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The Spike or Victoria College Review, October 1903

The Students' Carnival

page 31

The Students' Carnival

Valentine— "One fading moment's mirth [bought]
With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights."

The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Sketch of Maori chief and man wearing tophat shaking hands

The Classic Hall of the Sydney Street Schoolroom was filled A-to overflowing to see the Students run riot. The "Evening Post" reporter with that weary, sated smile of his is said to have laughed, and these are his words, "The many friends who attended the Victoria College Students' Carnival last evening and yet live to tell the tale of all they saw and heard, ought surely to take a week oil duty to enable them to settle their unstrung nerves and rest their aching sides." Professor Brown, the sober and serious Professor Brown, nest day prefaced his remarks on Cicero with a eulogium on the Student flutter. Enough said. Chief Justices, Ministers of the Crown, Councillors, Professors, in order of precedence ordained, took the jest and gibe in the spirit of good fellowship which underlies Student humour the world over, and we all went home happy, content to suffer the watchful, weary, tedious nights of another year.

The programme opened with the song of Victoria College—the masterpiece of Professors Brown and Von Zedlitz. This was followed by a fearful and wonderful Maori Haka shouted by thirty men in football garb, and armed with hockey sticks, led by the redoubtable Paaka. An admiring critic writes, "Greeting ! I, who followed the Moa and Kiwi where now the Pakeha sows his oats, I, who shouted the war-cries of my sires page 32 till they echoed like thunder from valley to valley, even I never heard anything like the Victoria College Haka. Tina is the end, farewell."

Misses Evans, Smythe and Wedde sang a trio "Evensong" excellently and H. P. Richmond showed by his singing of the "Bedouin Love "Song" that, although he is a "famous young man at the bar," law has nut exhausted the resources of his nature. Miss Evans' song "Hush Me, 0 Sorrow" was a quaint comment on the depression of the audience. M. Frühauf played a pianoforte solo and proved a valuable accompanyist. Two plantation songs "Who Did?" and "De Lecture," in which the solo parts were taken by G. Prouse and H. P. Richmond went with a great swing, and the Capping Songs were reeled off with verve and enthusiasm. The musical arrangements were carried out under G. Prouse.

The great event of the evening, however, was "Komi-kalities" organised by A. G. Quartley. An incident was taken from ancient Maori history. A mythical King of the Maoris—Mahuta, to wit—in search of a famous seat of learning, arrives in Wellington and is welcomed by a chief of the Pakehas, a man of wide mana in his days—whose name is now forgotton—and whose fame, like that of Epaminoudas, rests on the fact that his word had never been broken. The great man, for his bulk was mighty, addressed Mahuta at some length. He told how much he loved the "good-old-mother land," how much lie loved the fair town of Wellington (of which he now for the first time appeared as a citizen), with what tender affection he regarded himself, and how much he prized the acres of the down-trodden Maori. Mr. J. G. W. Aitken, then Mayor of Wellington, in slow, douce and Scottish accents greeted. Mahuta on the part of the Empire City. Then the Ministers of the Crown, whose words may have been broken for ought history tells, each in characteristic strains told the joy of the people at the sight of Mahuta. A knight named Sir Ward performed the task by means of a cloud of figures which have so far baffled modern statistical research but which appear to balance somehow. This was accomplished at the rate of 303¾ words per minute and in a tone of authority which carried conviction. Then Tam, the son of Duncan, a plain, blunt man who "didna think much o' this eddication onyhow an' kenned he would ha' been a nuickle sicht better off the day if he hadna been sae weel eddicated," being on the point of making some startling disclosures on "Cabinet Changes," was interrupted by a premonitory cough of .his chief and sat down amidst applause. The "people's George," on behalf of the Secretary of the Harbour Board, then wanted to know who got Wellington the dock, who lost her page 33 Miramar, who originated the gas-water-one-pipe scheme, and was followed by Sir Jukes bearing "the white flower of a blameless life." Then, and not till then, the great Mahuta rose. In fiery words he told how the legend of the beauty of the Victoria College ladies had come to him "like a whisper in the kumara fields"; bow the fame of the professors had kindled his soul; how he had braved the sunken rocks of the Hutt Canal and been whirled about on the City Trams, swift as the Kumi, and yet could find no College; and bow at last he had come to his brother, King Richard, who knew all—and couldn't tell a-lie. The curtain fell on the union of the noses of Maori and Pakeha.

Excellent fooling, forsooth. Opinions differ as to who was best and it may safely be said that Tudhope, Graham, Gillanders, Ostler, Ludwig and Johnstone divide the crown.

The proceedings ended with a Farce "My Turn Next," which did not "hung" at all. R. M. Watson as Taraxicum Twitters, entered into the spirit of the misfortunes of the village apothecary, and was ably seconded by O. N. Gillespie who just "couldn't help it." Miss F. G. Roberts, as the charming widow whose many husbands had so "mysteriously disappeared," was quite equal to the position and her confidante. Cicely (Miss H. M. Bathain), was eminently successful in engaging the attention of Tom Trapp (A. S. Henderson), while the principals were engaging the attention of the audience. Peggy, the maid, was a remarkably sensible young lady and Miss N. Heath made the most of the part. J. L. Stout, as Farmer Wheatear, was an excellent study in agricultural simplicity.

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