Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 17. August 3, 1950
Ake, Ake, Auc!
Ake, Ake, Auc!
Kevin O'Sullivan is the first Aucklander to win the Bledisloe Medal since Kenneth Melvin in 1932. His speech on Orakau was truly great oratory. It has been under preparation for two years. Therein lies a lesson for Victoria's many competent speakers who frequently fail through inadequate preparation. Describing Orakau as "New Zealand's Gettysburg." he later compared it with Britain's "finest hour" and moved his audience to endorse the words of his peroration: "For though we are not flesh of their flesh, let us as inheritors of their lands, become spirit of their spirit."
Second equal were the student newspapermen, "Ike" Patterson (OU) and Kevin O'Connor (Massey). Patterson's sound legal opinion on the Treaty of Waitangi may not have been broadminded enough to be good oratory. Factors other than the strictly legal were ignored but only a speaker of his ability could have won an audience in a speech which included a dissertation on two constitutional cases.
Kevin O'Connor soon converted his listeners to admiration of the founder of the Corriedale, James Little, who "earned undying dignity by keeping close to this cold planet, Earth." In part really poetic, this speech deserved a slightly better fate.
Speaking third, Jim Milbum made the first attempt at classical oratory and must have gone close to a place with his oration on Sir Julius Vogel. This speech contained many of the hallmarks of great oratory, but probably lost its effectiveness through a change in the speaker's style. Over-careful pausation led some to believe him insincere. Nevertheless, Vogel was depicted as a life-like figure.
Sir George Grey received a balanced treatment from Alec Williams, whose delivery, however, was not impressive, possibly because he spoke after the ultimate winner. The tiring audience appeared to know Grey well enough for them to be moved by this accurate account of his life and character.
Of the others, Lincoln's Lindsay Smith, in his speech on Waitaki's Hugh Milner, was the most promising orator.
—M. J. O'Brien.