Professor emeritus led university’s code of ethics
hope, of course, to ‘live on’ in the memory of those
’ that I have loved.
The late Professor Emeritus Ivan Snook (pictured) was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to tertiary education.
He established and chaired the first Massey University human ethics committee, and led the development of the university’s code of ethics for human subject research. He started his career as a secondary school teacher, was a research fellow at the University of Illinois and became a lecturer at the University of Canterbury in 1968.
In 1981, he moved to Massey University as a Professor of Education, rising to department head then dean of education before retiring in 1993. In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate to which he said he was “very honoured to get the recognition. Nothing could be nicer than to be recognised for your scholarship by the community of scholars you belong to. I’m delighted to be part of Massey University.”
Professor Snook died in October 2018. His wife Josie gave the Manawatu¯ Guardian her late husband’s Reflections on a philosophical life written for the Philosophy of Education Society. We print excerpts from his autobiography.
”I was born into an Irish-Catholic working class family in Christchurch, New Zealand, and attended primary school at the convent in Addington, a working class suburb. All our social needs were met within the parish: there were Scouts and Cubs; a tennis club, a football club, a boxing club, card games (Wednesday night for “oldies”), a social club (Friday nights for secondary school students), a parish dance (Saturday nights for post school youth), and, from time to time, concerts (Sunday night). In this ghetto of Catholic beliefs and practices I somehow acquired a particular view of Christianity which, despite radical changes in outlook over the years, I have been totally unable to shake off. I believed then and believe now that the main message of Christianity is that one should shun wealth and possessions and live simply, putting others first. Sadly, this is not the Christianity the world knows today and few ever live up to it.
In the mid-60s the Vietnam War was ripping that country apart and he and Josie joined a Catholic peace group and took part in demonstrations against the war. He said it was not uncommon for someone to come and take head and shoulder photographs of each of them as they stood in silent protest. Professor Snook went on to say that the 80s was a “time when renegade Labour politicians set out to destroy that fine ideal of a country where its citizens were cared for, and succeeded in making New Zealand a much nastier place”. He continued that he was inclined to think that “in temperament I am more of an activist than a scholar. I believe that involvement in practical activities has enlivened my academic work while my academic work has informed the practical activities.”
And finally: “I retired in 1993, after a heart attack and bypass surgery. Since then I have had a full and rewarding retirement. Although I feel well, take my pills, do my exercise and watch my diet, I cannot expect these veins posing as arteries to last much longer. I hope, of course, to ‘live on’ in the memory of those that I have loved, in the genes which some of them carry and (for a little time perhaps) in my writings. It is enough.”