Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 16, 1883

Wellington Philosophical Society.

First Meeting. 13th June, 1883.
The Hon. G. Randall Johnson, President, in the chair.

New Members.—F. Stevens and Dr. Grabham.

1. Address by President.


He said the Society had been constituted fifteen years, and its efforts had been successful in harmonizing views and in stimulating concerted action upon a wide range of scientific and philosophical subjects. He then reviewed the work of the Society during the past year. Speaking of University matters, he suggested the importance of having a College established in Wellington similar to those in the other chief cities of the colony. Referring, at the close of his address, to the recent ascent of Mount Cook by Mr. Green, and to conflicting theories as to glacier action on the high lands in these islands as we see them now, he inclined to the theory that the accumulations of snow on plateaux above the line of perpetual snow would send down glaciers to scour deep fiords aud narrow valleys till the area of the plateaux became reduced by this very process of vertical denudation; this theory being more in accord with our existing geological knowledge than the more extreme supposition of a glacial epoch similar to that which was conjectured to have once covered Europe. From all that was known of New Zealand geology, he concluded that from long prior to the glacial epoch down to the present time, the same physical forces had been at work, in the same manner and with the same intensity. The frost had continued without intermission to break down the cliffs; the glaciers all along scoured the valleys, polished the rocks, and carried the débris to valleys and plains below; the water most efficiently distributing what was so brought down; the only difference of circumstance being attributable to the alteration effected by those very forces in the mass on which they had been so long at work, and the consequent diminution of the power of the glaciers.

2. Dr. Hutchinson exhibited recent photographic views of the large active volcano which forms a prominent landmark in the Sandwich Islands, and gave some interesting information explanatory of the photographs.

Dr. Hector said the evidence afforded by these photographs of the extremely fluid nature of the lava-flow from these volcanoes was most remarkable.

3. “On the Igneous Rocks of the East Coast of Wellington,” by A. McKay. (See Geol. Reports, 1883).


The author described the geological features of a series of low hills and gullies about fourteen miles from Masterton, on Mr. Beetham's run; and showed a model indicating a well-defined crater, which he had no doubt was the low neck of an extinct volcano, which was in activity during the cretaceous period. He inferred from the adjacent strata, that the volcano was not ancient in a geological sense, though he offered no comparative data as to the period of its probable activity.

– 548 –

Dr. Hector spoke of this volcanic rock as being chiefly important in fixing accurately some of the grades in geological sequence. The discovery had also an importance in searching for gold and other minerals in the district. Although the Terawhiti District showed indirect evidence of former volcanic influences, direct evidence was afforded by large masses of hornblende, like the rock now exhibited from districts near Wellington, and the nature and origin of which they had not been able to account for until the discovery of this volcanic neck. Now they saw the reason, and there might be found other necks of old volcanic craters not far from the surface and nearer Wellington.

Mr. Beetham said this survey near Masterton had been made at his suggestion, and—though Mr. McKay might not know it—they in the district had been used to speak of this broken hill as the “crater.” Then it was covered with bush, but now that the bush was mostly burnt off, the crater shape had become more distinct. Gold had formerly been traced in rock specimens, and in the early days he had lost some money in trying to work a hole for gold quartz.

Second Meeting. 4th July, 1883.
The Hon. G. Randall Johnson, President, in the chair.

New Members.—A. Hoby, H. Gully, W. Dawson.

1. “Notes on Monstrosities in Animals,” by Dr. Newman.


The author stated that during several years of observation he had met with a number of rare monstrosities in man, as well as among animals. By noting all the peculiarities of monstrosities that came before them they might, by degrees, learn the law which governed them, while they would also see more distinctly their connection with the early history of the species in which it occurred. In the olden days monsters were looked upon as objects for aversion, and perhaps as occurring as a punishment from God or the gods; now, however, science had shown that they were really nothing but animals, with extraordinary variations from the original species. He then proceeded to describe and classify the different malformations that give rise to monstrosities. In concluding his interesting lecture he said it was possible to obtain monstrosities in chickens by treating eggs in particular ways. Monstrosities of the present day were losing interest, as they were now known to be nothing but the reappearance of a portion of the form of an ancestor. They were only of interest when they were of a very unusual type, when something new might be gathered regarding the history of the species.

