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Title: Mental Defectives and Sexual Offenders - Report of the Committee of Inquiry Appointed by the Hon. - Sir Maui Pomare, K.B.E., C.M.G., Minister of Health
Author: New Zealand. Committee of Inquiry into Mental Defectives and Sexual Offenders
Language: English
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                  NEW ZEALAND.



       *       *       *       *       *

_Laid on the Table of the House of Representatives by Leave._

       *       *       *       *       *


  HON. W. H. TRIGGS, M.L.C., Chairman.

  SIR DONALD MCGAVIN, Kt., C.M.G., D.S.O., M.D. (Lond.), F.R.C.S.
    (Eng.), Director-General of Medical Services, Defence Department.

  SIR FREDERICK TRUBY KING, Kt., C.M.G., M.B., B.Sc. (Public
    Health) (Edin.), Director Division of Child Welfare, Department of

  J. SANDS ELLIOTT, Esq., M.D., Bac. Surg. (Edin.), Chairman of
    the Council of the N.Z. Branch of the British Medical Association.

  MISS ADA G. PATERSON, M.B., Ch.B. (N.Z.), L.M. (Dublin),
    Director Division of School Hygiene, Department of Health.

  C. E. MATTHEWS, Esq., Under-Secretary for Justice and
    Controller-General of Prisons, &c.

  J. BECK, Esq., Officer in Charge Special Schools Branch,
    Education Department.

  Secretary: J. W. BUCHANAN, Esq.

       *       *       *       *       *


  PART I.--INTRODUCTORY AND HISTORICAL.                           PAGE

  Section 1.--=Origin and Scope of Inquiry=: Mental Deficiency,
      Increase of; North Canterbury Hospital Board and others suggest
      Inquiry; Committee, Personnel; Nature of Inquiry; Places
      visited and inspected; Sittings, Date and Place of; Witnesses
      examined, and Work done; Appreciation of Services rendered;
      Value of Memoranda supplied by Sir George Newman, Secretary of
      State for the United States, Dr. E. S. Morris (Tasmania), Dr.
      Helen MacMurchy (Ottawa), and Dr. Eric Clarke (Toronto);
      Secretarial Services                                           2

  Section 2.--=Two Distinct Questions=: Mental Defectives and Sexual
      Perverts, Comments on                                          5


  Section 1.--=A Menace to Modern Civilization=: Feeble-minded,
      Danger of Unrestricted Multiplication; Lothrop Stoddart's
      Views; American Army, Psychological Test of; Results and
      Deductions                                                     5

  Section 2.--=Heredity= _v._ =Environment=: Genetics and
      Heredity; Heredity and Environment, Aspects reviewed;
      Degenerate Families, Life-histories; Dr. Macgregor, Deductions
      from his Report; Degenerate Stocks imported, Effect of;
      Environmental Factor, Importance of; Pre-natal and Post-natal
      Care, Value of; Housing Problem; Relationship of Impaired
      Nutrition, Debility, and Disease to Impaired Control; Dietetics
      and Child Welfare; Picture-shows, Effect on Children, and
      Recommendations; Venereal Disease Committees' Report as to
      Effect of Syphilis, &c.; Director Division of School Hygiene,
      Attention drawn to Report; Excessive Competition, Effect on
      School-children                                                6

  Section 3.--=Illustrative Cases of Hereditary Degeneracy=: Juke
      Family; Kallikak Family; New Zealand Cases cited; Sir Robert
      Stout's Comments                                               7

  Section 4.--=Elements of the Problem=: Basic Phases,
      Registration, Educational Care and Training of Feeble-minded
      Children, Oversight and Supervision; Educational Curriculum for
      various Groups; Residential Schools; Farm and Industrial
      Colonies for Segregation                                      11

  Section 5.--=Estimates as to Numbers of Mental Defectives=:
      Education Department Returns; Retardation, Problem of;
      Feeble-minded and Epileptic Cases, Return showing 12

  Section 6.--=Study of Feeble-minded and Delinquent Children=:
      Methods employed in other Countries; United States of America;
      New Zealand; Need of Psychological Experts; Tredgold, Quotation
      from                                                          14

  Section 7.--=Method of dealing with Mental Defectives in New
      Zealand--Present Legal Provision for Notification and Education
      of Feeble-minded Children and for Care of Custodial
      Feeble-minded Adults and Children=: Education Act, 1914;
      Provision of; "Feeble-minded," Definition of; Mental Defectives
      Act, 1911; English Mental Deficiency Act; Public Schools,
      Special Classes; Epileptic Children, Education of; Otekaike and
      Richmond Special Schools; Nature of Institutions and Training,
      with Suggestions; Caversham Industrial School; Weraroa Boys'
      Training-farm; Committal, Nature of; Value of Home Life in
      Comparison with Institutional                                 14

  Section 8.--=Children's Courts=: Committee's Recommendations;
      Clinics for Physical and Psychological Examination            17

  Section 9.--=Policy for the Future=: Notification; English
      Commission, 1908, Basic Principles laid down; Register of
      Feeble-minded; Eugenics Board; Dr. Gray's Suggestions;
      Psychiatrists, Suggested Appointment; Eugenic Board, Proposed
      Duties and Powers; Departments to control Feeble-minded;
      Marriage and Carnal Knowledge with Feeble-minded; Parents' and
      Guardians' Responsibilities                                   17

  Section 10.--=The Question of Sterilization=: Operations,
      Nature of; X-rays, Use of; American Laws; Dr. H. Laughlin,
      Chicago, Views; Central Association for Mental Welfare of Great
      Britain, Opinion on Sterilization; Evidence in support of
      Sterilization; Committee's Opinion and Recommendation; Eugenic
      Board's Powers                                                19

  Section 11.--=Segregation=                                        21

  Section 12.--=The Question of Expense=: Cost to State for Want
      of Supervision, Case cited; Humanitarian and National Aspects 21

  Section 13.--=Immigration=: Introduction of Feeble-minded and
      Undesirables from Overseas; Medical Inspection of Intending
      Immigrants; System in Force; Committee's Suggestions; Ordinary
      Passengers from Overseas, Medical Supervision of; "Prohibited
      Immigrants," Definition of                                    22

  Section 14.--=Summary of Findings and Recommendations=            23


  Section 1.--=Scope and Origin of the Inquiry=: Prisons Board,
      Resolution passed; Medical and Surgical Reports; Indeterminate
      Sentence; Segregation                                         24

  Section 2.--=Seriousness of the Evil=: Sexual Offenders, Numbers
      serving Sentence; Government Statistician's Return of Persons
      sentenced                                                     25

  Section 3.--=Types of Offences=: Sexual Offences; Various
      Classes, with Comments on; Types found in Prisons; Inspector of
      Prisons' Opinion; Sexual Perverts, Cure of                    25

  Section 4.--=Suggested Remedies=: Corporal Punishment;
      Inspector-General of Mental Hospitals' Recommendations;
      =Sterilization and Desexualization=; Castration; Sterilization;
      British Medical Association, N.Z., Motion passed; Vasectomy and
      Castration; Committee's Recommendation                        26

  Section 5.--=Scientific Treatment and Segregation with
      Indeterminate Sentence=: Medical Examination; Indeterminate
      Sentence; Women and Children, Protection of; Mr. Hawkins's
      Evidence on Control of Sexual Perverts                        27

  Section 6.--=Summary of Recommendations=: Crimes Act; Prisons
      Board, Powers of; Psychiatrist, Appointment and Duties; Eugenic
      Board, Power to advise Prisons Board; Sterilization;
      =Concluding Remarks=                                          27

  APPENDIX.--=Past Mistakes in Immigration=: Extract from Report
      on Hospitals and Charitable Institutions of the Colony, 1888,
      by the late Dr. Macgregor, Inspector-General. =The Health of
      School Children=: Extract from the Report of the Director of
      the Division of School Hygiene, 1924. =Return showing Sexual
      Offenders= serving Sentence in New Zealand Prisons, 1924.
      =Table showing the Number of Sexual Offenders sentenced under
      respective Headings in New Zealand Prisons. Some Illustrative
      Histories=                                                    29

       *       *       *       *       *

The Hon. the Minister of Health, Wellington.


The Committee of Inquiry into Mental Defectives and Sexual Offenders
appointed by you to inquire into and report upon the necessity for
special care and treatment of mental defectives and sexual offenders in
New Zealand have the honour to submit herewith their report.



For a considerable time there has been a growing feeling of anxiety
among the public owing to the number of mental defectives becoming a
charge upon the State, and also the alarming increase in their numbers
through the uncontrolled fecundity of this class. Furthermore, owing to
the frequency of sexual offences, many of a most revolting character,
there was a strong demand that some action should be taken to prevent
further acts of this nature; it being suggested that the law should be
altered to make it possible for surgical operations to be performed upon
these offenders.

The North Canterbury Hospital Board considered the need for action in
this matter so great that they set up a Committee to go into the
question and take evidence, which was done, and various recommendations
were made to the Government.

A perusal of departmental files reveals that many persons and social
bodies have urged upon the Government the desirability of setting up a
Committee or Commission of Inquiry to go into this subject.

The Minister of Health duly considered the representations made, and
appointed the following Committee to inquire into the question:--

  The Hon. W. H. Triggs, M.L.C. (Chairman).
  Sir Donald McGavin, Kt., C.M.G., D.S.O., M.D. (Lond.), F.R.C.S. (Eng.).
  Sir F. Truby King, Kt., C.M.G., M.B., B.Sc. (Public Health) (Edin.).
  J. Sands Elliott, Esq., M.D., Bac. Surg. (Edin.), Chairman of the
      Council of the British Medical Association (New Zealand Branch).
  Miss Ada G. Paterson, M.B., Ch.B. (N.Z.), L.M. (Dublin).
  C. E. Matthews, Esq., Under-Secretary for Justice and Controller-General
      of Prisons, &c.
  J. Beck, Esq., Officer in Charge, Special Schools Branch, Education

The function and duty laid upon the Committee was as follows:--

    (1.) To inquire and report as to the necessity for special
    care and treatment of the feeble-minded and subnormal, and to
    propose the general means by which such care and treatment, if
    any, should be provided.

    (2.) To inquire and report as to the necessity for the
    treatment of mental degenerates and persons charged with
    sexual offences, and to recommend forms of treatment for the
    various types of cases.

The Minister of Health expressed his desire that the Committee should
hear such evidence and representations on the above-mentioned matters as
might be necessary fully to inform the Committee on the questions
referred to it, and further suggested to the Committee that the various
organizations and persons likely to be interested should be notified
that the Committee would, at a certain place and date, hear any evidence
they might desire to tender.

The following places were visited and inspected by the Committee: The
Myers Special School, Auckland; the Waikeria Prison Reformatory; the
Tokanui Mental Hospital, Waikeria; the New Plymouth Prison; the Boys'
Training-farm, Weraroa; the Point Halswell Reformatory for Women,
Wellington; the Special School for Girls, Richmond, Nelson; the Mental
Hospital, Nelson; the Mental Hospital, Stoke, Nelson; the Te Oranga
Home, Burwood, Christchurch; the Paparua Prison, Templeton; the Special
School for Boys, Otekaike; the Caversham Industrial Home for Girls,
Dunedin; the Borstal Institution, Invercargill.

Sittings were held at various centres in New Zealand, and a large number
of witnesses were examined, as shown in the following table:--

  Places and Dates of      |
         Sittings.         |  Witnesses examined or Work done.
  Wellington, 23rd May,    |Preliminary meeting.
    1924. (Forenoon only)  |
  Wellington, 30th May,    |Dr. Clark, School Medical Officer, Napier.
    1924. (Forenoon only)  |Mr. J. Caughley, M.A., Director of Education.
                           |Professor J. Tennant, Professor of Education,
                           |  Victoria College.
  Wellington, 2nd June,    |Mr. N. R. McKenzie, Inspector of Schools,
    1924. (Forenoon only)  |  Education Department.
                           |Miss N. Valentine, Education Department.
                           |Miss Barlow, Education Department.
                           |Dr. Elizabeth Gunn, School Medical Officer,
                           |  Wanganui.
  Wellington, 4th June,    |Mrs. McHugh, Health Patrol, Wellington.
    1924. (Afternoon only) |Father McGrath, representing His Grace the
                           |  Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church.
                           |Mr. T. P. Mills, Superintendent, Presbyterian
                           |  Orphanage and Probation Officer.
                           |Dr. Jeffreys, Medical Superintendent, Porirua
                           |  Mental Hospital.
  Auckland, 11th June,     |Dr. Hilda Northcroft  } Representing the
    1924.                  |Dr. Kenneth MacKenzie } British Medical
                           |Dr. E. Roberton       } Association,
                           |                      } Auckland Branch.
                           |Dr. Mildred Staley.
                           |Dr. J. R. Macredy, School Medical Officer,
                           |  Auckland.
                           |Canon F. W. Young, Council of Christian
                           |  Churches, Auckland.
                           |Dr. Fitt, Professor of Education, Auckland
                           |  University.
                           |Mrs. Nicoll.
                           |Mrs. Watson.
  Auckland, 12th June,     |Dr. Milsom, representing the British Medical
    1924.                  |  Association, Auckland Branch.
                           |Professor Anderson, Professor of Moral and
                           |  Mental Philosophy, Auckland University.
                           |Mr. J. Cupit, Juvenile Probation Officer.
                           |Mr. W. E. A. Gibbs.
                           |Professor Sperrin-Johnson, Professor of
                           |  Biology, Auckland University.
                           |Mr. H. Binstead, Lecturer on Psychology,
                           |  Training School, Auckland.
                           |Rev. Jasper Calder.
                           |Mr. W. S. J. Dales.
                           |Dr. Wilkie, School Medical Officer, Auckland.
  Auckland, 13th June,     |Sister Hannah, representing the National
    1924.                  |  Council of Women.
                           |Miss M. Girdler, St. Mary's Home, Otahuhu.
                           |Mr. C. W. Carter.
                           |Rev. T. K. Jeffreys, Presbyterian Social
                           |  Service Association.
                           |Mr. J. W. Poynton, S.M.
                           |Mr. N. Law, Headmaster, Normal School.
                           |Dr. Beattie, Medical Superintendent,
                           |  Auckland Mental Hospital.
                           |Dr. D. N. Murray, Prison Medical Officer.
                           |Visit of Inspection to the Myers Special
                           |  School, Queen Street, Auckland.
  Hamilton, 14th June,     |Dr. Douglas.
    1924.                  |Dr. F. S. Pinfold.
                           |Mr. Phillip Goodwin, Juvenile Probation
                           |  Officer.
  Waikeria Reformatory,    |Dr. H. L. Gribben, Superintendent, Waikeria
    15th June, 1924.       |  Reformatory, and Medical Superintendent of
                           |  the Tokanui Mental Hospital.
                           |Dr. MacPherson, Tokanui Mental Hospital.
                           |Visit of inspection paid to Waikeria
                           |  Reformatory and Tokanui Mental Hospital.
  New Plymouth,            |Miss Tootell, Boarding-out Officer, Wanganui.
    25th June, 1924.       |Dr. R. C. Brewster, Gaol Surgeon, New
                           |  Plymouth.
                           |Mr. E. T. Holden, Secretary, New Plymouth
                           |  Hospital Board.
                           |Visit paid to New Plymouth Prison.
  Otekaike, 2nd July,      |Miss Wylie, Head Teacher of Special School.
    1924.                  |Mr. William Meikleham, Manager of Special
                           |  School.
                           |Visit paid to Special School for Boys and
                           |  Farm at Otekaike.
  Dunedin, 3rd July,       |Mrs. Joan Murray, representing Society for
    1924.                  |  Protection of Women and Children.
                           |Dr. E. Irwin, School Medical Officer.
                           |Mr. J. Lock, Juvenile Probation Officer.
                           |Dr. A. M. McKillop, Superintendent, Mental
                           |  Hospital, Seacliff.
                           |Dr. A. R. Falconer, Medical Superintendent,
                           |  Dunedin Hospital.
                           |Mr. G. M. Galloway, representing the Society
                           |  for Protection of Women and Children.
  Invercargill, 4th July,  |Mr. M. Hawkins, Inspector of the Prisons
    1924.                  |  Department and Superintendent of the
                           |  Borstal Institution.
                           |Mr. McCarroll, Juvenile Probation Officer,
                           |  Education Department.
                           |Mr. Pryde, Secretary of the Hospital Board.
                           |Mr. McLean, Hon. Secretary of the Prisoners
                           |  Aid Society.
                           |Visit of inspection paid to Borstal
                           |  Institution and Farm.
  Dunedin, 5th July, 1924. |Visit of inspection paid to Caversham
                           |  Industrial School for Girls.
  Dunedin, 7th July, 1924. |Dr. Marshall McDonald } Representing the
                           |Dr. Kenneth Ross      } British Medical
                           |                      } Association,
                           |                      } Dunedin Branch.
                           |Miss Ralston, Inspector of Industrial and
                           |  Special Schools.
                           |Dr. Stuart Moore.
                           |Mr. A. M. Paterson.
  Christchurch, 9th July,  |Dr. F. V. Bevan-Brown, representing the
    1924.                  |  British Medical Association, Christchurch
                           |  Branch.
                           |Dr. C. L. Nedwill, Prison Medical Officer.
                           |Miss Cardale, representing the National
                           |  Council of Women.
                           |Dr. A. C. Thomson, representing the British
                           |  Medical Association.
                           |Rev. P. Revell, Secretary, Prison Gate
                           |  Mission.
                           |Mrs. Herbert.
                           |Miss Hunt, Superintendent, Addington
                           |  Reformatory.
                           |Mr. J. A. Blank, Attendance Officer,
                           |  Education Department.
                           |Miss Baughan, Official Visitor to the
                           |  Addington Reformatory.
  Christchurch, 10th July, |Dr. Crosbie, Medical Superintendent,
    1924.                  |  Mental Hospital.
                           |Dr. Levinge.
                           |Mr. Gumming, Juvenile Probation Officer,
                           |  Timaru.
                           |Mr. William Reece, member of the Prisons
                           |  Board.
                           |Professor Chilton, Professor of Biology,
                           |  Canterbury College.
                           |Mr. C. T. Aschman, Headmaster, Normal School.
                           |Miss Howlett, representing the National
                           |  Council of Women and Women's Christian
                           |  Temperance Union.
                           |Miss Edwards, Manager of the Receiving Home,
                           |  Christchurch.
                           |The Hon. G. W. Russell.
                           |Visit of inspection paid to Te Oranga Home,
                           |  Burwood.
  Christchurch, 11th July, |Dr. Phillipps, School Medical Officer.
    1924.                  |Professor Shelley, Professor of Education,
                           |  Canterbury College.
                           |Mr. A. Bissett, Juvenile Probation Officer,
                           |  Christchurch.
                           |Visit of inspection paid to Paparua Prison,
                           |  Templeton.
  Wellington, 15th July,   |Colonel Bray, Secretary, Men's Department,
    1924. (Forenoon only)  |  Social Service Work, Salvation Army.
                           |Canon T. Feilden Taylor, Social Service
                           |  Department of Church of England.
                           |Professor Kirk, Professor of Biology,
                           |  Victoria College.
                           |Mr. F. S. Shell, Juvenile Probation Officer.
  Wellington, 16th July,   |Dr. E. Fenwick, representing the British
    1924. (Forenoon only)  |  Medical Association, Wellington Branch.
                           |Mrs. Brigadier Glover, Salvation Army Prison
                           |  Officer and Probation Officer.
                           |Miss Jean Begg.
                           |Mr. R. W. Bligh, White Cross League
                           |  representative.
  Wellington, 24th July,   |Visit of inspection to Point Halswell
    1924.                  |  Reformatory, Wellington.
  Levin, 5th August, 1924. |Visit of inspection to Boys' Training Farm,
                           |  Weraroa.
  Nelson, 22nd August,     |Dr. Gray, Superintendent, Mental Hospital,
    1924.                  |  Nelson.
                           |Visit of inspection to Special School for
                           |  Girls, Richmond.
                           |Visit of inspection to Mental Hospital,
                           |  Stoke.
                           |Visit of inspection to Mental Hospital,
                           |  Nelson.
  Wellington, 9th          |Consideration of report.
    September, 1924.       |
    (Forenoon only)        |
  12th September, 1924.    |       "
  15th September, 1924.    |       "
    (Afternoon only)       |
  16th September, 1924.    |       "
    (Afternoon only)       |
  22nd September, 1924.    |       "
    (Afternoon only)       |
  6th October, 1924.       |       "
    (Forenoon only)        |
  13th October, 1924.      |       "
    (Forenoon only)        |
  22nd October, 1924.      |       "
    (Forenoon only)        |
  24th October, 1924.      |       "
  28th October, 1924.      |       "
    (Forenoon only)        |
  29th October, 1924.      |       "
    (Forenoon only)        |
  5th November, 1924.      |       "
    (Forenoon only)        |

