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Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University of Wellington. Vol. 24, No. 5. 1961

Maori Club

Maori Club

The Maori Club has been in existence for four years. Originally known as the Wellington Maori Students' Association, it is now (after affiliation to the Victoria Students' Association) the V.U.W. Maori Club.

A Meeting Ground

It was primarily intended as a meeting ground for Maoris, although since its inception as a club membership has been opened to non-Maoris as well. In the latter case, the pakehas have served the club very well insofar as their presence in it has turned the club into a meeting place for both Maori and pakeha. The club also had as its aim the stimulating and preservation of Maori culture. There are discussion groups on aspects of the Maori today, and tomorrow. Prominent citizens were last year invited to give talks and to answer questions relevant to their topics of discussion. The result has been a broadening of the club's policy.

Nevertheless, there was still some minor criticism from the Students' Association—that the Maori Club still seemed to isolate itself from university life as a whole.

As a result, the club took deliberate steps to take an active part in student activities. It began by running the Orientation Ball in 1959 and by entering a float for "procesh."

Fostering Interest in Education

An important piece of the club's policy last year arose from the realisation that there were too few Maoris attending university. It is an undeniable and sad fact that the Maori birthrate has increased but not his progress in education. If proportions to the pakeha population mean anything, there should be something like seven hundred Maori undergraduates at the various centres instead of the ridiculously low figure of about one hundred and fifty.

In order to stimulate the Maori elders' interest in the university, and to familiarise them with student life, conducted tours of the university were arranged. Included also in the visits was a large group of secondary school children. Among the elders came people representing Maori Leagues from as far afield as Bulls and Feilding.

Annual Conference

Another major project of the club is the annual Maori students' conference held (so far) biennially at Victoria. The conference acts as a place where Maori student opinion, concerning the Maori people, may be hoard with one voice. It is here that problems confronting the Maori people are argued out, often with a great diversity of opinion, both relevant and irrelevant. Last year's conference was held in Auckland, and this year the Victoria Club has the privilege (and the accompanying headaches) of running it.

We are grateful to the Students' Association Executive for their support to the club both financial and personal, during the visits of the Maori organisations and various other club ventures.


Co-operation with local Maori functions and other Maori organisations has also been considered important. Last year the club participated fully by assisting with the locals in the opening of the Meeting House at Waiwhetu.

The club has a monthly, cyclostyled newsletter, the name of which is "Wikitoria." It has been in print since 1959, and it reports on various club activities and highlights. It also keeps the club members informed of the doings and goings on of the other university Maori clubs (if they happen to be active).

The latest venture of the club has been the purchase of piu-piu and korowai. The formation of a constitution after three years of wrangling in committee culminated in the acceptance of the final draft at the special general meeting. The objects of the club are now clear.

Pride of place of all the club's objects, however, is its importance in helping young Maoris into university life. This was never really the intention, hut it is so now. Long may this be so.