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Rhodes Scholars on display in Auckland

12 July 2005

Rhodes Scholars on display in Auckland

A travelling exhibition celebrating a century of New Zealand Rhodes Scholars will be hosted by The University of Auckland next month.

"A Civilising Mission: New Zealanders and the Rhodes Scholarship, 1904-2004" will be on show at Old Government House, Waterloo Quadrant from August 5-30.

Display panels will feature a representative group of New Zealand Rhodes Scholars chosen decade by decade. They include Auckland graduates Dr John Hood (now Vice-Chancellor at Oxford University), Sir Colin Maiden, Bryan Gould, Professor James Bertram, Kenneth Sisam, Professor Les Woods, Dr Merata Kawharu, Dr Ngaire Woods, Simon Upton, Professor Willis Airey and Dr Damon Salesa (the first Samoan Rhodes Scholar).

Professor James Belich, selected as a Rhodes Scholar from Victoria University, is also profiled. He will speak at the opening.

Among other prominent New Zealanders in the lineup are former Governor-General Lord Porritt, Olympic athlete Jack Lovelock, and All Blacks Chris Laidlaw and David Kirk.

Eighty-seven Rhodes Scholars, including three from New Zealand, are selected each year from 14 countries to attend Oxford University.

The scholarship was founded on the vision and wealth of diamond tycoon Cecil Rhodes. It was intended for scholars with the necessary intellectual and other qualities to study at Oxford and thereafter "esteem the performance of public duties as [their] highest aim".

The exhibition title comes from James Bertram who wrote of New Zealand Rhodes scholars: “Wherever they have worked, from Moscow to Ibadan, they have carried something of New Zealand and of Oxford with them; and this should, in the end, have been a civilising mission."

The exhibition, curated by the National Library of New Zealand, has been touring New Zealand universities since last year.


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