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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 1. March 3, 1954

Congress . . . 1954 Curious Cove

page 4

Congress . . . 1954 Curious Cove

Taken inside the "lecture hall", the photo shows how the listeners combine comfort and mental exertion In the front, among others, are V.U.C. Esec. Members. Pam Beck and Peggy Thom.

Taken inside the "lecture hall", the photo shows how the listeners combine comfort and mental [unclear: exertion] In the front, among others, are V.U.C. [unclear: Esec.] Members. Pam Beck and Peggy Thom.

The speakers at Congress were:

Mr. A R. D. Fairburn, Lecturer in History of Art, A.U.C.

Dr G. A. Currie. B Sc . Agr., D. Sc.. Litt D. Served in the Gordon Highlanders. 1915-1918. Vice-Chancellor W.A. 1940-1952. Vice-Chancellor U.N.Z., May, 1952.

Mr. P. K. Mayhew entered the English Probation Service after his graduation from Oxford. He was brought out to New Zealand to revitalise and reorganise the Now Zealand Probation Service in 1951.

Mr. W. M. Hamilton. M.Agr.Sc. Joined the D.S.I.R. 1936. in 1948 appointed assistant secretary. D.S.I.R. in charge of agricultural research: 1953 appointed secretary to D.S.I.R.

Rev Luke H. Jenkins. B.D. (Hons.), graduate of University of London. Warden of Carrington Hall, co-ed University Hostel in Dunedin.

Dr. W. B Sutch. M.A., B.Com.. Ph.D. Was for three years Secretary-General of New Zealand's United Nations delegation.

Miss Margaret Sutch, sister to Dr. Sutch. Graduate V.U.C. Education Dept psychologist, expert in problems of mentally and emotionally retarded children.

Mr. E. J Searle. M.Sc.. F.G.S.. A.N.Z.I.C. Lecturer in Science. Post-Primary Dept.. Auckland Tcachers' College, and Demonstrator in Geology. A.U.C.

Mr. K. B. Pflaum.

The Comments of "Harpocrates".

Congress doesn't mean much to the average student. It is held at an obscure place during an obscure time of the year and it is only very rarely that the newspapers fake any notice of us—which is what we with. Congressites are very proud of the select nature of their group and any attempt to overpopularise Congress would be greeted with dismay. But all of this obscurity of time and place, and the selectness of the habitues, misapprehensions covering the nature of Congress are many. The following it not an apologia but rather a report of extra-curricular activities which contributed very largely to the formation of the "congress spirit".

Congress 1954, was organised by A.U.C.; the Congress Controller was Peter Boag, co-editor of "Craccum" and an executive member. Congress organisation involves in the main collecting from all over New Zealand a stimulating panel of lecturers headed by an outstanding chairman. The Controller succeeded in the first but not in the latter. The actual management of Congress proceeded smoothly enough—the less it is in evidence the better it is—but did not impress as did the previous management by Audrey Cook of V.U.C. Boag did, however, introduce some innovations which will contribute to future Congress.


The selection of lectures was the outstanding feature of Congress; not only the stars like Currie. Beeby and Sutch, but also lesser-known speakers such as Pet Mayhew [unclear: arrived] from England two years ago brought the speaking to a level thought the highest yet. The talks generally were informative rather than controversial, although the philosophers did scrape up a good row after the idealist Pflaum's lecture on philosophy.

V.U.C's recently-appointed junior lecturer in Philosophy Earle Robinson was heard in the heat of argument, with great conviction and considerable accuracy, to tell his distinguished colleague that he was a fool.

One particularly interesting feature of the lectures wan the large number of "off-the-record" remarks by the speakers (seven of whom were public servants). [unclear: Congressitc] must be as well-informed now as any other comparative group in the community. But surprisingly the discussion subsequent to the talks never became particularly controversial or heated Many felt in this respect that the absence of the usual strong demagogic crowd of S.L.F. ers such as Bollinger. Piper and [unclear: MacNeill)] deadened discussion, which became almost impossible amongst the ordinary Congressitea, who agreed on almost everything.

The Chairman

The Congress chairman was A. R. D. Fairburn, Lecturer in Art at the Elam School of Art. Auckland. His innocuous and unamusing interjections did not suffice to raise his contribution to the discussions to more than the level of mediocrity, and despite an assuming pleasantness of disposition, he was not a competent chairman However. Congress is just its much self-directing as directed and so did not suffer greatly from what on any other important occasion would have been an embarrassment.

Nights . . .

But enough gossip this is what we did. Firstly, six students and one guest speaker missed the boat, and proceeded by [unclear: atr] from [unclear: Rongotal] to [unclear: Blenheim] by land to Plcton), and by sea to' [unclear: Curious] Cove That Saturday night saw a welcome addition to Congress protocol the swearing-in of newcomers to Congress, conducted under the aegis of Arch-priest and Chief Nightwatchman Harris, assisted by Acolytes Free, and Beck and Lescher female, second class.

