Otago University Debating Society

Otago University Debating Society

Otago University Debating Society

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The Otago University Debating Society (OUDS) was established in June 1878 and is the oldest society of the University of Otago,Elworthy, Sam. (1990) (ISBN 978-0473008994) (<!--"The Debating Society became the third focus for early student life. On 7 June 1878 a general meeting of students was called by George Montgomery, a junior scholarship winner and B.A. student, to consider the advisability of forming a debating organization.... -->The Otago University Debating Society proved to be one of the most energetic student organizations over the next forty years.") the first university to be founded in New Zealand. Echoing trends in Australia and the United States (the University of Sydney Union was founded in 1874 and Harvard's debating union in 1880), in the latter decades of the nineteenth century debating was seen as an important talent for New Zealand's thought leaders, and was one of the three sports in the New Zealand University Games from 1902.

Prominent members of OUDS during its early years included Alfred Richard Barclay (one of its first vice-presidents), William Downie Stewart, Jr. (1898–1900), Harry Bedford (1900–1901) who as a 25-year-old policial novice entered Parliament in 1902 with the highest individual...
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