It will thus be seen that, apart from time spent in travelling, the
Committee have met on thirty-five days and have heard ninety-two
witnesses in person.

The Committee would like to express their thanks to the witnesses, many
of whom went to considerable trouble to collect information and prepare
evidence. They are especially grateful to the British Medical
Association for its willing co-operation and assistance; to the large
number of members of the medical profession throughout the Dominion who
responded to the Committee's request for information; to the authorities
overseas for their response to requests for information; and to many
other persons who by means of correspondence and literature have placed
at the Committee's disposal a large amount of information which has been
of material assistance in the investigation; also to the various
Hospital Boards throughout the Dominion who so willingly placed their
Boardrooms at the disposal of the Committee.

Sir George Newman, the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education
and the Ministry of Health, England, very courteously supplied the
Committee with a valuable memorandum on the care of mental defectives in
England and Wales, while the Secretary of State for the United States,
through the good offices of the American Consul-General, Mr. Edwin N.
Gunsaulus, kindly forwarded information supplied by the United States
Public Health Service regarding the legislation and regulations in force
in various States where sterilization for eugenical purposes has been

Information of great value and interest has also been received from Dr.
E. S. Morris, Director of Health, Tasmania; from Dr. Helen MacMurchy,
Department of Health, Ottawa; and from Dr. Eric Clarke, Toronto,
Assistant Medical Director, Canadian National Conference for Mental

The Committee further wish to make special mention of the services
rendered by the Secretary, Mr. J. W. Buchanan, whose work has been very
heavy owing to the number of witnesses examined and the extent of ground
covered in a comparatively short time. This would not have been possible
but for the complete arrangements made by Mr. Buchanan, and the ability
and energy which he showed generally in the discharge of his duties left
nothing to be desired.


Before proceeding to the subject-matter of the Committee's
investigations and the conclusions arrived at it is necessary to point
out as clearly and emphatically as possible that the questions submitted
to the Committee were entirely separate and distinct from each other. It
is true that a certain proportion of mental defectives show their lack
of self-control in regard to sex instincts and functions as in other
respects. This is particularly the case with mentally defective girls,
and constitutes one of the chief difficulties in dealing with them
satisfactorily. Some of this class find their way into prison on account
of sexual offences, but it is very far from correct to suppose that all
feeble-minded persons are sexual offenders, or that all sexual offenders
are mentally defective. On the contrary, among sexual offenders of the
worst type, those convicted of unnatural offences, are occasionally
found to be persons possessing intellectual and artistic powers above
the average. There is something wrong in their mental, moral, and
emotional balance, as will be pointed out in the proper place, but, as a
rule, it is not the "intelligence quotient" which is at fault.



The Committee are of opinion that the unrestricted multiplication of
feeble-minded members of the community is a most serious menace to the
future welfare and happiness of the Dominion, and it is of the utmost
importance that some means of meeting the peril should be adopted
without delay. The position is the more serious because, while the
feeble-minded are extraordinarily prolific, there is a growing tendency
among the more intellectual classes for the birth-rate to become

An American writer, Lothrop Stoddart, in his striking book entitled
"Revolt against Civilization," expresses the fear that the very
foundations of civilization are being undermined. He finds reasons for
great pessimism as regards the future in the results of the intelligence
tests taken in the American Army during the war.

The American War Department made psychological tests of 1,700,000
officers and men, who were graded as follows:--

  Grade.    Percentage.    Mental Age.

  A            4½            18-19    Very superior intelligence.
  B            9             16-17    Superior intelligence.
  C1          16½             15      Average intelligence. (Rarely capable
                                      of finishing high-school course.)
  C--         25             13-14    Low average intelligence.
  D           15              11      Inferior intelligence.
  D--         10              10      Very inferior intelligence.

Assuming that these 1,700,000 men are a fair sample of the entire
population of 100,000,000 (and Stoddart says there is every reason to
believe that it is a fair sample), this means that the average mental
age of Americans is only about fourteen; that 45,000,000, or nearly
one-half of the whole population, will never develop mental capacity
beyond the stage represented by a normal twelve-year-old child; that
only 13,500,000 will ever show superior intelligence; and that only
4,500,000 can be considered "talented." "Still more alarming," the
author continues, "is the prospect of the future. The overwhelming
weight of evidence indicates that the A and B elements in America are
barely reproducing themselves, while the other elements are increasing
at rates proportionate to their decreasing intellectual capacity; in
other words, that intelligence is to-day being steadily bred out of the
American population."

The biologist Davenport calculated that at present rates of reproduction
1,000 Harvard graduates of to-day would have only fifty descendants two
centuries hence, whereas 1,000 Roumanians to-day in Boston, at their
present rate of breeding, would have 100,000 descendants in the same
space of time.

Mr. Lothrop Stoddart emphatically scouts the view which is occasionally
put forward to the effect that genius is a form of insanity, and that
therefore one ought to be careful about discouraging the marriage even
of epileptics and mentally unbalanced persons for fear a possible
Napoleon or Julius Cæsar or Beethoven should be lost to the world.
"Careful scientific investigation," he says, "has clearly disproved this
notion. For one thing, elaborate statistical studies of eminent persons
have shown them to be less liable to insanity than the general
population. Of course, a considerable number of eminent men can be
listed who unquestionably suffered from various neuropathic traits. But
it was not those traits that made them eminent; on the contrary, these
were handicaps. Somewhere back in their ancestry a taint was introduced
into a sound superior strain, and produced this disharmonic combination
of qualities."


The Committee feel bound to refer to the great strides made during the
last half-century towards establishing laws and theories of genetics and
heredity. Unfortunately, terms such as the "integrity of the germ plasm"
and "the Mendelian law," while marking great advances in biological
thought and science, have become too much associated in the public mind
with a depressing and fatalistic notion that heredity determines
everything and that environment can play but a very insignificant part
in human evolution, development, and progress--physical, mental, or
moral. Such, of course, is not the case.

In ultimate origin all evolution and all heredity are the outcome,
summation, and expression of the effects of environmental influences,
acting on the whole organism under certain laws of transmission. The
laws of heredity, though as yet only partially determined, are already
sufficiently ascertained to prove for practical purposes that, in order
to promote integration and further progress in human evolution--not
disintegration and degeneration--two things are essential and
complementary. On the one hand, we must do everything possible in the
direction of improving the nutrition, health, conditions of life, and
habits of the community; and, on the other hand, we must promote and
encourage parenthood on the part of the best and stablest stocks, and do
everything in our power to discourage, or in the extreme cases even to
prevent, proliferation of unfit and degenerate strains.

For the purpose of the present inquiry we need merely state as a
practical preliminary regarding heredity that it has been proved beyond
question that if two feeble-minded persons marry they will most probably
produce abundant offspring, of whom all may be subnormal, and a large
proportion will become a burden on the State; and that if one such
person is mated with a healthy individual an undue proportion of their
children are likely to prove degenerate or defective, and the
unsoundness will continue to make its appearance in succeeding

While local evidence confirmatory of this came before the Committee,
first place will be given to certain classic and exhaustive
investigations and life-histories of degenerate families, going back
many generations, such as no young country could possibly supply.
However, the forcible and far-sighted report of the late Dr. Duncan
Macgregor (originally Professor of Mental Science at Otago University,
and subsequently Inspector-General of Asylums, Hospitals, and Charitable
Aid), quoted in the Appendix, shows clearly that some very degenerate
stocks imported into this country under the active immigration policy of
the "seventies" and "eighties" were already threatening, thirty-five
years ago, to become a serious tax on the country, as well as tending to
lower the high physical, mental, and moral standard established by the
original pioneers and settlers.

We shall now revert for the moment to the environmental factor. The
first most pressing and immediate practical duty of the Government and
the community is to spare no pains to improve the status and environment
of the family so as to promote the highest attainable standard of
physical, mental, and moral health for the new generation--already in
our midst or bound to arrive in the course of the next few years.

It is becoming more and more widely recognized that by due attention to
the pre-natal and post-natal care of mother and child an infinity of
good can be done--indeed, a great deal is already under way in this
direction throughout the Dominion. But the Committee are satisfied that
much more ought to be done to ensure for children of the pre-school and
school ages more generally favourable home conditions, and healthier
environment and habits outside the home.

In the meantime it is obvious that very little can be effected in the
way of bettering the average heredity; but are we taking adequate
measures in the direction of improving the environment of mother and
child? The housing problem is still far from satisfactory; help in the
home can scarcely be procured, and the rearing and care of children
throughout the pre-school and school periods, in a large proportion of
cases, is neither conducive to a high standard of nutrition, growth, and
moral development, nor to the establishment of normal self-control,
especially as regards sexual habits and manifestations. The Committee
cannot ignore the fact that the leading medical and psychological
authorities lay it down as an axiom that the power of self-control is at
its highest when the individual is physically active, well-nourished,
and in perfect bodily health, and that impaired control always
accompanies impaired nutrition, debility, and disease. It has been said,
with profound wisdom and insight, that ultimately and fundamentally
reproduction should be regarded as essentially "an exuberant phase of
nutrition"; and there is no escaping the wide implication of Schiller's
aphorism that "Love and Hunger rule the World."

In view of these considerations the Committee feel compelled to refer to
such serious handicaps to all-round health, control, and efficiency as
the prevalence of wrong feeding habits--_e.g._, giving children food
between meals and the insufficient provision of fresh fruit and
vegetables in the daily diet and the abuse of sweets. Other prominent
and avoidable handicaps, seriously affecting many children throughout
the Dominion, which ought to receive more serious attention are
insufficiency of sunlight and fresh air in the home and at school,
insufficient daily outing and exercise, lack of adequate provision in
the way of playgrounds and swimming-baths, and last, but not least, the
highly injurious practice of frequenting "picture-shows."

As the Committee are called on to deal specially with the problem of
increasing manifestations of sexual depravity they cannot pass by the
fact that in the course of the last twenty years the younger members of
the community have been spending a steadily increasing proportion of
their time, during the most impressionable period of life, in what are
liable to prove forcing-houses of sexual precocity and criminal
tendencies. There is every reason for regarding the habit of "going to
the pictures" without adequate restrictions as contributing seriously to
precocious sexuality, and also to weakening the powers of inhibition and
self-control in other directions--powers which are the distinctive
attributes of the higher human being.

Alongside these considerations, the bodily harm done to the young by
frequently spending their afternoons and evenings in hot, stuffy,
overcrowded halls shrinks into insignificance, though serious enough in

The Committee endorses the opinions expressed by Education authorities,
and by practically every organization throughout the Dominion concerned
with the welfare of children, upon the harmful effect of moving-picture
shows as at present conducted. The Committee sympathizes with proposals
for reform along the following lines:--

    (1.) Stricter censorship, not only of films, but of picture
    posters, handbills, and advertisements.

    (2.) Regulations as to the age of admission for children when
    unaccompanied by a responsible adult, and to such pictures as
    are not pronounced by the Censor as suitable for children.

    (3.) Proper safeguards for the morals of children and young
    persons within picture-theatres, including adequate
    supervision of the premises.

The Committee desire it to be clearly understood that in this report
they have not particularly dealt with mental disabilities resulting from
diseases such as syphilis, or toxic influences such as alcohol, drugs,
&c. These questions have already been covered to some extent by the
Report of the Venereal Diseases Committee, and in any case would involve
too wide a field of investigation for the present inquiry.

An authoritative summary taken from this year's report of the Director
of the Division of School Hygiene is quoted in the Appendix as pointing
out most of the faults and mistakes in environment and upbringing to
which reference has been made, and because it draws special and
much-needed attention to the injurious effects of overwork and excessive
competition and the need for more sleep and rest.

We would merely add to this very clear, practical statement that
encouragement of excessive competition, inside or outside the school,
for any purpose whatsoever, is costly and damaging to the whole being,
and that, in the opinion of the Committee, nothing needs to be impressed
more strongly on parents and school-teachers than Froebel's injunction,
"Give space and time and rest."


_The Juke Family._

To show the close relationship existing between the criminal and the
psychopath the record of the so-called Juke family in America was
compiled by R. L. Dugdale.

The descendants of one morbid couple were traced through five
generations. Whilst a small proportion were honest workers, the great
majority were paupers, criminals, and prostitutes.

Of 540 Jukes practically one-fifth were born out of wedlock, 37 were
known to be syphilitic, 53 had been in poorhouses, 76 had been sentenced
to prison, and of 229 women of marriageable age 128 were prostitutes.
The economic damage inflicted upon the State of New York by the Jukes in
seventy-five years was estimated at more than $1,300,000, to say nothing
of diseases and other evil influences which they helped to spread.

A more recent investigation shows that 2,820 people have been studied;
2,094 were of Juke blood and 726 of "X" blood married into the Juke
family; of these, 366 were paupers, while 171 were criminals, and 10
lives have been sacrificed by murder. In school-work 62 did well, 288
did fairly, while 458 were retarded two or more years. It is known that
166 never attended school; the school data for the rest of the family
were unobtainable. There were 282 intemperate and 277 harlots. The total
cost to the State has been estimated at $2,093,685.

_The Kallikak Family._

The history of the Kallikak family has been traced and fully described
in detail by Dr. Goddard, and his study shows the hereditary nature and
sociological bearings of feeble-mindedness.

Martin Kallikak was a youthful soldier in the Revolutionary War. At a
tavern frequented by the militia he met a feeble-minded girl by whom he
became the father of a feeble-minded son. In 1912 there were 480 known
direct descendants of this temporary union. It is known that 36 of these
were illegitimates; that 33 were sexually immoral; that 24 were
confirmed alcoholics; and that 8 kept houses of ill-fame. The
explanation of so much immorality will be obvious when it is stated that
of the 480 descendants 143 were known to be feeble-minded, and that many
of the others were of questionable mentality.

A few years after returning from the war this same Martin Kallikak
married a respectable girl of good family. From this union 496
individuals have been traced in direct descent, and in this branch of
the family there were no illegitimate children, no immoral women, and
only one man who was sexually loose. There were no criminals, no keepers
of houses of ill-fame, and only two confirmed alcoholics. Again the
explanation is clear when it is stated that this branch of the family
did not contain a single feeble-minded individual. It was made up of
doctors, lawyers, judges, educators, traders, and landholders.

_New Zealand Cases._

But it is not necessary to go to the records of older countries to find
examples of this kind. Unfortunately, this young Dominion, whose history
as a European settlement is comprised within the lifetime of its oldest
inhabitants, is already reproducing some of the saddest problems of
civilization which perplex the people of the Old World. We started with
every advantage in the shape of a favourable climate and rich natural
resources. The original settlers were, for the most part, men and women
of sturdy determination, enterprising spirit, and strong physique.

In the "seventies" a vigorous public-works policy was inaugurated, and
great efforts were made to introduce fresh population, the result being
that undoubtedly a great impetus was given to settlement, and the
country was fairly started on the road to prosperity. But,
unfortunately, it is now only too apparent that insufficient care was
taken in the selection of immigrants.

The following extract from a statement made to the Committee by Sir
Robert Stout, Chief Justice, and President of the Prisons Board,
illustrates this point: "The Prisons Board has sometimes brought before
it several persons of one family who have offended against our laws, and
in the experience I had in 1884 and 1885, when looking after our
Hospitals and Charitable Aid Department in the General Government, I
found that people obtaining charitable aid had done so for three
generations; that is, grandfather, father or mother, and children were
all obtaining aid from the Government because they were unable to
maintain themselves. Some of the cases were traced, and it was found
that the grandfathers, or grandparents, had been originally in
poorhouses in the Homeland, and although they came to New Zealand and
had greater opportunities than they had in their Homeland, yet their
inability to provide for themselves continued."