Dr. Hector thanked Dr. Newman for the manner in which he had handled a very difficult subject. He, however, doubted whether it was correct to say that monsters were merely a reappearance of a portion of the form of an ancestor.

2. “On the History of the Aorere River, Collingwood, since the Miocene times,” by S. H. Cox, F.G.S.; (see Geol. Reports, 1883).


The author showed that the various deposits in the lower portions of that river were due to the fact that what now formed two separate streams, which found their way to the West Coast, were formerly its head waters, as the débris could not have been derived from any portion of its present channel.

3. Among the exhibits on the table were about two pounds of quartz, taken from a point between Lowry Bay and Pencarrow Lighthouse, which Dr. Hector said had been tested, and found to contain gold at the rate of 607 oz, to the ton. Dr. Hector added

– 549 –

that the breaks were all fresh, he himself having made them, but beyond that he could say nothing about the find, except that the quartz had a very close resemblance to that of the Wealth of Nations at Reefton.

Dr. Hector also exhibited a calf of Kogia breviceps, a rare species of whale, which had been taken from a cow harpooned near Petone, and a fossil ammonite belonging to the Permian formation, found near Nugget Point, in the South Island, by Mr. McKay, and measuring nearly eighteen inches in diameter.

Third Meeting. 18th July, 1883.
The Hon. G. R. Johnson, President, in the Chair.

New Members.—E. F. Clarke, J. S. M. Thompson, E. D. Bell.

1. “On Earth Tremors and Earthquakes,” by Hon. Robert Hart.


The author sought to establish that matter near the earth's surface is in a constant state of vibration; that matter so in a state of vibration is constantly seeking a level; that the level so sought is on no two consecutive days alike; and, incidentally, that the denudation of a portion of surface of a considerable amount of superimposed weight must tend to the elevation of the denuded surface by the pressure of the surrounding accumulations.

Sections and drawings were exhibited.

Mr. Cox was not prepared to entirely support the author's conclusions, as elevation must occur before denudation commences. As regards the origin of earthquakes, he was of opinion that to a large extent they were due to the gradual shrinkage of the solid earth, from the loss of heat by radiation—for, although we must consider the earth as a highly elastic solid body as a whole, as shown by a comparison of the theoretical and actual specific gravity of the surface rocks and the entire mass—still the earth was a solid, and the shrinkage due to loss of heat could only be attended by sudden and at times violent fractures, which are shown geologically in the faults which traverse the strata, and of which in more recent times we have actual evidence in the earthquake shocks. He did not mean to dispute that some earthquakes were due to volcanic energy, but these were of secondary origin and were of comparatively small extent, while those which had a more wide-spread character owed their origin equally with volcanic phenomena to the shrinkage of the solid earth.

Dr. Hector considered that in discussing the causes of earthquakes and of changes of relative level, the important part played by the interstitial water that is absorbed by rocks under certain conditions, was too much lost sight of.

Fourth Meeting. 1st August, 1883.
The Hon. G. R. Johnson, President, in the chair.

New Member.—J. S. Rutherford.

1. “On a new Cuttle-fish, Tremoctopus robsonianus, obtained by C. H. Robson at Napier,” by T. W. Kirk.


Tremoctopus robsoni, n. sp.

This species differs from the description of the genus Tremoctopus as given by Adams, in that the web reaches to and extends beyond the tips of the superior arms.

– 550 –

Colour.—Above: dark-purple, lighter on the head. Below: bright silvery colour, with patches of rose. The web, which shows strong transverse lines, is of a pale rose colour.

Three specimens were obtained at Napier by Mr. C. H. Robson; but the pouches of two of them contained each an Hectocotylus, or third right arm of the male, peculiarly modified in order that it may perform certain functions, not yet fully understood, in connection with the propagation of its kind.

The species being new, it has been named after the discoverer, who was good enough to present the best specimen and also the Hectocotylus to the Museum.

2. “On the Occurrence of English Butterflies for the first time, at least in Wellington District,” by T. W. Kirk.


