Otago University Debating Society
The Otago University Debating Society (OUDS) was established in June 1878 and is the oldest society of the University of Otago, the first university to be founded in New Zealand. Echoing trends in Australia and the United States (the University of Sydney Union was founded in 1874 and Harvard's debating union in 1880), in the latter decades of the nineteenth century debating was seen as an important talent for New Zealand's thought leaders, and was one of the three sports in the New Zealand University Games from 1902.
Prominent members of OUDS during its early years included Alfred Richard Barclay (one of its first vice-presidents), William Downie Stewart, Jr. (1898–1900), Harry Bedford (1900–1901) who as a 25-year-old policial novice entered Parliament in 1902 with the highest individual vote that had ever been recorded in New Zealand, John Callan (who won the Joynt Challenge Scroll in 1905) and Oswald Chettle Mazengarb (c.1910).
OUDS is one of the five societies in the New Zealand Universities Debating Council, through which members compete in domestic, national and international tournaments. In conjunction with members from the Otago University Rugby Club, OUDS members formed the Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) in 1890 because it felt that university students needed strong representation. OUSA has become a strong advocate for student rights.
Bluff Cup 
The Bluff Cup is the 'week to week' ladder tournament held between teams of debaters at OUDS each week aiming to strengthen speakers. Each team name is based on a South Island locality. The Bluff Cup itself was donated in 1988 by the team that won the OUDS championship in that year, Team Bluff.
University Games 
University Games (also known as "Easters") is the first national debating tournament of the year, competing for the Officer's Cup. OUDS has been a regular competitor at the tournament (usually sending the maximum of five teams) ever since the first event in 1902. The tournament is held in the first mid-semester break. Teams of two speakers are given 5 minutes preparation time. University Games 2010 was held in Invercargil.
Claytons is an amateur tournament for debaters who have not been to more than two national tournaments. It is held annually between OUDS and the University of Canterbury Debating Society and at times such as in 2011 included teams from Waikato University. Traditionally Otago and Canterbury alternate as hosts of the event with adjudicators from other Universities debating societies such as Victoria travelling to adjudicate debates at Clayton's for the purpose of training and accrediting adjudicators.
Teams of three speakers are given 30 minutes preparation time before each debate. A round of debates is held in a pool format and teams with the best records in terms of wins and speaking points from those debates advance to the semi-finals and finals of the tournament. The 2006 competition, hosted by OUDS was in Waimate, South Canterbury and was won by a team from Canterbury. The 2007 tournament, held in Christchurch, was won by Otago. In more recent history Otago won the 2011 and 2012 tournaments also held in Waimate. Both of these were Otago-Otago finals.
As a tournament Clayton's is noted for its apparently unique social nature compared to other debating tournaments held in New Zealand. At Waimate debaters from the different societies socialise in the same common area and sleep in the same living quarters over the entire period of the tournament. At other tournaments teams from different societies are often housed in different hotel rooms or otherwise and do not have a focal social commons. Claytons is also unique in the nature of its accommodation – a boy scout camp. Debates may be held in sleeping rooms, the main room, or outside.
Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships 
The Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships more commonly known as "Australs" is a week long competition held in the break between university semesters. Debates are held over a range of international topics. Australs follows a traditional debating format: 3 team members with 8 preliminary rounds. Topics are impromptu with half an hour of preparation time allowed.
The 2010 Australs was hosted by the University of Auckland Debating Society. OUDS sent 7 teams and 6 adjudicators. William Chisholm was a grand final adjudicator. In 2011 Australs was held in South Korea. Otago sent two teams and three adjudicators. The Otago One team (Purdon, Bunn, Hunt) broke in 15th place to the double-octo finals. In 2012 Otago sent five teams and four adjudicators to Australs hosted by Victoria University of Wellington.
Joynt Scroll 
Joynt Scroll (otherwise known as New Zealand University Prepared Debating Championships or "Winters") is a 3 team member fully prepared debating competition. Joynt Scroll is New Zealand's oldest and most respected national university debating tournament, and is New Zealand's second oldest sporting competition. In 2012 Otago One (Gavey, Bunn, Hunt) finished as runners up.
Victoria University BP tournament 
The Victoria University BP (British Parliamentary) tournament is held at the end of the academic year after exams. It is a relatively new tournament and debates are run in British Parliamentary style (as is done at the World Universities Debating Championship). It was established in 2004 by the Victoria University Debating Society.
