The President then addressed the meeting. He had to congratulate them on the successful completion and inauguration of their new Institute and Museum buildings; but at the same time he hoped that the members would not conclude that their labours were ended,—he might, in fact, say that they were only now commenced. They must remember that the building was encumbered with a debt amounting to half its cost, the interest on which would have to be provided. Increased accommodation would also imply increased expenditure; and looking at these facts, he was of opinion that their present revenue would have to be doubled in order to carry on the Society in a successful manner. They had also to fill their Museum—for what they had at present was quite insufficient. On this subject he would remark that everything sent to the Museum was not necessarily given to it. There was a provision in the Act under which they were incorporated, that allowed any person to deposit an article and obtain a receipt for it, which would enable him to reclaim it at any time he chose. He wished this to be generally known, for he believed that many would lend what they would not be inclined to give. He then alluded to the constitution of the Society, which, by referring to their printed rules, they would find was established for the “promotion of Art, Science, and Literature.” It appeared to him that hitherto they had done little for Art; and that they ought now to pay some attention to a part of their original programme which, principally from want of proper accommodation, had been almost entirely neglected. He had also to thank them for having for the third time elected him as their President. At the same time, he thought it would be for the good of the Society if the President was changed as often as possible;—that every working member should have an opportunity of looking forward to occupying the chair which he (Judge Gillies) considered it an honour for anyone to hold. He had always attributed the reluctance which many evinced to taking the office of President to the practice hitherto followed of the President delivering an opening address. He saw no reason why this custom should continue. He thought that, probably, as
much information could be obtained from reading a non-original address as from an original one; and seeing that on two occasions he had followed the usual practice he had now taken upon himself to break through the rule simply for the purpose of inducing members not to be deterred from taking the position of President from the fear of having to prepare an opening address. He would, therefore, read to them some portions of an address by Prof. J. P. Cooke, delivered at Harvard College, on 7th January, 1875.
1. “On the Fertilisation of Selliera,” by T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 542.)
Mr. Firth stated that he had frequently heard it asserted that red clover could not be fertilised in New Zealand on account of the absence of the humble bee. For the last year or two he had known this to be incorrect, so far as regards the clover on his estate at Matamata, and during the recent season he had gathered several tons of seed. The clover was mown at the commencement of summer, and the seed was obtained from the second growth. He was not aware how fertilisation had been effected in this case, but, considering the amount of clover seed imported, he thought that the fact ought to be known.
Mr. Cheeseman said it was well known that the flowers produced by red clover late in the season, and after it had been mown, were slightly shorter than before. The difference was slight, but sufficient to allow the common hive bee to reach the nectar. The bees then regularly visited the flowers, and more or less fertilised them.
Mr. Hay stated that eighteen years ago he had obtained a pound weight of seed from a patch of clover not four yards square. He could not say whether the clover was fertilised by the wind or by moths, but there were very few bees about at the time. He recommended the introduction of humble bees to the attention of the local Acclimatisation Society.
2. “On Insects injurious to the Kauri Pine,” by Captain T. Broun. (Transactions, p. 366.)
This paper was accompanied by specimens of the insects mentioned therein, and by pieces of timber showing their ravages.
Dr. Purchas stated that one beetle, which he did not observe among those sent by Captain Broun, had been imported from England, and was doing incalculable injury. He knew a house, the kauri lining of which had been reduced by it to a mass of dust. It appeared, however, only to attack sappy timber.