During the summer of 1881, the author captured in the Wellington Botanic Gardens, a butterfly which, on examination, proved to be the English Red Admiral or Alderman Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta). On several subsequent occasions specimens were seen, but contrary to their habit in England, they proved exceedingly shy and capture was impossible. However, examples of another English species, the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly (Vanessa urticæ) were obtained.

The importation of plants and seeds from various countries is now so extensive, that it is almost certain numerous insects, some useful, some destructive, will be brought into the colony. In order, therefore, that the noxious forms may be more speedily detected, and that confusion may not hereafter arise in our lists and catalogues, it is important that the appearance in a district of any uncommon or foreign form should be carefully noted.

3. “On certain Phenomena of Burning Camphor in Water,” by W. Skey.


The peculiarity is that the camphor moves in the direction from which the wind blows, which is accounted for by the unequal output of oil around the camphor when displaced by the oil collecting on the off-side of the camphor and forcing it through the still water towards the wind. Experiments to illustrate this were exhibited.

4. “On the Origin of the Old Lake Basins of Otago,” by A. McKay. (See Geol. Reports, 1883.)


This paper dealt with two theories of the origin of the old lake basins of Central Otago—that of Dr. Hector, which accounts for these basins by the unequal movements of the land—and that of Professor Hutton, who advocates their having been excavated by ice.

The author agreed in the main with Dr. Hector's theory, but differed in the details as to how it was brought about, and with respect to the age of some of the beds found in these old lake basins. The author's theory is, that in Miocene times a large river flowing across North Otago was checked by the upheaval of the coast line, and converted into a series of swampy lakes, the eastern outlet of which was barred by volcanic rock, thus gradually deepening the lakes, and determining for a time the outflow of their waters by way of the Molyneux River. Subsequently, movements determined the area of the Taieri watershed, and compelled its waters to escape by their present channel along Strath Taieri.

– 551 –

Mr. Cox disagreed with Mr. McKay on his theory of formation of the lakes. He thought that to a large extent they had been excavated by the action of ice, and we had evidence of the great glaciers which had existed during Cretaceous times. He instanced the Blue Spur and Weatherstone's Gully as illustrations of this, and argued that these glaciers, which had deposited the drifts, had also in the first instance determined the configuration of the land, and that in all subsequent elevations and depressions, the form of the mountains then assumed, had been more or less maintained.

Fifth Meeting. 15th August, 1883.
Dr. Newman, Vice-president, in the chair.

1. “Remarks on the Distribution of the Organic Productions of New Zealand,” by W. T. L. Travers, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 461.)

Dr. Hector said the principle of the paper was to establish an isolated origin for the fauna and flora of New Zealand. It did not, however, disclose any source for that origin.

Dr. Newman said a very short time would suffice to make difference in species. For example, the colour of caterpillars depended on the food they ate.

Mr. Travers said he assumed that the flora and fauna of New Zealand were modified descendants of the fauna and flora of these islands during geological epochs. They were distinct from those seen elsewhere.

2. “Some new Discoveries in the Neighbourhood of Milford Sound,” by Donald Sutherland; communicated by A. McKay. (Transactions, p. 454.)

3. “On the Occurrence of Chalcotrichite in New Zealand,” by S. H. Cox, F.G.S. (Transactions, p. 448.)

This paper recorded the occurrence, in the Champion Copper Mine, Nelson, of a mineral not hitherto discovered in New Zealand. Specimens were shown; and the author also exhibited some very rich samples of copper ore from the same mine, that yielded as much as 67 per cent. of copper.

4. A letter was read from Mr. F. L. Dodds, describing a supposed Aerolite, which fell at Urenui on the 8th June last.

5. Dr. Hutchinson exhibited some transparencies of views taken in the Sandwich Islands; and Dr. Hector called attention to an exhibit of some very fine oranges, grown at the Bay of Islands by the Hon. Mr. Williams, M.L.C.

Sixth Meeting. 29th August, 1884.
The Hon. G. R. Johnson, President, in the chair.

New Member.—Lee Connell.

