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Victoria University of Wellington 1899 ~ 1999 A History

Chapter Ten

Chapter Ten

1 J.R. McCreary, ‘Social science’, Spike, 1954, p.54.

2 ‘Obituary notice: Ernest Beaglehole, 1906–1965’, Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Vol.94, 1966, p.112.

3 Ibid.

4 E. Beaglehole, Report to the principal on the requirements for psychology at Victoria University College, Mar. 1950, VC file 18: box 9B, P18. He had had approaches from University College, London; Reading; Manchester; Berkeley; and from UNESCO. Possibly he regretted this decision when a request in 1955 for 15 months' leave to take up a position as director of UNESCO's applied social science division was declined by the college Council.

5 As the UGC chairman wrote to Taylor in 1971, after McCreary had asked for ‘clarification of the existing policy and procedure with regard to research in social sciences’: ‘I am bound to say that the whole tenor of the notes [in the UGC research handbook] indicates a bias towards the supply of special and generally expensive pieces of equipment beyond the normal capacity of the department concerned to meet from its normal grants. This is understandable, since the provision of research equipment, primarily for the physical sciences, was the whole original purpose of this central fund.’ (A. Danks to Taylor, 13 Sept. 1971, VC file 1203: box 1F, R95,20.)

6 Beaglehole, Report to the principal on the requirements for psychology.

7 There were nine projects proposed in all, on topics including ‘The international economic policy of New Zealand’, ‘The common law and the welfare state’, and ‘New Zealand national character and social structure’. (D.C. Marsh, Memorandum on social science research, 11 July 1952, Council minutes, 1952, pp.166–8.)

8 J.E. Ritchie, Basic Personality in Rakau, Wellington, 1956, p.4.

9 James Ritchie was appointed the founding professor of psychology at the University of Waikato in 1964; Jane Ritchie later became associate professor. In his inaugural address, James Ritchie spoke of the need to find a new synthesis in psychological studies, to develop clinical psychology and to establish a centre for Maori studies. (P. Day, From the Ground Up, Hamilton, 1984, p.67.) Six of Ernest Beaglehole's students became professors of psychology at New Zealand universities.

10 Salient published an apology under threat of disciplinary action. Ausubel's subsequently published impressions of New Zealand, The Fern and the Tiki (1965), ruffled more feathers: it has been described as ‘probably the most controversial book ever written by an American about New Zealand’. Local reviewers found his views on New Zealand national character, social attitudes and race page 405 relations superficial and ill informed. (‘Psychology scorned’, Salient, 1 Apr. 1958; D. Hamer, ‘Newest America? Comments on the perception of New Zealand by American visitors’, in M. McKinnon (ed.), The American Connection, Wellington, 1988, p.22.)

11 These included a survey of international attitudes, proposed to Beaglehole and funded by the social sciences department of UNESCO, surveys of public opinion and the United Nations, and of Dutch and Polish immigrant communities in New Zealand.

12 A.J.W. Taylor, To Make Captivity Captive (inaugural address), Wellington, 1970, p.1.

13 In 1960, for example, there were 16 science enrolments in psychology compared with 263 arts; but in the early 1970s about a quarter at stage one were science students.

14 Adcock retired in 1969, but stayed on for a time (to the new professor's and the vice-chancellor's concern), continuing work on a large-scale, factor-analytic project in collaboration with colleague Frank Whalkey and the DSIR computer. Eventually he was requested to leave.

15 L.B. Brown, An Abacus of Intuition (inaugural address), Wellington, 1968, p.11.

16 Taylor's work in Antarctica earned him an honorary doctorate from the University of Rheims in 1990, as well as an invitation to act as consultant to the European Space Agency's astronaut selection panel.

17 This was the strong view of the external committee which reviewed the department in 1991 (Report of the Psychology Review Committee, 1991).

18 McCreary, 1954, p.52.

19 N.V. Adcock to the vice-chancellor, 11 Feb. 1969, VC file 839: box 4G, R95/101.

20 Report of the Psychology Review Committee, p.3.

21 ‘It is indeed a matter of scandal throughout the New Zealand world of academic psychology,’ he observed. (D. Hamer to the vice-chancellor, 26 Apr. 1988, VC file 2096: box 6F, R98/12.)

