Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 20, 1887

Having congratulated the late President on the recent mark of esteem which he had received at the hands of his Sovereign, the speaker remarked that one of the greatest difficulties the colonists had to face was the general delicacy and want of resisting power in the rising generation, as was displayed in the very general premature decay of the teeth, and by nerve disease, and kindred disorders, which were caused by the crowding into towns, and the consequent evil effect of this overcrowding. He argued that if a healthy, vigorous race of colonists were to succeed the present generation, it could only be effected by a race of “country dwellers,” in whom a surplus vitality might be stored “till it would be ready to burst forth upon the world.” The inevitable tendency of society was to congregate in towns, and hence a want of vitality in the rising generation. He considered that, so far as the Universities were concerned, it would be far better to make these more teaching than merely examining bodies. He ventured to propose that the present system of primary and secondary education should be handed over to the New Zealand University, which should be made the one teaching body of the Colony, the machinery of the Education Department and of all the other public schools being transferred to it and placed under its charge. The President, at considerable length, dwelt upon the advantages of inculcating in the youth of the Colony a correct idea of the anatomical structure of the human frame, as being the best means of conducing to their own health, and then a healthy race would follow them. A purely secular education—“one that did not directly or indirectly lead the thoughts of youth above material and mental needs”-he was not in favour of. The speaker remarked that the aim of his address had been to draw a rapid sketch of his ideal, toward which it should be the aim of the colonists to attain.