Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 27, 1894

Auckland Institute.

First Meeting: 4th June, 1894.
Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.

The President delivered the anniversary address, taking as his subject “The History of Money.”

The President said: In opening a new session of this branch of the work of the Institute, I cannot refrain from inviting you to allow your thoughts to dwell for one moment on the memory of our late President, Professor Pond. Mr. Pond took a warm interest in the progress of this Institute, and by his death we suffer a great loss. His sympathies were, however, not confined to this Institute, but were freely open to every movement for the welfare of the community. His gentle temper and his modest character endeared him to all who had the privilege of his friendship, while his lofty sense of duty and his great abilities marked him out for a career of the widest usefulness amongst us: his loss is one not easily to be repaired. He was ever anxious to do what he could for the general weal, and deeply earnest in the doing of what he undertook. But even when he entered upon what was to prove his last service to this Institute—namely, his year of office as President—already the Silent Shadow stood waiting, and, with all the bright possibilities of a brilliant career opening out before him,

“God's finger touched him, and he slept.”

Second Meeting: 18th June, 1894.
Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.

New Member.—Mr. F. G. Ewington.


Mr. B. Withy gave a popular lecture, illustrated by diagrams, on “The Economic Effects of Various Land-tenures.”

Mr. Ewington spoke at some length, arguing that the private ownership of land was not the only cause of the existence of the unemployed classes. There always had been, and always would be, the careless and improvident; and, besides that, famine, fire, floods, changes of fashion, &c., might, and did, create unemployed people. He considered that Mr. Withy had overlooked many social and economic facts of the first order when dealing with his subject.

The President, in moving a vote of thanks, said that Mr. Withy must have forgotten that, if there were no unemployed in primitive times, there was slavery. Now, in civilized countries men were free, and with their freedom came additional responsibilities, one of them being the care of the poor.

Mr. Withy briefly replied.

– 674 –

Third Meeting: 2nd July, 1894.

Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.

New Members.—J. Brown, A. H. Hosking, W. Philcox, Professor Tubbs.


The President said he had much pleasure in announcing that the Council had purchased the celebrated carved house at Maketu. Some years ago it was intimated to them by their esteemed member, Mr. F. D. Fenton, that this famous house could be purchased; but at that time there were difficulties in the way of money matters. A few weeks ago, however, Mr. Fenton obtained an offer of the house at a very reasonable price, and at once placed it before the Council. The Council decided to accept the offer, and asked Mr. Fenton and Mr. Cheeseman to proceed to Maketu to complete the purchase and obtain possession of the house. This had been done, and the carvings would arrive in Auckland during the week. He would now ask Mr. Cheeseman to give a description of the house.

Mr. Cheeseman said: The carved house, which, through the assistance of our friend Mr. Fenton, has just been purchased for the Auckland Museum, was the property of Te Pokiha Taranui, the leading chief of the Ngatipikiao Tribe, a section of the Arawa. Te Pokiha is better known to us by his European sobriquet of Major Fox, he having commanded a portion of the Arawa contingent during the chase after Te Kooti. The house stood at Maketu, about eighteen miles south of Tauranga, and was built about 1868. It belongs to the class of carved houses known as pataka, or storehouses. These are raised on legs, and have the whole of their carvings and other ornamentation on the outside, thus differing from the runanga, or meeting-houses, in which it is the interior which is carved and decorated. The house is without doubt the finest and most complete of its class in existence, as you will probably all admit when it is erected in Auckland. It is about 35ft. long by about 20ft. broad, and has a height of 15ft. to the crown of the roof. The sides and both ends are formed of upright totara slabs, boldly and elaborately carved, the carvings being mainly grotesque representations of the human figure. The ridge-boards are carved to represent a number of ngarara, or lizards, running along the roof, and the maihi, or gable-boards, have carvings of the mythological animal known as manaia—probably a kind of taniwha. In front of the house is a carved verandah, some 5ft. or 6ft. deep, and it is on the walls of this that the most elaborate carvings in the house are placed, many of the slabs representing well-known ancestors of the Ngatipikiao Tribe. For instance, a large carved figure over the doorway stands for Tama te Kapua, the captain of the “Arawa” canoe, which, it will be remembered, was finally beached at Maketu after its adventurous voyage from Hawaiki to New Zealand. The tekoteko on the roof above is Takenga, one of the descendants of Tama te Kapua, and a remote ancestor of Pokiha; another tekoteko is Awanui, a son of Takenga; and so on. In fact, the chief figures on the house are evidently intended to illustrate Pokiha's genealogy. The house itself bears two names—one being Tuhua Katoore, the signification of which is “the pit of the taniwha”; the other Puawai o te Arawa, or “the flower of the Arawa.” Maketu also possesses two runanga houses—one of them, known as Houmatawhiti, being the finest of its kind in New Zealand. As already mentioned, Maketu is noted as being the landing-place of the famed Arawa canoe; and a clump of mingimingi trees, old and hoary, and evidently of great antiquity, is still pointed out as having sprung from the skids which were used in hauling up the canoe on the beach.