22 Its accommodation in the Easterfield building (since the late '70s) was described in 1991 as ‘dingy, noisy, ill-suited for their present purpose, extremely cramped … and poorly furnished’; the department's equipment, with the exception of the psycho-physics lab and a recently acquired micro-computer, ‘inadequate in both quantity and quality, not to say archaic in many cases’. (Report of the Psychology Review Committee, pp.4– 5.)

23 J.H. Robb, Social Science and Social Welfare (inaugural address), Wellington, 1966, p.6.

24 ‘… the Otis Higher and Group 33 as verbal tests, a non-verbal intelligence test based on the Penrose Pattern Perception Test, a group administration of the Rorschach Ink Blot Test and the Allport-Vernon Study of Values Test’, along with personal interviews and group discussions. (McCreary, ‘The School of Social Science, part one – The Martians’, New Zealand Social Worker, Vol.7, No.1 (Jan. 1971), p.15.) Law, Psychology, Accountancy, History and Biology were among the departments that contributed to the teaching.

25 Submissions to Committee on New Zealand Universities, 1959, p.55.

26 The Hawera social survey was commissioned in view of a proposed community centre. The second community survey was done in 1955 in Masterton, where the ‘apparently unimportant and simple’ question which provoked the most passionate response was about grass verges: ‘surprised interviewers brought back their schedules with stories of people becoming excited, and even enraged … of voices being raised and fists pounded on tables’. (J. Robb & A. Somerset, Report to Masterton, Masterton, 1957, p.19.) The third was done in Hamilton in 1961.

27 Robb & C.H.G. Crothers, ‘New Zealand’, in Y. Atal (ed.), Sociology and Social Anthropology in Asia and the Pacific, New Delhi, 1985, p.476.

28 Two pages of ‘highly emotive writing’, reported Congalton, ‘criticized the fact that an investigation had been made concerning social status in the community’: the survey was described by Truth as ‘improper’, ‘snobbish and undemocratic’, ‘a new snooping level in its pernicious probe into the private affairs of the people’. The survey was done in 1946 at a Wellington boys' secondary school. (A.A. Congalton, Social Class Consciousness in Adolescents, Wellington, 1952, pp.12–3.)

29 R. Thomson, ‘The development of sociology in New Zealand’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Vol.8, No.3 (Oct. 1972), pp.188–93; Robb, ‘Some thoughts on beginning’, in Robb, M. Hancock & R. Thomson, ‘The establishment of sociology in New Zealand: a “founders” retrospect’, New Zealand Sociology, Vol.11, No.2 (Nov. 1996), p.325.

30 An earlier incarnation of ‘sociology’ in the university was the Outlines of Sociology paper for a Diploma of Social Science, introduced into the University of New Zealand syllabus in 1921. It became a regular BA paper once that diploma disappeared in 1935, and attracted between five and 10 enrolments a year.

31 Thomson, p.189.

32 Robb, 1996, p.326.

33 McCreary, The Social Fact and the Individual (inaugural address), Wellington, 1971, p.2. Enrolments at stage one were 63 in the first year, 1957; 240 in 1966.

34 Robb & Crothers, p.472.

35 Gazette, 31 Aug. 1972.

36 Auckland University established an MA programme in 1975, Canterbury a diploma, and Massey a bachelor's degree in 1976.

37 Evening Post, 29 July, 13 Aug. 1955; Professorial Board minutes, 16 Feb. 1956, p.13. A second conference the next year reiterated this request.

38 Sub-committee on Maori Education Foundation letter, Final report to the arts faculty, 1963, arts faculty (AF) 2: box 34A. Information about the enrolment of Maori students was not officially collected then: the number of Maori students given in this report was calculated by the university liaison officer, Ralph Hogg, and Miria Simpson, assistant to the librarian.

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39 J. Urry, ‘A History of the Department of Anthropology at Victoria University’, 1997.

40 The first time to, and by, an Australian anthropologist with experience in New Guinea; secondly a South African.

41 Parker was not formally appointed to the department until 1977 because, it has been claimed, he had studied for a BA at Victoria in the 1930s but had not graduated – although there have been other precedents for this. After his retirement in 1979 his department conferred on him the title Ahorangi, distinguished scholar. A few days before his death in 1986 the chancellor conferred on him an honorary doctorate at a hastily arranged ceremony at Te Omanga Hospice.

42 Stage-two Maori had been introduced in 1966; stage-three was listed in the calendar but not offered in 1969 and 1970.

43 Annual report for 1967, AJHR, 1968, E–3, p.27.

44 The Waikato plan, and probably at least part of the reason for the UGC's hesitation about it, was for an ‘action research’-oriented Maori studies centre.