1. “Remarks concerning the Greenway Floating Breakwater,” by J. C. Crawford.


This information was communicated by the author, in the hope that the system might be applied to certain parts of Evans Bay, in Wellington Harbour, with a view to converting it into a wet dock. He suggested also that certain improvements might be made in the harbour itself, by placing these floating breakwaters in various places, which would lessen the difficulty of landing from vessels in rough weather.

– 552 –

2. “On the Storage of Energy by utilizing Water Power,” by J. C. Crawford.


He called attention to the splendid water supply in the neighbourhood of Wellington—the best, perhaps, in the Colony—for the generation of electricity for lighting the towns and manufacturing purposes.

3. Dr. Hector gave some interesting information relative to recent tidal disturbances. He expressed his opinion that the disturbance in Wellington harbour and along the coast of New Zealand yesterday morning had been caused by the volcanic eruption which took place at Krakatoa, in the Straits of Sunda, on Monday last, telegraphic intelligence of which appeared in last evening's paper. In the course of his remarks, Dr. Hector mentioned that the Straits of Sunda had always been remarkable for the eruptions which occurred there, and tradition assigned their formation and separation of the Islands of Java and Sumatra to a violent convulsion during the eleventh century. One eruption in the year 1772 swallowed up a tract of country fifteen miles long and six broad, and destroyed about 3,000 people. This was followed in 1815 by a violent disturbance which resulted in the loss of 7,000 lives, and the noise of which was heard 1,000 miles away; it would be interesting to trace the length of time occupied by the wave in reaching the shores of New Zealand.

4. “Lecture on the Lower Miocene Formation in New Zealand,” by Dr. Hector.


An interesting geological lecture, illustrated by large maps and sections and large collections of fossils, and dealing with the subject of the date of the last great emergence of the land in the south of New Zealand.

Mr McKay said that if the glaciers had their greatest extension in Pliocene times it appeared that, considering the amount of strata of intermediate age, it was difficult to regard the Awamoa beds as belonging to the Upper Miocene period. The percentage of recent fossils indicated these beds as belonging to the Lower Miocene period, and thus the palæontological evidence was in accordance with the stratigraphical.

Mr. Travers referred to the important bearing of this subject on the origin of the fauna and flora of the country.

5. Dr. Hector exhibited several additions to the Museum, viz., skull of frigate bird, gannet, jaw of parrot fish, from Jervois Island, presented by Mr. H. Winkelmann; also, marine fossils from interior lake basins of Otago.

Seventh Meeting. 26th September, 1883.
The Hon. G. R. Johnson, President, in the chair.

New Members.—Dr. Sidney Skerman, C. C. Howard.

1. “On a new Lycopodium,” by T. Kirk, F.L.S., named Gracile, and found in Nelson. (Transactions, p. 376.)

2. “On a Bird-catching Tree,” by Mr. R. H. Govett. (Transactions, p. 364.)

Dr. Hector conjectured that the viscid matter exuded from the seeds when ripe was an incident of evolution, the seed attaching itself to a live bird, and so getting carried away and dropped elsewhere for germination.

– 553 –

Mr. Kirk thought the tree was identical with Pisonia umbellifera, and that the sticky exudation did act like birdlime in getting those large seeds carried on the feathers of birds.

3. Dr. Hector made some interesting remarks on earthquake disturbances in the ocean, referring to what he had said at the prèvious meeting, that the tidal disturbances felt on these shores about the time of the Sunda eruptions were due to their influence. The editor of the “New Zealand Journal of Science” had objected that, as the great Australian continent intervened directly between the Straits of Sunda and New Zealand, no tidal wave from that cause could have been felt here without being felt much more forcibly along the southern and western shores of Australia and Tasmania, and suggested that the disturbances felt here were probably due to other submarine movements in the Pacific. Late reports showed that the tidal disturbance was very marked on the west coast of Tasmania; and the disturbances felt here were found to coincide suggestively with the succession of earthquake shocks that followed the eruptions at Sunda. The retardation or acceleration of the tidal swell by those earthquake shocks would act and react in various directions, thereby causing disturbances of varying intensity on all the shores of these islands. An extraordinary phenomenon to which he particularly drew attention was, that atmospheric disturbances as self-registered by a delicately-adjusted barograph coincided remarkably in the sudden jerks on several days with the recorded eruptions at Sunda, beginning on the evening of the 27th August, and recurring on four or five days. These barometrical jerks and curves were exhibited by a diagram, with dates and hours given; and Dr. Hector moreover pointed out that these readings in Wellington corresponded with similar jerks in the curves recorded by a self-registering barometer at Dunedin, showing that they were produced by a fast-moving influence that traversed the atmosphere quite independently of the ordinary cyclonic movements that were in progress during the same period.