On the motion of the President, a cordial vote of thanks was unanimously

– 675 –

awarded to Mr. Fenton for his action in securing so valuable a relic of the Maori race for the City of Auckland.

Paper.—“The Geology, Resources, and Future Prospects of the Thames Goldfields,” by James Park, F.G.S., Lecturer of the School of Mines, Thames. In the absence of the author, the paper was read by Professor Thomas.

Fourth Meeting: 16th July, 1894.

Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.


Professor Arnold Tubbs gave a popular lecture on Greek Art, entitled “A Greek Madonna.”

Fifth Meeting: 6th August, 1894.

Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.

New Member.—Mr. G. Wilson, Inspector of Mines, Thames.


Paper.—” The Treatment of Lunatics, historically considered,” by F. G. Ewington, Official Visitor to the Auckland Asylum.


The lecturer considered that mind was one of man's best endowments. It made us heirs of the ages; enabled us to live the past over again, and anticipate the future; also to move amongst buried cities and extinct civilizations, and almost feel the heart-beat of our ancestors. The light of reason enabled Newton to deduce the law of gravitation from a falling apple; Galileo to infer from the sympathy between two magnetic needles that men at great distances apart might converse together; Edison to treasure up the human voice in the phonograph; Darwin to conceive and expound his marvellous theory of the origin of species; and Aristotle and Shakespeare, and other immortal leaders of thought, to sway empires vaster and more glorious than ever fell to the lot of political rulers. The lecturer then showed how necessary it was to realise the greatness of mind, in order to realise the seriousness of its ruins. He gave instances of patients under Illusional and delusional insanity, also of some suffering from mania and idiocy. The lecturer next proceeded to show the necessity for public vigilance, and then emphasized the fact that the lot of the insane to-day might be any man's to-morrow, through fright, joy, grief, or a break-down in running the pace that kills in modern industrial life. After dwelling on the value of hope, the lecturer showed that in ancient times Hippocrates and others held very humane and scientific opinions on insanity and its proper treatment. Some illustrations were then given of cruelty practised in the Middle Ages, when lunatics were burned as witches or killed as demoniacs. Thence the lecturer proceeded to modern times, and showed how shamefully patients were bound, flogged, chained, caged, held up for public exhibition half drowned in surprise baths, chained in stalls, nearly

– 676 –

killed in rotating swings, left from Saturday till Monday in chains unattended, and otherwise ill-used. Mr. Ewington warmly eulogized Dr. Conolly, father of Mr. Justice Conolly, a celebrated lunacy reformer, and showed a portrait of him on the screen, and described a magnificent trophy given to him by the public in 1852 for ameliorating the condition of the insane. He also spoke of Gardner, Hill, and Churchworth as reformers in the same cause. Mr. Ewington pointed out that mechanical restraints are still used in 219 asylums, and assured his audience that the only safety was in good doctors and attendants, efficient official visitation, and a free Press. He spoke warmly in praise of Dr. Macgregor and the Auckland staff, and assured his audience that the insane were better cared for than they could be in their own homes. The lecturer next disposed of various misconceptions: (1) That attendants are less kind than relatives; (2) that lunatics are unkind to each other; (3) that lunatics are not sensitive; (4) that they are fools; (5) that all lunatics are dangerous; (6) that the asylum is not the best place; (7) that lunatics are always cutting capers; (8) that it is no good for friends to visit them. Mr. Ewington, in conclusion, dealt with the following needful reforms: Legal assistance at first examinations; better provision for classification; single rooms required, for which (in Auckland) £3,000 had been voted; convalescent homes; and lastly, funds should be given to needy discharged patients.

