Monday, 21 March 2016

The Eyes Of An Absent God

Externalised Consciences: Old, Presbyterian, Dunedin possessed no surveillance cameras. It needed none. Back then the only watcher that mattered was already in people’s heads. In 2016, God’s eye looks down upon Dunedin’s students from the nearest wall.
 
“IT’S LIKE HAVING Mum and Dad on the street watching you.” The idea of the University of Otago’s CCTV surveillance cameras observing the comings and goings on Hyde Street, one of the Dunedin student quarter’s most notorious addresses, has not been met with universal approval. The prospect of having an additional 50 cameras strategically located at other “hot spots” (burn a sofa in the middle of the street and that is what you get!) in the student “ghetto” has raised additional concerns.
 
With the shock of Friday’s balcony collapse still fresh in the local authorities’ minds, however, student umbrage at intensified CCTV surveillance will likely carry less weight. The City and the University must now be reaching for every available tool to maintain safety in the streets of North Dunedin.
 
We can only sympathise with Mayor Dave Cull and Vice-Chancellor Harlene Hayne, who find themselves in a predicament analogous to that of Larry Vaughan, the unfortunate Mayor of Amity Island in Steven Spielberg’s classic movie Jaws. The Great White Shark of student disorder cannot be decisively beaten in Dunedin without putting at risk the very institution that keeps the city alive and kicking.
 
Ten-to-fifteen thousand students pour into Dunedin every year (a huge number of them from Auckland) on the strength of its reputation as the most student-friendly city in the country. Life in the student ghetto of Dunedin is a vital aspect of the University of Otago’s allure. “Closing the beaches” (to pursue the Jaws analogy a little further) would spoil all the fun.
 
Comprehensive CCTV surveillance, continuous and aggressive policing of the student quarter, and an unforgiving application of both the law and the university regulations would certainly prevent the Great White Shark from inflicting further casualties. But it might also prompt a great many prospective Otago students to ask themselves whether the long journey south was any longer worth it.
 
Dunedin’s dismal weather and dingy flats are currently offset by the warmth and vitality of its “Scarfie” lifestyle. Take that away and the place risks being written-off as a cold hole far too far from home and far too close to the Antarctic.
 
At some point, however, the depredations of the Great White Shark become so horrendous (one of the most seriously injured victims of Friday’s balcony collapse may never walk again) that turning a blind eye ceases to be an option – and installing 50 new electronic eyes begins to sound like a great idea.
 
The historical irony of this move towards “God’s Eye” surveillance in the student ghetto is that it is taking place in New Zealand’s preeminent Calvinist city. In 1901, when the University of Otago was already 30 years old, 98 percent of New Zealanders were Christians. In Dunedin, many – perhaps most – of those Christians were Scottish-born or descended Presbyterians.
 
At the heart of Scottish Protestantism was an unceasing and exhausting dialogue between the individual sinner and Almighty God. The comforting intermediations of the “Roman” clergy had long since been anathematised by these dour inhabitants of lowland and border. For them there was no veil to thwart the perception, and no intercession to soften the judgement, of the all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful Jehovah.
 
People still talk about “the fear of God”, but today it is almost always meant rhetorically. In a world where nearly everybody believed in an omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent deity, and where that belief was whetted to a self-harming sharpness every Sunday in the pews of a thousand churches, the fear of God was all too literal.
 
The young people of the past were as familiar with the Bible’s catalogue of sins, as today’s young people are with the apps on their I-phone. In those days, any occasion for sinning must also have been, in the minds of youngsters convinced that their most private thoughts and furtive deeds were at all times laid bare to the gaze of an all-seeing and judgemental god, occasions for the most paralysing fear and guilt.
 
Among student revellers basking in the fiery glow of Castle Street’s burning sofas, fear and guilt displayed precious little purchase. Their parents (or, more likely, their grandparents) might retain vague memories of church services and Sunday schools, but with less than half of New Zealand’s population now identifying itself as Christian, they almost certainly do not.
 