4. The President exhibited a skin of a rat from Poverty Bay, which the Natives asserted was the true Maori rat, and raised a discussion as to there being a rat indigenous to these islands.

Dr. Buller believed the so-called Maori rat, which lived in trees, was really identical with the common Mus rattus of Europe.

Dr. Hector said that he concurred in this opinion; but Captain Hutton had inferred the former existence of another species from bones found in a subfossil state, and which was a flesh-eating rat, and therefore not Mus rattus, which species is very common in the bush country, and comes into Wellington during hard winters. In the northern forests they become very fat at certain seasons, when they feed on the bark of the Patete. They also feed largely on wild honey, and after Christmas are often found dead and stupefied in large numbers at the foot of the Puriri trees, being poisoned by the honey, which in some years is dangerous and even fatal to human life at that season.

Mr. McKay said rat bones were found mixed up with moa bones in situations which suggested that the rat and the moa were contemporaries, and exhibited specimens to illustrate this. Either the moa was not so ancient an inhabitant of these islands, or the rat must have been here anterior to the Maori immigration. If the Mus rattus of Europe existed here with the moa, by what agency was the rat introduced into these remote islands? It was suggested that the rat might have been introduced by the earliest navigators—perhaps by Tasman—and that the earliest rats and the latest moas existed together.

– 554 –

The President considered that what had been said, proved that this interesting point in the natural history of New Zealand was far from being satisfactorily settled, and hoped that no time would be lost in collecting authentic information on the subject from the natives, before it was too late.

Eighth Meeting. 31st October, 1883.
Dr. Newman, Vice-president, in the chair.

It was announced that Dr. Buller had been chosen to vote in the election of Governors of the New Zealand Institute for the ensuing year.

1. “On the Anatomy of the Cuttle-fish, (Sepioteuthis bilineata),” by H. B. Kirk, M.A.; with drawings and preparations in spirit. (Transactions, p. 145.)

2. “On some rare Species of New Zealand Birds,” by Dr. Buller, F.R.S. (Transactions, p. 308.)

3. Dr. Buller also communicated some notes made by Mr. C. H. Robson on the Eastern Golden Plover, Charadrius fulvus. (Transactions, p. 308.)

Dr. Hector said that the fact that the Golden Plover was found breeding at sea-level was curious, as he had only met with it formerly at great altitudes on Black Peak, Otago, in 1862.

4. “On Hieracidea novæ-zealandiæ and H. brunnea,” by W. W. Smith, communicated by Dr. Buller. (Transactions, p. 318.)

5. Dr. Hector exhibited a specimen containing silver, and associated with Tellerium, found at the Thames, which latter mineral is thus discovered for the first time in New Zealand. He had recognized it among some specimens shown to him by Mr. Pond of Auckland, and his identification had been confirmed by Mr. Skey's analysis of the mineral. The locality is reported to be near Karangahape Mine.

Ninth Meeting. 14th November, 1883.
Dr. Buller, Vice-president, in the chair.

New Member.—James Lambert.

A nomination was made for the election of an honorary member of the New Zealand Institute.

1. “On the Occurrence of a Species of Rhagodia at Port Nicholson,” by T. Kirk, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 369.)

2. “Description of a new Pine, Podocarpus acutifolius,” by T. Kirk, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 370.)

3. “Notes on the Parapara and Puka,” by T. Kirk, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 367.)

4. “Notes on a Fragment of Samaritan Pentateuch,” by T. W. Penne-father, LL.M. (communicated by the President.)

