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Volume 19, 1886

Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute.

First Meeting: 19th April, 1886.
The President in the chair.

1. The President delivered an address, in which he brought forward the desirability of establishing a marine station for biological research, and for the study of the mode of propagation of the food-fishes of our coast.

2. The Hon. Secretary exhibited and made a few remarks on Polypodium novœ-zealandiœ, Fusonius cunninghami, and Lindsaya viridis recently collected in this district.

The following were noted as having been obtained near Napier since the last meeting:—Hawk-billed Turtle (Caretta imbricata), a young Whale (Dolichodon layardii), and a fine specimen of the Fox-tailed Shark (Alopecias vulpes), 12ft. 6in. long.

3. Mr. N. Heath communicated the results of some experiments he had made in freezing eggs.

Second Meeting: 10th May, 1886.
The President in the chair.

1. Papers.—“Origin of Earthquakes,” by J. Hardcastle. (Transactions, p. 338.)

2. “Occultations, and graphic Methods of computing them,” by J. Harding.

3. The Hon. Secretary exhibited rock specimens from Karamea (Red Island); dried skin of Centrisous humerosus, or Snipefish; a small Sepiola in spirits; and some fossils.

4. The members of the Society at this meeting unanimously agreed that the Council should offer to Mr. Colenso the honorary life membership of the Society.

Third Meeting: 14th June, 1886.
The President in the chair.

Paper.—“On the Blasting Operations at the Napier Bluff,” by J. Goodall, C.E. Samples of the explosives used were exhibited. (Transactions, p. 549.)

Exhibits.—The Hon. Secretary exhibited: (1.) a collection of beautiful shells from Southern India; (2.) a set of fossils from Petane; (3.) specimens of the volcanic dust which fell on the deck of the “Southern Cross,” from the Tarawera eruptions.

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Fourth Meeting: 12th July, 1886.
The President in the chair.

Papers.—1. “On the Geological Structure of the Timaru Downs,” by J. Goodall, C.E. (Transactions, p. 455.)

2. “On the Marine Mollusca of the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand,” by A. Hamilton. (Introductory.)

Exhibits.—The Hon. Secretary exhibited: (1.) specimens from the south side of Mount Tarawera, collected by Mr. W. Munro; (2.) cinders and mud from Morea and Wairoa, sent by Mr. Bold, C.E.; (3.) a number of fossils from Scinde Island, shown by Mr. G. White; (4.) a large box of foreign Coleoptera.

The Hon. Secretary announced that he had recently visited Wellington, and had arranged with Dr. Hector for extensive additions to the Museum, from the duplicates in the Colonial Museum.

Fifth Meeting: 9th August, 1886.
The President in the chair.

Papers.—1. “Description of a Curiously Deformed Bill of the Huia,” by W. Colenso, F.R.S. (Transactions, p. 140.)

2. “Further Observations and Notes on the Gestation, Birth, and Young of a Lizard, a Species of Naultinus,” by W. Colenso, F.R.S. (Transactions, p. 147.)

3. “A Description of a New Species of Orthopterous Insect of the Genus Hemideina,” by W. Colenso, F.R.S. (Transactions, p. 145.)

4. “A few Observations on the Tree-Ferns of New Zealand, with particular reference to their peculiar epiphytes, their habits and manner of growth,” by W. Colenso, F.R.S. (Transactions, p. 252.)

5. “On Traces of Volcanic Dust-Showers at Napier, Petane, etc.,” by H. Hill, B.A. (Transactions, p. 385.)

6. “On the Remarkable Sagacity of Small Birds,” by Mr. G. Kells, of Napier. Communicated by Mr. N. Heath.

Exhibits:—Specimens were exhibited by Mr. Colenso, illustrating his papers; and also specimens of a small fly recognized by Mr. Maskell as the hitherto unknown male of Icerya purchasi, the wattle blight.

The President, at the commencement of the meeting, took occasion to congratulate Mr. Colenso on his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

The following resolution was moved and carried:—

“That the members of the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute have received with much satisfaction the news that a Fellowship has been conferred by the Royal Society of England upon the Rev. W. Colenso, one of its members, and they authorize that the fact be entered upon the minutes of the proceedings of the Society; and, further, that a letter be sent to Mr. Colenso in the name of the Society, and signed by the President and Secretary, congratulating him upon the honour he has received from the Royal Society in recognition of the services he has rendered to the cause and advancement of science.”

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Sixth Meeting: 13th September, 1886.
The President in the chair.

Papers.—1. “On the Causes of Volcanic Action,” by J. Hardcastle. (Transactions, p. 338.)

2. “An Enumeration of Fungi recently discovered in New Zealand, with brief notes thereon,” by W. Colenso, F.R.S. (Transactions, p. 301.)

3. Mr. N. Heath communicated to the Society the result of an experiment made by Mr. Murray, of Napier, who procured some porpoise-skins from the Mahia, and had them prepared in England, hoping that they might be of use for the manufacture of boots, &c.; but the result showed that the skins were utterly worthless, and the tanner informed Mr. Murray that porpoise-leather is made from the skin of a small species of whale (Beluga).

Exhibits.—The Honorary Secretary exhibited stuffed specimens of Gonorhynchus grayi and Chilomycterus jaculifera, and two species of Holothurians from Port Ahuriri. Mr. Heath brought a skin of Diodon maculatus, presented to the Museum by Captain Crayshaw, of Dunedin. Mr. H. O. Johnson, of Hastings, lent for exhibition a beautiful specimen (in spirit) of Coronula balœnarii, on which were growing three fine specimens of Alepas cornuli. Casts of the vertebra and humerus of Mauisaurus haasti were also shown, and a beautiful kiwi-feather mat, lent by the Hon. Secretary.