The optimists among us will be hoping that the voices of Mum and Dad, and the moral imperatives they imparted, still feature in their children’s internal deliberations. In this respect, that young inhabitant of Hyde Street’s comment about the surveillance camera being akin to her parents watching is instructive.
 
Old, Presbyterian Dunedin possessed no surveillance cameras. It needed none. Back then the only watcher that mattered was already in people’s heads. In 2016, God’s eye looks down upon Dunedin’s students from the nearest wall.
 
This essay was originally published in The Press of 8 March 2016.

29 comments:

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"In those days, any occasion for sinning must also have been, in the minds of youngsters convinced that their most private thoughts and furtive deeds were at all times laid bare to the gaze of an all-seeing and judgemental god, occasions for the most paralysing fear and guilt."

Or, it seems to me made it all the more tempting. Judging by the amount of sinning that I remember went on in those days, and judging by (admittedly American) figures for teenage pregnancies amongst evangelicals. :)

Victor said...

Chris and GS

Congratulations both. You've encompassed millennia of theology and attendant psychology in one beautifully-written, medium-sized post and one characteristically short retort.

This alone has made my investment in computer hardware, software and peripherals more than worthwhile.

Vaya con Dios (or not, as the case may be).

peter petterson said...

These are some of the nation's leaders of tomorrow? So Dunedin is too cold for young people to live in without boozing up and misbehaving. Bullshit! I lived there as a 20 and 21 year old and didn't destroy my flat or burn sofas, but then again I was just an ordinary hard working lad from working class roots. These over-privileged kids of many over- privileged families need an old fashioned kick up the arse. Most of the flats and rooming houses need to be closed and pulled down, they are in many cases over a hundred years old. Relocate the medical school to Christchurch.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the peasants and children need to fear a god to keep them in line.

Robert M said...

As entry standards have lowered and school based qualifications have become increasingly meaningless and difficult to interpret, inevitably people with no interest in advanced study or even understanding of what it is about, have entered universities.
With the abolition of Bursary and School Certificate, watered down as these qualifications were suffering rampant mark inflation in the case of Bursary like UK A levels by the 21st Century their abandonment during Clarks's reign destroyed any valid reference point and a NCEA pass is now only as good as the school and its standards. In other words a Dio, Wellington College or Epsom Girls NCEA is credible but from the Tokoroa or Gore co ed of dubious or any value.Whether true on not, a potential employer can only draw that conclusion.
In other words no one has a clue about the value of most NCEAs or degrees since about the third term of the Clark Government.
Current educational grading is largely based on presentation ( spelling, grammar, fluency) observation of PC and subject based norms and professional standards of referencing- quality, logic, truth and plausability of argument in terms of maths, hard science and economics count for little. In other words educational achievement gives little indication of intelligence and my view is that the intelligent quarter of the population are far less likely to misbehave stupidly and violently with impact and concern by others.
It is a given as my careers advisor father once said, that he was always frustrated when asked by Dunedin Halls of residence to give an assessment of a potential students character and likely behaviour, because in his view it was impossible to tell, how a then 17/18 year old would behave when away from family and his past social network for the first time. Modern study less based on learning a large fact or foreign language base and using materials processed by the teacher requires much less discipline than 20-40 years ago.
The reality however is the awesome student misbehaviour is due to university entrance now being based on standards that are meaningless and malleable and no longer measure intelligence or provide any useful classification and also to the fact the conservative, restricted and cold nature of Dunedin makes it no longer suitable for a major university. I suggest Otago, Canterbury and Lincoln became one varsity and Otago university move out of Dunedin with the Halls of residence being converted into public flats and backpackers.

Robert M said...

