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Victoria University of Wellington 1899 ~ 1999 A History

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Eleven

1 I.A. Gordon, ‘Authorship at Victoria’, Spike, 1949, p.31.

2 J.S. Ryan, ‘Clerks to the language: the twentieth century New Zealand lexicographers in English’, Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, Vol.22 (1989). Gordon himself had been sub-editor of the Scottish National Dictionary before he came to Victoria.

3 Gordon, ‘Some notes (inevitably biased) on the English Department’, 1989; interview with the author, 3 Oct. 1997; Gordon to Williams, 25 Apr. 1962, VC file 795: box 4E, R95/94. Eric McCormick gives a candid account of the state of the English Department in the 1920s, when ‘Professor Hugh Mackenzie, one of the original professors, was still sitting like a lump of granite in the chair of English’, in J. Ross et al. (eds), Writing a New Country, Auckland, 1993, p.15, and An Absurd Ambition, Auckland, 1996.

4 Douglas Gray and Don McKenzie at Oxford, Peter Dronke at Cambridge: Dronke and Gray both medievalists. Four members of the English Department staff have been appointed to personal chairs at Victoria: Jim Bertram, Joan Stevens, Stuart Johnston and Bill Manhire.

5 Gordon, Further material on the structure of the arts degree, 19 Aug. 1960, arts faculty (AF) 2: box 34A.

6 English retained a foreign language requirement for its literature majors until 1974, and longer for graduate page 409 students and those taking English language and linguistics. The arts faculty had set up a committee in 1961, convened by Professor Munz, in response to a letter from VUWSA to the Council (10 July 1961). It decided then to keep the foreign language requirement – a pass in a foreign language at stage one as one degree unit, or a reading knowledge paper in addition to the nine units of the BA – but to reform the reading knowledge courses. Reading knowledge was no longer to be ‘a mere language drill and will become instead a linguistic study in a genuinely humanistic sense’, using ‘a text of genuine literary and cultural interest’. (Civilisation would make up 40% of the course; translation 60%.) The science faculty retained its foreign language requirement – for its graduate degrees – longer than arts, and was also unwilling to exempt Colombo Plan students, as the arts departments did, because Asian languages were not regarded as ‘scientific languages’. (Foreign languages requirements for B.A. and M.Sc., [1962]; amended Report of the Foreign Language Requirement Committee, 22 May 1962, AF 2, 4: 34A.)

7 Between 1967 and 1976 the proportion of secondary school students taking languages fell from 48.5% to 31.6%, with Latin, Greek and French suffering the most. The expansion of the senior school curriculum continued this decline. In the late 1970s just over half of the courses taught in this faculty had 12 or fewer students. (Faculty of languages and literature, quinquennial submission, 27 Feb. 1978, languages and literature faculty (L&L) 29: box 35F.)

8 McKenzie, Future development of the faculty of languages and literature, Sept. 1970; McKenzie to the faculty academic develoment committee, 13 May 1972, L&L 31: box 35G.

9 Indeed it appears to have been Don McKenzie's 1970 report that initiated this change, although the dean of arts, Ralph Brookes, was also an important figure here. McKenzie put a resolution to the faculties in 1970 that they establish a committee to investigate ‘the practicality of making the structure of the B.A. degree more flexible’. Brookes was appointed convenor of this committee.

10 McKenzie, Future development of the faculty of languages and literature, Sept. 1970; Faculty academic development committee, Statement for quinquennial submissions, 24 Apr. 1973, L&L 10: box 34C.

11 Boyd-Wilson, Evening Post, 13 Nov. 1954.

12 Auckland students, he observed, ‘tended to write interminably, with no method [and] concluded with minor, trifling details’; Victoria's ‘wrote much less … but interestingly, from the first sentence’: ‘I have no hesitation in saying, that these scripts if corrected in England or France, would show a gulf of 30% in marks between the two colleges.’ (F. Mackenzie, A note on the French Department in Victoria University College (‘a harmless jotting on an aspect of the work done this year, chez nous’), 1955, VC file 12: box 9B, P17.)

