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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 13. July 15, 1953

Plunket Medal

Plunket Medal

Sir,—The Judges decision upon the Plunket Medal contest has been the subject of much adverse comment. I believe this is because the Debating Society has formulated over the past few years some sort of "set standard" of what is expected from Plunket Medal speakers. And from the efforts of the recent contestants it seems that this "set standard", is not correctly based.

Writing, memorising and then "acting" a speech is not oratory The language used tends to be Stilted and artificial; no chance is given for adaptation to unforseen circumstances in the occasion or audience; gestures are likely to be ill-timed: and above all the "appeal of sincerity in lost almost entirely. Consequently the audience is not receiving the speaker's best appeal, which could be made if the speaker with his outline or path of thought carefully prepared speaks extempore.

The memoriter style may be of use in training a speaker, but it should be quickly abandoned before it gets too strong a hold.

I cannot say whether Mr. Mummery's speech was extemporaneous or not, but he certainly gave the impression of "thinking on his feet" and this must have been the deciding factor with the adjudicators.

It is perhaps a pity that it was necessary to disallow the entry of new speakers in this year's contest, as they must now feel, even if only sub-consciously, the weight of the "set standard"

However, congratulations Mr. Mummery!

J. Whitta