Mr R. R. Alexander, in his story of Te Aute College, is dealing with a subject of great interest. Like the Rangiatea story, this book was written to mark a centenary. Its main purpose was to leave some record of the college in the hands of the old boys, and those of the general public who might be interested. There is a Roll of Scholars, and a generous collection of photographs of old boys. The history of the building, the sports and the curriculum are all given in great detail. To the general reader the pages devoted to the Te Aute College Students' Association are naturally of special interest.
‘Towards the close of 1896 a circular was issued to old boys, asking them to attend a conference to be held at Te Aute in January of the next year. The invitation met with a most encouraging response. Through the committee and the old boys, the Maori chiefs and leading men in all centres got to know of its objects, and were unanimous in support of this novel undertaking. The object was not merely to link the past and present of Te Aute together, but also to discuss questions bearing on the welfare of the Maori race as a whole.’
Mr Alexander gives an account of the many social questions discussed at this conference and succeeding conferences. He continues: ‘Everyone at this time realised that the main method of approach would be to influence Maori opinion. Ceremonial occasions and football matches were made opportunities for the discussion of Maori problems and the objects and claims of the Association. Meetings were arranged to discuss subjects under the following heads: 1, Social; 2, Sanitary; 3, Intellectual; 4, Religious.’
Although all this is interesting, it is clear that the history of the Te Aute Association and the Young Maori Party has, in the main, still to be written.