Volume 74 1965 > Volume 74, No. 4 > Notes and news, p 391 - 395
                                                                                             Previous | Next   

- 391 Page is blank

- 392
- 393

At its meeting on 5th November, 1965, the Council of the Polynesian Society regretfully concluded that rising costs necessitate an increase in the subscription rate. The Society's annual expenditure now exceeds its income, while a vigorous and successful sales campaign in recent years has seriously depleted the Society's stock of earlier publications, which used to constitute a principal asset. There has thus been a steady deterioration in the Society's total financial position. The Council sees no cause for panic: a substantial credit balance remains in the Society's trading account, and the Society's greatest asset, its library, now insured for a considerable sum on expert valuation, remains intact and in good care. Yet, looking ahead, the Council has resolved that sound planning requires a rise in subscription rates now, in order to forestall a more serious crisis in the near future.

The Council considered three possible ways of redressing the balance between income and expenditure. Economies in office overheads were suggested, but it was agreed that these alone could not be sufficient. Reduction in the size of the Journal might solve the problem for the time being, but other members of the Council agreed with the Editor that reduction in the size of the Journal at this time, when the volume of worthwhile contributions is steadily increasing, should be avoided if possible. Only one alternative remained: an increase in subscription rates.

When the Society was founded, more than seventy years ago, the subscription rate was fixed at £1 0s 0d per annum. It has since been raised only twice, 5/- each time. It would be difficult to find any other commodity which has risen only 50 per cent in price during the last seventy years. Comparison with the prices of other comparable anthropological and scholarly periodicals confirms the Council's view that this Journal, comprising each year approximately 500 pages of text, much of it difficult to set, with lavish illustrations, is a publishing bargain.

By the constitution of the Society its Council has no power to alter membership fees. This can be done only at a General Meeting. At the next Annual General Meeting, next year, the Council will suggest new membership fees, to be effective from the beginning of 1967.

- 394

In the meantime, the Council has resolved to take certain other action which is within its powers, commencing at the beginning of 1966. From 1st January, 1966, the Council will admit to membership of the Society only those individual applicants, duly nominated on the appropriate form, who it considers might be able to make some positive contribution to the work of the Society. Until a new membership fee is established, they must necessarily be admitted for 1966 at the present rate. All other individuals and all institutions not currently members of the Society, who may wish to receive the Journal, must do so by taking out a subscription, payable in advance, which will lapse unless renewed each year. The subscription rate will be £2 10s 0d per annum (postage free) for individual subscribers, and £3 0s 0d per annum (postage free) for libraries and other institutions.

The Council hopes that the next Annual General Meeting, to be held next year, will adopt comparable membership fees, to be effective in 1967, for individuals and institutions holding a current membership in the Society. It is the Council's intention, which will be conveyed to the Annual General Meeting, that all present individual members of the Society should continue to enjoy the privileges and accept the duties of membership if they wish, but that all institutions which at present hold a membership in the Society, and any individual member who might so choose, will receive the Journal on a renewable annual subscription basis from the beginning of 1967.

In this issue of the Journal we are publishing a second long review of a book already reviewed in the last issue. It is not our policy to review books twice, but in this case our second review of J. Frank Stimson's Tuamotuan Dictionary came from a linguist whose rare publications are highly valued by his colleagues, and whose special knowledge in this instance is unparalleled. Ralph Gardner White, an American who has lived in Tahiti for many years, was a close friend of Stimson. Like Stimson, White is an expert on the languages of Eastern Polynesia. “My control of Tahitian is first-hand and good,” he says, “of Maori and Hawaiian of the armchair brand. These three, along with Tuamotuan, Rarotongan, Penrhyn, Manihikian, Aitutakian, Mangarevan etc. Constitute my kind of Polynesian. Tongan is very foreign to me, and Samoan definitely odd.” White has recently spent several months at the East-West Center, University of Hawaii. Those of his fellow Polynesianists who are fortunate enough to possess copies treasure his publications, A Tahitian Checklist and Glossemics, which contain almost the only authoritative material on contemporary Tahitian. (See also his Tahitian text, commentary, and translation, in JPS 71 : 244-53).

Recent contributions to the “Commentary” section of the Journal by David Stone, on political developments in the Cook Islands, have been read with great interest in the Cook Islands and elsewhere. Mr. Stone's detailed observations of recent political changes in the Cooks were precisely the kind of contributions—topical, knowledgeable, stimulating discussions of recent and current events—which we hoped to obtain when we launched the “Commentary” section some years ago. Unfortunately we receive few materials of this kind, and we often have to scratch and scrape to find anything at all for inclusion in the “Commentary” section. Why does everyone want to write speculative papers - 395 about the remote and now largely inaccessible past of the Polynesians and other related peoples, while almost no-one wishes to observe and place on record any of the many exciting things that are happening in Polynesia today? By writing reports on contemporary events for “Commentary”, members of the Society who live in Polynesia may make a very useful contribution to the present and future study of the Polynesian peoples, which is what the society was established to promote.

The university of Papua and New Guinea, the establishment of which was recommended some time ago by a Commission comprising Professor O.H.K. Spate, Professor Currie, and Dr. J. T. Gunther, has come into being upon the appointment of an Interim Council, of which Professor P. H. Karmel, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide at Bedford Park, is Chairman. On 7th October, 1965, Professor Karmel released the following statement:

“The Interim Council of the University of Papua and New Guinea held its first meeting at Port Moresby on October 5 and 6.
“The Council believed that the establishment of a working University was a matter of great urgency and that it should make every effort to establish courses at the earliest possible date. It decided that selected students will be enrolled in March, 1966, in a preliminary year of studies in English Language, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, which will be conducted by the Administrative College. The successful students will proceed to the first year of an Arts degree course in March, 1967.
“The first and most urgent tasks of the Council will be to seek and appoint the first academic and administrative staff as quickly as possible. The development of the University will be dependent on the early filling of positions.
“The Council has already commenced the task of seeking a Vice-Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor, as chief executive officer of the Council, will play a key role in the University's development. Many detailed decisions must await his advice. The posts of Registrar and University Librarian will also be filled as soon as possible. The University Librarian will be expected to start acquiring a comprehensive library collection immediately he takes up duty.
“The foundation chairs will be: English Language; Education; History; Geography or Economics; Mathematics; Physics or Chemistry; Biology; Law. Over the next three months, the Council will seek applicants for these posts throughout Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and other English speaking countries.
“The Council gave detailed consideration to the special needs of the various disciplines in the Papua and New Guinea context. The University will develop courses that are specially related to the needs of the Territory; it will, at the same time, ensure that high standards are maintained.”

With deep regret we have to announce that Dr. Ernest Beaglehole, Professor of Psychology and Acting Head of the Department of Anthropology at the Victoria University of Wellington, died just before this issue of the Journal went to press. A full obituary of Professor Beaglehole, who was a long-standing member of the Polynesian Society and a noted contributor to Polynesian ethnography, will appear in our next issue.