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Analyses of some of those morality reports I've scanned

Thank goodness we've moved on from the dark days of the 1920s here in New Zealand where we'd been implored by a ministerial inquiry to take drastic measures to stop certain groups of supposed degenerates from reproducing (eugenics, anyone?) and making more babies. The question is begged, then, who are the degenerates you want to stop? Sounds very suspiciously to me like a proposal to have some really bad stuff happen.

So, thank goodness then that someone's written an analysis of 1925's Mental Defectives and Sexual Offenders: Report of The Committee of Inquiry Appointed by the Hon Sir Maui Pomare, KBE, CMG, Minister of Health. My favourite part of Dana's posting:

One of the main problems? Those pesky mentally defective girls!

There are many cases of mentally defective girls, liberated from institutions in New Zealand for the purpose of engaging in domestic service or other work, returning afterwards the mothers of illegitimate children, probably also mentally defective. Unless such are to be maintained for years as wards of the State in institutions, should they ever again be allowed their liberty unless they undergo the operation of sterilization?

[um, why put the onus on the girls? What about the men who impregnated these girls?]

That's just sad. Surely men have some responsibility. Not to mention the use of the word 'girls' as opposed to 'women' or even 'ladies'.

Really, the whole thing is just great if you need a primer before reading the report. Do it. Now. Yet, this said, it's also sad reading. Personally, I'd advise discretion.

Someone, in the NZ Listener, has written a response to them on what he thinks was the trigger for my perennial favourite, the Mazengarb Report (or, of course, the Report of the Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents of 1954). I like Keith Ross's insight, but I think it doesn't take in to account that the two incidents (the 'Petone Incident' and the murder) were pretty much reported on in the media in the same week; two days even, if my notes are correct. I'd say it were an amalgam of reasons and or triggers, but I like how Keith puts it.

I like his quote from the report about the increase in newspaper purchasing by schoolchildren. I give those kids credit for knowing where to go for information! Seriously. Heh.


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Hi Jonathan,
nice to see you getting linked from Russ Brown at Public Address, good to see your hard work on the Mazengarb going somewhere ;-)

big hugs, katie

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