Story: Manners and social behaviour

A school assembly, 1940s

A school assembly, 1940s

This photograph of a school assembly at the Avondale Technical High School in the late 1940s shows students standing to attention with their hands behind their backs, while the teaching staff stand above them on the stage. It conveys powerfully the authoritarianism that American commentator David Ausubel observed in New Zealand society a decade later. He believed that this undermined true graciousness, and that New Zealanders were only polite because they were forced to bow to authority.

Using this item

Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: AAQT 6539/A2363

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Manners and social behaviour - Changing manners', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/39841/a-school-assembly-1940s (accessed 20 February 2020)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 5 Sep 2013