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Victoria University of Wellington 1899 ~ 1999 A History

Chapter Six

Chapter Six

1 Evening Post, 24 Nov. 1962 (the series was entitled ‘Know your university’). Fanny Irvine-Smith wrote in The Streets of My City of the ‘stiff ascent for the many thousands of students who have travelled hopefully up the Kelburn heights for the past forty years in the effort to arrive’ (p.225); and Michael Fowler: ‘It is right … that the University, symbolic of research and objectivity, should remain clearly visible above the commercial and political centre of New Zealand, where objectivity is occasionally less than obvious’ (quoted in M. Smith, ‘The Ritual Humour of Students: capping at Victoria University, 1902–1988’, PhD thesis, Indiana, 1992, p.74); Philip Grey in ‘Victoria College’: ‘…Yet in the upward page 394 climb/For Knowledge, Culture, Truth, the heights sublime/Of merit, power and wisdom shalt thou gain’ (in F.A. de la Mare & S. Eichelbaum (eds), The Old Clay Patch, 1949, p.59). Beaglehole's ‘Dear hill’ appears in his ‘Ode on the unveiling of the memorial window’ (The Old Clay Patch, 1949, p.128).

2 Submissions to Committee on New Zealand Universities, 1959, p.184.

3 M.J. Poole, secretary, VUCSA, to the Council chairman, 18 July 1945, Council minutes, 1945, p.860.

4 R.A. Candy, chairman, Massey Agricultural College, to the Council chairman, 9 Aug. 1945, Council minutes, 1945, pp.884–7. Massey had plans to develop rural sociology and rural education, and a ‘Home-maker's Course, designed specially for country girls’, to ‘inculcate a love of farming as a way of living and not merely as a livelihood’.

5 H.H. Daniell to the Council chairman, 24 Aug. 1945, Council minutes, 1945, p.924. Recipients of the Masterton Trust Lands Trust's education grants over the years have included Victoria's librarian and Masterton's first Rhodes scholar, Harold Miller; psychology lecturer I.L.G. Sutherland; and education professor Arthur Fieldhouse.

6 Council minutes, 1949, p.171; J. Williams, introduction to I.B. Reynolds, Report on building and site requirements, 1962–1985, 1962, p.1.

7 Council minutes, 2 Nov. 1945, p.926.

8 Spike, 1957, p.4; The development and expansion of the college grounds and buildings, 7 May 1957, VC file 592: box 3B, R95/54. Under the Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Act, 1949, the city received 145 acres at Miramar, 25 acres at Johnsonville, and part of the Crofton Downs estate.

9 S. Hardy to the prime minister, 23 Jan. 1953, forwarded to the Council, 16 Feb. 1953; Professorial Board report, 12 Mar. 1953, VC file 592.

10 Application to University Grants Committee and Government to authorise new library and arts building, 5 Oct. 1955, VC file 592.

11 J. Kahn, memo [1953], R.S. Parker to the principal, 21 Nov. 1953, VC file 112: box 9G, P33.

13 Evening Post, 24 Nov. 1962. Six thousand people attended the conversazione to mark the official opening of the building by the prime minister on 30 June 1959.

14 Visit of the University Grants Committee, 1963: meeting with executive committee of Council, VC file 1088: box 2A, R95/24.

15 I.B. Reynolds, ‘The fabric of the university’, winter term lecture, 1966, p.8, VC file 608: box 3C, R95/58.

16 But it was surely a disappointment to J.C. Beaglehole who, as a member of the Library Advisory Committee drafting its minutes in 1957, wrote, ‘In making its plans, the Committee is very conscious of the opportunity now offered to redeem the college architecture from dullness, and to erect a building which has some grace, dignity, and even, this committee does not hesitate to add, nobility.’ (H.G. Miller, ‘The new university library at Wellington’, New Zealand Libraries, Nov. 1965, p.10; minutes of the Library Advisory Committee, 23 May 1957, David Wylie papers, J.C. Beaglehole Room.)

17 Report on the building programme for the next ten years, 6 Dec. 1957, Council minutes, 1957, pp.496ff; report of the vice-chancellor, Council minutes, 1957, pp.490–1.