World Universities Debating Championship 
OUDS Alumni 
- Michael Laws writer, broadcaster and politician
- Chris Carter, politician and gay equality campaigner
- David Pine singer and diplomat
- David Cunliffe politician
- Holly Walker politician
- Thomas Jeffery Parker Zoologist
Rhodes Scholars 
OUDS alumni include a number of Otago University's Rhodes Scholars who have also held executive positions in the society. Recent OUDS recipients of the award include:
- Sally McKechnie, Rhodes Scholar 2000
- Chris Curran, Rhodes Scholar 2001 
- Rachell Carell, Rhodes Scholar 2002
- Holly Walker, Rhodes Scholar 2007
- Louis Chambers, Rhodes Scholar 2012, President of OUDS 2010/2011 
Media profile and public debates 
OUDS has a long coverage relationship with the Otago Daily Times going back at least as far as 1894. The ODT has recently covered public debates held by OUDS featuring high-profile speakers on controversial contemporary issues. These includes debates about mining and deep-sea oil drilling in New Zealand and alcohol age legislation.
OUDS has been featured regularly in the Otago University student magazine, Critic (magazine), since the magazines inception in 1925. From 2010–2011 Critic had a regular feature column called "Debatable" where two writers would argue the affirming or negative case on a moot.
- The Otago University Review: A History of the Otago University During its Minority. Otago University. 1893. p. 43. "Of all the institutions now existing in connection with our College the oldest is the Debating Society.... the centre of the University life, from which radiated the social intercourse of the students"
- William Parker Morrell (1969). The University of Otago, a Centennial History. Dunedin: University of Otago Press.
- Elworthy, Sam. Ritual song of defiance: a social history of students at the University of Otago (1990) (ISBN 978-0473008994) (The Otago University Debating Society proved to be one of the most energetic student organizations over the next forty years.")
- "Mr Bathgate and Mr Reynolds as ministers". Otago Daily Times (3352). 2 November 1872. p. 5.
- Bettina Kaiser (2008). "How to close a debate: consensus, conflict and esprit de corps" (PDF). Collegiate Debating Societies in New Zealand: The Role of Discourse in an Inter-Colonial Setting, 1878–1902 (PhD Thesis). University of Canterbury. pp. 100–143.
- "In the Public Eye". New Zealand Illustrated Magazine. 1 July 1901. p. 739.
- Stephanie Dale. "Stewart, William Downie". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- "A Promising Career". Hawera & Normanby Star XLII (7617). 1 December 1902. p. 2.
- Michael Gill. "Bedford, Harry Dodgshun". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 2011-01-20.
- P J Downey. "Callan, John Bartholomew". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- G P Barton. "Mazengarb, Oswald Chettle". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- "Who We Are". New Zealand Universities Debating Council. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- "Easters". University of Auckland Debating Society. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- "The First University Tournament". Evening Post. LXIII (64). 15 March 1902. p. 4.
- 2010 Uni Games, The Southland Times, 14 April 2010 ("The 2010 Uni Games, held in Invercargill from April 14 to 16"; also slide 18 shows Otago debate team member Kurt Purdon)
- Victoria beats Otago in debating contest, The Southland Times, 16 April 2010
- "Tournament Summary". Australasian Intervarsity Debating 2010. University of Auckland. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- "Victoria Wins Joynt Scroll Debating" University Sport wbsite.
- "Otago Law Students Impressive at World Universities Debating Societies Championship" - Otago Faculty of Law http://www.otago.ac.nz/law/news/otago040805.html
- "Otago debaters in world top four" - Otago Daily Times 5 Jan 2013 http://www.odt.co.nz/campus/university-otago/241473/otago-debaters-world-top-four
- Laws, Michael (1998). The Demon Profession. HarperCollins New Zealand. ISBN 1-86950-257-4.
- Michael Laws (2 August 2010). "Carter's Goff gaffe exposes Labour leadership vacuum". The Sunday Star-Times.
- "Green Party candidate profile: Holly Walker". Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- 'Two Otago Rhodes Scholars' - Otago Daily Times http://www.odt.co.nz/campus/university-otago/233981/two-otago-rhodes-scholars
- Rhodes Scholarship Trust Profile - http://www.rhodesscholarshiptrust.com/rhodes-scholars-elect-class-of-2013/louis-chambers