How serious the problem has already become will be seen from the
following illustrative cases selected from a large number given in the

            _Case No. 1._
  | Father:        | Mother:       |
  |  Weak-minded.  |  Weak-minded. |
  |                |               |
             |Female,   |
             |born 1906.|
             |Female,   |
             |born 1907.|
             |Female,   |
             |born 1908.|
             |Female,   |
             |born 1909.|
             |Female,   |
             |born 1911.|
             |Male,     |
             |born 1912.|
             |Male,     |
             |born 1913.|
             |Male,     |
             |born 1915.|
             |Female,   |
             |born 1916.|

All these children except one are feeble-minded, and when committed to
the care of the State were found living under deplorable conditions.
Most of these children will require lifelong control in an institution.
The total cost of maintaining this family will be approximately £9,500.
These children are cousins of another family under State control. There
are four children, two of whom are simple-minded. The mother is
feeble-minded, and the father died in a mental hospital. In this case
the mothers of the children are sisters.

             _Case No. 2._
  | Father:         | Mother:        |
  |  Feeble-minded. |  Feeble-minded |
  |                 |  and drunkard. |
  |                 |                |
            |Female,      |
            |born 1902.   |
            |Male,        |
            |born 1904.   |
            |Male,        |
            |born 1906.   |
            |Male,        |
            |born 1907.   |
            |Male,        |
            |born 1910.   |
            |Male,        |
            |born 1912.   |
            |Female,      |
            |born 1914.   |
            |Female,      |
            |born 1916.   |
            |Male,        |
            |born 1918.   |
            |Male,        |
            |born 1920.   |
            |Male,        |
            |born 1923.   |

All these children are feeble-minded and have been brought under State
control shortly after birth. Some are now in mental hospitals and some
in special schools. All these children are lifelong custodial cases. The
cost to the State for maintenance is approximately £16,000, towards
which amount the father has contributed but £6.

                            _Case No. 3._
         | Father:                | Mother:                   |
         |  Old-age pensioner in  |  Apparently weak mentally |
         |  Home for Aged People. |  and morally--at present  |
         |                        |  in reformatory home.     |
         |                        |                           |
  |1. Female.        | Female,  Female,  Male, | All these children  |
  |   Prostitute     | born     born     born  | are illegitimate.   |
  |   residing with  | 1908.    1911.    1913. | Reputed father a    |
  |   drunkard.      |                         | drunkard and man of |
  |                  | Male,                   | bad character.      |
  |                  | born 1915.              |                     |
  |2. Female.        | Male,  Male,  Female,   | All these children  |
  |   Prostitute and | born   born   born      | are illegitimate.   |
  |   addicted to    | 1907.  1910.  1912.     | In most cases the   |
  |   drink.         |                         | father is unknown.  |
  |                  | Male,       Female,     |                     |
  |                  | born 1914.  born 1917.  |                     |
  |3. Female.        | Male,       Male,       | Both illegitimate.  |
  |   Immoral and    | born 1911.  born 1912.  | Reputed fathers     |
  |   generally bad  |                         | well-known bad      |
  |   character.     |                         | characters.         |
  |   Inmate of      |                         |                     |
  |   private        |                         |                     |
  |   reformatory.   |                         |                     |
  |4. Female.        | Female,  Female,        | Mother married a    |
  |   Indifferent,   | born     born           | widower with three  |
  |   married        | 1908.    1912.          | children. There are |
  |   criminal, now  |                         | three more the      |
  |   in prison.     | Female, born 1916.      | result of marriage  |
  |                  |                         | maintained by the   |
  |                  |                         | State.              |
  |5. Female.        | Female,  Female,        | All delicate        |
  |   Drunkard and   | born     born           | neurotic types and  |
  |   married a      | 1898.    1900.          | difficult to        |
  |   drunkard       |                         | manage.             |
  |   although man   | Female,     Female,     |                     |
  |   of good        | born 1902.  born 1905.  |                     |
  |   education.     |                         |                     |
  |                  | Female, born 1908.      |                     |
  |6. Female.        | Male, born 1910.        |                     |
  |   Well-known     |                         |                     |
  |   prostitute,    |                         |                     |
  |   married member |                         |                     |
  |   of notorious   |                         |                     |
  |   criminal       |                         |                     |
  |   family, and    |                         |                     |
  |   himself        |                         |                     |
  |   criminal.      |                         |                     |

All these children, numbering twenty-one, were committed to the care of
the State, in most cases shortly after birth. Twelve of the children are
illegitimate. The husband of daughter No. 6 is also the father of one
each of the offspring of daughters Nos. 2 and 3. Most of the children
are delicate and poorly developed, and at least six of them are
definitely tubercular. The remainder are either neurotic or erratic in
their conduct and have given a great deal of trouble in their
upbringing. The total cost to the State for the maintenance of these
children may be quoted at £10,000, but of this amount £482 has been
recovered from the various men liable. It is difficult to assess the
State's total commitment. If some of the children have to be maintained
until they reach the age of twenty-one the additional cost will be
£3,000. There is the probability, too, that the offspring of these
children will become charges upon the State.

                       _Case No. 4._
        | Father:            | Mother:             |
        |  Addicted to drink |  Drunkard and       |
        |  and degenerate.   |  morally deficient. |
        |                    |                     |
  |                                    |    Female,     |
  |                                    |   born 1908.   |
  |                                    +----------------+
  |                                    |     Male,      |
  |                                    |   born 1909.   |
  |All these children are illegitimate |Admitted special|
  |and are feeble-minded, requiring    | school, 1920.  |
  |lifelong control. Three are now     +----------------+
  |inmates of mental hospitals, and    |    Female,     |
  |in time the remainder of the        |   born 1910.   |
  |family at present in special        +----------------+
  |schools will be sent on to mental   |     Male,      |
  |hospitals.                          |   born 1914.   |
  |                                    +----------------+
  |                                    |     Male,      |
  |                                    |   born 1916.   |
  |                                    +----------------+
  |                                    |    Female,     |
  |                                    |   born 1917.   |
  |                                    |     Male,      |
  |                                    |   born 1918.   |
  |All probably feeble-minded.         +----------------+
  |Not yet brought under               |     Male,      |
  |State control.                      |   born 1920.   |
  |                                    +----------------+
  |                                    |     Male,      |
  |                                    |   born 1923.   |

An officer of the Education Department describes the home as "one of the
dirtiest and most squalid homes I have seen." The cost (including past,
present, and approximate future maintenance) to the State for the upkeep
of this family is estimated at £10,000. Nothing has been paid by the
parents towards the support of these children. In all probability, the
remaining members of the family will be brought under State control at a
probable cost of £4,500.

                      _Case No. 5._
  | Father:              | Mother:                   |
  |  Drunken waster;     |  Feeble-minded helpless   |
  |  subnormal;          |  invalid. Died shortly    |
  |  frequently in gaol. |  after children committed |
  |                      |  to care of State.        |
  |                      |                           |
               |Male, born 1904.        |
               |Tubercular. Partly      |
               |self-supporting.        |
               |Female, born 1907.      |
               |Tubercular. Suffers     |
               |from epileptic seizures.|
               |Inmate mental hospital. |
               |Lifelong custody.       |
               |Male, born 1909.        |
               |Subnormal. May in       |
               |time become partly      |
               |self-supporting         |
               |under favourable        |
               |conditions.             |
               |Male, born 1911.        |
               |Mentally deficient.     |
               |Case for lifelong       |
               |control.                |
               |Male, born 1913.        |
               |Mentally deficient.     |
               |Lifelong custodial      |
               |case.                   |
               |Female, born 1914.      |
               |Feeble-minded and       |
               |badly nourished. Case   |
               |for permanent           |
               |segregation.            |
               |Male, born 1916.        |
               |Very backward. May      |
               |become partly           |
               |self-supporting         |
               |under favourable        |
               |conditions.             |

In 1916 the whole of this family was committed to the care of the State,
and at least six of them will be lifelong cases. The cost to the State,
computed up to twenty-one years in each case, is approximately £8,500,
but the additional future cost may easily be estimated at £5,000, making
in all the sum of £13,500. The father was ordered to pay at the rate of
15s. a week, but the amount recovered from him to date is only £156.

                     _Case No. 6._
    | Father:             | Mother:               |
    |  Subnormal. Was a   |  Has always been      |
    |  watersider, so     |  addicted to periodic |
    |  dirty in habits    |  fits of insanity.    |
    |  that watersiders   |  Has been in mental   |
    |  complained. A      |  hospital on several  |
    |  sexual case.       |  occasions.           |
    |                     |                       |
  |                                |    Female,     |
  |                                |   born 1904.   |
  |                                |   Subnormal.   |
  |                                +----------------+
  |                                |    Female,     |
  |                                |   born 1909.   |
  |These four children were        |   Subnormal;   |
  |committed to the care of        |also delinquent.|
  |the state in 1917.              +----------------+
  |                                |    Female,     |
  |                                |   born 1915.   |
  |                                |   Subnormal.   |
  |                                +----------------+
  |                                |    Female,     |
  |                                |   born 1916.   |
  |                                |   Subnormal.   |
  |                                |     Unknown    |
  |Not yet brought under           +----------------+
  |State control.                  |     Unknown    |
  |                                +----------------+
  |                                |     Unknown    |

The approximate cost to the State of maintaining these four children
will be £5,150, less what is recovered from the father. Up to the
present the amount received from him is £176. Should the other three
children be brought under State control, the additional cost may amount
to approximately £5,000.

This is a glaring case of persons being allowed to marry who are totally
unfit to marry. A relative stated that the mother's mentality was in a
shocking state at the time of marriage. The father has always been
subnormal. The woman is too insane at times to attend to ordinary
household duties or matters of ordinary personal cleanliness. At the
time the children were committed the home was in a shockingly filthy
condition, and at that time was one of the worst brought under the
notice of the Department in the district. The second girl (age fifteen)
has had her hair cut for the sake of cleanliness by some kindly disposed
well-wisher. The mother allowed the dirt to accumulate to such an extent
that the whole of the girl's head was covered with a scab of dirt. She
had to enter the Hospital to have this removed. This was a most
objectionable case. After the State took charge of these children the
mother and father were still allowed to cohabit, with the result that
three more children have been born. Without doubt, these children will
also be supported by the State. The father is a sexual case, and
foster-parents of the children have objected to the father visiting them
on account of the way he handles them.


Wallen, in his book "Problems of Subnormality," draws attention to three
basic phases of the problem of the feeble-minded:--

    "(1.) The obligation of society to identify and register as
    early as possible all feeble-minded children. All students of
    social problems will concede that feeble-mindedness is one of
    the fundamental causes of our numerous social ills. It is a
    prolific source of poverty, destitution, all kinds of crimes
    against property and person, social immorality, illegitimacy,
    and of prolific and degenerate progeny.

    "There are few problems in present-day constructive social
    economics which are more important than the development of a
    State-wide and a nation-wide policy for the compulsory
    official identification and registration of feeble-minded
    children, particularly all those who come from homes where the
    conditions are not such as to guarantee continuous supervision
    and support.

    "(2.) The proper educational care and training of
    feeble-minded children. The adequate discharge of this
    obligation involves segregating the feeble-minded in special
    classes as soon as they can be indubitably diagnosed and
    providing for them the type of training which will maximally
    develop those powers and aptitudes which they possess and
    which will maximally equip them for earning their livelihood.

    "(3.) Provision for continuous oversight and supervision over
    the feeble-minded."

It is clear that if we wish to reduce the number of mentally defective
and socially inadequate individuals we must not only consider measures
for preventing as far as possible the transmission of hereditary defect,
but must also provide for the youth of the country an environment and
training calculated to encourage the development of its best powers.
There is no doubt that unfavourable home conditions and unsuitable
educational methods conspire to keep many children from realizing their
full capabilities. This is especially true of the backward and
feeble-minded. It is, moreover, wasteful and ineffective to force on
children of poor mental receptivity and potentialities an educational
curriculum devised for those of normal mentality, since the subnormal
impede the general progress in an ordinary class, and in it they soon
form a discouraged minority which learns to accept failure
unquestioningly. Untrained to perform the simple work which is within
their power and in the achievement of which they might earn self-respect
and happiness, they feel themselves to be aliens, and may cease to
regard the laws of society in which they have no sense of membership. In
such cases the community which might have benefited from their work had
their potentialities been properly developed is burdened by their
maintenance, and, further, if they are not law-abiding, has also the
expense of segregating them in reformatories and gaols. Hence it is
clearly the duty of the State to adapt the educational curriculum to the
requirements of various groups of children.

The child who has been handicapped by illness and lack of opportunity,
the child who is inherently dull and backward, must be distinguished
from the child with nervous instability or definite mental defect.
Wherever possible, the training suitable for various improvable types of
children should be arranged in connection with the ordinary public
schools. But the curriculum must be modified to suit the need of the
individual and should be directed with the object of making him a useful
member of society. By this means these pupils are not deprived of that
association with their normal fellows which is of such value as a
preparation for their after-life in the community.

For children whose homes are unsuitable or too remote from centres, who
require more continuous supervision, or who tend to become delinquent,
special residential schools will be necessary. These schools would also
be used for those whose capabilities cannot be assessed without extended
expert observation for a considerable period.

The special school is to be regarded as a training-centre for such
feeble-minded children as are expected as a result of the training
received there to be fitted to take a place in the community and to
perform useful work under adequate supervision. There is a danger of
filling the special schools with children whose poor mental endowment
renders them incapable of receiving benefit at all commensurate with the
energy and expense devoted to them. Such children are subjects for
custodial institutions.

Institutional care is necessary for mentally defective persons whose
helplessness or anti-social traits would render them either the victims
of the unscrupulous or a menace to society. Such individuals should be
segregated in farm and industrial colonies, so that not only is the
community freed from the responsibility of their presence, but they
themselves are afforded opportunity of leading much happier and more
useful lives, and of becoming, to some extent, self-supporting.

All feeble-minded children within the community, whether in special
classes, or on parole from an institution for the feeble-minded, or over
school age, should be carefully supervised.

It is clear that the problem of making provision for the feeble-minded
and mentally abnormal in the community is first to be encountered in the
schools, though there must be considered also a much smaller number of
such low mental capacity that they have never sought admission there.

In deciding the place of the feeble-minded in the community factors
other than the degree of mental defect have to be considered. Many
feeble-minded individuals are capable of performing useful work, and
provided they have no anti-social traits and can receive adequate care
outside their permanent inclusion in an institution is undesirable, not
only from consideration of their own well-being, but also from a social
and economic standpoint. Many feeble-minded individuals are so dependent
upon routine that having once been trained in the regular performance of
simple duties they find difficulty in breaking their methodical
programme. In this way their lack of initiative is really protective, as
it tends to keep them steadfastly at their labours.

In the case of all feeble-minded persons living outside institutions,
whether with relatives or otherwise, the State should, in the interest
of both such feeble-minded individuals and of society, have the ultimate
right of supervision.

The magnitude of the task to be undertaken cannot be estimated unless we
have some indication of how numerous are those for whom special measures
must be adopted. The information given below must not be too literally
interpreted, but will serve to throw some light upon existing conditions
in New Zealand.


In the absence of a complete system of notification, which the Committee
consider is urgently necessary, any estimate as to the number of
feeble-minded to be dealt with must be largely a matter of conjecture.

From the annual report of the Education Department, however, interesting
information is available showing the ages of the pupils in the several
classes of the primary schools. The following table is considered worthy
of reprinting in this report, for from the figures it supplies some idea
may be formed of the number of backward and feeble-minded children
attending primary schools. Children of extremely low-grade mentality do
not attend school as a rule, while feeble-minded children higher in the
scale, discouraged by the unsuitable course of instruction and lack of
sympathetic treatment, tend to leave school early. Hence the number of
feeble-minded children in any community must be considerably larger than
the school records indicate.

The following table shows the ages of pupils in the several classes of
the primary schools. The numbers between the heavy horizontal lines
represent those that, beginning school under six years of age spend an
average of two years in the preparatory classes and one year in each of
the standards. The numbers above the upper heavy lines have progressed
at a greater rate than that indicated, and those below the lower lines
have either begun school later or have progressed more slowly.

The most arresting feature in the table (p. 13) is the large number of
children in classes lower than should be expected at their age. Thus the
preparatory classes had 12,693 pupils over the age of eight years. This
number is certainly a considerable reduction on the total for the
previous year, but it still represents no less than 18 per cent. of the
total roll of those classes. Particular attention is being directed to
the problem of retardation, and in some of the larger centres special
classes for retardates have been established.

It will also be seen that the actual number of children retarded three
years or more, including the preparatory classes and up to Standard
III--beyond which the higher grades of the feeble-minded do not progress
as a rule--is 4,917 out of a total of 212,709 children attending school,
or a trifle over 2 per cent. In some countries three years' retardation
is regarded as _primâ facie_ evidence of mental deficiency. Probably New
Zealand has much the same proportion of mental defectives as other
countries. This is stated by Goddard to be between 2 and 3 per cent. of
the population.

A recent survey made by the Education Department of the children
attending the primary schools in a typical area disclosed the fact that
out of a total school population of 16,499 no fewer than 950 pupils,
constituting 5.7 per cent. of the total school enrolment, are retarded
two years or more. Some of these may be classed as dull normal; some may
be suffering from remediable physical defects; others may be merely the
victims of unfavourable circumstances, while others again may be what
Burt calls "late bloomers"--_i.e._, cases of slow development. Many of
them, however, will ultimately prove to be mental defectives. Deficiency
sometimes does not reveal itself definitely until the pre-adolescent
period or early adolescence.

Of the total number on the school registers 266, or 1.6 per cent., are
retarded three years or more. It is interesting to note from information
supplied by Mr. N. R. McKenzie, Inspector of Schools, that this is
exactly the percentage of defectives discovered in the schools of a
section of the city of Toronto as the result of a psychological survey.
It also corresponds with the number in the Vancouver city schools, where
nineteen special classes are operating with a school population of
19,000--_i.e._, one class per 1,000 pupils.

For the purpose of this report a preliminary survey from information
supplied by social workers, school-teachers, police, Hospital Boards,
&c., has been made by the Education Department of what may be regarded
as the obviously feeble-minded and epileptic cases known to exist
outside institutions in the Dominion.

The following figures show the number of such cases reported, but these
figures are incomplete--the actual number must be greater:--

                                   At 24th June, 1924.