18 Submissions to Committee on New Zealand Universities, 1959, p.179.

19 Ibid., p.189.

20 The figure was not entirely fanciful. It was based on Department of Education roll forecasts for the next 10 years, and was also that adopted by Auckland as the maximum desirable roll for its similarly restricted inner-city site.

21 Reynolds, 1962, p.116.

22 Ibid., p.106.

23 The road was imagined extending from the top of Bolton Street to the Cable Car end of Upland Road.

24 Reynolds, 1962, p.136.

25 University Gazette, 23 Apr. 1970.

26 Reynolds, 1962, p.2; Evening Post, 29 Dec. 1962.

27 University site: note of meeting held at the University Grants Committee, 24 Feb. 1964, VC file 607: box 3C, R95/58; Note of visit paid by Dr. Williams and Dr. Culliford to the City Engineer, 18 Oct. 1962, VC file 591: box 3B, R95/54. At the February 1964 meeting the university, the UGC, City Council, Regional Planning Authority, the Treasury and the Departments of Education and Works were represented. The university had formally requested that the City Council zone designated areas on 15 May 1963, although discussion had been under way since October 1962.

28 Evening Post, 12 June 1961.

29 Cabinet accepted a £52 million national building programme ‘without demur’ in 1962, and a £92.3 million bid (although this time not without conditions) in 1965.

30 Culliford, memo for Williams, 11 Apr. 1967, VC file 607: the deputation went to the City Council on 23 March 1962.

31 ‘Come, come, Mr Lavelle’, University Gazette, 23 Apr. 1970.

32 Evening Post, 20 May 1965.

33 University Gazette, Mar. 1968, p.6; annual report for 1968, AJHR, 1969, E–1, p.31.

34 Reynolds, 1962, p.126; Gazette, 22 Dec. 1969. There was also in mind now a second bridge ‘over Salamanca Road to Kelburn Park’. Students had been agitating for some years – by various means – for a pedestrian crossing at the corner of Kelburn Parade and Salamanca Road, which the City Council refused to provide for safety reasons: ‘It was at this point’, when plans for an overbridge were developed, ‘that the unauthorised zebra crossings began to be painted on the road’. (Professorial Board minutes, 14 July 1966, p.359.)

35 The choice of Kirk again also avoided the question of naming the building after Richardson, the zoology page 395 professor who left the university in controversial circumstances in 1964 (see chapter seven).

36 ‘Accommodation problems at Victoria: Dr. Culliford's report to Board’, Gazette, 17 May 1971; memo for the vice-chancellor, 5 Apr. 1971, VC file 721: box 4B, R95/ 82.

37 Culliford, memo, W.C.C. and the Cotton building, 15 Sept. 1971, VC file 721. At issue, in Culliford's view, was the status of the ‘illustrative proposals’ in the Reynolds report.

38 Authority to call for tenders was declined and the university invited to submit a new proposal in June 1972, because the government was ‘disturbed at the difference between the estimated cost of the work and the prices received, this indicating that the Wellington market is regarded as being in an unsatisfactory state just now’, UGC chairman to the vice-chancellor, quoted in Gazette, 6 Mar. 1972.

39 Gazette, 19 Mar. 1973. Proposals for a parking building were rejected by the UGC in the early 1970s. Solutions to the parking problem proposed at various times included the Boyd Wilson field, Polhill Gully, the Hunter lawn, a multi-level parking building on Kelburn Parade north of the Von Zedlitz building, and two levels of underground parking beneath the Salamanca Road tennis courts, all of which were deemed either economically or politically unviable.

40 Evening Post, 4 Mar. 1985.

41 In a draft memo to the chancellor (which he apparently did not send), Taylor requested that the Council take responsibility for any decision in the matter, to avoid further damaging relations between the university administration and students and staff. The City Council's Town Planning Committee had already indicated that it would not recommend that the council issue the building permit before the Students' Association writ was filed on 3 October. (VC file 2393: box 8D, R98/ 55.)

42 J.D. Gould to the vice-chancellor, 8 May 1972, B. Niculescu to the vice-chancellor, 4 Aug. 1972, VC file 1433: box 1G, P5. That Canterbury University had just published a centennial history (and Victoria's would only be three-quarters of a centennial) was also, apparently, a factor. The Council resolved in October 1972 ‘that no action be taken regarding the celebration of the 75th anniversary’.