Seventh Meeting: 11th October, 1886.
The President, Dr. Spencer, in the chair.

Papers.—1. “A Description of some newly-discovered Phænogamic Plants,” by W. Colenso, F.R.S. (Transactions, p. 259.)

2. “A Description of some newly-discovered Cryptogamic Plants,” by W. Colenso, F.R.S. (Transactions, p. 271.)

3. “Description of a new Scaphites,” by H. Hill, B.A. (Transactions, p. 387.)

4. “On the Geology of Scinde Island,” by H. Hill, B.A. (Transactions, p. 441.)

5. “On the Fishes of Hawke's Bay,” by A. Hamilton, of Petane.

6. “On the Nest of a curious Trap-door Spider,” by A. Hamilton, of Petane.

Eighth Meeting: 12th November, 1886.
The President in the chair.

1. The President delivered his valedictory address.


In bringing to a conclusion this, the twelfth session of our Philosophical Institute, I think I am in a position to congratulate you on the progress that has been made since the last annual meeting. The number of papers

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read during the session is 22, a number considerably in excess of the average of previous years. The subjects treated of, also—including Botany, Zoology, Geology, Astronomy, Earthquakes and Volcanoes, and miscellaneous—are sufficiently varied to show that the number of our scientific observers has not diminished, nor has their zeal decreased.

At the opening meeting of the session, I announced to you that the Council had acquiesced in a proposal to ask the aid and the concurrence of the various branches of the New Zealand Institute, in bringing before the Government and in representing the advantages which would accrue to the colony by the establishment of a Marine Biological Laboratory. To this effect a circular was drawn up and a copy forwarded to the Presidents of the Philosophical Societies in the colony, in May last. Answers have now been received from all; and with the exception of one, which declines to join in making any representation to the Government, and one which, whilst fully approving of the principle indicated in the circular, is not prepared to further it at present, all are favourable. Copies of the circular were forwarded also to a number of gentlemen of scientific standing, with a request that they would favour your Council with their opinion and advice; and also, if favourable to the scheme, with their interest. Out of nine letters sent, answers have been received from five gentlemen, all of whom expressed their willingness to support the proposition. Several, however, suggested modifications in the scheme as laid down. This, of course, was nothing more than was to be expected. The details of so large a plan necessarily require much consideration from various points of view before they can be amalgamated into definite and feasible order. The first great point has, however, been, we think, established—that is, the advisability and the practicability of such an institution, and the fact that the project has secured the approval of a large proportion of the scientific men in the colony. As to the economical advantages that would accrue to the country from such an establishment, it is not difficult to show that they would be great. Of the edible fishes which are to be found on our coasts, and in our rivers, comparatively little is known. Their habitats, their spawning (both as to season of year and as to locality), their numbers and comparative value, the best methods of cultivating and capturing them, and, with perhaps few exceptions, their natural history, have never been systematically studied. The cultivation, also, of oysters and edible crustaceans would be fostered, and thus not only would the colony derive the benefit of a largely-increased supply of new, cheap, and wholesome foods, but employment would be found for a considerable population of fishermen, and a class of hardy seagoing people would be founded and encouraged—a class from which, in Great Britain, America, and other countries, the navies are so largely recruited.

I hope before any long time transpires we may see that the Government of this colony is prepared to encourage, if not entirely to maintain, a Marine Biological Laboratory.

I mentioned at the beginning of the session that the Council proposed to commence the formation of a botanical collection, as a special feature in the Museum. A commencement has been made, sufficient to form the nucleus of what it is hoped will eventually become a representative herbarium of the flora of this part of New Zealand.

A short time ago a circular was received from Professor Liversidge, of the University of New South Wales, containing a proposal to establish an Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, somewhat on the lines of the British Association, and asking this Institute to unite in the scheme. Copies of the circular are laid on the table for the information of any members who may take an interest in the proposal.

As a result of some communications which passed between your Vice-president and the Government, your Council has been encouraged to apply for a site on which to erect a building for the purposes of the Institute. Nothing definite has as yet been settled, but we have reason to hope that a suitable piece of land may be obtained.

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2. The President then read a most able and interesting paper on Microbes.

3. A number of specimens were shown under the microscope.

4. The President then read a paper on the volcanic eruption at Tarawera.

Abstract of Annual Report.

During the year eight ordinary meetings were held, at which 24 papers and notes were read. The Council have held eight meetings. The Council have opened negotiations with the Government for a building site for the Society. Mr. F. H. Meinertzhagen, of Waimarama, now in England, deposited about 100 volumes of valuable scientific works and books of reference in the library of the Institute. In addition to this, books of the value of £16 0s. 6d. were purchased. Numerous geological specimens and other objects of interest were presented by the Director of the Colonial Museum.

The receipts for the year, including cash balance carried forward from last year, were £118 9s. 10d., to which has to be added the sum of £150 which was on fixed deposit. The expenditure has been £73 10s. 8d., and £100 has been invested on mortgage; and a cash balance of £47 9s. 7d. carried forward.

Election of Office-bearers:—President—J. Goodall; Vice-president—F. C. W. Sturm; Council—J. S. Caro, J. Hardcastle, R. C. Harding, N. Heath, H. Hill, W. I. Spencer; Hon. Secretary—A. Hamilton; Hon. Treasurer—J. N. Bowerman; Auditor—T. K. Newton.