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The Spike Golden Jubilee Number May 1949

The Voyage to New Zealand

The Voyage to New Zealand

John Rankine Brown, Hugh Mackenzie and T. H. Easterfield sailed from Plymouth on the evening of February 11th, 1899, in the foulest of weather, together with their wives and children. Mackenzie had joined the S.S. Kaikoura in London. The Brown and Easterfield families were taken out by tender, and were in a bedraggled and collapsed condition when they reached the ship in Plymouth Sound. When the Kaikoura put out to sea things were even worse, for she drove into a first class gale which lasted three days and destroyed a large part of the captain's bridge. However, things had become quiescent and pleasant by the time we reached Teneriffe, and before we arrived at the Cape the three professors had learned something of one another's idiosyncrasies.

Rankine Brown and Mackenzie made it clear that they regarded their subjects as on a far higher plane educationally than mathematics or science. Easterfield considered that culture could be derived from almost any subject if it were sufficiently well taught. He suggested that ideals for the new College should be discussed forthwith, whereas they considered that it would be wisest to copy such colleges as were already established in New Zealand. He also said that as the professors were carefully selected because of their wide experience of English, Scottish and Continental universities, the Victoria College Council would expect them to be leaders in the community and implant a definite and independent Victoria College spirit. Such an independent spirit has on many occasions been shown by the College Council, the Professorial Board, and the University College students. That there have been extremists amongst them is in accord with the history of universities from time immemorial. Does not Cicero's Universitas signify a whole that is a Universe, and are we not to expect that in a Universe of thought new ideas will constantly emerge so that these will be a mixture of the conservative and the extremely new? Without such a mixture, residence in the university will be a poor training for postgraduate life.