                              Feeble-minded.     Epileptic.

          Age.               Male.   Female.    Male.  Female.

  Under sixteen years         524      285       41     43
  Over sixteen years          305      203       35     31
                              ___      ___       __     __
                              829      488       76     74


                    Males         905
                    Females       562

_Table showing Ages of Pupils in the several Classes of the Primary

  |               |   Class P.    |  Standard I.  | Standard II.  |
  |    Ages.      +-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
  |               | Boys. | Girls.| Boys. | Girls.| Boys. | Girls.|
  |5 and under 6  | 7,923 | 7,334 |   ..  |   ..  |  ..   |   ..  |
  |               |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |6     "     7  |10,776 |10,356 |    73 |    72 |    3  |     2 |
  |               |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |7     "     8  |10,324 | 9,291 | 2,021 | 2,047 |   111 |   141 |
  |               |================================       |       |
  |8     "     9  | 4,970 | 4,183 = 5,696 | 5,413 = 1,729 | 1,884 |
  |               |       |       ================================|
  |9     "    10  | 1,400 | 1,118 | 4,443 | 3,732 = 5,011 | 5,152 |
  |               |       |       |       |       ================|
  |10    "    11  |   393 |   277 | 1,657 | 1,162 | 4,210 | 3,624 |
  |               |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |11    "    12  |   112 |   107 |   487 |   383 | 1,814 | 1,461 |
  |               |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |12    "    13  |    54 |    30 |   146 |    91 |   628 |   425 |
  |               |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |13    "    14  |    18 |    13 |    51 |    24 |   201 |   125 |
  |               |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |14    "    15  |     7 |     5 |    10 |     9 |    58 |    42 |
  |               |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |15    "    16  |     2 |     1 |     2 |     6 |    12 |     6 |
  |               |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |16    "    17  |     1 |   ..  |     1 |     2 |   ..  |     2 |
  |               |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |Over 17        |    .. |   ..  |   ..  |     1 |   ..  |   ..  |
  |Totals (1923)  |35,980 |32,715 |14,587 |12,942 |13,777 |12,864 |

  | Standard III. | Standard IV.  |  Standard V.  | Standard VI.  |
  | Boys. | Girls.| Boys. | Girls.| Boys. | Girls.| Boys. | Girls.|
  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |
  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |
  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |     3 |     1 |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |
  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |   113 |   135 |     3 |     2 |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |   ..  |
  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  | 1,447 | 1,531 |   102 |    66 |   ..  |     4 |     1 |   ..  |
  |================       |       |       |       |       |       |
  | 4,570 | 4,749 = 1,311 | 1,439 |    82 |   108 |     6 |     4 |
  |================================       |       |       |       |
  | 4,202 | 3,827 = 4,166 | 4,214 = 1,123 | 1,202 |    93 |    95 |
  |       |       =================================       |       |
  | 2,268 | 1,860 | 3,890 | 3,515 = 3,540 | 3,664 = 1,020 | 1,064 |
  |       |       |       |       ================================|
  |   935 |   669 | 2,129 | 1,764 | 3,766 | 3,271 = 3,255 | 3,277 |
  |       |       |       |       |       |       ================|
  |   235 |   139 |   790 |   500 | 1,848 | 1,499 | 3,101 | 2,883 |
  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |    36 |    26 |   148 |    81 |   532 |   349 | 1,454 | 1,010 |
  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |     8 |     6 |    11 |    13 |    61 |    30 |   194 |   114 |
  |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |       |
  |     1 |   ..  |   ..  |     3 |     8 |     8 |    25 |    13 |
  |13,818 |12,943 |12,550 |11,597 |10,960 |10,135 | 9,149 | 8,460 |

  | Standard VII. |     Totals.     |
  | Boys. | Girls.| Boys.  | Girls. |
  |   ..  |   ..  |  7,923 |  7,334 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   ..  |   ..  | 10,852 | 10,430 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   ..  |   ..  | 12,459 | 11,480 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   ..  |   ..  | 12,511 | 11,617 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   ..  |   ..  | 12,404 | 11,603 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   ..  |   ..  | 12,229 | 11,363 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   ..  |     1 | 11,997 | 11,290 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   3   |     3 | 11,549 | 10,652 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   20  |    42 | 10,375 |  9,185 |
  |===============|        |        |
  |   34  |    47 |  6,083 |  5,124 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   23  |    37 |  2,209 |  1,516 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   3   |    15 |    279 |    182 |
  |       |       |        |        |
  |   1   |     3 |     35 |     28 |
  |   84  |   148 |110,905 |101,804 |


_Methods employed in other Countries._

In many parts of America and in some European countries the problem of
the mentally backward and feeble-minded child receives close attention.
The juvenile delinquent is also carefully studied. For children who fail
to make good in school, or who are guilty of frequent misdemeanours, a
system of intelligence testing and psychological analysis is carried
out. A study is also made of family history and environmental
influences. Children who are "maladjusted to their environment" are kept
under survey with a view to finding what is the difficulty and how it
can be overcome. To quote from the "Mental Hygiene Bulletin," published
by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene for the United States of
America: "Children showing definite problems are selected for more
intensive study and treatment. The grossly mentally handicapped child,
who is likely to become a social problem if not properly dealt with in
childhood; the psychopathic and mentally maladjusted child, who later in
life may develop mental disease; the child manifesting conduct disorders
which may be the beginning of a delinquent or criminal career; the
retarded child; the epileptic; the child with speech-defect or with some
physical disability; the child with gross personality difficulties; the
exceptionally brilliant child--all present problems that demand
attention during the child's school life. Such children are given a
thorough physical examination, a careful psychiatric study, and an
individual psychological examination, including a variety of
psychological tests, not only to determine the child's intelligence
rating, but, in so far as possible, his special abilities and
disabilities. A social study is made of the child's home, school, and
other environments to determine what factors may have unfavourably
influenced the development of the child, and what forces may be utilized
in securing the child's adjustments. The results of all these studies
are given to the school authorities with recommendations relative to the
needed adjustments."

In New Zealand there is need of increased facilities for the study of
the individual child, and the services of psychological experts should
be available in order to group children according to their mental
equipment and special requirements. Only those fully qualified to
estimate accurately all the evidence available are fitted to decide the
destiny of children.

Herein lies the danger of relying exclusively upon the use of mental

_Mental tests_ are of definite value in enabling the observer to arrive
at a conclusion regarding the general mental development of the subject,
or to investigate some particular psychological function. A too
exclusive dependence upon the result of the application of these tests,
especially by a layman, would invariably lead to error. A comprehensive
survey is necessary, taking into consideration such factors as family
history, environment, physical condition, behaviour, temperament, &c.
The observation, possibly for a considerable period of time, of an
expert psychiatrist or psychologist may be necessary in order to arrive
at an accurate estimate of the mental ability of the subject.

In this regard we quote from Tredgold, "Mental Deficiency": "There are,
however, very many exceptions, particularly when we are dealing with the
milder grades of deficiency, so that if serial tests are depended upon
for the diagnosis of these cases they may be, and often are, very
fallacious. I may say here that although it would, of course, be
extremely valuable if we could devise tests which would accurately
measure mental capacity, particularly that capacity and those qualities
which are needed for social adaptation and maintenance, we have not yet
succeeded in doing so. The mental factors which may be involved in this
capacity for social adaptation, and which render the individual in need
of care, supervision, or control, are many and varied, and there is even
some danger that too much reliance upon serial tests may distract from
the adequate investigation of these qualities and defects and lead to
totally erroneous conclusions."

There is no doubt, however, that in the hands of competent observers
properly applied tests afford information of great value in assessing
mental and moral capacity, but the observer must be competent.


_Present Legal Provision for Notification and Education of Feeble-minded
Children, and for Care of Custodial Feeble-minded Adults and Children._

The Education Act, 1914, contains provision (see section 127) for the
establishment of special schools for the education and training of
afflicted children (deaf, blind, feeble-minded, and epileptic) between
the ages of six and twenty-one years, with provision in the case of
inmates of special schools for extension of the period of detention
where it is considered necessary in the public interest. For the
purposes of this Act,--

"'Feeble-minded child' means a child who, not being an idiot or imbecile
or otherwise a proper person to be sent to an institution under the
control of the Mental Hospitals Department, and not being merely
backward, is by reason of mental or physical defect incapable of
receiving proper benefit from instruction in an ordinary school, but is
not incapable by reason of such defect of receiving benefit from
instruction in a special school."

"'Epileptic child' means an epileptic child who is unfit by reason of
severe or frequent epilepsy to attend an ordinary school, but is not
idiot or imbecile or otherwise a proper person to be sent to an
institution under the control of the Mental Hospitals Department."

Section 127: "(2.) It shall be the duty of the parent of any ...
feeble-minded or epileptic child to provide efficient and suitable
education for such child."

"(3.) If the parent of such child fails to provide such education for
such child, or is deemed by the Minister to be unable to provide such
education, the Minister may direct that such child be sent to such
special school or other institution for the education of feeble-minded
or epileptic children as he thinks fit."

Section 129: "Every parent, teacher of a school (either public or
private), constable, or officer of a charitable or kindred institution
who is aware of the place of residence (either temporary or permanent)
of a blind, deaf, feeble-minded, or epileptic child, and the householder
in whose house any such child resides, shall send notification of the
fact to the Minister, giving name, age, and address of the child; and if
any such person neglects or fails to comply with this provision, such
person shall on conviction thereof be liable to a fine not exceeding one
pound, or in the case of a second or subsequent offence, whether
relating to the same or another child, not exceeding five pounds."

Section 56: "Every public school shall be organized and conducted in
accordance with regulations (a copy of which shall be conspicuously put
up in the school): Provided that the Minister may, on the application of
the Board, sanction the establishment of special classes for backward
children--that is, children who, through physical infirmity, absence
from school, or otherwise, are below the average standard of education
reached by other children of the same age."

The Mental Defectives Act, 1911, divides mentally defective persons into
six classes, as under:--

"'Mentally defective person' means a person who, owing to his mental
condition requires oversight, care, or control for his own good or in
the public interest, and who, according to the nature of his mental
defect, and to the degree of care, oversight, or control deemed to be
necessary, is included in one of the following classes:--

    "_Class I:_ Persons of unsound mind--that is, persons who,
    owing to disorder of the mind, are incapable of managing
    themselves or their affairs.

    "_Class II:_ Persons mentally infirm--that is, persons who,
    through mental infirmity arising from age or decay of their
    faculties, are incapable of managing themselves or their

    "_Class III:_ Idiots--that is, persons so deficient in mind
    from birth or from an early age that they are unable to guard
    themselves against common physical dangers, and therefore
    require oversight, care, or control required to be exercised
    in the case of young children.

    "_Class IV:_ Imbeciles--that is, persons who, though capable
    of guarding themselves against common physical dangers, are
    incapable, or if of school age will presumably, when older, be
    incapable, of earning their own living by reason of mental
    deficiency existing from birth or from an early age.

    "_Class V:_ Feeble-minded--that is, persons who may be capable
    of earning a living under favourable circumstances, but are
    incapable from mental deficiency existing from birth or from
    an early age of competing on equal terms with their normal
    fellows, or of managing themselves and their affairs with
    ordinary prudence.

    "_Class VI:_ Epileptics--that is, persons suffering from

This is similar to the classification in the English Mental Deficiency
Act, which also includes the following definition:--

    "'Moral imbeciles'--that is, persons who from an early age
    display permanent mental defect, coupled with strong criminal
    or vicious propensities, on which punishment has little or no
    deterrent effect."

In the opinion of the Committee it is very important that a similar
definition should be included in any amendment of the New Zealand Act.

A Magistrate may order the committal to an institution of any person
coming within these definitions if he is satisfied that such person is
mentally defective and two medical men give a certificate to that
effect. Persons coming under the description in Classes I, II, III, or
IV are committed to the mental hospitals, but there seems to be
considerable reluctance both on the part of medical practitioners to
certify and of Magistrates to commit to a mental hospital epileptics and
those described as "feeble-minded." Evidence was given before the
Committee to the effect that there would not be the same disinclination
to send these classes of patients to a special institution such as a
farm colony or an industrial colony.

Apart from the residential special schools, special classes have been
established in connection with public schools in each of the large
centres of population throughout the Dominion with promising results.

The Committee visited the special classes in one of the centres, and
were impressed with the sympathetic attitude of the teachers towards
their scholars and the happy appearance of the children, who seemed to
be keenly interested and busy over their appointed tasks.

There is as yet no special provision in New Zealand for the education of
epileptic children. Fortunately, the number of these is apparently
small, but, as in many cases it is undesirable for them to attend the
ordinary classes of the elementary schools, the question of arranging
for their tuition otherwise requires earnest consideration.

Following on legislative authority contained in the Education Act
already referred to, provision for feeble-minded children, within the
meaning of the Act, was made by establishing the special school at
Otekaike, near Oamaru, with accommodation for 195 boys, and some years
later a similar institution was opened at Richmond, near Nelson, with
provision for about eighty girls.

These institutions contain two separate divisions, providing for--(1)
The training of children of school age, and (2) the instruction of young
persons over school age in handicraft and farm-work.

Both institutions have modern and well-equipped day schools with trained
women teachers, and at Otekaike the industrial division is provided with
workshops and instructors in trades and handicrafts.

The children are housed in modern and well-appointed cottage homes, each
with accommodation for thirty-five, and are supervised by selected women

The Committee visited and inspected both Otekaike and Richmond, and were
very favourably impressed with the healthy environment and careful
management of these institutions, and with the humane and sympathetic
methods adopted for the purpose of making the best of imperfect human

At both places physical exercises, musical drill, and organized games
form an important part of the training, and the teachers deserve
commendation for the efficiency of the pupils in these respects and
their general appearance of physical fitness.

Moral training and training in habits of personal cleanliness and prompt
obedience form an important part of the curriculum, and the effects are
noticeable in the quick movements and alert attitude of the inmates. The
girls at Richmond receive training in domestic work, needlework,
knitting, darning, &c., according to their ability.

The children are taught various kinds of handiwork, and by grouping them
according to mental capacity they are given a school course modified to
suit the individual. In the industrial division at Otekaike, baskets,
sea-grass furniture, and all kinds of wickerware and coir mats are well
made, and are readily sold. Bootmaking and repairing for the institution
are also carried out by certain of the inmates under a practical man.
Attached to Otekaike there is an area of land where farming, gardening,
and fruitgrowing absorb most of the labour of the older inmates.

At Richmond the area of land available for cultivation is limited, but
even so it occurred to the Committee that something more might possibly
be done in the direction of providing congenial and profitable work for
the older girls, as, for instance, the growing of flowers for sale in
the Wellington markets.

At Otekaike, after training, the best types of the older inmates are
placed out, usually with farmers in the district, and for the most part
are leading useful lives under the supervision of the local Juvenile
Probation Officers of the Education Department.

The matter of placing out girls from the school at Richmond is obviously
one of much greater difficulty.

At both Otekaike and Richmond there is a growing group of custodial
cases, due to the fact that in many instances the parents or guardians
are either unable to provide proper protective measures for the children
if released, or are unsuitable in other ways to have the control of
them. On the other hand, there is reluctance on the part of medical
practitioners to certify such cases for a mental hospital. It is very
desirable, of course, that the special schools should be used as
trying-out places for children whose mental equipment is questionable,
but where after a reasonable trial it is evident that merely custodial
care is required there should be some simple method of passing them on
to farm colonies or suitable custodial homes.

As a matter of fact, the school at Richmond has its full complement of
pupils, and as many cases have now to be refused admission it is
urgently necessary that other provision should be made, especially for
the older girls needing custodial care.

Mention should also be made of a visit paid by the Committee to the
industrial school at Caversham, which deals with girls and young women
who have failed to make good when placed out under supervision in the
community. There is a small clothing-factory attached to the
institution, which provides useful employment for certain of the
better-type girls. It is stated that, even under present conditions,
which are not altogether satisfactory, the majority of the Caversham
girls benefit from the training they receive to such an extent that they
can be trusted to earn their living in the community under supervision.

The Committee, however, are of opinion that the buildings and site are
most unsuitable for such an institution. Little level space is available
for recreation purposes, the property is overlooked at the back, and the
location and general plan of the buildings are such that the utmost
vigilance has to be exercised. For the inmates belonging to the
reformatory section it is considered that such an institution should be
situated in the country with sufficient suitable land to permit of
gardening and farming on a small scale. This would afford healthful
occupation for the inmates and contribute towards their support. Such an
institution should be so situated as to be readily accessible from all
parts of the Dominion.

In the matter of the admission of young offenders over sixteen years of
age to the Caversham Industrial School, and also to the Boys'
Training-farm at Weraroa, the Committee found that in these cases the
Courts have no authority to commit direct, but must first sentence the
young person to imprisonment and then recommend transfer to an
industrial school. Such a system is not only cumbersome, but is
fundamentally wrong, and should be remedied as soon as possible. The
Courts should have discretionary powers to commit any young offender
under eighteen years of age direct to an industrial school.

At Caversham there is a small proportion of the inmates who should be
transferred to a Borstal institution. This refers to the so-called
"over-sexed" girl, and the girl with strong anti-social proclivities,
who should be confined to an institution where there is provision for
segregation and treatment of refractory cases. In many instances these
young women should be kept under control for a considerable period. Many
are hopelessly immoral, and in the interests of society should not be
allowed their liberty.

That section of the Caversham institution comprising children committed
to the care of the State on account of destitution or unsuitable
conditions in their homes would be better provided for in a separate
receiving home. This would be in accord with the practice obtaining in
all the other centres.

The Education Department deals with all children committed to the care
of the State for causes varying from destitution to delinquency. The
procedure is for the police to charge the children and for the
Magistrate to commit them to the nearest receiving home, where they are
kept under observation, trained in proper habits, and so forth, and as
soon as possible, if they exhibit no anti-social traits, placed out in
selected foster-homes. The Department holds the view, shared by leading
authorities, that home life, however humble, provided the foster-parents
are suitable people, is better than institution life for the majority of
the children who are cast on the State for sustenance and protection.
The supervision of these cases, and the selection of employment for them
when they become old enough, are carried out by the nurses, Managers of
receiving homes, and Juvenile Probation Officers of the Education
Department. Several of these officers gave valuable evidence in the
course of this inquiry. These officials not only look after the welfare
of the children brought under State control, but also carry out a great
deal of preventive work in the way of advising parents and supervising
children, who by their timely and kindly intervention are saved from
coming within the scope of the law.