13 D.C. Carrad, Report on year's work – 1960, 6 Feb. 1961, VC file 12.

14 P.J. Norrish to the registrar, 21 Oct. 1963, VC file 811: box 4F, R95/97.

15 This was in 1965. There were at least three formal complaints: ‘The health inspector would have a fit,’ Joan Stevens worried. (VC file 89: box 9E, P30.)

16 Bruce Mason, obituary, Evening Post, 20 June 1981.

17 Danilow himself attributed his appointment in part to ‘his ability to translate German slang expressions with which his colleagues were not familiar’. (VUW Staff Circular, 25 June 1976.) He continued to teach German until Carrad was appointed in 1947.

18 Danilow, Report of my twenty years of teaching at the Victoria University of Wellington – 1942–1946 and 1949–1963, Dec. 1963, VC file 845: box 4G, R95/102.

19 There were about 15 students each year in the first half of the 1950s, more than double that by the end of the '50s, but this was only a tenth of the French enrolments and about a third of the number taking German.

20 Canterbury started teaching Russian in 1960, and honours in 1961; Otago in 1961. Auckland established a separate department of Russian in 1962 although they had had only a junior lecturer until now (and it was disestablished only a few years later): Danilow had taught their senior students.

21 She was a naturalised Swiss, born in St Petersburg, and a graduate of Lausanne and Oxford. After he left Victoria, Danilow took a temporary appointment as a visiting associate professor at Auckland.

22 Faculty of languages and literature, Report of the academic development sub-committee on P.B.73/3: Review of staff establishments and redeployment of resources, 1973, L&L 10: box 34C; Modern foreign languages in the university: a supplementary background note, 1982, L&L 29: box 35F.

23 ‘Classical background’ courses for the study of English literature were ‘laudable and necessary’, but preferably combined with some study of the language and literature in its own right. (H.A. Murray, ‘Aims of a university: the classics and redbrick’, Spike, 1957, pp.9– 12.)

24 E.H. McCormick, An Absurd Ambition (ed. D. McEldowney), Auckland, 1996, p.69: ‘Greek History, etc. was a landmark in my formal education, perhaps the landmark.’

25 P.H. Waddington to the registrar, 24 Mar. 1975, VC file 2391: box 8D, R98/55.

26 Professor Norrish had recommended in 1963 that Spanish be introduced, in the same year that a Wellington Spanish Club was founded. By the end of the 1960s both the Wellington Polytechnic and university Extension Department were teaching introductory courses. Auckland was the only other New Zealand university offering either Italian or Spanish, with majors in both.

27 The French Department was willing to sacrifice staff to keep Italian going, as it was (if necessary) to save the German chair. The key report which resulted from these deliberations was the Malcolm report to the Academic page 410 Development Committee (Nov. 1982).

28 R. Robinson, memo for the vice-chancellor, 5 Apr. 1984, VC file 2089: box 6G, R98/11. There had been professorial support for the introduction of Dutch, especially from Anthropology and Asian Studies, and the ambassadors were prepared to ask their government for funds, but economic conditions were not propitious for new developments, and the UGC appears not to have been keen.

29 McKenzie's argument was a pragmatic as much as an academic one, though cogently argued on both grounds. The language problem, he observed, was not really that students were not interested in studying languages, it was that they did not want to read literature in the original language, but this was where most of the staff's interests lay: traditionally, literature was the core of university language departments.

30 Report of the law faculty curriculum development committee, 23 July 1975, law faculty file 380: box 39C.

31 This was marked by Graeme Kennedy's move from English (language) to become director of the English Language Institute with the additional title of professor of applied linguistics in 1982.

32 The confusion of course codes had been symptomatic of the problem: all the linguistics and English language courses were labelled as English language, while the two courses coded as linguistics (LING) were actually in second language teaching.

33 Victoria News, 8 Aug. 1988.

34 Report of committee on proposed course in drama, 13 Feb. 1958, VC file 792: box 4E, R95/92.

35 P. Munz to the dean of arts, 14 Sept. 1961, AF 1: box 34A.

36 The others were Roger Savage of the English Department, John Ritchie, and Irene Esam from Russian, along with 1950s–60s Extrav maestro Bill Sheat.