– 555 –


The author exhibited a part of a roll of a Samaritan Pentateuch, brought by him from Nablous, the ancient Shechem. He then read a paper briefly narrating the history of the Kingdom of Israel or Samaria, discussing the question of the probable origin of the “Samaritans” who were in occupation of the country at the time of the return of the Jews from Babylon; tracing the history of the Samaritan nation under the Roman Empire and through the middle ages; and mentioning the accounts contained in the Samaritan chronicles. He then referred to the bringing of the Samaritan Pentateuch to Europe, and the controversy which raged as to its supposed superiority to the Jewish form; but stated that it is now all but universally believed that the latter represents the original text. After describing the great MS. at Nablous, which he had himself examined, he discussed the question of the way in which the Samaritans had become possessed of the Pentateuch, maintaining that the more probable view was that it had been brought to them by Manasseh, a Jewish Priest expelled from Jerusalem by Nehemiah. He then mentioned more in detail some of the points in which the Samaritan differs from the Jewish version, especially the shape of the letters, and the words added by the Samaritan to Exodus xx., 18. After speaking of the rolls now at St. Petersburg and Cambridge, he gave a full account of the Samaritan Passover, Nablous being the only place in the world where the Passover, as described in the Book of Exodus, is still celebrated.

The Rev. Mr. Van Staveren examined the fragment and expressed himself highly pleased with it and the author's remarks.

5. “The Law of Gavelkind,” by Coleman Phillips. (Transactions, p. 518.)

6. Dr. Hector exhibited the original curve drawn by the large barograph at the Melbourne Observatory on the 27th and 28th of August last, which have very courteously been sent to him by Professor Ellery. This curve shows abnormal oscillations similar to those which he (Dr. Hector) had pointed out at previous meetings of the Society on 29th August and 26th September last as having been produced simultaneously by the barographs at Wellington and Dunedin. By expressing these curves in the same local time it was found that the oscillations occurred about 90 minutes earlier at Melbourne than in New Zealand. If, as was very probable, these remarkable oscillations were connected with the great eruption in Sunda Straits, by measuring the distance along great circles the actual difference in the time would be reduced to about 75 minutes, which would give for the velocity of the transmission of these curious atmospheric waves 600 miles an hour or 1,000 feet per second, or nearly the velocity of sound.

This seems to point to the dispersal of waves through a medium very different from anything we are acquainted with, and suggests the probability of the existence of a somewhat definite limit in altitude to the terrestrial atmosphere with which we are familiar, and in which all our winds and slow moving cyclonic impulses are transmitted. On the occasion of a great outburst of force from the earth's surface, such as the late Java eruption, it is probable that a volume of gaseous matter may be projected through this denser part of the atmospheric envelope, and being there condensed under very different conditions of temperature and pressure, gives rise to pulsations that traverse the upper and more attenuated medium.

Dr. Hector mentioned that the extraordinary coloured glow in the sky which has been visible every clear night and morning since the first week in September, seemed to support this view by proving the existence at an enormous altitude of some vapourous matter capable of refracting the sun's light into its prismatic components. He had observed, to

– 556 –

his surprise, on several evenings, that through rifts in the vapour masses, crimsoned in the ordinary manner by the sun after it had set, a back-ground of intense greenish blue was visible. After all the ordinary sun-set tints had faded, this blue changed to orange pink, and graduated off through the various prismatic tints to a magnificent crimson spanning over what appeared to be cloudless sky, considerably to the eastward of the meridian. This spectacle gradually faded with the advance of nightfall, but lasted about one hour and twenty minutes after the ordinary twilight tints had faded. This shows that the vapour causing the tints must have an enormous and very unusual altitude. A similar phenomenon in the evening sky was observed in New Zealand about sixteen years since, but the exact date has not been ascertained. The glow of September last still continues, but it is drawing now towards the pole, as if the unusual height of the refracting medium was extending the antarctic twilight tint even to our latitudes.

