Dr. Hector, President, in the chair.
New Members.—E. Best, Allen Hogg, M. Fearnley, C.Hedley, J. McLennan, A. F. Somerville, and Dr. T. R. King.
A list of the additions to the library since last meeting (some 40 volumes) was laid on the table, and the principal objects added to the Museum were exhibited.
“A Study of the Causes leading to the Extinction of the Maori,” by Alfred K. Newman, M.B., M.R.C.P. (Transactions, p. 459.)
Dr. Grace agreed with a good deal in the paper, but did not accept the statement that the Maori race were dying out so fast as the author seemed to think. No doubt they were decreasing, and the fundamental cause was their indolent habits. If it were possible to make the Maoris do a fair share of work for their existence the race would improve. In Jamaica, which was a fertile country, the natives were lazy, and they were decreasing; but in Barbadoes, where the soil and climate were not so good, and where they were obliged to work for their living, they were increasing. We had a duty to perform in improving the race. We had to a certain extent deprived them of their vigorous habits, and have not succeeded in impressing upon them the benefits to be derived from true industry and virtue. He did not think they suffered much more from introduced diseases than did Europeans. The need for healthy manual labour was at the root of the evil, especially in a humid climate like ours, where such habits are necessary. He did not look with despair at the future of the Maori, and he thought that in fifty years hence we should have a larger population of natives than we have now.
The President, in thanking Dr. Newman for his eloquent address, said he was inclined to agree with Dr. Grace, except that he appeared to underrate the effect of the great epidemics of measles and such diseases in former times; but the Maori race was not at present decreasing so fast as formerly, except in the vicinity of towns and large settled districts. In the King country he had seen large families of healthy children. He therefore could not agree with the author in attributing the decrease of the Maoris to an inherent tendency to decay. We were really to blame, and chiefly from having induced the natives to abandon their old habits and customs. We have destroyed their social organization, and not replaced it with ours. In serving our own purposes we have under-
mined the authority of the chiefs, without being able to establish European authority among them as a substitute. There appears to be no reason why the race should have decayed if it had been left alone, or only gradually assimilated to our own, and it is no use trying to excuse ourselves by any other natural law but that of might.
Dr. Newman, in replying, said that he still believed the race was disappearing, and that evidence to bear out that fact would befound in his paper.
“Fallacies in the Theory of Circular Motion,” by T. Wakelin, B.A. Univ. N.Z. (Transactions, p. 134).