Several witnesses before the Committee pointed out the need for the
establishment of special Courts for children and juveniles.

The Committee recommend that such provision be made, and also that
clinics be established providing for the physical and psychological
examination of all children coming under the jurisdiction of these
Courts. The fuller knowledge thus acquired would be extremely valuable
to the authorities dealing with the children.

Many countries have recognized this need and have established properly
constituted Courts for dealing with children and juveniles as apart and
distinct from Police Courts.

In this connection it is surprising to find that New Zealand is lagging
behind in that in the laws relating to the punishment of crime hardly
any distinction in procedure is made between the child and the adult. It
is true, of course, that a practice has grown up whereby children are
dealt with in the Police Courts at a time apart from the hearing of
adult cases, but the procedure of the Criminal Court has been
retained--_i.e._, the young delinquent is charged with an offence, is
required to plead, and if found guilty is liable to conviction. In the
majority of such cases the charges are for minor offences and are dealt
with summarily, but a child charged with an indictable offence and
remanded to the Supreme Court for trial or sentence may in the interim
be detained in prison.

By arrangement between the Departments concerned most of the cases of
children and juveniles are investigated by the Juvenile Probation
Officer of the Education Department prior to the hearing, but these
officers have no legal standing in any Court, and are not even empowered
to bring a destitute child before a Magistrate for committal to the care
of the State. This function must be carried out by a police constable.

The Children's Court, as it is constituted in other countries, is a
Court of equity, and its principal function is to consider all children
brought before it as cases requiring protection and care. It is the
business of the Court, by means of careful investigation in each case of
conduct, school history, family history, and mental condition, to
ascertain, if possible, the reason for misconduct, and either to
eliminate or modify the causes, or to remove the child from the
environment that has contributed to its present condition.

The presiding Magistrates are usually selected on account of their
experience with children and knowledge of child psychology. In some of
the Courts in America women are selected for these positions.

It is common knowledge that lack of mental balance, retardation, and
physical defect are responsible for much juvenile delinquency, and it is
therefore essential that if the children appearing before the Courts are
to be dealt with in a scientific manner there should be provision on the
lines recommended above.


It seems to the Committee that the Dominion has now come to the parting
of the ways in this matter, and unless the multiplication of the
feeble-minded is to be allowed to go on in an ever-increasing ratio,
with consequences dreadful to contemplate, the problem must be dealt
with on broader lines, and in a more comprehensive fashion.

In the first place, a comprehensive system of notification is essential
so that a register as complete as possible may be made of the cases to
be dealt with.

The English Commission for Inquiring into the Care and Control of the
Feeble-minded, whose report appeared as far back as 1908, laid down the
basic principles of a sound policy in dealing with this question. Their
first principle was that persons who cannot take a part in the struggle
for life owing to mental defect should be afforded by the State such
protection as may be suited to their needs. Their next principle was
that the mental condition of these persons, and neither their poverty
nor their crime, is the real ground of their claim for help from the
State. Their third principle was that if the mentally defective are to
be properly considered and protected as such it is necessary to
ascertain who they are and where they are.

This, of course, is the object of the system of registration to which we
have referred.

Lastly, the English Commission held that the protection of the mentally
defective person, whatever form it takes, should be continued as long as
it is necessary for his good.

These principles appear to us to be quite sound, and we have no
hesitation in adopting them.

_Proposed Eugenic Board._

In regard to the method of compiling the register, some excellent
suggestions were made by Dr. Theodore Grant Gray, Medical Superintendent
of the Nelson Mental Hospital. He proposed, first, that a Government
Department or sub-department should be created to deal with all
feeble-minded and mentally defective persons living outside
institutions. It would deal not only with the feeble-minded, but it
would act the part of a Government "after-care association," in that it
would keep in touch with all persons discharged from mental hospitals.
One of its duties would be to keep a register of all feeble-minded,
epileptic, and mentally defective persons living outside institutional
care. Dr. Gray further suggests that the register should be compiled in
the following manner:--

    (1.) It would be a statutory duty of all School Medical
    Officers to report to the Department the names of all
    feeble-minded or epileptic children in their districts.

    (2.) It would be the duty of the District Education Board to
    report any child of school age who was not attending school
    because of feeble-mindedness or epilepsy.

    (3.) It would be the duty of the Superintendent, owner, or
    licensee of every hospital, private hospital, industrial
    school, or reformatory prison to notify the Department upon
    the admission of any person suffering from feeble-mindedness
    or epilepsy.

    (4.) It would be the duty of the Superintendent of every
    mental hospital to notify the name of every person discharged
    from a mental hospital.

    (5.) It would be the duty of every Judge or Magistrate in all
    cases brought before him in which there appears to be mental
    enfeeblement or epilepsy to call to his assistance an
    alienist, and, if the report is confirmatory, to order such
    person's name to be placed upon the register.

N.B.--In the case of sections 1, 2, and 3 the Department would apply to
a Magistrate for an order to register the person concerned. In section 4
the process would be automatic.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Committee consider the machinery suggested for the purpose of
compilation of the register very suitable, subject to such modifications
as may be found necessary in practice, but have come to the conclusion
that it would be preferable for many reasons to keep cases of this kind,
as far as possible, free from Courts, a large part of whose work
consists in trying persons charged with criminal offences, and to follow
the plan which seems to be working very well in several American
States--namely, to set up a Board of experts to deal with these cases.

The Board, which might be called the Eugenic Board, should be a central
Board associated with a special Department or sub-department, of which
the head should be a man of sufficient personality, energy, and
organizing-power to grapple effectively with this question--first, by
taking the necessary steps to compile a reasonably exhaustive register,
and afterwards, by co-ordination with cognate Departments or by
independent departmental action, to build up the necessary machinery to
provide for the care, segregation, supervision, or treatment of the
class with which his Department is required to deal.

The compilation of the register is a departmental matter, but
legislative authority will be necessary, to provide for compulsory
notification and to prescribe the means. A well qualified departmental
officer should at once be detailed to take this matter in hand and
formulate from the evidence given to the Committee and from other
sources of information the method and means of obtaining complete

The first step towards the formation of the Board should be the early
selection and appointment of a thoroughly trained and experienced
psychiatrist. Irrespective of the necessity for the employment of such a
man as the scientific member of the proposed Board, the Committee are of
opinion that the Departments of Health, Mental Hospitals, Prisons, and
the Special Schools Branch of the Education Department are at present
suffering from the lack of expert advice in this direction, and that it
is high time the Government had in its service at least one trained
psychological expert, with recourse to the services of other men with
similar training in the four centres.

The Eugenic Board should be vested with power to examine all cases
notified and, after due investigation, to place on the register--

    (1.) Such persons as in its judgment come within the
    definition in the Mental Deficiency Act of feeble-minded;

    (2.) Persons afflicted with epilepsy associated with
    automatism or other conditions rendering them especially
    liable to dangerous, immoral, or otherwise anti-social
    manifestations, and in the case of juvenile epileptics the
    mere frequency of fits rendering them unsuitable for
    attendance at ordinary schools;

    (3.) Moral imbeciles as defined in the English Mental
    Deficiency Act; and

    (4.) Persons discharged from mental hospitals.

It should be the function of the Board to order or recommend to the
Minister the segregation, supervision, or treatment of the different
classes. Cases receiving adequate care in their homes would not, of
course, be interfered with.

The Eugenic Board, of course, should have power to remove any name from
the register if it is of opinion that there is no longer any need for
registration. There should be the right of appeal to a Judge of the
Supreme Court against the decision of the Board to place a person on the
register, and there should also be power to apply to a Judge for the
removal of the name from the register in cases where the Board declines
to do so. These provisions should, it is considered, effectively
safeguard the liberty of the subject.

The machinery necessary to deal adequately with this vital
question--vital in its influence on the purity of our race--must be
somewhat extensive, but use should be made as far as possible of
existing governmental and private agencies and organizations.

The work requires organization, and the first essential is, therefore,
the appointment of an organizing head. Unless such an appointment is
soon made the matter will drift. The heads of the existing Departments
of State under whom such an organization might be placed have already
more business to handle than they can comfortably overtake. Some one
must be selected to specialize on this work and this work alone.

The question naturally arises as to the Department of State to which the
proposed sub-department for the care of the feeble-minded might best be
attached. In the judgment of the Committee the education of
feeble-minded children should be continued by the Education Department,
which has evolved a very successful system and is administering it well.
After everything possible has been done in the matter of education a
large proportion, as they grow up, will be quite unable to hold their
own in the world, and for their own protection and safety, and in the
interests of society, must be cared for in some institution, where they
may be kept usefully occupied in gardening or farming, or in some
handicraft which will serve to keep them in health and help to recoup
the State some part of the cost of their maintenance. It is, of course,
most essential that they should not be allowed to reproduce their kind,
thus further enfeebling and deteriorating the national stock, adding to
the burden of the community and to the sum of human misery and
degradation. "To produce but not to reproduce" sums up the best scheme
of life for these unfortunates.

Looking at all the circumstances of the case, it appears to the
Committee that it would be better if the compilation of the register,
the provision of the farm and industrial colonies, and the after-care of
adult feeble-minded patients coming under Classes V and VI and "moral
imbeciles" were entrusted to a special branch of the Mental Hospitals
Department. It is essential that the feeble-minded shall be kept
separate from the insane, while the feeble-minded themselves, of course,
require careful classification.

It is very important that marriages with registered persons should be
made illegal, and, as a corollary to this, that it should be made an
indictable offence for any person knowingly to have carnal knowledge of
a registered person. It should also be provided that any parent or
guardian who facilitates or negligently allows any registered person to
have carnal intercourse with another person shall be guilty of an
indictable offence.


A question which has given the Committee much anxious thought is as to
whether sterilization should be adopted as a method of preventing the
propagation of the feeble-minded. That it would be an effective method
as regards the persons operated on goes without saying. The operation of
vasectomy in the case of males is a very simple one, which may be
performed with the aid of a local anæsthetic, and may be said for all
practical purposes to be unattended by any risk to the patient. In the
case of women a similar operation on the Fallopian tubes, which is known
as salpingectomy, is an abdominal operation and cannot be said to be
entirely free from danger, although it is not regarded as very serious.
Except for the prevention of fertility, the operation does not interfere
with the sexual powers of the patient and has little or no effect on
sexual desires. It has been stated that a process of sterilization by
means of X-rays can be applied to either sex. The only evidence
available, however, shows that this method is still in the experimental
stage, and the Committee, for this reason, cannot recommend it,
especially as there is a danger that it might damage the cells producing
the internal secretions which influence the secondary sexual
characteristics and so injuriously affect the general health and

Several States in America have passed laws providing for the
sterilization of persons in State institutions who are--(1) Insane, (2)
feeble-minded, (3) criminalistic.

In some of the States an appeal was made to the Supreme Court, and, the
law being pronounced unconstitutional, no attempt was made to enforce
it. In other States the law has been allowed to become a dead-letter. Up
to the 1st January, 1921, the latest date dealt with by the most
recently published work on the subject, there have been 124 State
institutions legally authorized to perform operations for sterilization,
of which thirty-one have made more or less use of their authority, while
ninety-three have not. The total number of operations performed up to
the date mentioned was 3,233, divided into classes as follows:
Feeble-minded, 403; insane, 2,700; criminalistic, 130. Of this total of
3,233 operations the State of California contributed no less than 2,538,
and in this State a single institution (the State Hospital for the
Insane at Patton) is responsible for no fewer than 1,009 cases. A Bill
introduced in 1924 into the Senate to legalize sterilization of mental
defectives, &c., was rejected.

Dr. H. H. Laughlin, of the Psychological Laboratory of the Municipal
Court of Chicago, has devoted several years to the study of this
question, and has recently published the result of his researches in a
book entitled "Eugenical Sterilization in the United States." He
publishes the texts of all the laws past and present, gives his idea of
a model sterilization law, together with the necessary forms for putting
it into effect. He also deals with the physiological and mental effects
of sexual sterilization. A reviewer of his book, writing in the _Journal
of Heredity_ of October, 1923, states forcibly the case for the
opponents of sterilization. He expresses the opinion that "The release
of sterilized individuals with feeble inhibitions or anti-social
tendencies is the equivalent to the creation of so-many new and virulent
foci of venereal diseases and promiscuity."

Furthermore, the Central Association for Mental Welfare of Great
Britain, which was formed in 1913 to act as a co-ordinating and
representative body on all questions affecting mental defectives and
their relations to the community, not long ago referred the question to
their standing Medical Committee, who gave the considered opinion that
"sterilization at the present time is not a practical proposition."

The Committee of the Central Association being in complete agreement
with this view, the Association decided not to advocate the policy of
sterilization, because they consider that it would have only a limited
influence in preventing the increase of mental deficiency, that it would
be attended with certain harmful results in other directions, and
because its adoption is impracticable. The Association's statement on
this subject goes on to say: "It is very important to remember that
although propagation by defectives is one of the causes of mental
deficiency, nevertheless this is by no means the only social menace
attaching to their presence in the community. If left unguided and
unprotected, their lack of stability and control may lead them to commit
serious crime, such as theft, arson, assault, and even murder. Their
inability to maintain economic independence results in vagrancy and
destitution. Their helplessness in the face of obstacles frequently
brings about their complete collapse at the first rebuff which they have
to meet. The interest of the community can only be adequately protected
by the segregation of a considerable proportion of these persons in
suitable institutions. A sterilized defective would not be any less
liable to these happenings than would one who was unsterilized. A
defective woman, from the fact of her being sterilized and incapable of
bearing children, would be more prone to illicit intercourse, to adopt a
life of prostitution, and to spread venereal disease. It follows that
segregation would still be needed in the case of a very large proportion
of defectives, but, if they are segregated, sterilization is
unnecessary. On the other hand, there can be very little doubt that any
general adoption of sterilization would, in actual practice, lead to the
non-segregation of a large number of defectives who should be under care
and thus to an increase of the foul evils mentioned."

Having thus stated the arguments against sterilization the Committee
must now present the other side of the question.

In the first place, it is evident that, as far as the United States is
concerned, the extension of sterilization of the mentally defective has
received a grave set-back by reason of the declaration of the Supreme
Court of the United States that the laws in certain States permitting
sterilization are unconstitutional. This ruling, of course, does not
apply to New Zealand.

Further, opponents of sterilization ask to be shown its good results;
but obviously the results cannot emerge in one generation or in a
comparatively short space of time, but only in the ultimate lessening of
the proportion of mental defectives in the community by diminishing the
hereditary supply.

There is no doubt also that much confusion exists in the minds of the
public as to the meaning of sterilization and desexualization or
castration. The process of sterilization, as has been shown, involves
only a simple and safe operation and has the sole effect of preventing
reproduction. Sterilization, therefore, should not be loaded with the
objections which apply to the far-reaching effects of castration. The
former, unlike the latter, is not prone to produce harmful effects upon
the mind or morals of the sterilized individual.

The assertion that "sterilization at the present time is not a practical
proposition" is difficult to understand. It is certainly practicable,
and is as likely to be favoured as opposed by public opinion, especially
that section of the public that understands the difference between
simple sterilization and desexualization. As regards the suggestion that
sterilization may lead to new foci of venereal disease, it must be borne
in mind that the unsterilized feeble-minded are already prone to sexual
promiscuity, and there is no evidence that sterilization would increase
this tendency. The opponents of sterilization offer as an alternative
only permanent segregation to prevent the transmission of mental defect.
It is evident, however, that the cost of the segregation of all mental
defectives capable of reproducing other mental defectives would be
exceedingly heavy. The Committee advocates powers of segregation and of
sterilization, these powers to be placed in the hands of the Eugenic
Board, under proper safeguards and the right of appeal.

Sterilization in suitable cases is not a high price to pay for liberty.
There are in our mental hospitals to-day men and women who suffer from
recurrent insanity, who are admitted to the mental hospitals from time
to time and discharged when they are better, and in the intervals
between their admission cohabit with their wives or husbands, as the
case may be, and bring more defective children into the world. If
discretionary power were given to the Board as suggested it should, and
no doubt would, be exercised cautiously and tentatively.

Sterilization gives the patient liberty to do useful work in the
community, is less drastic than segregation for life, and on the whole a
much slighter interference with the rights of the individual, which are
surely subordinate in such cases to the rights of the State.

There are, of course, numbers of mental defectives who can never be
allowed their liberty, and in the case of these the question of
sterilization need not be considered. 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?

This is the question: Can the propagation of mental defect by mental
defectives and the debasing of the race thereby be greatly checked if
not completely prevented? The answer is assuredly, Yes, by segregation
and by sterilization.

The Committee recommends that both methods be placed in the hands of the
Eugenic Board, with powers to discriminate as to which method is the
more suitable for each individual case. The two methods are
complementary, not antagonistic, and suitable safeguards for the liberty
of the subject are provided.

The Committee recommends that the Eugenic Board should be given the
power in suitable cases to make sterilization a condition of release
from any of the institutions under the charge of the Department of
Mental Hospitals or removal of their names from the register on
probation, but that in no case should the operation be performed without
the consent of parents or guardians of the persons concerned.

The Committee consider that the persons so operated upon and liberated
should be released on probation and kept under supervision for a
reasonable period, and that they should be returned to institutional
care if found to be leading an immoral life, or unable to support
themselves, or for any other reason which the Eugenic Board may consider

If the recommendation as to sterilization being authorized under the
conditions specified is adopted, the Committee think it would be
advisable to introduce some provision as in the American Acts, making it
unlawful to perform operations whose object is the prevention of
reproduction in cases not authorized by the Board unless the same shall
be a medical necessity.


It will be neither possible nor desirable to segregate all mental
defectives. Feeble-minded children who are receiving adequate care and
training in their own homes will, of course, be left there. When they
reach the age of adolescence the question of their disposal should be
considered by the Board. In many cases the inmates of special schools,
after they have received some training, would do well if returned to
their homes or boarded out in selected foster-homes under supervision.

The real difficulty arises, especially in the case of girls, when the
age of adolescence is reached.