I do not believe Camera's , more security guards or police are the answer, they simply ruin the university and social experience and simply mean the values of ordinary males and the talkback proletariat are imposed on everybody. That is the last thing universities are about.
In the United States the bending of entry standards for ethnic and disadvantaged groups greatly decreased safety on a lot of campuses. The general idea that university is a necessary rite of passage for all in NZ has brought a vastly less elite and often less intelligent group of people to university and with the male group this always results in a large group of undesirable and unsuitable males entering varsity who can only be catered for by a massive lowering of standards. Have a look at the available set readings and library at Massey University Wellington and you will be shocked by the low intellectual standard of the material which would have shamed a polytech, 20 years ago.

vortex said...

Unfortunately balcony collapses are not uncommon:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11324546
http://www.smh.com.au/world/victims-in-balcony-collapse-near-university-of-berkeley-identified-20150617-ghq1kg.html

I wonder if those sites have installed electronic eyes?

As for Otago students being some of the nation's leaders of tomorrow as peter petterson mentioned - some of their behaviour upsets him but are they showing the qualities we expect of our leaders? You know, being lying, hypocritical opportunist scumbags.

greywarbler said...

When a top-level secondary school can't be allowed to discipline senior pupils playing games on the airport luggage carousel it is a vignette of what is becoming common these days, and an example of Affluenza, the virus of having and doing, to excess.

The airport affray happened recently in NZ because the parents wouldn't let the school withdraw the privilege of participating in a school sporting match. It used to be that parents were reluctant to pass on advice on control of sexuality, now it appears they aren't willing to talk about control at all. The awful result will be that their children will grow into one of the opinionated loudmouths like Paul Henry, Paul Holmes who apparently appeal to the young male thrusting his individual way through the communal adult world, not accepting though reasonable standards of behaviour which include respect for others and self-discipline.

Anonymous said...

They are abusing on the fact that they will be the leaders in the future because of that our future is in dire straights.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"In the United States the bending of entry standards for ethnic and disadvantaged groups greatly decreased safety on a lot of campuses. "

Citation please?

Anonymous said...

In the late 80's, I did know of an Otago University jug sculling champion who has since become a significant figure at Treasury...doubtless we're in good hands.

Anonymous said...

Robert M:

I happen to agree with you about NCEA, but squeezing in the cheap shot about Clark without acknowledging (a) that its gestation was long and commenced under the 90's National Govts, and (b) that your current beloved National government embraced it too and has had 8 years to throw it out, and has no professed plan to throw it out going forward either, means that part of your criticism rings hollow.

There are many arguments for and against NCEA but the one foremost for me is that it's actually harder for talented kids with the wrong background. With the exams, we could get them in the gym for 3 weeks cramming beforehand, they could get a worthy result, and yes, it would be rated in the community the same or higher than the same result by a kid from Auckland Grammar even if they came out of a Decile 1 type of school.

But the internal assessment focus of NCEA is hopeless for kids in overcrowded working and non working households - what hope of maintaining effort for a whole year when you are baby sitting your siblings and mum is on the piss, or working a day and a night job, and the TV is blaring and there's no food in the cupboards etc. So the result is organically, the system steers these kids into soft subjects, and sells them out.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Current educational grading is largely based on presentation ( spelling, grammar, fluency) observation of PC and subject based norms and professional standards of referencing- quality, logic, truth and plausability of argument in terms of maths, hard science and economics count for little. In other words educational achievement gives little indication of intelligence and my view is that the intelligent quarter of the population are far less likely to misbehave stupidly and violently with impact and concern by others."
"The reality however is the awesome student misbehaviour is due to university entrance now being based on standards that are meaningless and malleable and no longer measure intelligence or provide any useful classification "

Utter - Fucking - Bullshit. The right's version of political correctness. Not only is it untrue, but it cheapens the work done by teachers in low decile schools who work their arses off to give kids a chance. And your argument is not helped by the fact that whatever system educated you, it didn't teach you to fucking spell plausibility.

markus/swordfish said...

It's a common mistake to assume that older/earlier generations of Kiwis were deeply religious and regular church-goers. They weren't. Regular church-going has always been a minority sport in New Zealand (only 40% at its apex in the late 1890s, down to 25% by the 1930s).

