Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 1. March 4, 1953
First of all, a word about these reports. They are intentionally brief; this is because the press coverage summarised the main points quite adequately; because the people who were there need only a brief reminder; and because the people who were not there can receive full accounts from the people who went. With, a long general article on Congress as a whole we present here only a few points from each lecture, relying upon these to jog the memories of those who were there and to stimulate questions from those who were not.
The Purpose of a University
This lecture by Dr. Currie., Vice-Chancellor of the University of New Zealand, we intend to print in full elsewhere (with his permission). Dr. Currie gave, however, an interesting view on the utility of the University of New Zealand which, he said, mountains the standard of education throughout the colleges as its main function. It deals also with finance which is necessary the U. of N.Z. is only as large as Melbourne University. Dr. Curries job as the chief administrator was a central one with every intention of speeding up the autonomy of the colleges—that lime was nearly here. The students, however, were not doing enough to encourage the local communities. There would be no money from the Government unless there was aroused in the community a semi-political feeling that the university meant something and belonged in the community. He went on then with the main section of his lecture in which he examined the separate purposes of a university. The purpose, he said, is different for the staff and for the student, but the co-joint consciousness of the university purpose was not sufficiently clearly realised.
The victorious Victoria team winning the tug of war. On the rope from the left is your Editor, Dr. Kahn doing all the shouting, Tim Beaglehole pulling strings, Hec MacNeill on the party line, Elaine Foote, and obliterated Pam Beck, Ted Johnstan, Juliet Hunt and Con Bollinger. The braway specimen on the right it Lance Robinson.
The Relevance of Philosophy
This was a most stimulating lecture given on the highest plane, too high for many of those there, including your reporter who had barely recovered from the shock of flunking Philosophy I. Professor G. E. Hughes, of Victoria, pointed out that questions such as "How can a graduate use his university training?" involved what he called "the great myth of the university." This idea, propagated by the psychologists, that the value of the university is to be measured by its usefulness to the community was fallacial—and he demonstrated the fallacies After elaborating on the purpose of the university, Professor Hughes concluded that the true university student had his life at university determined not by how he can serve the community but by the search for knowledge.
Town and Country
Professor L. W. McCaskill, of Lincoln College, pointed out that as urban culture was parasitic upon rural culture, one of the main factors contributing to the fall of all major societies has been the neglect of the soil by the urban societies. "Cities fall because of bad farming, or because they become too big for good farming." He listed statistics illustrating the urban drift and then discussed the implications. The farmer had lost his political dominance. With the war aggravating the drift the farmer had had to mechanise. This led to "one-man farms" and a heavy toll on individual health and welfare. The urban drift was selective the younger sons leaving the farm for "the eldest son, and the young girls left to seek employment which was not available in the country. However, the rural family, not yet "atomised." still contained its characteristics. It's hospitality was traditional land often abused by unthinking city-dwellers); farm people had a greater capacity for informal enjoyment, and an amazing awareness of world affairs. Also, rural populations were characterised by slowness of thought and a low standard of education and attainment compared with industrial districts. The country needed teachers, especially trained for country teaching.
Mr. W. Parker, Tutor in Adult Education, kept a large audience interested in this subject until they were almost forcibly ejected. The Maori population was forecast to be 155,000 in 1955, he said, and remarked that Major-General Sir Howard Kippenberger had expressed his alarm at the increase, and had feared that the Maori might soon outnumber the pakcha. In Mr. Parker's experience there was no possibility of that. Even the very old Maoris, even though members did not like the pakeha, had no intense hatred of him. At the Maori meetings the opinion expressed was that racial segregation was not desirable. He had the feeling that the Maoris felt that eventually they would merge with the pakeha. Mr. Parker himself felt that when with the passage of years the Maori approximated the cultural standards of the pakeha there would be one people, not pakeha, not Maori, but New Zealanders. He foresaw a life of only fifty years for the Maori tongue: the younger people are not learning their own tongue. With the dying away of the language there would be a dying away of Maori traditions, customs ami folklore. Already the Maori elders were very lonely people, with no young ones to whom to teach their wisdom and learning. The Maori was probably the most conservative people in the world. This explained the constant Maori adherence to the Labour Party which helped them during the depression. The National Party, however, had increased the number of houses available to Maoris Despite this, some pas were still no less than rural slums. There was constant urbanisation of the younger Maoris but the Maori was still predominantly a rural people. Mr. Parker concluded with this sentence: "Maori culture is irrevocably doomed; I cannot see it being preserved after another hundred years."
Mr. halcroft. the general Motor Industrial Relations Manager, spoke on the great mutual benefit to be derived from an industrial relations programme.
