Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 14, 1881
– 566 –

Fifth Ordinary Meeting. 10th October, 1881.

The Right Rev. the Bishop of Waiapu, President, in the chair.


“On the fine Perception of Colours possessed by the Ancient Maoris,” by W. Colenso, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 49 and p. 477).

A long and animated discussion followed the reading of this paper, in which the President, Mr. Colenso, Mr. Locke, and others, took part, and Mr. Stack's views were generally opposed and condemned. (See Trans. N.Z.I., vol. xii.)

Several curious Maori exhibits were shown and explained by Mr. Locke, which had been recently dug up out of some old Maori graves at Poverty Bay, comprising several small bone manufactures of the olden time,—including a long needle with a nicely formed eye, and a remarkably well-cut comb, both made out of fine white bone; also, a few large sky-blue globular glass beads, believed by the Maoris of Poverty Bay to have been given to their forefathers by Captain Cook. All those small curios were in excellent preservation, and were very interesting. The blue beads in particular, obtained from the grave, seemed as if opportunely exhumed to bear their silent yet powerful testimony against the colour theories which had been alluded to this evening—e.g., that the old Maoris did not know or could not perceive the blue colour.