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Professor John (Old John) Shand
C.M.G., LL.D., M.A.
1834 - 1914

Mid Life at the University

In 1876, John Shand was appointed a member of the Education Board of the District of Otago in place of John Davie, who had resigned. At the time of reorganisation in 1878, John Shand stood for election to the new board and polled 68 votes from the electors; enough to be appointed a member of the newly formed Otago Education Board. By 1882, at the first meeting of the new Education Board that year, John Shand was appointed Chairman. He was re-appointed Chairman for a further 12-month term in 1883, and then again in 1884. He was offered the opportunity of the same in 1885, but declined owing to his time being too much taken up. In 1886 he resigned his position on the Otago Education Board. The board paid tribute:


That in accepting Professor Shand’s resignation as a member of the Board, the Board expresses their regret that he has felt it necessary to take this step, and also their high appreciation of the many services rendered by Professor Shand to the cause of education in the Colony.


The matter of remuneration was raised in the Southland Times of 19th June 1876 (page 3):


Professors Sale, Shand, and McGregor, it is rumored, have requested additional items to their salaries, as there are no students, and they cannot live upon £600 a-year each.

Two of them never had £50 in their life at home. If, as one of the representatives of Dunedin told me, they had a sense of shame and manliness, they would long ago have resigned, as they must have seen that their services are not appreciated, and that they are simply pensioners on the public.


By 1877, John Shand had been appointed a member of the High School Board of Governors as one of the two representatives of Otago University. John Shand seems to have been a member of the board continuously from that date till April 1890, when he resigned. For most of his time on the High School Board of Governors, John was Treasurer. His name reappears as a member of the board in 1898, and the last entry found is dated 1904.

Also in 1877, John was chosen as the first President of the Educational Institute of Otago, he delivered his inaugural address in April 1878; which was printed in full by the Otago Witness in its issue of 4th May 1878 (page 6). John Shand was again President for a brief period in 1897 as a stop-gap, the incumbent having left Dunedin. No reference linking him to the Institute can be found beyond 1899.

Come 1878, John Shand was appointed by the Governor a Fellow of the New Zealand University. That is, John Shand was appointed to sit on the Senate of the New Zealand University. He did so continuously until his resignation early in 1914.

By 1879, John Shand and his family had moved into accommodation provided by Otago University. At a University Council meeting described in the Auckland Star 19th June 1879 (page 2) the professors submitted a petition asking the Council that it repay to us or our heads, on giving up the houses, either by resignation, removal, death, or any other cause, the sums that we have expended on permanent improvements and such fittings as a landlord usually provides his tenants. The Chairman of the Council said, the Council had behaved very generously to its professors: they had got a great deal more than they ever bargained for, and, as the new dwelling would save each of the same £120 a-year, he no doubt thought that they could very well afford to pay for the improvements and fittings themselves.

John Shand and the other professors took it upon themselves to write a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Otago University, which appeared in the Otago Witness of 21st June 1879 (page 19):


Sir, With reference to the expenses that we have found it necessary to incur in finishing our houses and erecting out-houses, we respectfully suggest to the Council that in reply to us, or our heirs, on giving up our houses, either by resignation, removal, death, or any other cause, the sums that we have expended on permanent improvements and such fittings as a landlord usually provides for his tenants.

We suggest that all accounts paid by us for improvements or fittings be laid before the Council, and, if approved by it, the amount be entered by the Registrar to the credit of each of us respectively, and the accounts returned to us.

We make the suggestion because, while fully recognising the generosity of the Council in providing us with houses, we think that in justice to our families we should not have to sink money in fittings and improvements which, on our giving up our houses, would become the property of the University.- We have, &c,


John Shand,
Duncan MacGregor,
James G. Black,
F. W. Hutton.


The Council decided that the allowance of £30 for each house must be accepted in lieu of fittings, and that anything extra must be provided by the Professors at their own cost.

Class sizes were growing, the Otago Daily Times of 12th May 1880 (page 2) reported:


We understand that the attendance at the University classes is much larger than in any previous session. At the meeting of the Council yesterday the Chancellor stated that Professor Shand had 45 students.


During 1883, John Shand gave a series of public lectures on the subject Mechanical Physics. There were ten in number, starting early in July and finishing by the middle of September. These lectures were given mainly to teachers, as part of the Educational Institute of Otago. The lectures were printed separately and in full in the Tuapeka Times.


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