IN their challenging statement of the need to foster the research function of the University in New Zealand a group of University teachers has named "certain basic requirements" which must be fulfilled. In brief, these requirements are that conditions of work be made comparable with those available in older countries, and in the United States. For the creation of these conditions great wealth is not necessary, as witness the authoritative statement that the total current scientific production of Denmark, or of Norway—neither of them a wealthy -country—has exceeded the total contributions of Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt and Mexico. What is of primary importance is a habit of thinking. In New Zealand the habit is to think that it is "natural," and so inevitable, that the most distinguished students should go abroad, that men or women recognised as brilliant research workers should join research institutions abroad, and that they should stay abroad. There is, in fact, nothing "natural" about it, and the habit of thinking it so is a relic of colonial days, when it was assumed that everything that was fine, admirable and distinguished was to be found on the other side of the world. It was probably inevitable, in the then state of the Colony's development, that Rutherford, in 1894, should go to Montreal instead of returning to New Zealand, but it is to the discredit of New Zealand that the same kind of inevitability should exist for potential Rutherfords in 1945, half a century later.
When this habit of thinking is overcome several marked changes will take place. The greatest will be in the material inducements offered to first-class brains in the University, which, in relation to living costs and to the remuneration of other groups in the community, are very much poorer than they were forty years ago. These "inducements" include compulsory contributions to a sup«*nnuation scheme, the basis of which is so unfair that no industrial twdon (provided it had a sufficient membership to make its voice heard politically) would tolerate it for one week. University teachers who are here have been obliged to tolerate it, but men abroad, whether New Zealanders or not, who think of coming to the Dominion are not to be blamed if they see in the superannuation scheme alone a sufficient deterrent.
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UNIVERSITY NEEDS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 174, 25 July 1945
UNIVERSITY NEEDS Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 174, 25 July 1945
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