45 The society had 25 members in 1970, and about 100 by 1973, no longer solely Maori studies students. The collection of teaching tapes produced by them was later given to the National Film Library for use by schools.

46 Faculties of arts and languages and literature, Report of the study group on the development of Maori and Polynesian studies, Apr. 1973, AF 10: box 34C.

47 Report of the Academic Development Committee, 22 May 1975, Professorial Board minutes, 1975, p.273ff.

48 News VUW, 13 June 1986.

49 Separate departments of Maori studies were not created at other universities until 1988 (Massey) and 1991 (Auckland).

50 The first donations were $12,000 from Jack Ilott and $3000 from Maori studies students.

51 News VUW, 22 June 1984.

52 Review of the Department of Maori Studies, 1992, p.55. That it had a teaching role helped persuade the UGC to provide some funding. A marae in itself was not a category of building the UGC considered its responsibility to provide – hence the public fundraising campaign.

53 Annual Reports of the Departments for 1991, p.1:3.

54 R.S. Parker to J. Williams, 2 Apr. 1952, VC file 112: box 9G, P33.

55 Submissions to Committee on New Zealand Universities, 1959, p.62. The two-year diploma gave a year's grounding in a range of disciplines, from psychology to history, followed by a year devoted to public administration, finance and law.

56 Honours was introduced in 1974, masters in 1975. Parker recalled a ‘dour battle’, but also that some in the public service ‘believed I was letting them down by giving too much attention to developing the politics side of the School’. (Parker in M. Clark (ed.), School of Political Science and Public Administration: jubilee, Wellington, 1989, p.20.)

57 Parker in Clark, 1989, p.18. He was a striking figure in local amateur theatre.

58 M. Clark, ibid., p.32.

59 When he died in 1978 he was in Whangarei on secondment to the Department of Health, working on the reorganisation of regional health services. In 1986 Henry Lang delivered the first Ralph Brookes Memorial Lecture on the topic of health policy formulation.

60 In his own account, Milne went to a conference on public administration in Manila in 1958, with half his expenses paid by the Department of External Affairs. In 1959 he was invited back to a visiting professorship, only to find out that his application for leave had been declined after he had gone. He found a position at the University of Singapore, and later at British Columbia. (Milne in Clark, 1989, pp.26–7.)

61 In 1981, for example, when the department asked that the disestablishment of a lectureship be reconsidered, the vice-chancellor replied that the response to this request ‘is likely to depend on the progress your department has made towards the rationalisation of its course offering, which the Committee of Vice-chancellor and Deans considers is unnecessarily extensive’. (VC file 2363: box 8C, R98/51.)

62 Elsewhere, the Canterbury department, for example, increasingly emphasised empirical studies, while it was initially strong in political philosophy; Auckland pioneered courses in urban politics, minority groups, and Australian politics. It had once been thought that Victoria should specialise in institutions and pressure groups; Canterbury in political philosophy; Auckland in parties and elections. (R. Goldstein & J. Halligan, ‘New Zealand’, in W.G. Andrews (ed.), International Handbook of Political Science, Westport, 1982, p.247.)

63 An earlier endeavour to found a New Zealand Institute of Political Science apparently failed, although there was an inaugural meeting, addressed by W.B. Sutch, in December 1951.

64 L. Cleveland to M. Clark, 18 June 1978, VC file 2364. As an arts student taking political science in these years, one assumed it was the ‘BCA captives’ who threw darts at the lecturers.

65 John Roberts, interview, 4 June 1998.

66 The questioner, Ian Shearer, admitted that his own academic credentials, a PhD from Nottingham in reproductive physiology, hardly qualified him ‘to point the finger of irrelevancy’. (House of Representatives order paper, 9 Aug. 1978; M. Clark to the acting vice-chancellor, 29 Aug. 1978, VC file 2364.) Among this department's less appreciated contributions to the university's public profile, on the other hand, was its cross-dressing lecturer Chris Wainwright's exposé of the university system, The Degree Merchants (1977), which brought a public response from both the chancellor and vice-chancellor (‘The usual ravings of a dissatisfied academic,’ O'Brien commented, although he had not read the book). (Evening Post, 17 & 20 Sept. 1977.)