I'd suggest that most pre-Boomers were somewhere in that vague religious universe between nominally-Christian and agnostic. Not positively Atheist, more a case of simple disinterest. Sure, they turned up for weddings and funerals and they'd dutifully write down on the Census form the particular denomination within which they were christened, but Christianity itself was largely an irrelevance to them. That's particularly true of working-class men and city-dwellers throughout the 20C.

The Boomer Orthodoxy: that wonderfully liberal secular Boomers (supposedly - according to their own self-promotion - "so young and yet so wise beyond their years") re-made a deeply-conservative, uber-Conformist, church-going society after Year Zero (1968) involves a good deal of mythology. Like many an enduring caricature - Kernel of truth, but grossly exaggerated and distorted out of all recognition.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"In the United States the bending of entry standards for ethnic and disadvantaged groups greatly decreased safety on a lot of campuses. "

Citation please?

Okay, I think you've had long enough to produce a citation and you're not going to.
When you make a statement like that, if you begin it with "maybe" or "could it be that" you're simply wrong. If you come out and just say it, what you're doing is – "making stuff up" – or more politely "fibbing". Or as it annoys me so much you are " MAKING STUFF UP" or more politely "BULLSHITTING". You see this is a statement that could so easily be checked. And I'm surprised it hasn't, or rather I suspect it has, and later on I will check. But your alleged decrease in safety standards on many campuses first has to be shown to be true, and then we have to look at all the factors that could contribute to this, one of the main ones being I suspect (you'll notice the I suspect there) is the area in which the college exists. Some colleges in the US are/were plonked on the edge of ghettos for want of a better word. So you might expect the degree of safety to go up and down depending on the state of the surrounding area, particularly given that many campuses are relatively open. But there are many universities in the US that don't have substantial minorities, there are many that have pretty much always had them, and there are those in which a minority population has increased substantially. So it should be relatively easy to tell if admitting more minorities – and we have to specify the minorities here, because some minorities commit more crimes than others – is the problem.
Now this is a fairly benign website, and if you were to make statements like this on whaleoil for instance judging by my experience, you wouldn't get any argument at all. Because it agrees with their prejudices. But if you were to try this on the Guardian, where people actually know what they're talking about to an amazing degree I discover, you would be picked apart. Raucously, gleefully, quietly in some cases. And you would appear to be a fool. And as Maurice Switzer is alleged to have said, "It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt." And certainly a few times I wish I had taken his advice. Perhaps you should.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"In other words a Dio, Wellington College or Epsom Girls NCEA is credible but from the Tokoroa or Gore co ed of dubious or any value. Whether true on not, a potential employer can only draw that conclusion."

Again bullshit. An external qualification is equally rigorous over the country and doesn't actually depend on which school you go to. Now what bosses think about internals is difficult to control, but I'd like to remind you that the only schools that have ever been caught gaming the system have been elite ones. :) And they used to game the old external exam system as well.

Robert M said...

Well I don't have any specific references to hand, but I can remember reading such views in magazines like the 'Atlantic' and there has of course been a great deal of legal and supreme court action in the USA, from white students and their parents who thing they have been disadvantaged in selection by racial quota. In fact the view is so common it hardly has to be referenced.
The left wing demand to cite cite, and source to apparently strengthen their argument and weaken their opponents, because social science articles and advocacy is usually supported by numerous apparently documented sources and quotes often from biased sources that support their views. Most academic fields are closed and refuse to accept the views of other disciplines or non academics. Simple mathematical and economics calculation would probably lead to a rejection of most Political Science and Sociology studies and anything written by Jonathon Boston, Jared Gilbert or the Otago University Social Medicine Department, will be so subjective and probably factually inaccurate, to be of no merit.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Most academic fields are closed and refuse to accept the views of other disciplines or non academics. Simple mathematical and economics calculation would probably lead to a rejection of most Political Science and Sociology studies and anything written by Jonathon Boston, Jared Gilbert or the Otago University Social Medicine Department, will be so subjective and probably factually inaccurate, to be of no merit. "

Again, you are making shit up. Jesus wept, I've met Jonathon Boston, he actually has a fucking brain. HE would probably know that there is a lot of interdisciplinary study going on in universities all over the world. What you really mean is they won't accept your opinions, that's probably because you just make shit up.

greywarbler said...

