Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 1 18 February 1970
120 students attended University Congress at Curious Cove in January this year.
One of the most popular speakers was Robin Blackburn, a 29-year old former lecturer at the London School of Economics who was expelled from LSE for some of his activities with student militants at the School. His address to the Congress dealt principally with Marxism and the New Left.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Marshall, who spoke at the first University Congress twenty-one years ago, made the National Development Conference the subject of his speech. This was followed by a lengthy question period.
In a lively and interesting address, the Ombudsman, Sir Guy Powles, analysed the need for dissent in a healthy society and suggested that today's dissenters were often too narrow in their criticisms. "The underprivileged, the mental patients, the handicapped children, the bashed babies—there are few protests on their behalf," he said. "All foreign troops could leave Vietnam tomorrow and we would still be left with a society which some people think is pretty sick."
James K. Baxter was perhaps the outstanding figure at Congress with his descriptions of endeavours to rehabilitate drug addicts in Auckland and his present life among the Maoris at Jerusalem, high up the Wanganui River. His speech entitled "Christian Action" and a later unscheduled talk on drugs were, in essence, extended poetic monologues and contrasted markedly with the styles of the addresses of other speakers.
Among the academic speakers this year were Victoria University's Dr Allan Levett, a senior lecturer in Sociology, Geophysics Professor Frank Evison, and Con Bollinger from the English Department. Mr Bollinger provided, amongst other pieces of illuminating information, a fresh interpretation of the Book of Genesis and a detailed analysis of classical allusions in the work of New Zealand author Barry Crump.
The Soviet Legation's Press Attache, Mr Evgeny Pozdnyakov, spoke about Lenin and fielded a large number of questions from the audience following his speech and Eddie Isbey, new MP for Grey Lynn and ex-President of the Watersiders' Union, spoke on the history of labour relations in New Zealand.
An interesting diversion to the speeches was provided when 50 students chartered two buses to the Woodbourne Rnzaf Station near Blenheim to demonstrare against the American military installation there. A letter was handed to the officer in Charge of 'Operation Longbank' asking what the establishment's purpose was. The officer said that most of the Americans at the Base are technicians but refused to answer other questions.