1. “Remarks on Forest Planting and Conservation, with reference to particular Localities in the Wellington District,” by G. W. Williams.
The author pointed out the evil results arising from the indiscriminate destruction of the forests, especially at the head-waters of our rivers, and its climatic effect. He mentioned many localities where planting could be carried out successfully and with profit. He also drew attention to the large sand-dunes which might be advantageously fixed by planting.
Mr. Govett did not think the land at Taupo, mentioned by the author, worth growing trees on—the expense would be too great.
The Rev. Mr. Ottway would like to know whether the gum-tree really did impoverish the ground to the extent supposed. He was inclined rather to think that, owing to their rapid growth, they exhausted the soil, thereby retarding the growth of other trees, but that they did not injure the soil.
Mr. Travers gave an interesting account of forestry generally, and referred to the successful manner in which the sand-dunes in France had been protected by planting, and how, among other things, the vines succeeded well in this sand; and he saw no reason why this plant should not do well here under similar circumstances, and a large industry be created. He pointed out how land suffered from the wholesale destruction of our bush, which should be put a stop to. Large tracts of land in France were laid waste from this cause, the floods which followed doing considerable damage. It is due to the clearing of the bush that the Hutt River is so often flooded.
Mr. Kirk thought the paper was of great value. It was both suggestive and practical. The evil results referred to might be seen in several localities near Wellington, where the hills, having been denuded of trees, now carry a scanty crop of grass, with frequent bare places. Had a patch of bush been left on the upper portion of the hill, the grass on the lower portion would have been much more luxuriant and suffer less during dry weather, as the rain would have been stored in the humus amongst the trees, and gradually given off for the benefit of the lower portion, instead of rushing away in a flood. With regard to the suggestion of planting portions of the Taupo Plain, he considered that it would be preferable to sow them with some of the Australian Acacias, more valued for their bark, such as A. decurrens and A. pycuansha. Large quantities of mimosa bark are imported annually, and there is a constant market at remunerative prices. In Victoria, Acacia plantations are said to yield a yearly profit of ·5 per acre. He agreed with the author as to the desirability of fixing our coastal-sands, but should object to his proposition to sow furze. The subject had been copiously treated in the sixth volume of the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute. Perhaps the best plan for ordinary situations would be to sow seeds of deep-rooting Lupins, Pinus austriaca, P. insignis, etc., with barley and creeping-rooted grasses, but it would be necessary to cover the sown surface with light bush, in order to keep the seeds from being blown away. The barley would germinate quickly, and at once fix the surface to a certain extent, so that by the time it died away the ordinary grasses would have become well rooted.
Mr. Maxwell said that there were many localities where the flow of sand was so great that no planting could possibly be carried out;—it is only in particular localities where it would succeed. Only certain kinds of the pumice at Taupo would carry vegetation.
2. “On the Doctrine of Mind-Stuff,” by F. W. Frankland. (Transactions, p. 205.)
On the motion of Dr. Kemp, seconded by Mr. Maxwell, the discussion on this paper was postponed until a future meeting, to give members an opportunity of reading it carefully.
3. “Notes on the Nesting Habits of the Orange-wattled Crow,” by W. D. Campbell. (Transactions, p. 249.)
The egg of this bird was exhibited.
Seventh Meeting. 11th October, 1879.
A. K. Newman, M.B., President, in the chair.
New Members.—R. Ward, Major Nixon, T. F. Fuller, A. T. Bate, E. J. Von Dadelzen.
1. “On the Occurrence of Giant Cuttlefish on the New Zealand Coast,” by T. W. Kirk, Assistant in the Colonial Museum. (Transactions, p. 310.)
A life-size drawing of the animal was exhibited and parts of the skeleton.
Mr. Travers said that in Sir George Grey's work on Polynesia mention was made of these large cuttlefish, and it was evident that the Maoris were aware that they frequented these seas.
Mr. Chapman stated that even a larger one than any mentioned in the paper was recorded as having been captured in Newfoundland. The author omitted to mention the peculiarity in the eye of the cuttlefish, which was identical with that of a mammal.
Dr. Newman thought the so-called fins, at the extremity of the animal, would be found to be only expansions of the skin.
2. “Remarks on some curious Specimens of New Zealand Birds,” by T. W. Kirk. (Transactions, p. 248.)
Specimens were exhibited.
3. “On certain Results obtained upon some of the Argentiferous Salts which are affected by Light,” by William Skey, Analyst to the Geological Survey Department.” (Transactions, p. 401.)
4. “On the Principle of New Zealand Weather Forecast,” by Commander R. A. Edwin, R.N. (Transactions, p. 40.)
The President said that this paper was of great value, and would no doubt be eagerly read when it appeared in the Transactions.
5. Dr. Newman read extracts from a paper on “Notes on Port Nicholson and the Natives in 1839,” by Major Charles Heaphy, V.C., communicated by the President. (Transactions, p. 32.)
Eighth Meeting. 1st November, 1879.
A. K. Newman, M.B., President, in the chair.
New Member.—W. H. Cutten.
1. “A Reply to Mr. Frankland's paper on ‘The Doctrine of Mind-stuff,’ ” by C. W. Richmond, a Judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand. (Transactions, p. 215).
Dr. Newman, having been educated in a materialistic school of thought, was as much shocked as could be the most orthodox of believers. He thought Mr. Frankland exalted mind far too much instead of relegating it to its really insignificant position in the universe, and suggested that he could just as easily prove that matter was electricity-stuff as Mr. Frankland had proved that it was mind-stuff.
Mr. Chapman followed, and very largely agreed with Mr. Frankland's doctrines.
Mr. Frankland then replied.
Dr. W. L. Buller, C.M.G., F.R.S., was chosen to vote in the election of the Board of Governors for the ensuing year, in accordance with clause 7 of “The New Zealand Institute Act.”