That commenced our round of nightly activity Films, dances, fishfries, nocturnal launch-trips, parties, and sometimes even sleep helped to fill out the official programme. As is customary, the social occasion of Congress was the fancy dress ball which produced as prizewinners Nan O'Shea (V.U.C). Ian Free (V.U.C) as Tamahinc the (Took Strait Fairy; Madame Harris' girls. Chris Beeby. Tim Beaglehole, and Clarrie Gibbons (all V.U.C.): and the chain-gang. Dave Wallace [unclear: O.U)]. Laurie Colebrook (A.U C). Trev Hill ( V.U.C.). and Paul Thompson (O.U) which was formed after investigation into the records of all Congressites. On this occasion also the standard was not as high generally as last year, but still served as a remarkable testament to the ingenuity of the participants.

. . . And Days

That day, the Wednesday, is traditionally set aside Tor a launch-trip to Kip's Cove, about 90 minutes by launch up Queen Charlotte Sound to a little bushy cove where Cook four times had visited during his travels There the majority sunbathed—the weather generally turns out glorious swam, and slept, while later on in the afternoon two launches took parties of fishermen to seek the finny flocks, After tea the fancy dress ball, followed by a fish fry on the beach, and at two o'clock in the morning a launch-trip down the Sound, romantic in the moonlight under the velvet sky and faint stars, and cold as hell if one didn't have a blanket or a girl-friend? Home again by a quarter to four, but the "Rongs" departed immediately for Ship's Cove, not to return (because of engine trouble until 10 a.m.

In a way, we regret not being able to give some condensed account of the speeches which were delivered of Congress. However, a pamphlet is being issued by the Auckland University at Easter time, and it is hoped that this will contain full texts of the speeches. We print here the comments of one Congressite, and in the near future it is planned to reprint certain of the speeches in full.

Murdered Sleep

It is not to be wondered that sleep is the rarest luxury at Congress. Runmour has it that a 32-hour day is to be introduced next year: 8 hours for work. 15 hours for play, and 8 hours for sleep. The evening programme usually went: lecture, discussion, supper, dance or films, and party. The parties were generally organised by huts and the invitation was open to all. One of the most interesting get-togethers was in Hut 21, where some selected students bombarded Dr Sutch with questions on South Africa Dr Sutch was perhaps the most popular person at Congress, being always ready to discuss anything in his field with even the newest fresher. We would like to see more of Dr. Sutch. Our official nightwatchmen got to work smartly on the first night with "Two o'clock and a-ll's we-e-ell." but their efforts being received with some disfavour, they were discontinued to everyone's satisfaction until the last night, when the nightwatchmen performed the socially invaluable and important [unclear: Fnction] of waking everybody up-personally at 3 a.m to tell them the score of the All Blacks and the cricketers.

The Congress Olympics on Saturday were won for the second time since the Games' inception by V.U.C., which manages never to win a tournament and never to lose a Congress Olympics. Despite the inexplicable failure of Vic's crack volley-ball team in the last two games of the final. Vic won the handsome inlaid shield which has been returned to its domestic use by a majority of over ten points. The Vic tug-of-war team fled for the second time by Trev. Hill won easily this year, but a new venture in which Vic. participated, the boatrace, was declared a nocontest after (but not because) Chris Beeby, Kath Slocum and Peter Boag had been subjected to enforced immersion in the cold sea.

Commensurate with the dignity of the proceeding, Congress had its due measure of pomp and circumstance, culminating in the Mock Trials organised by Diana Lescher. In one of these, by some legal process unknown to the New Zealand legal system. Dr. Sutch was subjected to the over-vigorous penalty of 10 kisses. What a way to die! Earle Robinson sanctified the position of Lord Chief Injustice with Roger "S'welp me" Harris as Clerk of the Court. We have mentioned the oath-taking which commenced the Congress. Congress Forum failed to produce any unexpected notions.

One interesting aspect of Congress was that the majority of students appeared to be either graduates or to be doing advanced work. Quite a number were due to commence the year with the Post-Grad. Teachers' Training Course. A disturbing feature was that apart from Earle Robinson the V.U.C. staff was not represented.

Well, there it is. Not very coherent because things didn't occur to a pattern. The spirit which evolved from this crucible in the Sounds we can perhaps describe as a conception of high moral obligation to the community. If that sounds to highfalutin' let us just say that these students felt responsible and wished to undertake responsibility in the community. But we must remember that these were not students representative of all other students. We look to Congress lofty ideals: we gained even loftier aspirations. So if you wish to go to Congress you must, have something to offer—and if you have you shall receive ten-fold.