37 Millar, the first manager of the New Zealand Players, a Victoria graduate and Unity stalwart, soon left the rigours of touring to become reference librarian at the university, before returning full time to her distinguished career in theatre – founding her own theatre company and school before the establishment of a New Zealand Drama School.

38 McKenzie, Lectureship in drama, 1967–68, VC file 792.

39 The lecturer who joined him in 1973 was from Humboldt too, but this was fortuitous.

40 P. Mann, Notes on university drama courses in New Zealand, 1976–77, personal files; Playmarket: celebrating 21 years, Wellington, 1994.

41 Mann, Notes on university drama courses in New Zealand.

42 Evening Post, 1 May 1970.

43 Mann, in Playmarket: celebrating 21 years.

44 Others were the national office of the Association of University Teachers, the secretariat of the New Zealand Vice-chancellors' Committee, the Alliance Française, and the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, who were subsequently hosted by the Institute of Policy Studies. The Applied Maths Division was allowed to stay when it was realised that the DSIR had made a contribution to the cost of the Rankine Brown building.

45 D.C.B. Taylor to R.S.V. Simpson, 26 Apr. 1972, VC file 2334: box 8B, R98/45.

46 The idea of university-based library training had been raised already in 1940, and discussed by the New Zealand Library Association and the university Senate. In the 1950s a shortage of students (especially men) and lack of research underpinned this push. In the 1960s the context was the needs of specialist and university libraries. A small studentship scheme was established then, for library trainees to attend university, but not on the scale (comparable with the teaching studentships) that the profession wanted. For a detailed account of library training and the university see M. Ronnie, Education for Librarianship in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, London, 1996.

47 Taylor, ‘Of libraries and the university’, New Zealand Libraries, Vol.32, No.3 (June 1969), p.79.

48 This proposal was included in the university's 1963 quinquennial submission. The UGC did not see art history as warranting a special grant, however, and the Committee of the Vice-chancellor and Deans decided not to pursue it. (Establishment of the teaching of art history and other subjects in the humanities, 1972, L&L 9: box 34C.)

49 Ibid. French professor Peter Norrish also proposed the establishment of a lectureship in fine arts in a report to the Professorial Board in 1965.

50 F. Page, A Musician's Journal, Dunedin, 1986, p.92.

51 Minutes of the house and finance committee, 12 Aug. 1958, Council minutes, 1958, p.296. The committee included a Council representative (R.S.V. Simpson, who remained its convenor for a decade after he retired from the Council), a staff representative, the director of the National Art Gallery and the president of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts.

52 Report of the purchase of pictures standing committee, 1961, VC file 987: box 5G, R95/127; News VUW, 2 Sept. 1996.

53 W.E. Dasent to the chancellor, 12 Nov. 1969, file 987.

54 The J.C. Beaglehole Room was formally opened on 25 February 1975, having started as a proposal from the Council in 1970 for a Beaglehole library to house a New Zealand and Pacific collection which was never developed on the scale at first planned. Disagreement over what the room should contain was resolved by compromise ‘when it was decided to deck the shelves with old books, beautifully bound and of historic interest’. Beaglehole is reported to have been unenthusiastic about the scheme all along. The disparity between the librarian's needs and the architect's design is another story.

55 News VUW, 7 Oct. 1996.

56 B. Manhire, Mutes & Earthquakes, Wellington, 1997, p.9. Before this, however, a University Extension workshop in creative writing had been first held in 1969.

57 The two titles that were an economic success were Ian page 411 Gordon's English Prose Technique, and First Readings in Old English by Auckland associate professor Pip Ardern. The full story of the struggle to establish and maintain the University of New Zealand Press is told by J.E. Traue in ‘The University of New Zealand Press’, New Zealand Libraries, Vol.26, No.1 (Jan.–Feb. 1963).

58 Beaglehole, Report of the sub-committee on research and publication, 1962, Professorial Board minutes, 1962, pp.69–71.