67 Review of the Department of Geography, 1992, p.13; H. Franklin & D. Winchester (eds), Victoria Geography page 407 Teaching and Research, Wellington, 1993. Keith Sinclair in his History of the University of Auckland records a Victoria geography student's poetic response to an Auckland thesis suggesting that the Wellington department was ‘deviate’: ‘The Gospel according to Hartshorne,/On our sleeves if not on our hearts worn,/ will enable us to state/quite firmly; Wellington, though Victorian, is deviate’ (p.206). While Victoria distinguishes itself particularly from the Hartshornian departments at Auckland and Canterbury, its distinctiveness is claimed in an international as well as local context.

68 Victoria University of Wellington, Research and Publication, 1966.

69 R. Watters, obituary, Evening Post, 3 July 1997; Tim Beaglehole, personal communication.

70 K. Buchanan, The Transformation of the Chinese Earth, London, 1970, p.vii.

71 The last of five volumes was published in 1979. A similar (but smaller) interdisciplinary project followed in Papua New Guinea in the early '80s.

72 Franklin & Winchester, p.33.

73 From Picasso: ‘art [cartography] is a lie, which makes us realise the truth’. (Franklin & Winchester, pp.54, 51; Department of Geography, Strategic and management plan, 1993–1998.)

74 J.H. Robb, obituary, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Vol.4, No.2 (Oct. 1968), p.160.

75 Somerset was consulted by the local committee in the early stages of planning Hawera's community centre, and suggested that they first undertake a community survey.

76 C. Beeby, introduction to H.C.D. Somerset, Littledene: patterns of change, Wellington, 1974, p.xvii. Somerset returned to Oxford seven times to research ‘Littledene Revisited’, a project suggested by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research; students of the School of Social Science conducted interviews in 1952. The study was not finished, but was later published together with the first survey as Littledene: patterns of change in 1974.

77 The Farthest Promised Land (1981), New Zealand's Burning (1994) and Settler Kaponga (1997).

78 Victoria News, 30 June 1988.

79 W.E. Dasent to J. Barrington, 25 Mar. 1982, VC file 2226: box 7D, R98/30. Victoria's argument for its own course included broader admission criteria, the larger number of students and therefore greater experience. It must be acknowledged, though, that part of the reason for the selection of Auckland and Otago was the unrealistic ambitions of Victoria's professor of educational psychology (R.W. Marsh).

80 Research and Publication, 1966.

81 From 1972, graduates with merit from the teachers' college were credited with 24 stage-one credits towards a BA. This was subsequently extended to BSc and BMus degrees, and from 1976 to all teachers' college graduates (not only those who passed with merit).

82 The University of Otago had made a similar proposal to the Hughes Parry one 20 years earlier, when the government appointed a committee to examine the needs of secondary teacher training in response to a sudden fall in the qualifications of prospective teachers. After the Hughes Parry report the matter was handed on to the Currie Commission on education, which was convened shortly after. However, it was the establishment of Waikato, on a site large enough to accommodate a teachers' college as well, and the development there of a BEd degree that the two institutions would teach jointly and the university confer, that forced the issue. By the 1970s there was a clear ideological divide among those university faculties of education (like Victoria's) which saw education as a liberal art and those which saw it as professional training.

83 Report of the Academic Development Committee: teachers' college/university relationships, 8 Nov. 1978, Council minutes, 1978, p.1197. The MEd introduced at the end of the 1980s was something different: an advanced degree for senior teachers, education administrators and policy-makers.

84 The teachers' college had moved from Kelburn to Karori in 1968.

85 T. Hunter, Establishment of new chairs, 16 Nov. 1949, VC file 197: box 10B, P47.

86 These were three extensively different volumes rather than three editions of the same: the second (1984) was entitled A Companion to Modal Logic. The third was not complete when George Hughes died in 1994.

87 Williams was not generous to those who went to leave the university and then changed their minds: Hughes was an exception (Parker in Political Science, in 1953, was one who was not).

88 C. Parkin to W.E. Dasent, 24 July 1981, VC file 2387: box 8D, R98/55.

89 Faculty of arts: report of committee on religious studies, Mar. 1963, VC file 2388: box 8D, R98/55. The members of this committee were Hughes, H.A. Murray the professor of classics, Peter Munz of History and Robb from Social Science.

90 Ibid. The Students' Association proposal was along the same lines: for a religious studies course to be taught by members of different departments (Philosophy, History and Sociology, for example). They also argued the importance of studying Eastern religion because of New Zealand's growing contact with Asia.

