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Fulbright in New Zealand

Black and White photograph of Eric G. Budge

Black and White photograph of Eric G. Budge

In November 1971 the American Ambassador, Mr Franzheim, and George Laking, Secretary
of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were joint hosts at a luncheon in Wellington's
Hotel Waterloo. The occasion was the presentation to Eric Budge of a distinguished Service
Award from the Board of Foreign Scholarships in Washington. Eric Budge was also retiring
after 22 years of serving the United States Educational Foundation in New Zealand. He was
the longest serving Director in the world.
     He had a great deal to look back on, on that November occasion. He had welcomed,
farewelled and supervised 490 New Zealanders who had gone to America, and 414 Americans
who had come the other way. The job had certainly had variety: he had dealt with
graduate students, university lecturers, research scholars and teachers, in occupations
ranging from accountancy to zoology, and the rewards, both tangible and intangible, had
been great.
    He saw a new awareness in New Zealand universities, a consciousness of the developments
in America and their ramifications and many advantages. Before the start of his
tenure there were scarcely any American-trained academics in New Zealand, but at the end
American or American-trained people were on the staffs of most departments in New
Zealand universities. Attending to the needs of Fulbrighters who had come at the start of the
American academic year and getting New Zealanders away by September for the northern
semester could be hectic at times, but the personal rewards were great too. Eric's great
attention to detail, and his willingness to help grantees won him many friends. During two
brief visits to the United States (in 1954 and 1964) he was a guest in the homes of many of
them. It was busy but immensely enjoyable — because, as he modestly says, Fulbrighters are
such first-rate people.