Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Code of Honour for New Zealand Boys and Girls

As a New Zealander, proud of the privilege, yet humble in the enjoyment of it:

You will scorn all dishonesty, of whatsoever form or degree, as petty and mean and altogether unworthy of your family and the high traditions of your school and your Empire.

You will cherish frankness and sincerity, never committing the smallest deception of silence, word, or deed.

You will readily acknowledge your faults and resolutely fight them.

You will avoid the arch-sin of selfishness – whence spring all other sins – for under its sway Empires have crumbled to dust.

In all things you will be temperate – in eating, in play, in rest, in work, exercising always the one true discipline – discipline of self.

You will rise above intolerance and cultivate breadth of vision, endeavouring always to see both sides of a question, so guarding against the formation of hasty and uncharitable opinions.

You will regard coarseness in thought, language, or action, as belittling and degrading, and always and altogether beneath the dignity of a future citizen of this fair Dominion.

You will cheerfully yield reasonable and prompt obedience to your elders, particularly your parents; and you will show a like respect for the rules of your school, the by-laws of your town, and the laws of your country, since you know that rules and laws are not needlessly made.

You will exercise a jealous care over all property, particularly public property, protecting it from damage or disfigurement; and, loving the beautiful, you will seek to remove all unsightliness from your home, your school, and your town.

You will be punctual and orderly and cheerful. You will keep your promises. You will grudge no effort, no matter how small or how great the task, remembering that only your best is good enough.

You will be courteous, and kind, and helpful to all, remembering that all honest labour is equally honourable.

You will play for the side and play the game, always striving honourably for victory, yet taking defeat, when it comes, as part of the game. You will never add to the discomfort of a defeated opponent. Most of all you will love clean play and good play, whether it is on your own or the opposing side.

You will ever be pure and true, for there are those who daily trust you. You will remember that in the hands of the Children of To-day is the World of To-morrow and you will strive to be not unworthy of the sacred trust.

You will remember the Golden Rule, acting towards others always as it would most please you that they should act towards you.

Lastly, you will seek honour before all else, ever remembering that there is no finer aristocracy than the aristocracy of character; and you will not forget that character is built of tiny acts, small strivings, and much earnestness.

Text from "Code of Honour [Book Excerpt]." Children and Youth in History, Item #89, The New Zealand Boys' Diary: Whitcombe's New Zealand Pocket Diary for 1936. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1936, 51. Photos are mine, showing the last remaining building of the old Mt Albert School site, off School Road, Morningside. This building may date from c.1908. The school moved in 1937 to Sainsbury Road, and this building first served as an RSA building, then a Maori Kokiri school. At the moment (March 2009) it looks like this. The original school here went back to 1870.


  1. The text and those photos together is really moving. What a horrible desecration of that lovely building.

  2. Cheers, leechy -- good to hear from you. I was hoping someone would get just that. I took the photos on Friday, then retrieved them from the card this afternoon and thought -- is there anything online regarding the motto still there on the front of the school, "Honour Before All"? And I found the piece above. It's a gorgeous building, all right. Time has not been kind.

  3. Wow what a horrible way to treat such a beautiful old building!
    Yep, what Leechbabe said, the text highlights exactly what's not happening with kids these days.