In the opinion of the Committee it is of the utmost importance that
mental defectives should be prevented from reproducing. No person who
has been placed on the register should be allowed to marry until the
Eugenic Board has given its consent by removing the name from the

It is altogether wrong to suppose that there is any unkindness in taking
the feeble-minded, who are unable to battle for themselves, under the
care of the State and preventing them from bringing forth another
generation of defectives. The real unkindness consists in allowing such
unfortunates to be brought into the world.

In school, and still more in the after-struggle for existence, the
feeble-minded find themselves the butts of their fellows, and the
"inferiority complex" thus developed tends to make them sink lower in
the scale both in intellect and morals.

"On the other hand, it is the general experience of those who have had
many years' practical experience with defectives that the majority are
far happier in suitable institutions engaged in congenial occupations,
and having the companionship of their mental equals, than when they are
exposed to the difficulties of an outside world to which they are
incapable of adapting themselves. In many cases, indeed, such freedom
amounts to the infliction of positive cruelty."

This statement is taken from the memorandum of the Central Association
for Mental Welfare of Great Britain, to which reference has already been
made, and this Committee can, from their own observation, endorse the
views thus expressed.

It seems desirable, however, to point out the fallacy of a popular idea
that the world could easily stamp out defectives and degenerates by
merely adopting a vigorous policy of segregation and sterilization. Even
if it were possible by these means to prevent all manifest mental
defectives from reproducing, it cannot be expected that this class will
be thereby eliminated from the population, since mental defectives may
be the offspring of apparently normal stocks, or may be descended from
stock in which only minor manifestations of impaired nervous vitality,
such as instability, eccentricity, &c., have hitherto been evident, and
in a large proportion of cases they are no doubt the progeny of persons
belonging to the higher grade of distinctly degenerate stock--persons
who have not themselves necessarily shown any marked traits of
instability or degeneracy, and to whom therefore sterilization or
segregation would be inapplicable.


It will probably be objected that the plan for cutting off as far as
possible further additions to the mental defectives of the Dominion will
involve increased expenditure. This is, unfortunately, the case; but
will it not be a much more costly process to allow the present
unrestricted multiplication of these defectives to continue in an
ever-increasing ratio? If they are allowed to multiply, their
unfortunate offspring will have to be provided for in one way or
another--some by means of charitable aid, some in our prisons, some in
our mental hospitals. Take the case of the defective couple, case No. 4,
page 9, themselves in receipt of charitable aid, who have already
produced eleven children, all of whom are being provided for by the
State, while, as the couple are still living together and the woman is
still of child-bearing age, it is quite possible that the total may yet
be increased. This family, it is estimated, will cost the State at least
£16,000. Will any one seriously contend that it would not have been
sound economy if this couple had been taken in the first instance,
placed in separate farm colonies where they would have lived fairly
useful lives, and been prevented from casting such an excessive burden
on the State? We might take each of the cases quoted in an earlier part
of this report, and many others which we have not quoted, and ask the
same question in regard to each. There is no doubt whatever that from
the purely financial point of view it is very much to the interest of
the community that this problem should be taken boldly in hand at once
while the evil is within fairly manageable proportions, instead of
allowing it to grow into an intolerable burden.

Consider the humanitarian aspect. Surely it is a kindly act to give the
protective care of the State to those unfortunate persons who are unable
to hold their own in the struggle for existence, and who, if left to
their own devices, will fall miserably by the way and in many cases
become a menace to society.

Lastly, there is the national question to be considered. Surely it is
important that our stock should be kept as sound and virile as possible,
and that where a process of deterioration has been detected every
attempt should be made to stop it as soon as possible and by every means
in our power.


The Committee feel very strongly that any attempt to check the
multiplication of mental defectives in the Dominion will to a large
extent be labour thrown away if the greatest care is not at the same
time taken to prevent the introduction of feeble-minded and other
undesirable persons from overseas. The distance of New Zealand from
Europe and the cost of the long passage have on the whole had a
selective influence on the character of the immigrants and tended to
keep up the standard of quality. As already mentioned, however, serious
mistakes were made in the "seventies" of last century. Very striking
testimony to this effect is contained in the report of the late Dr.
Macgregor, Inspector-General of Hospitals and Charitable Institutions,
presented in 1888, an extract from which appears in the Appendix of this
report. In the brief space of fifteen years the dire consequences of the
mistakes made in previous immigration without due regard to its quality
had already become apparent, and in the most impressive terms Dr.
Macgregor, who was an exceedingly able and far-sighted public servant,
pointed out that the evil done by the introduction of an undesirable
class of immigrant is never finished.

"The impaired health, low morality, and insanity descend to the
offspring, and are a continued drain upon this community."

The benefit of a well-regulated stream of immigration into this country
is not open to question. A substantial addition to our population is now
more than ever needed if this country is to progress and its resources
are to be developed sufficiently to enable it to bear with ease the
heavy burden imposed on the community by the Great War. The point which
it is desired to emphasize is that constant vigilance is necessary to
keep up the standard of quality of the new-comers in view of the very
natural desire to send off to a new land those who are physically or
mentally unable to maintain themselves in the land of their birth. Such
vigilance, it need hardly be pointed out, is especially necessary at the
present time when the volume of immigration is greatly increased owing
to the condition of affairs in the Mother-country.

As a matter of fact, there seems no doubt that immediately after the
conclusion of the war the system of control and medical inspection was
not so strict as it should have been, especially in the case of the
Imperial Government's overseas settlement scheme for ex-service men and
women. The New Zealand Government, however, sent Home an officer from
the Immigration Department to rectify matters and to provide for a more
thorough examination of assisted immigrants.

Under the system at present in force a special roster of medical
referees has been compiled, and no person is accepted as an assisted
immigrant without a certificate of physical and mental fitness from one
of these doctors. The medical examiner, in the instructions, is
particularly requested "To satisfy himself that the applicant is in
every way a fit subject to pass a thorough medical examination, as
applicants are liable to rejection both at the port of embarkation and
at the port of arrival." Finally, the doctor is required to sign the
following statement: "Having read and made myself conversant with the
instructions contained in Form KA supplied me, I certify that I have
this day examined the above-named, and am of the opinion that ----
is in ---- health and of sound constitution. ---- is not suffering from
any mental or bodily defect which in my opinion would unfit ---- for
earning ---- own living as a ----."

The form provides for a very complete examination, but as regards
certain conditions, especially previous mental diseases, the examiner is
necessarily dependent on the statements of the applicant.

The Committee were informed that New Zealand has now the reputation with
the Imperial authorities of being the hardest and most exacting of all
Dominions regarding the health and physical fitness of immigrants.

The Committee think that, in addition to the precautions already taken,
inquiry should be made, as far as may be possible, into the family and
personal history of assisted immigrants, particularly as to whether they
disclose any cases of insanity, epilepsy or feeble-mindedness, crime, or
dependence on charitable aid.

The Committee are further of opinion that the time has now arrived when
closer supervision should be exercised over those persons who come as
ordinary passengers with the intention of remaining in the Dominion.

The Immigration Restriction Act, 1908, provides that "When any passenger
arriving on board any ship is either lunatic, idiotic, deaf, dumb,
blind, or infirm, and is likely to become a charge upon the public," the
owner, master, or charterer of the ship shall be required to enter into
a bond in the sum of £100 for every such passenger, the person entering
into the bond and his sureties being bound to pay to the Minister all
expenses incurred within the space of five years for the maintenance of
such passenger.

Under the Act the following are made "prohibited immigrants":--

    "(_b._) Any idiot or insane person."

    "(_c._) Any person suffering from a contagious disease which
    is loathsome or dangerous."

    "(_d._) Any person the date of whose arrival in New Zealand is
    earlier than two years after the termination of any offence
    which, if committed in New Zealand, would be punishable by
    death, or imprisonment for two years or upwards, not being a
    mere political offence, and no pardon having been granted."

By Order in Council tuberculosis is gazetted as a contagious disease
which is dangerous within the meaning of the Act, and syphilis and
leprosy are contagious and loathsome diseases within the meaning of the

To any one who has seen a medical inspection of passengers arriving in
an overseas vessel it is obvious that any degree of feeble-mindedness
short of manifest imbecility or dementia would be liable to be admitted,
and a good many cases of tuberculosis escape detection. Other countries
are now alive to the importance of greater care being taken to guard
against the admission of these who are likely to lower the mental and
physical standard of the race, and in the opinion of the Committee
stricter precautions should be taken in New Zealand. The smallness of
this country makes it all the more important that it should be occupied
and developed by a selected population, while its attractiveness as a
field of settlement and the limited amount of land available place it in
a position of independence in which it is able to insist on the
maintenance of a high standard of fitness on the part of those desiring
to share in its advantages.


The Committee find--

    (1.) That the unchecked multiplication of the feeble-minded
    and epileptic is leading to a continually growing addition to
    the sum of human misery, an ever-increasing burden on the
    State, and the serious deterioration of the race.

    (2.) That it would be sound economy, as well as in the best
    interests of humanity, to deal with the problem at once, even
    though it involve a substantial expenditure.

The Committee therefore recommend:

    (1.) That to the definitions in the New Zealand Mental
    Defectives Act, 1911, there should be added a further
    definition--namely, that of "moral imbecile" contained in the
    English Act.

    (2.) That a special branch of the Mental Hospitals Department
    be established to deal with all classes of mental defectives
    who are not inmates of mental hospitals, and to act as an
    "after-care" Department to look after patients discharged from
    mental hospitals.

    (3.) That a Eugenic Board be appointed, to include a skilled
    psychiatrist, another member of the medical profession, and to
    be presided over by a Magistrate as Chairman.

    (4.) That the duty of the Department shall be to keep a
    complete register of persons coming under the following
    definitions in cases where the Eugenic Board has decided that
    the patients in their own interests or in the interests of
    society should be placed on the register:--

        (_a._) Mental defectives who are not inmates of mental
        hospitals who in the judgment of the Eugenic Board come within
        the definition of "feeble-minded" in section 2, Class V, of
        the Mental Defectives Act, 1911.

        (_b._) Persons afflicted with epilepsy associated with
        automatism or other conditions rendering them especially
        liable to dangerous, immoral, or otherwise anti-social
        manifestations, and in the case of juvenile epileptics the
        mere frequency of fits rendering them unsuitable for
        attendance at ordinary schools.

        (_c._) Moral imbeciles as defined in the English Mental
        Deficiency Act, 1913.

        (_d._) Persons discharged from mental hospitals.

    (5.) That the care of backward and feeble-minded children, so
    long as these remain in an educable stage, shall be the duty,
    as at present, of the Education Department.

    (6.) That the Education Department obtain the services of
    psychological experts with a view to creating a comprehensive
    system providing increased facilities for the study of the
    individual child in school, for the classification of children
    according to their mental capacities, and for the adaptation
    of the curriculum to the needs of special children. This may
    necessitate the establishment of an increased number of
    special classes, an extension of the residential special
    schools, and also provision for social readjustment of the
    children when required.

    (7.) That fuller provision be made in connection with our
    Universities and training colleges for the education of
    teachers in child psychology and its practical application,
    and for their training for service in special classes and
    special schools.

    (8.) That full use be made of residential special schools for
    those cases who fail to benefit by attendance at special
    classes, but who are considered capable of training in manual
    work or handicrafts. The lower grades of the feeble-minded who
    require merely custodial care should, as a general rule, be
    excluded from special schools, but where there is any doubt as
    to a child's degree of mentality or aptitude for manual
    training admission to a special school for a probationary
    period should be arranged.

    (9.) That the Education Department shall report to the Eugenic
    Board those inmates of special schools found incapable of
    receiving benefit from further residence in such schools, and
    the Eugenic Board shall be empowered to place on the register
    such as they consider should be so dealt with.

    (10.) In regard to those on the register, the Eugenic Board
    shall have the power to order the removal of feeble-minded
    persons and moral imbeciles to a farm or industrial colony to
    be provided for the care and training of such persons.

    (11.) That any person alleged to be feeble-minded, or the
    parents or guardians of such person, shall have the right of
    appeal to a Judge of the Supreme Court against the placing of
    his or her name upon the register, and the parents or
    guardians of any person on the register shall have the right
    to apply to a Judge of the Supreme Court for the removal of
    the name of such person from the register, or for his or her
    release from any institution established under the Act.

    (12.) The Committee recommend the establishment of farm or
    industrial colonies where feeble-minded or delinquent persons
    who are custodial cases may be usefully and, as far as
    possible, profitably employed, and where they may receive the
    care and protection required by their condition.

    (13.) In regard to sterilization, the Committee find that the
    operation of vasectomy in men can be carried out under local
    anæsthesia, and is free from risk. The analogous operation of
    salpingectomy in women is an abdominal operation, but the risk
    is not considered serious. These operations are effective in
    preventing procreation, but do not otherwise interfere with
    the sexual powers of the patient. In the case of persons
    suffering from recurrent insanity or idiopathic epilepsy,
    high-grade morons, and others who in the interests of
    themselves and of society ought not to be allowed to
    reproduce, but who do not for other reasons require custodial
    care, it is desirable that the operation of sterilization
    should be considered by the Eugenic Board.

    (14.) The Committee recommends that the Eugenic Board should
    be given the power in suitable cases to make sterilization a
    condition of release from any of the institutions under the
    charge of the Department of Mental Hospitals, or removal of
    their names from the register on probation, but that in no
    case should the operation be performed without the consent of
    parents or guardians of the persons concerned.

    (15.) The Committee consider that the persons so operated upon
    and liberated should be released on probation and kept under
    supervision for a reasonable period, and that they should be
    returned to institutional care if found to be leading an
    immoral life, or unable to support themselves, or for any
    other reason which the Eugenic Board may consider sufficient.

    (16.) The Committee consider that marriage with any registered
    person should be made illegal, and that it should be an
    indictable offence for any person to have carnal knowledge of
    any registered person. It should also be provided that any
    parent or guardian who facilitates or negligently allows any
    registered person to have carnal knowledge of another person
    shall be guilty of an indictable offence.

    (17.) In view of the fact that feeble-minded persons and
    others likely to become a burden on the community have in the
    past been introduced from overseas, the Committee recommend
    that, in addition to the precautions already taken in regard
    to assisted immigrants, inquiry should be made into the family
    history, especially as to whether it discloses any cases of
    insanity, epilepsy, or feeble-mindedness, and that applicants
    unable to produce satisfactory evidence on this point should
    be excluded. The Committee are further of the opinion that
    closer supervision should be exercised over persons who come
    as ordinary passengers with the intention of remaining in the



The second section of the order of reference requires the Committee "To
inquire and report as to the necessity for the care and treatment of
mental degenerates and persons charged with sexual offences, and to
recommend forms of treatment for the various types of cases."

The Committee's finding and recommendation in regard to the "care and
treatment of mental degenerates" who have not been charged with criminal
offences are embodied in the first part of this report.

The origin of the inquiry, in so far as it concerns the care and
treatment of mental degenerates and sexual offenders who appear before
the Courts, is to be found in the resolution of the Prisons Board first
appearing in their annual report for the year 1920 and repeated in their
reports for 1921 and 1922.

The resolution is as follows:--

"Whereas an increasing number of sexual offences has been the subject of
frequent and serious judicial comment, especially in cases where young
children were the victims, or the very serious nature of the charge
connoted a perversion dangerous to the moral well-being of society; and,
as the experience of the Board in dealing with prisoners of this class
accords, as far as it goes, with the now generally accepted opinion
that, with certain exceptions, persons committing unnatural offences
labour under physical disease or disability, or mental deficiency or
disorder, or both, which accounts for the sexual perversion and the
morbid character of the offence charged: It is resolved by the Prisons
Board strongly to recommend to the Government an amendment of the Crimes
Act under which such offenders could be dealt with scientifically--

    "(1.) Before sentence is pronounced, by furnishing expert
    medical or surgical reports or evidence:

    "(2.) By sanctioning an indeterminate sentence:

    "(3.) By segregating persons so sentenced and subjecting them,
    under proper safeguards, to any medical or surgical treatment
    which may be deemed necessary or expedient either for their
    own good or in the public interest."

The repeated occurrence of gross offences of the character described by
the Prisons Board, both before and since the Committee commenced its
sittings, has focussed public attention more strongly upon the
necessity for immediate action in regard to the more adequate treatment
of this class of degenerate than upon the much larger and relatively
more important class of mental defective covered by the first section of
the order of reference.

The bulk of the evidence heard by the Committee and practically the
whole of the information obtained from various sources bore more
particularly upon the question of the care and prevention of the
propagation of the mentally defective part of the population coming
under the general designation of "feeble-minded." While, however, the
evidence obtained regarding the prevalence of sex offences and the care
and treatment of the offenders was not great in volume, it was eminently
practical in character. Apart from this, the flagrant cases reported in
the daily Press during the past few months in connection with the
Supreme Court Sessions in the various centres offer sufficient proof of
the necessity for some drastic amendment of the law on the lines
suggested by the Prisons Board.


That the order for an inquiry into this question was by no means
premature was made apparent to the Committee by the presentation at its
first sitting of a return furnished by the Prisons Department, which
appears in the Appendix to this report, page 30, showing the number of
sexual offenders of the various classes who were actually serving
sentences on the 10th May, 1924. The total number of the sexual
offenders in the prisons of the Dominion on that date was 185. This
number represented 17.273 per cent. of all the prisoners then in
custody. Unfortunately, this percentage has since been increased by
recent commitments of cases of the most serious types.

A return compiled by the Government Statistician (Mr. Malcolm Fraser)
shows that during the five years, 1919-1923, there were 331 persons
sentenced in the Supreme Court for sexual offences as follows: Rape, 5;
attempted rape, 19; indecent assault on a female, 150; indecent assault
on a male, 50; unlawful carnal knowledge, 49; attempted unlawful carnal
knowledge, 18; incest, 17; unnatural offence, 23: total, 331.


It is obvious that included under the heading of sexual offences are
cases which vary so greatly in their gravity and in their very nature as
to have little in common. There is a great gulf between the lad
convicted of unlawful carnal knowledge with a girl who is under the
legal age of consent, but who in some instances may even be the actual
instigator of the offence, and the miscreant who tampers with little
girls of tender years, or sets himself deliberately to corrupt boys. It
was this class which the Prisons Board had in mind when it passed the
resolution quoted, and no doubt it is the class which the Committee's
order of reference is intended to cover.