43 New Zealand Listener, 21 Feb. 1976, p.24; 27 Mar. 1976, p.51; Dominion, 10 Dec. 1975.

44 The Evening Post reported Culliford's remarks under the heading ‘Council nasty to university’ (24 Feb. 1977); the Dominion reported Fowler's response under the heading ‘Fowler blasts retiring university chief’ (26 Feb. 1977). ‘I believe the gown versus town controversy will be greatly lessened by Dr Culliford's retirement to Gisborne,’ Fowler was reported as saying. It can be argued that Victoria was fortunate in having Culliford to take the criticism for some of the more controversial aspects of its building development. On the other hand, it has also been suggested that the hard-talking, hard-drinking, rugby-following tempers of both Culliford and Williams went down well with city councillors, planners and engineers in the 1950s and 1960s.

45 News VUW, 22 Oct. 1976.

46 Helen Tippett, quoted in Evening Post, 11 Nov. 1982.

47 Evening Post, 31 July 1976.

48 Dominion, 1 July 1975.

49 O'Brien was not one of those who believed that Victoria had a splendid site and had squandered it: ‘It is an awful bloody site,’ he said in 1977, ‘but it has been past the point of no return for many years.’ (Evening Post, 15 Sept. 1979, 24 Nov. 1977.)

50 Grahame Anderson of local firm Ampersand Architects, and Ian Smith, a consulting structural engineer.

51 Evening Post, 28 June 1983. The building was a fire risk too.

52 F. Page, A Musician's Journal, Wellington, 1986, p.90.

53 Dominion, 4 July 1983.

54 Evening Post, 19 Nov. 1982.

55 News VUW, 12 Nov. 1982.

56 Evening Post, 1, 2 June 1976.

57 Kelburn Newsletter, No.1 (1976), and correspondence, VC file 1145: box 1D, P1; Evening Post, 29, 30 July 1976.

58 The City Council had failed to make its request within one month of the plans being submitted. (VC file 2431: box 8F, R98/63.)

59 There is a sub-plot here concerning the role of the Treasury in university capital funding, one version of which is given by J.D. Gould, The University Grants Committee 1961–1986, Wellington, 1988, pp.113–15.

60 Les Cleveland (president, VUW Staff Club), V.U.W. development: a university centre?, 10 Apr. 1962, CFU 62: box 26G.

61 News VUW, 16 Nov. 1979.

62 News VUW, 12 Nov. 1982.

63 J. Gray and S. Smedley, VUW campus development planning, 10 May 1979 (AUT submission), p.7; Cleveland, p.1.

64 Gazette, 26 Nov. 1973.

65 Evening Post, 11 Nov. 1982.

66 Reynolds, 1966, p.1; 1962, pp.126–7.

67 Evening Post, 29 Dec. 1962.

68 Ian Axford, quoted in News VUW, 18 Mar. 1983.

69 ‘The campus comes in from the cold’, Evening Post, 29 Dec. 1983.

70 News VUW, 22 June 1984. Among his debts to the university, he noted, was winning the New Zealand universities' lightweight boxing title in 1935 and the self-confidence this gave him.

71 Others have taken credit for first having this idea, including Ian Gordon and Peter Munz. Axford envisaged ‘a central indoor garden with cafeteria facilities and a social setting quite unmatched by anything in other New Zealand universities’. More prosaically, it offered the library (its annual report observed in 1987) ‘the opportunity of solving a long-standing problem relating the the unacceptable behaviour of a minority of users’ (persistent talkers).

72 Evening Post, 28 Sept. 1983 (editorial).

page 396

73 News VUW, 22 June 1984.

74 Evening Post, 7 July 1987.

75 Evening Post, 6 Aug. 1990.

76 Minutes of a meeting of the University/City Liaison Committee, 12 Mar. 1979, VC file 2431: box 8F, R98/ 63.

77 Culliford to the UGC, Feb. 1972, quoted in Gazette, 31 May 1972.

78 Culliford memo, Polhill Gully, 10 Mar. 1976, CFU 4: box 24D.

79 KRTA, Interim report on parking options, 8 Mar. 1979, VC file 2431.

80 Evening Post, 30 Oct. 1985.