Second Meeting. 20th August, 1881.
Dr. Hector, President, in the Chair.
“Remarks on the Sand Dunes of the West Coast of the Provincial District of Wellington,” by W. T. L. Travers, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 89).
Dr. Buller stated that the sandhills around Wanganui, which previously had caused such damage in drifting, had been successfully fixed by the planting of the common Mesembryanthemum. At Manawatu, the railway line, which was frequently covered with sand, had been protected by hedges of flax plants.
Dr. Hector agreed with Mr. Travers that something ought at once to be done to fix and utilize these dunes. He mentioned other districts where great inconvenience was caused by the shifting of the sandhills. He had some years ago advised the authorities at Carlisle how best to plant such hills, with grass as a border and pines inside, which had answered well. He had, in the early days, suggested the planting of the steep cutting on the Wellington Terrace with the plant mentioned by Dr. Buller, and, had it been done, they would have looked pleasant to the eye, and averted the damage by the heavy rains.
In reply, Mr. Travers added that perhaps, where practicable, water channels would arrest the progress of the sand.
“On the Alpine Flora of New Zealand,” by John Buchanan, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 342).
Dr. Hector explained that this was the first of a series of papers by the author, the result of a botanical expedition which he made last year in the Otago Alps. It was curious that comparatively few new species had been added to the New Zealand flora from this locality, although it had not been visited since 1863, when Mr. Buchanan, in company with himself, had examined and collected from it.
An interesting discussion took place with regard to the spear-grass and its properties.
Mr. Travers pointed out the wonderful manner in which the flower-stalk is protected by spines, without any obvious purpose.
Dr. Hector thought it must have protected the plant from being destroyed by the moa in former times.
“On some new Marine Planarians,” by T. W. Kirk. (Transactions, p. 267).
“Additions to the List of New Zealand Shells,” by T. W. Kirk. (Transactions, p. 268).
“On the supposed Paraffin Deposit at Waiapu,” by W. Skey. (Transactions, p. 397).
Dr. Hector gave an interesting account of the locality and of how the substance occurred, being the petroleum that escapes from surface-wells altered by oxidation into a kind of mineral grease.
“On a Search for the Poisonous Principle of Brachyglottis repanda and B. rangiora,” by W. Skey. (Transactions, p. 400).
“Further Information bearing on the Subject of the Lung-worm in Sheep,” by Dr. Hector.
Mr. Travers stated that in France experiments had been made by Pasteaur, an eminent scientific man, to cure this disease by inoculation, which had proved most successful. This was of the greatest importance, as by this means thousands of sheep had been saved in France.
Dr. Hector then drew attention to several interesting additions to the Museum, which were on the table :—among others extracts from the barks of New Zealand woods, used for tanning purposes by Mr. Grayling of Taranaki, which had been highly spoken of at the Exhibitions at Sydney and Melbourne: fossil bones from Australia, one nearly allied to our moa : cast of a medal struck by the Admiralty for Captain Cook to distribute to the natives of various islands, which was found in Queen Charlotte's Sound, in 1878. Attention was also called to the two casts of the statues of “Hermes” and the “Boy and Goose,” lately presented to the Colonial Museum by the German Government.