This class of offence is held in so much detestation by normal persons
possessing ordinary healthy natural instincts that they find it
impossible to consider the question from a judicial and coldly
scientific point of view. It is evident, however, that this must be done
if we are to entertain any hope of finding and applying an effective
remedy to this cancer in the social organism. The evidence given before
the Committee leads them to the belief that the evil is much more
prevalent than is generally supposed--that the cases which come before
the Court constitute only a percentage of those which actually occur.

The ignorance of the general public in regard to these matters
occasionally leads to an unjust attitude of mind towards some of the
offenders brought before the Courts. Take the case of an old man charged
with "exhibitionism." To the normal mind this seems a particularly
disgusting proceeding, and the offender's age is regarded as an
aggravation. The explanation is that the higher nerve-cells of the old
man are degenerating, that he may be thus unable effectively to control
his morbid sexual impulses, particularly if stimulated by an enlarged
prostate. Such a person is a subject for pity rather than punishment; he
must be restrained from annoying others by his offensive behaviour, but
it is really a case for medical treatment.

Another class to be considered is the confirmed homosexualist. There are
well-known examples of men eminent in the arts and literature given to
this unnatural practice, and of the offenders who come before the Courts
only a small proportion can be described as feeble-minded. The practice
is not confined to the male sex, although for reasons which will be
apparent it is only males who come before the Courts charged with this
specific offence. Many parents are unaware that girls as well as boys
may contract bad habits and fall into sexual abnormalities, but it is a
fact which they ought to know in order that the danger may be guarded

Mr. Hawkins, Inspector of Prisons, whose experience extending over forty
years in charge of prisoners in New Zealand makes his opinion of great
weight, says there are two types of sexual offenders to be found in our
prisons: First, there are those who yielded to sudden temptation,
assaulted women or young female children, sometimes under circumstances
exhibiting extreme brutality. In the majority of these cases, he says,
the offenders are curable under a proper system of treatment, and it is
seldom that they again offend. He goes on to say: "The real sexual
pervert, however, who is continually tampering with young children is
different, as is also the case when young boys are the victims. The
worst pervert of all is the one who flagrantly offers himself for the
purposes of sodomy. Strange as it may seem, there are quite a number of
such degenerates in our prisons to-day; middle-aged and elderly men
being the chief offenders of this class. In my opinion segregation for
life is the only course, and my years of experience among such a class
have convinced me of this, their case being absolutely hopeless when
this stage has been reached, and no cure is possible in such cases."

This pessimistic view, unfortunately, is fully confirmed by the records
of cases examined by the Committee. Long terms of imprisonment, though
combined with the lash, have proved quite ineffective as a deterrent,
even to the individual concerned. In some cases the offender within a
short time after his release has been detected in the same practices and
rearrested. Still less does such a punishment act as a deterrent to
other addicts, if for no other reason than that each individual
cherishes the conviction that he will not be found out.

Records of a number of illustrative cases are set out in the Appendix,
pages 31-33.


As regards the infliction of corporal punishment which is often
advocated, Dr. Murray, Medical Officer to the Mount Eden Prison at
Auckland, who has had a good deal of experience with sexual offenders,
said he had seen a good many flogged, and he did not think it had any
effect as a deterrent. He added, "Nothing will deter men once they have
taken on that line. I think you will find in some cases where a person
has been addicted to those practices before marriage he will drift again
into the same course after a certain number of years. It seems a
perversion they have no control over, and after a certain number of
years it masters them."

The general opinion of those who have been in touch with this problem
for many years is well expressed in the following extract from a very
valuable report furnished to the Committee by Dr. F. S. Hay,
Inspector-General of Mental Hospitals, on the different questions coming
within the scope of the inquiry:--

"As a member of the Prisons Board I have had the matter of the sexual
offender brought under my notice and have come to some very definite

"I think that he should be brought to trial in the ordinary way, with
perhaps suppression of publication of names of the offender and victim.
If found guilty, he should be given an indeterminate sentence, and be
removed to a farm reformatory prison, where he would be brought under
skilled medical and lay observation, and his case studied in respect
to--_Mentality_, when if afterwards it is decided that he is mentally
defective or deficient in terms of the Act he can be transferred to the
proper institution; _physical condition_, when if there is any disorder
it can be remedied. If the disorder is causative (_e.g._, prostatic in
the elderly) and surgical or medical interference is necessary, it will
be carried out and its results carefully watched and reported on.

"At present the sentences vary from, say, a year to ten years or more,
the seriousness of the case being one determining factor; but often
similar cases have years of difference in their sentences, and at the
end of the sentence they once more enter the world, and a fair
proportion repeat the offence. The people in the reformatory prisons
can, with experience of a case lasting over some years, foretell the
failure fairly accurately.

"The degree of sexual perversion being measured by the amount of
interference with children, which accounts for the measure of the
sentence, means no essential difference in the intent or in the
likelihood of repetition, and therefore scientifically the sentences
should be equal. I suggest that they should be made equal by being made

"Those of whom the Medical Officer cannot report favourably would
continue on. They could be given a right of revision. Those of whom he
can report very favourably could be released on probation, and so on.
The essential feature is that no hurried diagnosis is made before trial,
but diagnosis and prognosis are arrived at after months and maybe years
of close observation and by a staff gaining experience daily."

_Sterilization and Desexualization._

The increase of sexual offences during recent years and the disgust felt
by all normally disposed people when contemplating cases of sexual
perversion and assault upon young children have created a strong public
opinion in favour of dealing with these offences as radically as
circumstances will permit.

Demands are constantly made that the offenders should undergo "a
surgical operation," which is intended to imply either castration or
simple sterilization.

The British Medical Association, at their annual Conference held in
Auckland in April, 1924, resolved that the following motion be adopted
by the Council: "That this Conference can make no recommendation for
surgical desexualization in the treatment of the adult sex pervert. The
only safeguard for young children in this matter is the permanent
segregation of the offender, either in prisons or in farm colonies. The
Conference emphasizes the importance of the sterilization of the chronic
mentally or morally unfit that a future generation may benefit thereby."

The Committee therefore considers it necessary to set out as clearly as
may be possible the result of such operations and its deductions from
the evidence taken and authorities consulted as to the probability of
the achievement of the result desired.

To consider in the first place the operation of simple sterilization
(vasectomy or salpingectomy). It is quite clear that this operation,
when properly carried out, prevents procreation by the individual
operated upon. Although the knowledge of the loss of this power may
modify the views of life held by the individual the operation _per se_
does not affect his physical or mental health. This would be
anticipated, as the production of the internal secretion of the sexual
glands in either sex (ovaries or testes) continues.

Sexual desire and capacity for coitus are not usually appreciably
impaired by this operation, and it clearly could not be expected to
restrain the sexual offender from the pursuit of his perverted modes of
gratification. As, however, it appears that in a proportion of cases of
sexual perversion the tendency is an hereditary one, these operations
would, as in the case of the feeble-minded, tend to restrict the number
of individuals in the community afflicted in this manner. The Committee
would therefore recommend that simple sterilization be considered by the
Eugenic Board in relation to sexual perverts.

_Castration (Desexualization)._

The operation of desexualization implies the removal of the sexual
glands (ovaries or testes), and involves other considerations than the
operation of simple sterilization.

The loss of the internal secretion of these glands may produce physical
and mental changes in the individual. These effects vary greatly in
degree according to the age at which the operation is performed.

The earlier it is done the more decided the result. If performed _before
puberty_ the secondary sexual characteristics fail to develop. The voice
does not change in the male; the development of hair is more sparse; the
general physical development is less masculine; and mentally the
individual is less aggressive. Most pertinent of all as bearing upon the
question under review, sexual desire and capacity do not develop, either
at all, or at any rate, not to the same degree as in a normal
individual. This result, however, is not constant, and depends
principally upon the age at which the operation is performed.

_After puberty_ the operation is very much less effective. The secondary
sexual characteristics have been already established and persist. It
occasionally occurs that certain mental effects are produced. In women
these resemble, generally speaking, those occurring at the climacteric.
In both sexes, however, mental disturbances may occasionally arise.

The immediate effect upon sexual desire and capacity is slight. It would
appear, however, from the small amount of evidence available on this
point that the tendency is to a gradual diminution of sexual desire,
possibly even to disappearance after some years.

As it is generally after puberty that sexual perversion becomes
manifest, it is clear that much cannot be expected from this operation.

The problematic result and the extent of the mutilation restrain the
Committee from any suggestion that such an operation should be made

The Committee feel that the information at present available in regard
to sterilization or desexualization of sexual offenders is quite
inadequate to permit of a sound and final judgment as to the value of
the procedure. They recommend, therefore, that the whole question be
remitted for careful investigation to the Eugenic Board which it is
proposed should be set up.


After very careful consideration the Committee have come to the
conclusion that it is most desirable, in continuation of the system of
prison reform which has been inaugurated with so much success in this
country, that every person charged with a serious sexual offence should
be carefully examined by a medical man and skilled psychiatrist before
his trial, and evidence given to the Court of any physical or mental
defect having a bearing on the case.

In the judgment of the Committee, the best way of dealing with persons
guilty of sexual crimes is by means of the indeterminate sentence. Each
case should be examined by a psychiatrist as well as by the Prison
Medical Officer, and the length of the period of detention should be
determined by the Prisons Board after looking into the nature of the
offence and considering the report of the psychologist and evidence as
to the conduct of the prisoner while under detention. In cases of the
worst type the indeterminate sentence would doubtless resolve itself
into detention for life.

At all costs the women and children of the community must be protected
against this class of offender. The evidence of Mr. Hawkins as to this
class is emphatic and very much to the point:--

"Personally I have never yet seen a complete cure in the case of a real
sexual pervert. Years of imprisonment, to my own personal knowledge,
have failed to do any good whatever. Treat them kindly, give them useful
work, and make their lives as pleasant as possible, but never let them
loose on society again. Even if this were done, the trouble with such
individuals is by no means ended, as if it is intended to prevent them
following their beastly tendencies constant unremitting supervision will
be necessary. The average citizen has not the slightest conception of
the utter depths of depravity to which a confirmed male sexual pervert
will descend. Instances of such depravity have occurred to my knowledge.
Many of the men referred to are not fit to live, but it must be
remembered that in many instances the evil tendencies have been
inherited, while in others environment has played a prominent part."

The information placed before the Committee, which is summarized in the
foregoing paragraphs, leads to the conclusion that the requirements of
the position are fairly well covered by the terms of the Prisons Board's


The Committee recommend,--

    (1.) That the Crimes Act be amended to provide for the passing
    of an indeterminate sentence upon persons convicted of sexual
    offences. The Courts to be given full discretion as to whether
    the sentence shall be definite or indeterminate.

    (2.) That the Prisons Board be vested with the same power of
    recommendation for the release on probation or final discharge
    of prisoners under an indeterminate sentence as they have now
    in regard to all other prisoners.

    (3.) That a psychiatrist be appointed to advise the Prisons
    Department as to the classification and treatment, and that he
    be available to the Courts for the examination, before
    sentence, of sexual offenders, or of offenders who are thought
    to be irresponsible on account of mental defect.

    (4.) That the Prisons Board be advised by the Eugenic Board in
    regard to the release on probation or final discharge of all
    sexual offenders or feeble-minded offenders coming under its

    (5.) The Committee feel that the information at present
    available in regard to sterilization or desexualization of
    sexual offenders is quite inadequate to permit of a sound and
    final judgment as to the value of the procedure. They
    recommend, therefore, that the whole question be remitted for
    careful investigation to the Eugenic Board which it is
    proposed should be set up.


It goes without saying that the work of the Committee in pursuing their
investigations has been of a very painful and depressing character. We
need not refer to the depth of human degradation and the revolting
pathological details which had to be explored in dealing with the second
order of reference, beyond saying that the witnesses who faced the
unpleasant task of giving evidence deserve the thanks of the public for
discharging what they evidently felt to be a public duty. In the inquiry
into the problem of the feeble-minded the most saddening experience of
the Committee was the sight of so many children deprived of their full
share of the light of reason, often maimed and stunted in body as well
as in intellect. The sight was made sadder still by the reflection that
unless prompt and effective action is taken the multiplication of these
degenerates will increase and the race will steadily deteriorate.

Professor William MacDougall, the noted psychologist of Harvard
University, speaking at Toronto recently in reference to the disregard
of eugenic methods in America in maintaining and improving the national
stock, said: "As I watch the American people speeding daily with
invincible optimism down the path that leads to destruction I seem to be
watching one of the greatest tragedies of history."

New Zealand is a young country already exhibiting some of the weaknesses
of much older nations, but it is now at the stage where, if its people
are wise, they may escape the worst evils of the Old World. It has
rightly been decided that this should be not only a "white man's
country," but as completely British as possible. We ought to make every
effort to keep the stock sturdy and strong, as well as racially pure.
The pioneers were for the most part an ideal stock for a new offshoot of
the Mother-country. The Great War revealed that from their loins have
sprung some of the finest men the world has ever seen, not only in
physical strength, but in character and spirit. It also revealed that an
inferior strain had crept in and that New Zealand was already getting
its share of weaklings. Surely our aim should be to prevent, as far as
possible, the multiplication of the latter type, and to increase the
elements of the mental, moral, and physical strength of the nation. In
these beautiful and richly dowered islands we have a noble heritage--to
be in keeping and to ensure the full development of their resources and
enjoyment of their blessings the inhabitants should be of the highest
type obtainable by human effort.

This is the lesson which has been impressed upon the minds of the
Committee during their investigations, and they have been sustained in
their saddening experience by the hope that this lesson will be taken to
heart by both the Parliament and the people of the Dominion.

W. H. TRIGGS, Chairman.

J. W. BUCHANAN, Secretary.




Many causes have conspired in our history as a colony to intensify the
good-nature of our people--at any rate, so far as extravagance in
vicarious charity is concerned. Our sensitiveness to suffering has been
greatly stimulated by the comparative absence from our towns of those
sights of misery and squalor that deaden the feelings by familiarity;
and the lavish life we have led since 1870 has made us free-handed to
the poor and impatient of the trouble required to find out whether our
charity was wisely or mischievously given.

During our years of plenty, when borrowed money was being largely spent,
and the prices of wool, &c., were high, I was in charge of the Dunedin
Asylum, and remember with what forebodings I regarded the quality of the
immigrants that were being poured into the country after the despatch of
instructions in October, 1873, to the Agent-General "To grant free
passages, and also, if necessary, advance expenses to port of
embarkation and outfit."

Twenty thousand immigrants were, if possible, to be sent out in six
months. With wonderful rapidity the results became apparent. From all
parts came reports of the evil quality of the immigrants. The
Immigration Minister, writing to the Agent-General in June, 1874, says:
"I have already called your attention to the fact that the shipment by
the ... included a number of girls out of the Cork Workhouse, and I took
the opportunity of remarking on the very undesirable character of such
immigration. A perusal of the report of the Immigration Officer at
Dunedin will, I think, convince you how very disastrous it is likely to
prove to the cause of immigration if such modes of selection as those
adopted by Mrs. ---- (who was paid per emigrant) are under any
circumstances permitted. The result in the colony of the landing and
distribution of such women as these complained of, and of such
immigrants as the "young men" whom Mr. Allen states he has ascertained
to be professed thieves, and one of them a ticket-of-leave man, is
naturally a feeling of indignation and dismay."

No doubt this was an extreme case, but, nevertheless, it is plain that,
what with the great influx of a low class of navvies during the height
of our public works, and the vicious and degenerate people, of whom so
many were introduced at this time, the average of our population in
point of quality was considerably deteriorated. My experience as Medical
Officer of our largest asylum for so many years has convinced me that
the ultimate cost of this degraded class of people to this country is
enormous. For instance, here is an account of two families and their
asylum history:--

  |        |                               | Cost per      |             |
  |        |                               | Head. Rate,   |             |
  |Number. |     Name.                     | £1 per Week   | Total Cost. |
  |        |                               |     £   s.  d.|    £  s.  d.|
  |        | _Family of B._                |               |             |
  |I       | A.B. (brothers)               |    80   2   0 |             |
  |II      | C.B.                          |   274   4   0 |             |
  |III     | D.B.                          |   230   2   0 |             |
  |IV      | E.B.                          |     8   2   0 |             |
  |V       | F.B.                          |     8   2   0 |             |
  |        |                               |---------------+   600 12  0 |
  |        | _Family of C._                |               |             |
  |I       | A.C., wife                    |   472   2   0 |             |
  |II      | B.C., husband of A.C.         |   418   0   0 |             |
  |III     | D.C., daughter of A.C.        |   834   2   0 |             |
  |        |   and B.C.                    |               |             |
  |IV      | E.C.,      "                  | 1,318   2   0 |             |
  |V       | F.C., illegitimate daughter   |   169   8   0 |             |
  |        |   of E.C.                     |               |             |
  |VI      | G.C., husband of F.C., but no |     5   2   0 |             |
  |        |   blood relation              |               |             |
  |        |                               |---------------+ 3,216 16  0 |
  |        |                               |               |-------------|
  |        |                               |               |£3,817  8  0 |

Such people and their offspring are at this moment a fruitful source of
those idle and useless persons who bring discredit on the cause of that
portion of our people who cannot find employment. They fill our gaols,
our hospitals, and our asylums, and, like a swarm of low parasitical
organisms, they have, to an extent that is almost incredible, absorbed
the outdoor relief that was meant for the self-supporting and struggling
poor. I am sure that by far the largest proportion of the aid that has
been so abundantly distributed by the various charitable agencies,
especially in our large towns, has been spent in supporting a great many
idle and vicious persons whose example has had the most pernicious
effect in pauperizing the people. It should never be forgotten that the
evil caused by the introduction of this class is never finished. The
impaired health, low morality, and insanity descend to the offspring,
and are a continual drain upon the community.


HYGIENE, 1924.

The fundamental necessities of healthy growth are simple, and it is
doubtful if there is any country in the world to-day where they are more
universally procurable. Fresh air, sunlight, food of the right type and
amount, adequate sleep and rest, wholesome exercise, are available for
all but that small section of the people already mentioned. Sir
Frederick Mott, in an address recently published in the _British Medical
Journal_, quotes Voltaire: "Regime in diet is better than medicine. Eat
moderately what you know by experience you can digest, for that which
you can digest only is good for the body. What is the medicine that
makes you digest? Exercise. What will repair your energy? Sleep."

