Story: Childhood

Caning scandal at Rongotai College, 1981

Caning scandal at Rongotai College, 1981

In 1981 the principal of Wellington boys' school Rongotai College videotaped pupils being caned so that, he said, he could work out why the cane often hit the wrong body parts – blows were supposed to land only on the buttocks. A concerned parent brought the matter before the school board and it received a lot of local newspaper coverage. Most students and parents supported the principal's actions, and though he was censured by the board for videotaping canings, no formal proceedings ensued.

The caption on this cartoon reads: 'There goes Smithers – doesn't want us to forget that he was one of the stars of the video caning production'.

Cartoon courtesy of Debby Edwards

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: B-135-764
Cartoon by Nevile Lodge

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Childhood - Child discipline and justice', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 May 2022)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 12 Dec 2018