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The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1925

The Visit

The Visit

In July of last year a letter was received from the Union Society, Oxford, proposing that a Debating Team from Oxford University should visit New Zealand and Australia in February or March of this year, each University to pay a proportion of the team's expenses. The team had arranged to visit the United States and Canada, debating at the Universities there, and planned to visit New Zealand and Australia before returning to England.

The proposal was enthusiastically welcomed at V.U.C., and also at the other three Colleges, and as a result it was found possible to arrange for the visit, the team eventually arriving at Auckland on 26th March. The visitors had previously taken part in six debates in Canada, forty in the United States, and one in Hawaii, and had incidentally spent some three weeks in Fiji on their way to New Zealand.

Owing to the late arrival of the "Tofua" at Auckland (she was 3 days late, a fact which nearly upset the whole of the programme in New Zealand), only one debate was held in the northern city instead of two as originally arranged. The visitors arrived in Wellington on Saturday morning, 28th March, and on Saturday night the first debate was held in the Concert Chamber and was a great success in every respect. The chief item on the entertainment programme was a motor trip on Sunday out to Upper Hutt, over the Akatarawa to Waikanae and home via the Moonshine. The team left for the South Island on Monday night and participated in two debates at Christchurch, and two at Dunedin, returning in time to take part in the second debate at Wellington on 8th April. This debate was held in the Town Hall, and was again a great success. The visitors left the day following for Taupo and Rotorua, and a week later for Sydney.

The team consisted of three members, Messrs. J. D. Woodruff and M. C. Hollis (both ex-presidents of the Oxford Union), and Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, a son of Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, ex-Prime Minister of England. This was the fourth time debaters from Oxford University had paid visits abroad. In 1922 and in 1923 a team visited the United States and Canada, and in August, 1924 a team visited South Africa.

Before leaving New Zealand, Mr. Woodruff intimated that the Oxford and Cambridge Union Societies were considering the possibility of making such a tour to Australia and New Zealand an annual or a biennial event. So far as the New Zealand Colleges are concerned, such visits would in all probability be welcomed. Judging by the results of the last tour, the question of finance should present no difficulty. When asked about the possibility of arranging a tour of New Zealand debaters to England, Mr. Woodruff said that such a visit would probably be welcomed, but pointed out that there is no possibility in England of charging for admission to the debate and, therefore, finance might prove a big hurdle.

Incidentally, a proposal was received some time ago from the National Union of Students in England that another team of four debaters representing the Universities of England, of Scot- page 27 land and of Wales, should visit New Zealand and Australia, arriving in New Zealand about the middle of August. The general feeling, however, was that the visit was too soon after the Oxford tour.

The V.U.C. Students' Association is very much indebted to all those who billeted the members of the debating team and who helped to entertain them while they were in Wellington, and to these the Association extends its grateful thanks.