'Making happy, healthy, helpful citizens' : the New Zealand scouting and guiding movements as promulgators of active citizenship, c.1908-1980 : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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Massey University
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New Zealand was one of the first countries to adopt Scouting in 1908, and developed a separate movement for girls, Girl Peace Scouts, the same year. This thesis examines the organisational history and culture of the New Zealand Scouting and Guiding movements between 1908 and 1980, and their roles in developing ‘happy, healthy and helpful’ young New Zealanders as active citizens. As voluntary organisations the movements operated in, and strongly engaged with, wider New Zealand society, interacting with state and civil agencies, and with communities. As members, Scouts and Guides were encouraged to consider themselves as young citizens – and to actively contribute to communities at local, national and international levels. The thesis initially canvasses the movements’ genesis in Britain and early development in New Zealand, and the shift from an imperial to an international focus; and examines an emergent nationalist identity in early New Zealand Scouting and Guiding that was ‘re-colonised’ into the British model in the 1920s. Moving into the postwar decades, thematic chapters on organisational history, culture, outreach and camping examine ways in which the New Zealand movements grew and changed in that period, and ways in which they worked with children and adolescents. Both movements extended membership as widely as possible, drawing in previously marginalised youth. Community service, whether informal good turns or national campaigns, reinforced organisational rhetoric about character development through the Promise and the Law. Life cycles of the movements and the unbroken thread of active youth citizenship run in parallel through this study. Baden-Powell’s exhortation that it was not enough to ‘be good’, one must ‘do good’, reflected Victorian ideals of muscular Christianity, but remained central to the movements’ community service focus throughout the period. To Baden-Powell, active citizenship was not just a theoretical concept, or something to be attained only in adulthood, but to be developed in children and adolescents through the Scouting and Guiding programmes. His exhortation to ‘bait the hook with what the boy likes’ recognized that children learn best when they are enjoying themselves, and that making Scouting or Guiding fun was the best way to impart the active citizenship message. It is a principle that has endured throughout other internal and external changes.
Scouts New Zealand, New Zealand scouting and guiding movements, Girl guides, Boy scouts, Active citizenship, Scouts Association of New Zealand, Scouting history, New Zealand