59 McKenzie, Report on university printing and publishing, 1970, VC file 1137: box 1D, R45/14.

60 Otago was also looking at this time for a distribution arrangement. Auckland University Press already had its deal with Oxford, which essentially just gave it the kudos of the Oxford University Press imprint. McKenzie was not satisfied with the Oxford offer. Others he was talking to included Sweet & Maxwell in Britain, and locally Blackwood and Janet Paul. After Longman bought out the Pauls in 1969 (to make Longman Paul), The Feel of Truth was published for Victoria by Reeds.

61 The first book Price published for the university, however, had been Edward Gibbon Wakefield in New Zealand (1971), an MA thesis by Peter Stuart.

62 Minutes of the publications committee, 1 Mar., 3 May 1973, VUP archives.

63 Ibid., 3 July 1977.

64 Ibid., 1978, p.160. They also sought the advice of a visiting Canadian who was in New Zealand to foster an interchange of ideas on scholarly publishing (Norman Wagner from Wilfrid Laurier University).

65 K. Mander, ‘The success of university presses in New Zealand book awards’, Endnotes, 1997, pp.8–12.

66 For a more detailed discussion on this subject see J.E.P. Thomson, ‘New Zealand literature at Victoria’, Kite, 7 (December 1994), pp.13–6.

67 A petition was organised, and the debate followed at length in the pages of Salient.

68 H. Mackenzie, ‘English language and literature’, Addresses Delivered by the Professors on the Occasion of the Inauguration and Opening of the College, Wellington, 1899, p.24.

69 Review of the Department of English, 1995, p.4.

70 Jenny McLeod, ‘An immortal friend’, in Page, 1986, p.161.

71 Vice-chancellor's report to Council (appendix: promotions), Dec. 1958, Council minutes, 1958, p.435.

72 Page, ‘Some V.U.C. composers’, Spike, 1957, p.18.

73 Douglas Lilburn to Peter Crowe, quoted in V. Harris & P. Norman (eds), Douglas Lilburn: a festschrift, Wellington, 1980, p.66–7.

74 Draft proposals for development of the Music Department, 1966, AF 3: box 34A; Lilburn, memo for the vice-chancellor, ‘Electronic Music Studio’, 2 Jan. 1966, VC file 827: box 4G, R95/100.

75 McLeod, quoted in J.M. Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of New Zealand Composers, Wellington, 1990, p.98.

76 Evening Post, 16 Aug. 1975.

77 Dominion, 8 Sept. 1976. In fact she resigned to take a job with the newly established Polytechnic course, which then fell through, but decided to leave anyway.

78 Lilburn to Taylor, 30 Mar. 1976; Taylor to O'Brien, 10 Mar. 1976, VC file 2334: box 8B, R98/45.

79 J.D. Gould, the pro-vice-chancellor, reminded Taylor of the ‘very unhappy precedent’ of the chair of industrial relations. Lilburn and Taylor pointed to a happier precedent: in 1957 Page had been promoted to the chair.

80 Dominion, 3 Sept. 1976.

81 Aside from the administrative complexity of the executant programme, Music taught a wide range of courses because it offered a music major for the BA as well as its own BMus.

82 Holborow was a member of the management board of the Music Federation, of which Turnovsky had been a principal architect and for some years president. The proposal already had the agreement of the chancellor and a press release had been written before it was formally put before the Council in April 1988 – Turnovsky and Holborow wanted to announce it at the Music Federation's upcoming AGM.

83 Spike, 1949, p.72.

84 The debt was $9305, plus an anticipated $3300 bill for restoration of the Memorial Theatre Steinway. In restyling itself a school, the department was following, in fact, Auckland and Canterbury and the recommendation of a conference of university music teachers; Otago did the same.

85 Dominion, 7 Oct. 1977.

86 The fund was approved by the university administration so long as there was nothing in the nature of a general public appeal, only requests to friends, graduates and patrons of the department's concerts.

87 Robinson, Victoria University Arts Centre: a proposal and a discussion document, May 1985, VC file 2032; Don McKenzie, who wrote an earlier paper on this subject, had a possible patron in mind: his memo was headed ‘A School of Arts?/A T———y Arts Centre?’, for which we must read Turnovsky. (VC file 2032: box 6D, R98/3.)

88 Robinson, ibid. There had also been a suggestion at one stage of turning the Hunter building to such a purpose.