senate are to make laws and statutes for the control of the University, this being usually done at the annual session, while the work of the special session is to go over the examination reports and declare passes or failures in the various subjects, and also to confer degrees. The duty of the Court of Convocation, in addition to electing alternately with the Senate to fill vacancies, is to make recommendations which are transmitted to the Senate for its consideration and decision. The business of the University of New Zealand is to examine, and to grant degrees after examinations to any one who has been matriculated and who conforms to its laws. It is an examining body, and does not undertake tuition, being modelled on the plan of the University of London. In addition to the granting of degrees, prizes, and University honours, scholarships are also conferred by the University. The actual teaching, which must be on the lines laid down by the Senate of the University, is carried on by affiliated colleges, of which there are at present three, namely: Auckland University College, the Canterbury College, and the University of Otago. The University has a Royal Charter to grant degrees in arts, law, medicine, music, and science, and under the Act of Parliament has power to make regulations for the examination of all those who come up for degrees. All students must work under the statutes in force. There are three classes of examination by the University. The first is the examinations for degrees in arts, law, science (including engineering and agriculture), and music. The examiners for this class are mostly resident in England, and are selected from the most eminent men to be secured in each subject, and are in fact specialists in their particular branch. The answers to the papers set by the English examiners are written at eight different places within the Colony. They are then transmitted to England and the results are cabled in the first instance to the Registrar in Wellington, full particulars following by post. The second class of examinations includes the entrance or ordinary matriculation examinations and is conducted by examiners in New Zealand, there being thirteen places of examination. The third class consists of the examinations for degrees in medicine, and for subjects of New Zealand law for admission to the legal profession, and these also are conducted by examiners in New Zealand. The time spent at the University extends from a minimum of three years to a maximum of five years. There are a number of students who do not actually attend the colleges, as the University has done what it can to relieve students from the necessity of going to college where distance or want of means stands in the way. The Senate of the University has been able to place before every man and woman in the Colony the opportunity of taking a University degree. The University has never made any difference between the sexes, and to the credit of New Zealand be it said that the New Zealand University was the first in the British dominions to grant a degree to a woman, that woman being Miss Edger, now Mrs. Evans, of Wellington. The University of New Zealand receives a grant of £3000 per aunum from the Government, and has in addition a considerable income from fees. Out of the funds nearly £2000 a year is granted for junior and senior scholarships, and the surplus page 364 funds of the University, after paying working expenses, are devoted to increasing the scholarship fund. The University scholarships are held for terms of three years for junior and one year for senior, and a great many New Zealanders have thus been assisted in obtaining a University education. In addition to these local scholarships, the Senate has the power of nominating every two years to the science scholarship granted by the Royal Commission of the London Exhibition of 1851, which is of the annual value of £150, and which is tenable for two years. The Senate has already nominated two such scholers, the recipients in cach case being required by the Commissioners to pursue their studies outside New Zealand. The first one was granted to an Auckland student in 1892, and the next to a Canterbury student in 1894. In the present year there is another of these scholarships to be granted, and thenceforward every second year. In the event of the successful student proving to be possessed of unusual ability, a third year is sometimes granted. The winner of the 1892 scholarship gained this distinction. The Senate of the University has also the right of nominating one person each year for a commission in the British Army. Two students in the University have already received such commissions. The Senate can also nominate each year one candidate as a cadet in the Royal Military College of Sandhurst, England. The University has practically been at work since 1874, the first three years being chiefly occupied in preliminaries. The number of graduates is now about 470, and the number of undergraduates known to be pursuing their studies about 1700.

Mr. William Miles Maskell, the Registrar of the University of New Zealand, was born in Hampshire, in the south of England. He was educated partly at the Catholic College of St. Mary, Oscott, and partly in Paris. After leaving school he went into the army, where he served for three years in the 11th Infantry, now called the Devonshire Regiment. Mr. Maskell came to Lyttelton in 1860 per ship “William Miles,” and for some time after his arrival was engaged on a sheep station, eventually taking up Mr. William Miles Maskell a sheep run in Kaikoura, in the Marlborough district, where he remained until 1864. He then removed to the South, and for the next eight years was farming in North Canterbury. During this time Mr. Maskell was elected as a member of the Canterbury Provincial Council, and in this body he held a seat from the year 1865 to 1875. About 1874, he became Provincial Secretary and Treasurer of the Canterbury Province. On the abolition of the provinces, Mr. Maskell accepted his present position as Registrar of the University. In the year 1884 he removed to Wellington where he has resided ever since Mr. Maskell is well known as an entomologist, having for years made a close study of insects, especially of such as affect the agriculturist, and in this way he has done a great service to the New Zealand farmer.