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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 5. 1969.

Thought lacking at Catholic camp

page 11

Thought lacking at Catholic camp

The somewhat hackneyed topic, "The Student in the Community— Leader or Rebel?" was the theme of the annual Catholic Society camp held last weekend at rainy Reikorangi.

The camp was will-run and a social success, but the intellectual contribution was not outstanding.

Opening speaker Major General McKinnnon categorised the qualities needed for leaderdership under the broad divisions of knowledge, salesmanship and endurance, but said little that was inspiring.

He was firmly convinced that student leaders should limit themselves to the affairs of students and not aspire to leadership of the community.

On Sunday, Ian Cross said he was dismayed to discover that he was the camp's main speaker, since he had come along mainly to listen and discern whether the concerns of his generation for a sense of "national identity" were shared by young people.

"After four or five years of talks and television I am tired of pontificating", he said.

Mr. Cross denied that he was a "super-patriot or a jingoist".

Yet he seemed to advocate a brand of chauvinism and the "artificial promotion of local culture" which would lead to stereo-types and prejudice, an identity at the expense of individual tolerance.

Before reaching maturity in nationalism, a country must go through the adolescent stage, with its accompanying pimples and a certain gaucheness ", he said.

"Australia is such an example"

A so-called dialogue was was conducted between Studass President Gerard Curry and past student activist Alister Taylor.

"Rather than attack the structure of society wholesale, students should rebel against certain facets of it". Mr. Curry said.

"Materialism is in the moral fabric of our society— 1% A.I.D. could be evidence of student concern for the lack of sharing of our material wealth; our lack of national identity; and our commitment militarily.

"Although the potential for awakening the individual conscience of students has not been realised. I accept that students have a only small ability for change in New Zealand because they are disinterested."

Alister Taylor launched into a survey of international affairs and the state of the revolution in France and Germany.

Then he said: '"New Zealand students have no political power.

"They are after meal-tickets for a competitive consumer society.

"They are dull, lazy, timid and apathetic.

"I wonder if their increased participation in university government is not simply a matter of being bought off by the administration who fear overseas trends."

Mr. Taylor saw the University Council as an "ignorant, separate, superior self-styled body"

It appeared that he was advocating action of the international radical type for the New Zealand scene.

When questioned, however. Mr. Taylor said that he "more or less agreed with Gerard" as to what could be done in this country.

Alister considered that students should use more sophisticated means to exercise their power than the demanstration which "insofar as it is accepted is no longer of use" whereas Gerard thought this was the most powerful weapon in the hands of students. The generally soporfic effect of the speeches would have been lessened had the programme been arranged to allow time for recuperation from the social activities of the previous nights.