With the hint we get from the self-recording barometers it is very difficult to avoid connecting this curious phenomenon which has been seen all over Australia and New Zealand, with the Sunda eruption.*

Dr. Hector also read a letter from Major Scannell, Inspector A. C., stationed at Taupo, giving an account of marked oscillation in the level of Taupo Lake, amounting to a vertical rise and fall of 18 inches, which was repeated several times at intervals of 20 minutes at about noon on the same date that the tidal disturbance was felt on the coast, viz., on 28th August; affording clear evidence of the passing of waves through the lake, due to a motion of the land, probably produced by the unusual periods of the tidal inequalities of pressure on either coast.

Mr. Higginson, C.E., reminded the meeting that in a paper read before this Society on 2nd February, 1878, he had described similar disturbances of Lake Wakatipu, which were observed by him on 17th November, 1877.

7. “Notes on the Colour of Tellerium,” by W. Skey.

Annual Meeting. 13th February, 1884.
Dr. Buller, President, in the chair.

New Members.—W. F. Wheeler, F. W. Pennefather, — Richmond, and Rev. H. van Staveren.

Abstract of Report for 1883.

During the past year ten general meetings and a conversazione were held. The attendance at the meetings was larger than usual. Six papers had been read on Geological subjects, 6 on Zoology, 13 on Botany, 2 on Chemistry, and 13 on Miscellaneous subjects. There were now 247 members on the roll, 15 having been added during the year. 75 volumes had been added to the library. Extensive alterations were being made in the library of the New Zealand Institute, and the Museum authorities had converted

[Footnote] * In “Nature,” October 25th, No. 730, p. 627, received to-day, I find that a similar disturbance was traced by the barograph, at Mauritius, at the same Greenwich date as at Melbourne, and as these two stations are at the same distance from Sunda, in nearly opposite directions, there can be no doubt but that the disturbance was due to the propagation of a circular wave in the upper atmosphere having the velocity already stated. J. Hector, 20th December, 1883.

[Footnote] † Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. x., p. 180.


Page 557(3)-For “being a reply to F. W. Frankland, by W. Skey:” read “being a reply to W. Skey, by F. W. Frankland.”

– 557 –

the lecture-room into a library for the use of the society. The balance-sheet showed the total receipts for the past year to have been £316 15s. 7d., including balance from last year's accounts of £105 14s. 7d., and the expenditure to have been £171 13s. 8d., leaving a balance of £145 1s. 11d. in hand.

The report and balance-sheet were adopted.

Election of Officers for 1884: — President — Dr. Buller, C.M.G., F.R.S.; Vice-presidents—A. K. Newman, M.B., M.R.C.P., R. H. Govett; Council—James Hector, M.D., S. H. Cox, F.G.S., F.C.S., T. King, W. T. L. Travers, F.L.S., F. B. Hutchinson, M.R.C.S., G. W. Grabham, M. D. Lond. etc., Martin Chapman; Secretary and Treasurer—R. B. Gore; Auditor—H. Logan.

The new President, Dr. Buller, then delivered an address.

1. “On new Species of Plants,” by J. Buchanan, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 394.)

2. “Botanical Notes,” by J. Buchanan. (Transactions, p. 397.)

3. “Non-Euclidean Geometry vindicated,” being a reply to F. W. Frankland, by W. Skey.

4. “On the Lichenographia of New Zealand,” by Dr. Knight. (Transactions, p. 400.)

5. “On’ Campbell Island Plants,” by J. Buchanan. (Transactions, p. 398.)

6. “On Sunset Glows,” by Dr. Hector.


This paper gave an account of what has been observed of this curious phenomenon in other parts of the world, as recorded in “Nature” and other periodicals recently received. These mainly showed that all the phenomena to which he had directed the attention of the Society had been seen in every part of the world.

7. “Notice of Discovery of Amphibromus in New Zealand;” with Description of a new Species, by T. Kirk, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 374.)

8. “Description of new Plants from Stewart Island,” by T. Kirk. (Transactions, p. 371.)

9. “Notes on Carmichælia,” with Descriptions of new Species; by. T. Kirk. (Transactions, p. 378.)

10. “On New Zealand Ichthyology,” by Dr. Hector. (Transactions, p. 322.)