The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1917
"Year after year debates blaze and fade—scarce mark'd the dial ere departs the shade."
The debating in 1916 was a signal improvement on that of the previous session—a fact which was due in large measure to the presence of a number of ardent new students who took a keen interest in the affairs of the society, and were almost wholly responsible for the successful year. Warm though this interest was at the outset it lagged considerably toward the end of the year when the fear of examinations prevailed over the ardour for platform oratory.
As a result only one debate was held in 1916 after the Plunket Medal Contest, and the motion was "That the use of native soldiers in the present war was against the best interests of the Allies"—a motion which was supported by Messrs Graham and Evans and opposed by Messrs Archer and Saker. The Society was on this occasion most fortunate in having the Rev. Father Gondringer, M.A as judge. Father Gondringer's personal knowledge of the countries in which Empires are now fighting for existence rendered his address at the conclusion of he debate of very special interest. The college however was a considerable loser through not having more than three of its members present in the audience. The judge placed the speakers as follows : Messrs Archer, Jenkins, Evans, Schmidt and Saker.
The 1917 session opened with the Annual General Meeting—which differed but little from the previous ones. The minutes were read to the accompaniment of cheers from the back, and speakers delivered addresses, short but no doubt eloquent, while the audience showed its good-Will and support by voicing in song (?) the fact that "When the war's nearly over they'd be there"—which was quite irrelevant to the matter in hand. Several questions a propos of the doings of last years committee page 50 were raised and as for as circumstances and the audience would allow were discussed in a somewhat heated manner. An amicable settlement however, was in most cases arrived at, and after the election of officers for the coming year, the business of the meeting was at an end.
During the vocation several readings were held and early in the session the practice acquired by those who had taken part was put to good use. A dramatic reading of "The Angle in the House" arranged by Miss M.L. Nicholls was delivered to a large and appreciative audience. The proceeds together with those of the flower and sweet stalls managed by other lady-members of the society were handed over to the College Patriotic Fund.
The first regular meeting of the year took the form of a lecture on the last debate of 1916. The prospect of a dance at the Training College kept most of the society away, but those of us who were present can vouch for the pleasant and instructive nature of the address.
The next meeting was held on Saturday the 5th May, when the expediency of abolishing racing was discussed. Messrs Evans and Troup supported the abolition of the sport in question while Messrs Ross and Leicester opposed it. Several speakers from the audience followed, most supporting the movers, and eventually the motion on being put to the meeting was carried. The judge (Mr. H. F. O'Leary, LL.B.) placed the speakers in the following order : Messrs Evans, Leicester, Troup, Ross and Miss Neumann.
The next debate was held on the 19th May. The motion was "That the proposed interference by the National Efficiency Board with the laws of demand and supply as applied to labour would not promote National Efficiency." This motion was supported by Messrs Howie and Smith and opposed by Messrs Russell and Wilson.
After the opening addresses had been delivered an interesting discussion followed, though the whole meeting was more of less at a disadvantage in being at a loss to understand the motion. Mr. H. E. Evans, B.A., LL.M.. reviewed the subject of debate in an interesting way, and in delivering his judgment placed the speakers in the following order : Evans, Miss I. Newmann, Rohertson, Wilson and Leicester.