Farewell to Evan Parry, Esq.
March 27th, 1919. Wellington. Kelburn Kiosk
(by Sidney Jenkinson).
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In expressing, on behalf of the Technological Section, our regrets that Mr. Parry has been induced to forsake us, I have two or three considerations forced upon me.
First, I would maintain, that while our guest took a Platonic interest in all the activities of the Society — he entered mind free and heart whole into the work of our Section alone. The benefit we derived therefrom is not alone displayed in his papers published in our Transactions — his sympathy and enthusiasm carried us over many an obstacle, to the Secretary he was even a tower of strength and refuge, bristling with ideas for the next session and teeming with suggestions for personally bringing our reluctant writers of papers up to the scratch.
Looking back I see one dominant personality, and looking forward I see a vacancy hard indeed to fill. One aspect of his assistance lay in the fact of his being a messenger from the outer wider world of Engineering and his personal knowledge of those masters of the profession whose name and fame are our common heritage was an inspiring link with the forces elsewhere, while the congratulations we give ourselves, based on the assurances we have that he found our Section and Society not wholly uninteresting and unworthy after the larger ones of London, are in themselves a factor that will make for the advancement of both.
Secondly, I would point out that the profession of Engineering as a whole is going to suffer from his removal. I am here on delicate ground, since it is unthinkable that any remark savouring of appreciation, or worse still, of compliment, could be made concerning a leader of the profession by a private in the ranks, even if that private does march in another army than that at whose head Mr. Parry rides so conspicuously. Nevertheless I would venture to point out that the added respect and dignity that accrues to our ranks through his far-flung auguries and successful work does not belong to the Electrical Branch alone but that we are all basking in the reflected glory. Let us hope that the lesson to be learnt from the fact that the outside world appraises his worth to such a degree that the bonds we thought cemented so surely are now being burst asunder and will not be altogether lost on New Zealand.
Thirdly, I would offer a few words of cheer to us all, who lament Mr. Parry’s departure. Six years ago, a Welshman, with an English veneer, was imported to set the newly started Electrical Department on its feet; to-day a New Zealander of Welsh extraction is being farewelled on his departure for a foreign country, where he will at least in his spare time, (and no one had so little spare time or did so much with it as Mr. Parry) act as an ambassador for New Zealand. An ambassador, Ladies and Gentlemen, has been defined as a person who lies abroad for the good of his country and when we read in the morning paper that in an interview in London or New York, Mr. Evan Parry expatiated eloquently on the marvels of New Zealand, on its omnipresent scenery, its serene and tranquil climate, its genial and happy inhabitants, free alike from the curse of drink and the blight of teetotalism, on its unequalled possibilities for cheap hydro-electric development, on its frequent, swift, and luxurious railway services, which only need electric traction to make them perfect and a handsome source of revenue to the Consolidated Fund, then we will turn to one another happily and say “Ah!, There is everybody’s old friend, Parry, exercising his ambassadorial functions once more in our behalf.”
So, indeed, the outlook is not all dark as you thought.
I have one more thing to say — Mr. Parry had two special objects of regard in the Technical field in New Zealand — one the establishment of a Technical Library here in Wellington and one the inauguration of the Technical Journal. The first is not yet with us, but the New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology does live, move and have it’s being in our midst. On behalf of the Honorary Editors of this periodical, I have to tender our special appreciation of his work to our departing colleague, and to sincerely thank him for his expressed determination not to let his absence entirely sever him from the work but to continue contributing as frequently as his duties will permit, to its pages.
To Mrs. Parry, the Technological Section offers its assurance that it forgives her for being the unconscious cause of her husband’s departure (because, indeed, we know that he would never leave us if he had only himself to think for), and we can’t say any thing more generous than that.
To both we offer our grateful thanks for their kind offices in the past and our sincere wishes for their future welfare and happiness in the Antipodes, where we hope they will pick up old cherished landmarks and re-visit old friends, all unchanged by the dreadful tempest of War that has raged during their absence. Thank goodness they will not be ashamed of the part their adopted country played therein!