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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 14. September 26, 1957

Inter-race Relations— — Students from Pacific

Inter-race Relations—

Students from Pacific

Two thousand miles and more from their homes in the Pacific Islands, a generation of young experts and administrators are in New Zealand on a long-term programme which should enable them to contribute to the social and economic advancement of their peoples.

There are 520 Pacific island students in New Zealand, of whom 153 are on scholarships provided by the New Zealand Government and the Administration of Western Samoa. 237 are sponsored by other governments, and 130 are students who have come privately. In an overtaxed education system, the absorbing of over 500 islands students (not to mention 360-odd from Asia) is cheerfully accepted by those concerned as a proper contribution to good niter-racial relations.

An Ambitious Undertaking

To build up self-reliant societies operating on democratic lines is the broad policy of the New Zealand administration in the areas for which it is responsible. Essential to this process is education—first a broad-based system to teach an entire population to read and write, with higher education for a promising few; next, a fuller education for all who can profit by it. The first stage is an ambitious enough undertaking which has for years taxed resources of teachers and school buildings in the islands and accounts for a substantial part of the New Zealand contribution to development there—over £1,000,000 a year for the past five years.

The New Zealand scholarship scheme, providing higher education than can be had in the islands, has since 1945 been producing young people, qualified to high standards, who will help in self-development of the Polynesians as medical men and nurses, school teachers and engineers, administrators and tradesmen.

To date 206 scholarships have been awarded. As most of the pupils have been selected at primary school age to take the whole of their secondary and technical or university education in New Zealand, results are only beginning to accrue. Fifty-three students have returned to their islands and 153 are still in training in what is proving one of the most successful educational experiments ever made.

Nearing One Objective

Western Samoa, as the most populous and socially advanced of New Zealand's island territories, has had the lion's share of scholarships to date—130. against 56 for the Cook Islands and 20 for Niue. The ratio is now changing, for Samoa is nearing the long-term aim of educating enough secondary students at home.

Samoa College, opened four years ago with 52 pupils in its secondary department, next year will achieve its objective of turning out each year 100 students taught to the best overseas academic standards. Some have already successfully taken the New Zealand University Entrance examination. Scholarship pupils sent to New Zealand from 1945 onward were away from Samoa for up to eleven years before they were ready to enter the public service. This has had some disadvantages. Future trainees will be away from home no longer than needed to take a full university course.

The broad conspectus of useful occupations covered by the scholarship scheme is shown in a sample of 31 returned to Samoa, which includes 12 teachers, nine clerks and one each as agricultural instructor draughtsman, electrician, joiner musing sister, radiographer, paniter and decorator, radio announcer, radio technician and survey cadet.

None of those who have attained the highest qualifications has yet returned to the islands. Dr. W. P. Williams, a graduate of the Otago Medical School, is spending this year as a house surgeon at the Waikato Hospital: and the first scholar to complete a university arts course. Miss Fanaafi [unclear: Ma'int] also from Samoa, a B.A. of Victoria College, is doing an M A. course in education, having been awarded a James Macintosh Scholarship.

Medical Students

Well advanced in their medical courses at Otago are two Samoans. Ailao Imo and George Schuster, and second year medical students are two Cook Isalnders, Joseph Williams and Dominique Payrous, and a Samoan, Mark Sapsford. Unusual among the medical students is Semisi [unclear: M ia'i] who qualified as a practitioner from the Central Medical School of Suva. After returning to Samoa he showed such outstanding ability that at the age of 30 he was awarded a special scholarship to lake a full medical degree at Otago. Like the Scots, the Samoans are relentless in the pursuit of education when set on it.

Agricultural development is an urgent need in all the islands, and the Administration of Western Samoa already has two residential boys primary schools (Avele and Vaipoufi) with a practical farming bias. New Zealand scholarships are developing the first Polynesian agricultural scientists, of whom the most advanced. William Meredith, from Samoa, is in the second year of the B.Ag.Sc. course at Massey College: while another Samoan. Joseph Rethma, is at Victoria College doing his agricultural preliminary.

Photo of Pacific Island student

In engineering the first graduate may be a Cook Islander. Papamoa Pokino, now in an early stage of his professional course at Victoria College.

Work and Study

Not all the scholarship holders who have reached university are full-time students. Aiming to graduate as a bachelor of commerce and with only lour units to complete at Canterbury College. Daniel Phineas, a Samoan, works in a bank. Government departments in Wellington employ several Cook Islanders, among them Tere [unclear: Mataio], who is halfway through his [unclear: low] course and works in the Justice Department, and [unclear: Metuikoie] Sadaraka, who is taking a B.A. course in economics and works in Island Territories. Both are destined to join the administration in Rarotonga.

Economic progress in the islands is to an extent dependent on legal establishment of individual titles to land, without which there is little incentive for long-term development. Many applications for titles have been held up for lack of surveyors, but this should improve a little shortly when the intending surveyors in New Zealand achieve lull qualifications.

Those mentioned are the students who have attained or are likely to reach high academic qualifications. There are many others whose special aptitudes have taken them along other channels, as teachers, nurses, mechanics, carpenters, printers and draughtsmen. Altogether their training to date represents an investments by New Zealand of some £200,000) in developing pioneers of social progress among the island peoples.

Over and above the students from as own island territories, for which it carries full responsibility. New Zealand is catering for the education og 237 islands trainees sponsored by other governments—200 from Fiji. 31 from [unclear: longi]. four from the Solomons and two from the Gilberts. They are widely distributed through the educational institutions—30 in State schools. 31 in private schools. 104 at university, 21 in teachers' training colleges. 21 in hospitals and 30 in various professional and trade training, the Fijians are the most advanced group, providing 93 of the 104 university students. Fiji makes us major contribution in the field of public hygiene thorugh its maintenance or the Cenital Medical School at Suva, accommodating 150 students for training to practitioner standard in medicine, surgery, dentistry and other health services and available to all the Pacific Islands and Papua