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Volume 1, 1868


In issuing the first volume of the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, the Editor has to acknowledge the many imperfections of the work, both in the typography, and in the general arrangement, inseparable from a first effort to publish in a combined form, the Reports of Societies-only recently organized.

It will be observed that the size of the volume has been very considerably increased by the insertion of matter which does not properly belong to the Proceedings of the current year, such as communications of earlier date to the various Societies, and by the publication of eight Essays, which were written originally in connection with the New Zealand Exhibition, 1865. In future, therefore, the volume will be less bulky and expensive, and it is hoped free from the errors which, unavoidably, have crept into the present issue, from various causes.

The volume is divided into three parts; the first part consisting of the Proceedings of the various Societies, which are now affiliated under the New Zealand Institute Act, derived principally from the Newspaper Reports of the Meetings corrected and forwarded by the Secretaries, with abstracts of the papers not printed in the Transactions.

In most instances the authors, at the request of the Board, furnished the abstracts of their several Papers when required; but in some cases it was found impossible to communicate with the authors in time for publication, in which case the Editor, on his own responsibility, made the necessary abstracts.

The second part of the work consists of the Transactions of the Institute, containing the Papers read at the various Meetings, which were considered worthy of being printed in extenso. In making this selection, the Governors have dealt liberally with the various authors, in order to encourage future efforts.

Many of the Papers are of a most important character, and all are valuable contributions to scientific literature, particularly those bearing on the Natural History and Resources of the Colony.

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The Governors regret that two very learned and important Papers, both by Captain Hutton, viz., “On Sinking Funds,” and “Flight of Birds,” could not be printed, owing to the impossibility of procuring, in Wellington, the type for the algebraic formulæ which they contain.

It is necessary also to explain, that owing to the difficulties of communicating in time, only those authors who resided in the neighbourhood of Wellington could be furnished with proofs for revision; but every opportunity was afforded to make corrections consistent with the due progress of the work through the press.

In future it is intended to have extra copies of the Papers printed off for the various authors, as is customary in other Scientific Societies; provision for the purpose having been inadvertently omitted from the printer's contract this year.

In the third part will be found the Essays, already alluded to, as having been written for the New Zealand Exhibition, 1865. Five of these, viz., “On Ornithology,” by Mr. Buller; “Geology,” by Mr. Crawford; “Trees and Plants,” by Mr. Ludlam; “The Maori Races,” by Mr. Shortland; and on “Botany,” by Mr. Colenso, appeared in print shortly after that period, and were circulated to a certain extent among scientific persons; the remainder of the Edition was purchased by the Government from the Exhibition Commissioners, and has been placed at the disposal of the Board of Governors for incorporation with this volume. The remaining Essays now appear in print for the first time, and constitute a very important addition to the work. That by Mr. Colenso, “On the Maori Races of New Zealand,” being especially worthy of attention, under the present circumstances of the Colony.

A few Statistical Tables, which are not generally available, have been added, giving information on subjects referred to in the body of the work.

The Editor has also been desired to give publicity to the following list of subjects on which special information is desirable, which has been circulated among the Members of the Auckland Institute, in the hope that it may be found useful, as suggesting future communications, to the various Societies:


History, Mythology, Ethnology, etc., of the Maori race.


Fisheries,—best localities, and seasons for fishing.


Extraordinary Meteorological Phenomena.


Hot Springs, landslips, wearing away of coast lines and river-banks, and other natural phenomena.

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Formation and progress of Sand dunes.


Formation of Sandbanks in rivers, and Bars to harbours.


Occurrence of Rare Plants, Animals, and Minerals.


Habits of Animals, especially of those destructive to trees and cultivated plants.


Mineral and Metalliferous Deposits.


Localities for Fossils.


Naturalization and Diffusion of introduced plants and animals.


Resources of the Colony in cements, concretes, plasters, building stones, etc., etc.


Resources of the Colony in materials used in the manufacture of Glass and Pottery.


Substances found in the Colony available for Dyeing or Tanning.


Machines and Processes for the extraction and treatment of Ores, and for the preparation of Flax.


Duration of Native Timber under various circumstances.


Plans and Descriptions of Mines.


Cause of Failure of Introduced Grasses on some of our soils.


Effect as Manure of various substances found in the Colony.


Plants suitable for Live Fences in this country.


Medicinal Plants.


Trees available for Timber.




Proposed Lines of Railway.


Harbour Improvements.


Experiments in the Improved Breeding of Stock.


Experiments in this Colony on the Culture of the Vine, the Hop, Sugar-beet, Rice, Barley, European Flax, New Zealand Flax, etc.


Adulteration of Food.


Sanitary Condition of our cities, and means of improving them.


Effects of our climate on Diseases.


Machines and Processes for the Washing of Sheep, and on Boiling-down Establishments.

In conclusion, the Editor begs to acknowledge the great assistance he has received in the publication of this work, from the Governors, and especially from Mr. Travers, who kindly superintended the revision of a large proportion of it.

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The acknowledgments of the Board are also due to the Secretary, Mr. R. L. Holmes, for the efficient and painstaking manner in which he has performed the duty of passing the volume through the press; and to Mr. John Buchanan, for his valuable assistance in the preparation of the Illustrations.

James Hector.

Wellington, 5th May, 1869.