Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 23, 1890

After referring to the satisfactory progress of the society, the President referred to the very crowded state of the museum, and the necessity for more exhibiting-space to enable a proper classification of the collections on a scientific and educational plan. He then reviewed the financial position of the society, which he considered on the whole satisfactory, as it possessed very considerable endowments, and funded property that brought in an income that was secure; but still the society was mainly dependent on members' subscriptions for the maintenance of the museum. It must be borne in mind also, he said, that a museum was not a mere collection of curious things gathered together at little or no cost, or kept up by gifts or bequests of people of an antiquarian turn of mind. On the contrary, few educational institutions were more expensive in proper equipment and maintenance. The recently-acquired collection of stuffed mammals from Borneo, now exhibited, would show the value which must attach to a complete and systematic collection in natural history. These animals were taken by men subject to great risk and expense, and must be set up by artists having a perfect knowledge of the anatomy and natural appearance of the animals, as well as the requisite technical skill. But if a museum of natural-history science was costly, a technological one was far more so, and to attempt any real excellence in that direction was, he feared, beyond their present hopes. The work of the Institute during the twenty-two years of its existence was recorded in the annual volumes of the New Zealand Institute, and was, or ought to be, familiar in some degree, at least, to all members. Therefore he would not attempt any analysis of the society's work, or comparison with that of the other affiliated societies, further than to say that up to within a few years back we quite held our own, and, although our articles had latterly fallen off in numbers, they had always compared very favourably in useful matter with the whole. After referring to the high value of the work recorded in the annual volume of the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, the President gave instances of the direct value to colonists of some of the papers, and cited the case of the scale-blight (Icerya purchasi), and the manner in which its destructive effects had been neutralized by sound entomological research, which led to the discovery and introduction of its natural enemy, Vedalia cardinalis. He next referred to the valuable nature of the Institute library, and urged that it should be made a thoroughly good reference library for all branches of scientific and technological literature, leaving the field of general literature to the public library, and of educational literature to the University library. He criticized the present education system as being too rigid, and not allowing each pupil to follow his own natural bent, and considered

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that too much time was devoted to useless detail and memory-work, especially in the subject of geography. The address referred to the Maori collection in the museum, and touched on the subject of why the Maori race was stationary and even retrograde, and attributed it chiefly to their communistic habits. It then referred to some economic matters, such as the conservation of the waste-forest products, to the Tarawera eruption, and to some recent application of science to the arts, particularly to electrical engineering.