To this text he adds the benefits of sunlight and pure air.

Reports from School Medical Officers continue to record that tea, white
bread, and meat play the chief part in the dietary of many homes. Fresh
fruit and vegetables, even in rural areas, are not eaten sufficiently.

Frequent eating between meals takes away appetite and retards digestion.
Many children bring to school substantial "play-lunches" to be consumed
at the mid-morning interval. Others consume large quantities of sweets.
Healthy hunger they rarely know. A noteworthy fact is that in New
Zealand the consumption of sugar per head per annum is 117 lb., as
against rather more than half that quantity in Britain and much less in
other countries. Apart from its directly deleterious influence on the
teeth, the alteration of food values in the dietary necessitated by the
inclusion of so much sugar results in digestive troubles and disturbed
nutrition. In this country, with its many sources of supply, eggs, milk,
cheese, butter, fresh fruit, and vegetables should be available in
sufficient abundance and at low-enough prices to displace to a greater
extent the meat that is such a prominent article of diet in many

The value of rest, both physical and mental, for children is not
adequately recognized. In the country many children work early and late
at farm-work, as milking, &c., and in the city children earn money as
newsboys, message-boys, &c. Where the family exchequer needs to be
augmented in this way excuse must be made, but in many comfortable homes
children do not rest sufficiently. Mr. Cyril Burt, psychologist for the
London City Council, was recently reported as deploring the tendency in
modern education to attach undue value to the dramatic and theatrical.
Children who possess talent are made to drag it prematurely into the
light of publicity. They are over-trained and over-stimulated. Nearly
all children are taught to regard frequent amusement as essential to
happiness. To leave them to develop their own resources and allow them
to find interest in simple and natural things would be to extend widely
their chance of future happiness.

It is the wrongly fed, insufficiently rested child that most readily
develops physical deformity. The fatigued nervous system is expressed in
general bodily slackness. There is deficient muscular and ligamentous
tone. The typical faulty posture is thus acquired, with drooping head,
flat chest, wing shoulders, prominent abdomen. Vitality is depressed and
the bodily mechanism out of gear. The grosser bony deformities so often
found in older lands associated with rickets are rarely seen in New
Zealand, but less evident manifestations of faulty diet and regime are
frequent. It is fortunate that in this country we cannot altogether
escape, however we seek our pleasures in stuffy rooms or dark,
ill-ventilated places of entertainment, those powerful and beneficial
agents for promoting healthy growth--sunlight and fresh air. For the
prevention of defect it is essential that the classroom should offer
hygienic conditions--_e.g._, good lighting and ventilation, suitable
furniture, &c. Another contributory factor in poor physical development
is the use of incorrect clothing and footwear. It is a common thing to
find from six to eight layers of tight garments constricting the chest
even in a child whose legs are scantily protected from cold. Shoes which
are too tight or too short, or which have heels so high as to prevent
correct body-balance, are very harmful. Clothing should offer adequate
protection, but should not prevent the most absolute freedom of


The Prisons Department has furnished the following return of
sexual offenders serving sentences in New Zealand prisons in 1924:
The total number of sexual offenders, 192; the total number of
sexual offenders born in New Zealand, 126; the total number of
sexual offenders born out of New Zealand, 66; the total number of
persons in the prisons serving sentences exceeding three months,
980; the total number of New-Zealand-born prisoners, 673;
proportion of sexual offenders--New-Zealand-born to total number
of New-Zealand-born criminals, 18.722; total number of prisoners
born outside New Zealand, 307; proportion of sexual offenders born
outside New Zealand to prisoners born outside New Zealand, 21.498.


  Carnal Knowledge and Attempted Carnal Knowledge.     30
  Indecent Assault.                                   106
  Indecent Act.                                         3
  Indecent Exposure.                                    9
  Incest and Attempted Incest.                         18
  Sodomy and Attempted Sodomy.                         23
  Rape and Attempted Rape.                             19
  Manslaughter.                                         1[A]
  TOTAL                                               209[B]

    [Footnote A: Victim an old lady, aged 71, who died as the
    result of a struggle, in which prisoner committed rape upon

    [Footnote B: Number includes 17 prisoners who appear under
    more than one of the above headings, therefore the actual
    number of individual offenders total 192.]

Number of sentenced prisoners (exceeding three months) in custody on the
31st August, 1924, was 980, therefore sexual offenders (192 individuals)
represent 19.592 per cent. of the sentenced prison population serving
periods exceeding three months.


  | Age of  |Age of | Age of  |    Age of    | Age of  |Age of |
  |Offender.|Victim.|Offender.|    Victim.   |Offender.|Victim.|
  |   28    |  13   |   43    |Several young |   34    |  14   |
  |   18    |   7   |         |   children   |   22    |  15   |
  |   18    |   7   |   52    |     14       |   30    |   9   |
  |   34    | 15-5/6|   23    |     14       |   35    |  15   |
  |   72    | 13-1/2|   25    |      9       |   27    |  12   |
  |   21    |   8   |   44    |      6       |   28    |   9   |
  |   29    |15-7/10|   37    |     15       |   37    |  14   |
  |   29    |  13   |   29    |     15       |   35    |   3   |
  |   40    | 14-1/2|   44    |     13       |   17    |  12   |
  |   27    |   8   |   31    |     15       |   43    |  15   |
  |   23    |  15   |         |              |         |       |



  |Number of   |Age of    |                            |
  |Successive  |Offender  |                            |
  |Convictions.|when      |           Offence.         |
  |            |offence   |                            |
  |            |committed.|                            |
  |A. 1        |    19    |Indecent assault on a male  |
  |   2        |    23    |Idle and disorderly         |
  |   3        |    26    |Indecent assault on a male  |
  |            |          |                            |
  |            |          |                            |
  |   4        |    37    |Indecent assault on males   |
  |            |          |  (three charges)           |
  |      Sentence.          | Sentenced|Released|Period at Large     |
  |                         |  (Date). | (Date).| before arrest      |
  |                         |          |        |on Further Charge.  |
  |4 years' hard labour     | 21/12/06 |21/12/09|  2-1/2 months.     |
  |12 months' hard labour   |  4/ 3/10 |29/12/10|  2 years 2 months. |
  |10 years' hard labour    | 17/ 3/13 |16/12/21|  2-1/2 years.      |
  |and 10 years' reformative|          |        |                    |
  |detention                |          |        |                    |
  |10 years' hard labour    | 25/ 6/24 |Still in|                    |
  |                         |          | prison.|                    |

NOTE.--Offender was born at Auckland and is the third eldest of
a family of eight. He was evidently dull at school, as he passed the
Third Standard only at the age of 13. At the age of 16 he was charged
with the offence of vagrancy, convicted and discharged. The victims in
all his offences were children varying in age from 6 to 13 years.


  |Number of   |Age of      |                            |
  |Successive  |Offender    |        Offence.            |
  |Convictions.|When Offence|                            |
  |            |committed.  |                            |
  |   B. 1     |     23     |Theft (four charges)        |
  |      2     |     24     |Rogue and vagabond; vagrancy|
  |      3     |     37     |Rape                        |
  |                     |          |          |                   |
  |     Sentence.       |Sentenced | Released |Period at Large    |
  |                     | (Date).  |  (Date). |before Arrest      |
  |                     |          |          |on Further Charge. |
  |1 month              | 29/10/00 | 28/10/00 | 1 year.           |
  |3 months' hard labour|  5/11/01 |  4/ 2/02 | 1 year 9 months.  |
  |Hard labour for life |  1/ 2/04 |  3/12/23 |                   |

NOTE.--Offender is a native of New Zealand. The most serious of
his offences (No. 3) was committed on a girl 8½ years of age. After
serving six years of his term of life imprisonment the prisoner showed
signs of being mentally unsound, and in March, 1910, he was transferred
to a mental hospital. He remained a patient in a mental hospital until
March, 1915, when he escaped. It was afterwards ascertained that he was
aware of the fact that he was about to be returned to prison as being no
longer an insane person--hence his escape. After his escape he married,
and subsequently served two years with the Expeditionary Force. He was
returned to New Zealand as medically unfit and was arrested at Auckland
and returned to prison in August, 1917. Two members of his family--a
sister and a brother--have been convicted of theft and "conducting a
house of ill fame."

This man was released on probation, on the certificate of an expert in
mental diseases, after serving the full life term of twenty years, but
soon after release gave clear indications of return to former criminal
perversions, and his rearrest was ordered.


  |Number of   |Age of      |                  |                         |
  |Successive  |Offender    |     Offence.     |  Sentence.              |
  |Convictions.|When Offence|                  |                         |
  |            |committed.  |                  |                         |
  |   C. 1     |    25      |Obscene exposure  |3 months' hard labour    |
  |      2     |    26      |      "           |6 months' hard labour    |
  |      3     |    26      |      "           |12 months' hard labour   |
  |      4     |    27      |Wilful damage     |14 days' hard labour     |
  |      5     |    27      |Obscene exposure  |12 months' hard labour   |
  |      6     |    30      |Assault           |2 months' hard labour    |
  |      7     |    31      |Obscene exposure  |3 months' hard labour    |
  |      8     |    31      |Rogue and vagabond|1 month's hard labour    |
  |      9     |    31      |      "           |12 months' hard labour   |
  |     10     |    32      |Obscene language  |2 months' hard labour    |
  |     11     |    33      |Indecent assault  |6 years' hard labour and |
  |            |            |  on a female     |  4 years' reformative   |
  |            |            |                  |  detention              |
  |     12     |    40      |Indecent assault  |7 years' hard labour     |
  |            |            |  on a male       |                         |
  |Sentenced |Released |Period at Large    |
  | (Date).  | (Date). |before Arrest      |
  |          |         |on Further Charge. |
  | 19/ 6/06 | 18/9/06 | 8 months.         |
  | 15/ 5/07 |22/10/07 | 1 day.            |
  | 23/10/07 | 15/8/08 | 3 months.         |
  |} 6/11/08 | 28/8/09 | 10 months.        |
  |}         |         |                   |
  | 13/ 6/10 |  5/9/10 | 4 months.         |
  |  6/ 1/11 |  5/4/11 | 6 days.           |
  | 11/ 4/11 | 10/5/11 | 1 day.            |
  | 11/ 5/11 |  2/3/12 | 1 month.          |
  |  2/ 4/12 |  1/6/12 | 8 months.         |
  |  5/ 2/13 | 23/9/19 | 2 years 1 month.  |
  |          |         |                   |
  |          |         |                   |
  | 31/10/21 |Still in |                   |
  |          |prison.  |                   |

NOTE.--C. is a single man, aged 40 years, and a native of New
Zealand. He is a cabinetmaker by trade and said to be an excellent
tradesman. He appears to have been in trouble since he was 25 years of
age, and has constantly been in prison, the majority of his offences
being of a sexual nature. He is described as a highly dangerous criminal
and a menace to society.


  |Number of   |Age of      |                 |                         |
  |Successive  |Offender    |     Offence.    |  Sentence.              |
  |Convictions.|When Offence|                 |                         |
  |            |committed.  |                 |                         |
  |  D. 1      |     15     |Theft            |6 months' probation      |
  |     2      |     26     |Carnal Knowledge |20 years' hard labour    |
  |     3      |     38     | (1.) Indecent   |(1.) 2 years' reformative|
  |            |            | assault on a    |  detention; declared    |
  |            |            | male            |  habitual criminal      |
  |            |            | (2.) Indecent   |(2.) 3 years' reformative|
  |            |            |  assault on a   | detention               |
  |            |            |  female         |                         |

  |Sentenced |Released |Period at Large    |
  | (Date).  | (Date). |before Arrest      |
  |          |         |on Further Charge. |
  | 30/7/01  |  ----   |                   |
  |  1/2/12  | 20/2/22 | 2 years 6 months. |
  |          |         |                   |
  | 28/7/24  |Still in |                   |
  |          | prison  |                   |

NOTE.--D. is a native of New Zealand, aged 38 years and
married. His second offence, a very serious one, was committed on a
female child of 9 years, the child being subjected to great violence and
raped. He was released from prison on license on 20th February, 1922,
when he married a respectable woman who knew nothing of his past
history. She states that he was a good husband. There is one child of
the marriage, a female of 11 months. He is addicted to drink, and is
said to have been under the influence of liquor when he committed his
last offence. He is not a fit subject to be at liberty, as it was the
merest accident that his last offence did not become as serious as that
he committed in 1912. Offender has two brothers, both criminals.


  |Number of   |Age of      |                                |
  |Successive  |Offender    |      Offence.                  |
  |Convictions.|when Offence|                                |
  |            |committed.  |                                |
  |   E. 1     |    14      |Breaking, entering, and theft   |
  |      2     |    15      |Absconding                      |
  |      3     |    15      |Breaking, entering, and theft   |
  |      4     |    19      |Drunk                           |
  |      5     |    19      |    "                           |
  |      6     |    20      |Sodomy                          |
  |      7     |    38      |(1.) Indecent assault on a male |
  |            |            |(2.) Common assault             |
  |                          |          |          |                  |
  |   Sentence.              |Sentenced |Released  |Period at Large   |
  |                          | (Date).  | (Date).  |before Arrest     |
  |                          |          |          |on Further Charge.|
  |Committed to Burnham      | 26/11/00 |  ----    |                  |
  |Returned to Burnham       | 24/ 2/01 |  ----    |                  |
  |12 months' hard labour    | 18/ 4/01 | 15/ 2/02 | 2 years 3 months.|
  |Fined 5s. and costs       | 23/ 5/04 |  ----    |                  |
  |Fined 5s. and costs       |  3/11/04 |  3/11/04 | 3 months.        |
  |Life                      | 15/ 2/05 | 21/ 6/21 | 2 years 4 months.|
  |(1.) 10 years' hard labour| 30/10/23 | Still in |                  |
  |(2.) 1 year's hard labour |     "    |   prison.|                  |

NOTE.--E. is a native of New Zealand, aged 39 years and
married, with one child. He is reported to suffer from injuries to the
head caused by a fall from a tree when eleven years of age, and to be
subject to uncontrollable fits of temper and loss of mental balance
since that age. Offender was educated in Auckland, and passed the Third
Standard only at the age of 13. He was committed to Burnham at the age
of 10 for two years, from which institution he absconded on several
occasions. According to his own statement, during his term at Burnham
the practice of sodomy was fairly common, and the boys often talked
about it, but in his opinion did not regard it as a serious offence. He
states they were flogged for it, but did not think much of that either,
because they were flogged for many other things which he knew were not
serious. He says he also met boys from another industrial school who
were sent to Burnham, who also did and talked about the same practice.
Altogether, therefore, he knew he was doing wrong, but he will not admit
that he regarded it in any way as a serious offence. In 1903 he went to
sea, and states that his chief companion was a member of the Salvation
Army, also a seaman. He affirms that during all the time he was at sea
he never heard the offence referred to. The men talked of women but
never of sodomy. From 1903 to 1905 he apparently lived a reasonably good
life. In 1905 he was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to life
imprisonment. He was released on license on the 20th June, 1921, and
followed the occupation of gardener around Auckland. He married in June,
1923, and is at present serving a long sentence. Offender alleges having
made arrangements to be sterilized, but states doctor refused to perform
operation. Drink appears to have had some effect upon his life.


  |Number of   |Age of      |                              |
  |Successive  |Offender    |      Offence.                |
  |Convictions.|when Offence|                              |
  |            |committed.  |                              |
  |  F. 1      |    12      | Theft                        |
  |            |            |                              |
  |     2      |    12      |   "                          |
  |     3      |    20      |   "                          |
  |     4      |    20      |   "                          |
  |            |            |                              |
  |     5      |    21      |Breaking, entering, and theft |
  |     6      |    22      |Vagrancy                      |
  |     7      |    24      |Indecent assault              |
  |     8      |    25      |Escaping from custody         |
  |            |            |                              |
  |     9      |    28      |Indecent assault              |
  |    10      |    37      |    "                         |
  |    11      |    43      |Indecent assault on a female  |
  |            |            |  (two charges)               |
  |            |            |                              |
  |            |            |                              |
  |                         |          |          |                   |
  |   Sentence.             |Sentenced | Released |Period at Large    |
  |                         | (Date).  |   (Date).|before Arrest      |
  |                         |          |          |on Further Charge. |
  |To come up when called   |  8/10/92 |  ----    |                   |
  |      upon               |          |          |                   |
  |Sent to Burnham          |  5/12/92 |  ----    |                   |
  |7 days' hard labour      | 28/ 4/00 |  ----    |                   |
  |To come up when called   | 24/10/00 |  ----    |                   |
  |       upon              |          |          |                   |
  |12 months' hard labour   | 26/ 2/01 | 21/12/01 | 3 months.         |
  |3 months' hard labour    | 13/ 3/02 | 21/ 6/02 | 1 year 8 months.  |
  | 5 years' hard labour    | 17/ 2/04 | 23/12/07 | 9 months.         |
  | 4 months' hard labour,  | 17/ 5/05 |      "   |                   |
  |   cumulative with above |          |          |                   |
  |7 years' hard labour     |  8/ 9/08 |  8/12/13 | 3 years 5 months. |
  |7 years' hard labour     | 14/ 5/17 | 20/11/22 | 6 months.         |
  |3 years' hard labour on  |  8/ 5/23 | Still in |                   |
  | each charge, cumulative,|          |   prison.|                   |
  | and declared            |          |          |                   |
  | habitual criminal       |          |          |                   |

NOTE.--F. is a native of New Zealand, born in Napier, February,
1880, and is a labourer by occupation. He was convicted of theft at
Napier when a boy and sent to the Burnham Industrial School, from which
place he escaped on several occasions. He was discharged from the school
on the 30th April, 1898, and since then has continued his criminal
career, his further offences being of a sexual nature. He is given to
tampering with little girls, and has on four occasions committed
indecent assault of a more or less serious nature. He is undoubtedly a
menace to society and not fit to be at large. Offender is a temperate
man, and when out of gaol appears to have wandered about the country
doing an odd day's work here and there. His parents are dead.

_Approximate Cost of Paper._--Preparation, not given; printing (575
copies), £42

       *       *       *       *       *

By Authority: W. A. G. SKINNER, Government Printer,

_Price 1s._

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