10/10 to GS and fail to the essay into considered opinion by Robert M.
If what Robert states was true, the whole tertiary study of people and politics would be abandoned. Because the people who weren't studying it would choose not to believe any of it. We are all to be reduced to equations instead.

numerous apparently documented sources and quotes often from biased sources that support their views. Most academic fields are closed and refuse to accept the views of other disciplines or non academics. Simple mathematical and economics calculation would probably lead to a rejection of most Political Science and Sociology studies

The most intricate and demanding study is that of the human mind and its rationalities. Which is why it is the most demanding, and the most likely to cause discomfort for its disclosures and to be dispensed with. The mind samples on this blog, are wonderfully kaleidoscopic and spark, sizzle or cast moonshine, precious and numerous glow-worms in an ever-darkening age.

Robert M said...

Well Guerilla Surgeon, the anti alcohol psychiatrists and social activists at the Social Medicine Department, Douglas Selman and Jenny Goodwin like most of their kind massively exaggerate the dangerous and lethal effects of alcohol on the grounds that its in the social interest to lie and they have a paternalistic right to protect the interests of the ordinary men, proletarian males and the supposedly vulnerable. The damage Selman and Co have done to New Zealand's most desirable future as a pleasure leisure paradise for the world open 24/7 is unspeakable.
In the 1982- 2006 period New Zealand became a wonderful county with the relaxation of licensing laws, bars open all night 24/6 everyday but Sunday, Supermarkets open all night etc. During the dismal reign of John Banks in Auckland and the Catholic socially guilty, Bill English, and the always on the make, Judith Collins we have seen a return to socially conservative, puritan policies and the words of the Police and the Medical Profession largely taken as gospel despite their hard left, paternalistic attitude. Licences are now frequently denied and revoked on spurious ground. Wellington which had become one of the most exciting cities for all night entertainment has seen the bars massively restricted. Supermarkets now close automatically at 11pm because with the law now requiring no alcohol sales after 11pm its simply inconvinient for supermarkets to trade general goods or employ staff after that. Also of course the mindblowing stupidity of Key and English to massively reduce government employment and downsize staffing in all the departments the nation clearly needs many more competent advisors ie MFAT, Health, Social Welfare, Transport, Commerce has done massive damage to the economy and entertainment industry in Wellington which should be a dazzling tourist and entertainment beacon to the world now largely reduced to the practice of the 1960s of just offering bars and entertainment after midnight on Friday and Saturday night.
In terms of Jonathon Boston I actually flatted with him for a month about late 1980 and he was a tutor back from Oxford Uni while I was at Canterbury Uni doing a Masters of Art in Political Science. At the time Boston was a rising star with his work on the PMs department massively praised. Since he's proved just to be a dismal social activist type academic advocating lost cause social policies of failed ideas of massive benefit increases and far more social workers. Just the sort of policy proposals that Helen Clark threw in the waste paper basket ( in many ways she took the advice of Roger Kerr in accepting that benefit levels were serious out of alignment with work incentive and she really didnt increase or sustain real inflation adjusted value of benefits at all). The policy of Jonathon Boston is just what Bill English regards as having failed totally. In terms of Jarrod Gilbert, I say he comes from the poorest part of South Timaru a decade before me and his take and that of O'Reilly on Timaru and its gangs is about the most unreliable source you could imagine.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Well Guerilla Surgeon, the anti alcohol psychiatrists and social activists at the Social Medicine Department, Douglas Selman and Jenny Goodwin like most of their kind massively exaggerate the dangerous and lethal effects of alcohol on the grounds that its in the social interest to lie and they have a paternalistic right to protect the interests of the ordinary men, proletarian males and the supposedly vulnerable. The damage Selman and Co have done to New Zealand's most desirable future as a pleasure leisure paradise for the world open 24/7 is unspeakable."

