Fifth Meeting. 16th September, 1871.
W. T. L. Travers, F.L.S., President, in the chair.
New member.—H. Blundell (Crown Lands Office).
1. “Notes upon the Historical Value of the ‘Traditions of the New Zealanders,’ as collected by Sir G. Grey, K.C.B., late Governor-in-Chief of New Zealand,” by W. T. L. Travers, F.L.S. (See Transactions, p. 51.)
Mr. J. T. Thomson said that the paper that he had read on the same subject some eight months ago before the Otago Institute (see Transactions, p. 23) could not have been known to Mr. Travers, as it was not yet published. He said that he had been much struck with the resemblance between the songs of the Maoris and those of the Oranglauts, a tribe being in the Indian Archipelago, but spread far and wide; their languages also are much akin to one another, but that of the Oranglauts is more Malayan than that of the Maoris.
Captain Hutton said that, of the birds mentioned by Mr. Travers as supposed to have been brought here by the Maoris, the green parakeet (Platycercus novœ zelandiœ) had a wide range, though not found actually in the islands whence the Maoris are supposed to have come. A very similar species, however, P. pacificus, is found in those islands, and it is probable that our bird would have been at once recognised by the Maoris as similar to one in the islands they had left, and thus, perhaps, it came to be supposed that they had brought it.
Dr. Hector drew attention to the fact that the Maoris have distinct names for all natural objects, and that the same names are used throughout all parts of the Islands. He knew of no savage race that equalled them in this respect, and thought this practice was adverse to the idea taught by their traditions, viz., that the Maoris, as we now find them, had spread slowly by natural increase from a few canoe loads of original settlers. It is far more probable that, after
the whole country was populated, one tribe got stronger than the others, and spread over the Islands, conquering the rest and carrying with them their own names and traditions, which may have nothing to do with their first coming, but refer only to their early fights among themselves.
Mr. Travers said that the chief point of his paper was to show that the usually supposed date of the Maori landing, about 350 years ago, was much too recent, as it was impossible that so much could have been done in so short a time.
2. “Notes on the Lizards of New Zealand, with Descriptions of Two New Species,” by Captain F. W. Hutton, F.G.S. (See Transactions, p. 167).
Dr. Hector said that the lizard from White Island, described by Captain Hutton, was the only one ever obtained there. He believed that the specimen had been brought to the Colonial Museum by the officers of H.M.S. ‘Brisk,’ in 1868.
3. “Observations on the New Zealand Bats,” by F. J. Knox, L.R.C.S.E. (See Transactions, p. 186.)