91 The heresy charges were dismissed, but in 1970, after Geering gave a television interview in Australia, the Assembly voted to dissociate itself from his views. It may be noted that Rollo Arnold of Victoria's Education Department was one of Geering's opponents within the church community: the leader during part of this period of the Presbyterian Laymen's Assocciation which spearheaded the heresy charge.

92 J.S. Somerville, foreword, in J. Veitch (ed.), Faith in an Age of Turmoil, London, 1990, p.v.

93 Review of the Department of World Religions, Jan. 1993.

94 Geering, Report on the staffing and departmental affiliation of religious studies, 10 July 1981, VC file 2387.

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95 C. Parkin to Dasent, 24 July 1981. That Canterbury had a Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies was no argument, they averred. There, religious studies had been started by the Philosophy Department, and it remained focused on the study of religious thought. By now, Massey and Otago also each had miniature ‘departments’ of religious studies, each with two lecturers but no chair, and Waikato introduced the subject later. Otago would establish a chair in 1992 – to which it appointed Victoria's reader Elizabeth Isichei.

96 Geering's continued involvement as emeritus professor and honorary lecturer was essential to the maintenance especially of the department's advanced courses; his Continuing Education courses were some of its most popular ones.

97 J. Veitch, Proposal to change the title of the department from Religious Studies to World Religions, 22 Sept. 1988, AF 21: box 37F. Geering had earlier suggested that it ‘may more properly be understood as a centre for the Study of Religion and Society’. (Geering to Dasent, 3 Aug. 1981, VC file 2387.)

98 Too great an emphasis on biblical studies and western Christian thought was one of the criticisms made by a review of the department in 1993, and one the department accepted. That Religious Studies courses were ‘soft options’ was another concern of the review committee – which was chaired by Professor Ninian Smart from the University of California. Here they noted very high pass rates in a number of courses; the absence of an undergraduate course, even an optional one, on theory and methodology (although a methodology course had been offered from 1975 to 1978); high numbers of graduate students, and the prevalence of denominational and confessional histories among thesis topics; and that much of the staff's published research was outside the field of religious studies. It was this review's recommendation that the department reinstate the name Religious Studies as a matter of urgency, and that the university reinstate the chair.

99 P. Munz, The Concept of the Middle Ages as a Sociological Category (inaugural address), Wellington, 1969, pp.8, 19, 20.

100 J.L. Roberts, ‘A personal tribute’, in M. Fairburn & W.H. Oliver (eds), The Certainty of Doubt, Wellington, 1996, p.25.

101 Munz, 1969, pp.2–3.

102 K. Sinclair, Halfway Round the Harbour, Auckland, 1993, p.171.

103 Victoria staff continued to be closely involved when its association was strengthened with the Department of Foreign Affairs, and it moved physically away. In the late 1960s it was invigorated by a generous Ford Foundation grant. The Institute moved back up to Kelburn in the 1980s.

104 There were others, especially Janet Holmes of linguistics, who also played a key role in achieving women's studies' acceptance as a degree subject. (On the History Department theme, it is perhaps also appropriate here to recall ‘the Beaglehole girls’, referring to the women graduates he recruited to Internal Affairs' Historical Branch in the wartime 1940s.)

105 Review of Women's Studies, 1995. It became a department on the recommendation of this review.

106 P. Munz to the vice-chancellor, 25 June 1968, VC file 813: box 4F, R95/97.

107 D. Mackay, Restructuring the arts, languages and literature faculties, Jan. 1989, AF 21: box 34F.

108 I.D. Campbell, memo for Council, 21 May 1963, VC file 813.

109 Munz saw himself rather as succeeding Wood: he succeeded to the headship of the department when Wood retired.

110 W.H. Oliver, ‘Petrus contra Mundum’, in Fairburn & Oliver, p.28.

111 Munz to the vice-chancellor, 25 Apr. 1969, VC file 813.

112 Davis wrote an important book on utopian writing in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, Utopia and the Ideal Society (published by Cambridge University Press in 1981), before he went to the chair at Massey, and later to East Anglia.

113 Keith Sinclair has laid claim to having taught at Auckland ‘the first course in a New Zealand university on our history’ in 1957 (Halfway Round the Harbour, Auckland, 1993, p.171).

114 Sinclair, A History of the University of Auckland, Auckland, 1983, p.ix.

115 They had in fact been doing so, but on a smaller scale, in the 1960s.