Well Robert, do I accept the opinions of medical professionals who have spent years studying their subjects, or someone with a possible masters in political science. Sorry, no contest. I don't think a Masters in political science qualifies you to make judgements about the dangers of alcohol. Judging by the opinions you espouse, I'm not sure it even qualifies you to have a say in how the country is run.

Now if I were to argue your way I'd simply say "Well, you've never being along Courtney Place at 3 o'clock in the morning.", But I'll simply conclude with – the idea of New Zealand being a leisure/pleasure paradise for the rest of the world seems to fall down on the fact that there are leisure pleasure paradises a damn sight closer, and a damn sight cheaper to get to. And some of their liquor laws are a damn sight more restrictive than ours as well. :)

greywarbler said...

RobertM
I pronounce you contender for Rave of the Year. I don't know if you are being ironic or sarcastic, but I think not. Social welfare is needed when the reciprocal relationship is broken between people working in jobs for businesses which receive the wages back through spending.

Having pubs open later was supposed to herald a new age of relaxed drinking. Those who have to deal with the depredations of alcoholism on a household income don't think that the easy peasy social life of pubs and bars is so good.

But those leasing premises for drinking like it, the bars want to stay open 24/7, and so do all business people who find having their hours limited is a restraint of trade.

Alcohol is enjoyable in limited amounts, but the body and the society need it to be limited for everyone's advantage. need a break for part of the day. Special licences for those times of excess are the answer not drug pushing under the guise of 'hospitality'.

The scenes reported from hospitals about the violence and disgusting behaviour of drunken people, who preload and free load on society to fix them up so they can return to their mindless way of half-life is a clear example of why we shouldn't have the 24/7 life.

Hedonistic punters can find 'sophisticated' night life in big cities overseas, where the nightlife tends to amuse them but abuse the vulnerable people seeking employment then. But in Europe, people used to drink schnapps and have water I think, and play chess. They were more sophisticated in their social life than the big talking, fast drinking kiwis. In other words the type of social life that punters like you say you yearn for, is not the one that has evolved in hick NZ.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Having pubs open later was supposed to herald a new age of relaxed drinking. "

Yes. I remember telling Jonathan Hunt that it wouldn't work with our binge drinking culture. That he seemed to think that it would civilise our drinking habits and make us akin to the French. It certainly hasn't. :)

Frederick Miles said...

Hospitality and Tourism offer great opportunity for developing international level contacts and skills even if the initial pay is low. NZs distance means people can conduct their affairs ,love life and growing up 15,000 miles from friends and family and we only have to corner our share of the market.

Frederick Miles said...

I doubt of any of the medical students who I was at Knox College with in 1975 would have much time for the scientific credibility of social medicine or psychiatry. Possibly Richard Beasley would which is probably why with Wayne Graham (future all black) probably too pretty ,he was regarded as a village idiot in a conservative college where most of those who now dominate the NZ medical profession resided.
Personally I think drinking and sex the best way to relax, keep fit, avoid colds and work and study efficiently on less than 4hrs sleep.

Frederick Miles said...

Most of my views on these matters were based on the views of my parents , secondary teachers in the 1970s and 1980s and their colleagues on what would happen if a skills based internally assessed qualification system was introduced. Both favoured the introduction of an NCEA type system, but only for dumb males, my mother regarded New Zealanders as incredibly dumb compared with Germans and Scandavians and my father often explained the thickness of the bottom stream 5R and other low streams, please sir types, athletes Richard Taylor and John Lister and by extention John Walker and Quax,probably wrongly as he did'nt know being Aucklanders as incredibly thick with tiny minds with the reasoning power of the average garden tomcat. In his opinion SCert English and Maths as just IQ tests not really teachable (half true- their real point was repetitive rote learning was unspeakably boring for intelligent teachers and Mongols- would actually master such skills as fast as the lower male forms) SC English unfortunately required an IQ of 107 to comprehend an average score regarded wrongly as high in Jim Flynn's somewhat interesting work.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

In so far as I can understand this at all, I would have to say Frederick that your parents were either misunderstood by you, or should never have been teachers.