The whole economy of the country, he said, depended upon good mutual relations, industry overall to justify its existence should (i) supply the community with goods; (ii), and provide a place where a man might work and get pleasure in his work. Previously welfare meant bowls of soup and chunks of bread: the modern approach realised that the employee wanted not only opportunities but a life worth living from the proceeds of labour. Industry labour cotts were greater than all other costs put together. Therefore the relation between the worker and his immediate superior provided the single most important relationship in industrial relations. "G.M.'s" [unclear: atti] page 8 tude was set out in their "creed." In the programme of industrial relations there were two steps (a) the sincere self-examination by the employer; (b) and the laying down of basic principles. Unless the employer could get men to work with him instead of for him, all his training was of no use. The basic difference between a good business and a bad one lay in personal relationships. It was all a matter of leadership and the essence of leadership was example.
Dr. J. C. Beaglehole of Victoria resented the fact that anyone in this state of civilisation should have had to talk on civil liberties. He noted that many restrictions in liberties resulted from war; he defined various liberties which were often modified. There had been an erosion of civil liberties in New Zealand as exampled by the War Regulations Continuance Act, 1952, Public Safety Conservation Act. 1932, Public Safely Emergency Regulations, 1939. Police Offences Amendment Act, 1951, upon which he spoke briefly.
Mr. dank's address had no title, but in a general sense was on economic policy. Political parties were divided to give a right wing drawing sustenance from an eighteenth century philosophy which Mated that given certain inalienable rights, natural laws would take care of the rest. The left wing had a positive economic approach that society could not be left alone in atomistic groups. Neither the "laissez faire" conservative form on the restrictive socialist form had ever worked in an intellectually pure form. The great debate of capitalism versus socialism was out of date. The previous attitude towards slump had been "laissez faire." a withdrawn academic attitude. The socialists Attempted to fight slump with the welfare state. Mr. Danks discussed the implications of the welfare stale. He then went on to discuss the implication of the open and close methods of dealing with inflation, this being the main differences between the two main political parlies. Me connected the points made with the various countries in which there was a two party, i.e.. a right and left political system Mr. Danks was of the opinion that the future major economic problems with which the parties would have to contend would be inflation rather than deflation.
China: An Eye-witness Account
Mrs. garland. the prominent Wellington sculptress, who has just returned from Communist China recounted briefly the rise of the present regime, pointing out as she did so that China has never in its history fought an aggressive war. The scheme to harness floods instigated by the Communists Impressed her, especially as the labour on these schemes was voluntary- Under the previous regime ninety per cent of the four hundred and seventy million Chinese lived on the land, five per cent of which were landlords. The land however, was reallocated with the advance of the Red Army, the basic allowance being approximately a third of an acre. The arranged marriages which had previously been the custom were now illegal," there were equal wages for men and women; there were equal land owning rights. Mrs. Garland spoke of the widespread feeling of excitement she had seen in action in China. Peace, she said, was almost a mania. Mrs. Garland's talk stimulated a lot of questions, and the discussions were some of the most interesting at Congress.
The Individual and Foreign Policy
Dr. J. F. Kahn, of Victoria College, though professing to be no speaker, gave a very interesting speech to suplement Dr. Beaglehole's on Civil Liberties. In his opinion, there is very little the individual to do to affect the foreign policy of his country. International relations between states cannot depend upon the will of one state only, but must be bound up with the conception of foreign policy in other countries, and the individuals can do little to influence his country's policy as it is so influenced by that of other slates. Admittedly the average citizen today has the chance to Inform himself on foreign policy much better than the member of Parliament of hundred years ago. But people can be good citizens despite not taking an interest in public and diplomatic affairs. It is not an obligation for good citizenship. Dr. Kahn had in fact advocated the status quo in that he had recommended students to do exactly what they are doing about foreign policy, nothing.
Students and Cultural Life in New Zealand
Miss nancy martin, music Tutor for Adult Education, changed the title of her address to how the student could fit himself into the cultural life of the rural community. Rural community was defined as towns of ten thousand and less. She described life in a gold mining town, the primitive cultural conditions in which students have to live. Students might fit in by starting arts groups, etc.. and in obtaining Information for the local population on cultural subjects. There was much talent in these out of the way districts, but it had to be fostered slowly and with regard to the local prejudices. The students would be respected for their knowledge if they are tolerant of the lack of knowledge in the rural community and they must approach these people on their own interests. Miss Martin spoke from first hand experience as music tutor on the West Coast-Greymouth area.
Mr. braybrooke of victoria commented briefly in his session on each of the previous lectures. The most telling point he made and one which received greatest attention from the students was when he exhorted his student audience to consider the University as primarily a place for work and not as a place to waste time. There was, he said, insufficient serious academic work being done on the part of the undergraduates and too much time was being spent on extra University Activities.