"my mother regarded New Zealanders as incredibly dumb compared with Germans and Scandavians "

I'm not quite sure what you're all your mother's definition of dumb was, but if it at all relates to whatever is expressed by IQ, then your mother was either incredibly 'dumb' herself or was simply making shit up. Unless as I said, you misunderstood her. The rest of it I don't pretend to understand, as you don't seem to be under any obligation to be clear.

Frederick said...

Well I am sorry Guerilla, that you are so limited and outdated, that you actually require comma's to read. I usually don't bother, because I read by the more advanced technique of scanning, and homing in on anything, interesting. In the 1970's teachers often didn't bother much with spelling, if it sounded correct or looked pretty much right, it was jake.
The reason for the abandonment of SC and UE is they failed a lot of people, and were seen as unfair and with higher unemployment and people staying longer at school they were impossible exams for much of the population. It would be an accurate estimate that an IQ of 107 was the minimum likely to pass School Certificate, English or Maths before 1986 and an IQ of 110 to pass School Certificate. Many average students liked the emphasis on skills and repetitive learning of spelling and grammar, reintroduced under NCEA, but these are skills exercises, not tests of intelligence or ability.
I disagree entirely with the view that NCEA is a true external exam, it is largely itnernally assessed, with no real statistical moderation, or adjustment of results to conform with the ability level in the school or past pure exam results. Pre 1986 the validity and accuracy of school accrediting for UE was partly assessed by the performance of school pupils at that school to pass the exam. ( The expected performance to pass was 200 marks in 4 subjects or an average of 50, with at least 30 in English and marks in school exams of 206-210 in schools internal exams, usually got individuals accredited, although lazy boy and jock types were increasingly being failed by feminist teachers, from the 1970s as they believed they should have a veto on who went to university.
In overseas nations the level required to go to university varied in the 1960s and 1970s but has since eroded, but as in NZ the level required for an English 0 or A level pass was vastly higher before the mid 1970's.
Pride, in grammatical ability, spelling etc is very much a characteristic, I find of those in the specialised intelligence range (120-134, ie those in the top 7.5 percent but excluding the truly gifted in the top 1%) and in particular those of first generation, university education and wealth.Who seem to wear their supposed literacy as a badge of honour or superiority. In my view its just a waste of time, to get a truly clean script, and I alos have eyesight problems. Deborah Coddington is an outstanding example of this and a life of dedicated troublemaking.
My mother and father were among the most intelligent people, educated in New Zealand in the 1930s and 1940s with outstanding academic records at Victoria University were my mother met my father in 1948 were he was a junior lecture tutoring her honours year. English was actually their subject. In my view serious jounalism is a team effort and as in the United States, anything good, will have a whole team of editors, rewriters, fact checkers, etc working on it.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I disagree entirely with the view that NCEA is a true external exam, it is largely itnernally assessed, with no real statistical moderation, or adjustment of results to conform with the ability level in the school or past pure exam results. "

Er.... You might disagree, but you are wrong. Aside from the fact that I know people who set and mark exams, I also know someone who might be in trouble, because their internal grades don't match the external ones. Except they won't be, because as quite often happens the ministry made a stupid mistake. But the internals are compared to the externals, and are made to conform to the ability of the school and/or past exam results. So unless you can come up with a better source than that, you are making shit up. In fact was a lot of stuff there which sounds like you made it up. Still talk to jigsaw, he calls it "having an opinion."
Incidentally, I don't give a shit about your spelling or grammar, except it interferes with my ability to understand what you're saying. Maybe if you kept your sentences shorter.