At the conclusion of the lecture a warm vote of thanks was accorded to Mr. Ewington.

Sixth Meeting: 20th August, 1894.

Professor F. D. Brown, Vice-president, in the chair.


The Rev. J. Bates gave a popular lecture on “Comparative Religion.”

Professor Brown, in moving a vote of thanks to Mr. Bates, said that he was glad to find a clergyman of the Church of England reading a paper like this. No one could read modern literature without feeling that persons who thought were dissatisfied with religion as it was now. Many ministers of religion were unwilling to recognize this fact. But it was the case that those who thought were straying away, perhaps, in the direction of the East. Darwin and Tyndall had had their say, and were gone, and the materialistic ideas of a few years ago, which were then thought so complete, were weakening. People were being attracted to the East in search of ideas that might revivify religion. Those of the clergy who recognized this were endeavouring to bring religion into line with modern thought.

Seventh Meeting: 3rd September, 1894.

Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.

New Members.—Professor Egerton, M.A., D. Petrie, F.L.S., Mrs. D. B. Thornton.

Papers.—1.” Poetry considered as an Interpretation of Life,” by Professor Egerton.


2. “A Yorkshire Blood-feud,” by F. D. Fenton.

– 677 –

Eighth Meeting: 17th September, 1894.

Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.


Professor A. P. Thomas, F.L.S., gave a popular lecture entitled “Darwin.”

Ninth Meeting: 1st October, 1894.

Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.


Papers.—1. “Shooting Stars and Meteors,” by Professor H. W. Segar.

2. “Maori Preserved Heads,” by the Rev. P. Walsh. (Transactions, p. 610.)

3. “The most frequent Pelagic Copepods and Cladoceres of the Hauraki Gulf,” by Dr. Augustin Krämer, Surgeon, H.I.M.S. “Bussard.” (Transactions, p. 214.)


4. “A Poet's Socialism,” by E.A. Mackechnie.

Tenth Meeting: 15th October, 1894.

Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.


Professor F. D. Brown gave a popular lecture on “Explosives,” illustrated by numerous experiments.

Annual Meeting: 18th February, 1895.

Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.

Nine new members joined since the last annual meeting, being a slight increase on the previous year; while fifteen names were withdrawn —three from death, nine from resignation, and three from non-payment of subscription—the number on the roll at the present time being 171.

The total revenue of the General Account is stated at £1,357 10s. 5d., which includes the balance of £53 14s. 7d. from the previous year, and also a temporary advance of £306 6s. 7d. from the Capital Account for purchasing and re-erecting the carved house from Maketu. More than one-third of this amount has already been repaid, and it is expected that the remaining £200 will be repaid before the expiration of two years. Deducting these amounts, the real income was £997 9s. 3d., a marked increase on the previous year. The interest derived from the invested funds of the Costlev bequest was £474 12s. 2d.; while the Museum endowment contributed in rents and interest £343 2s. Members' subscriptions yielded £129 3s. The expenditure was £1,283 16s. 1d., leaving a credit

– 678 –

balance of £73 14s. 4d. The invested funds of the Institute are in a satisfactory condition. The total amount at the present time is £12,845, showing an increase of £356 during the year.

As regards the Museum endowments, some small sales of township allotments have been effected. The Council are now negotiating with the Crown Lands Board respecting the utilization of the Tihithi Block, at Whangarei, the largest of the endowments; and it is hoped that a plan may be decided upon under which the block may be cut up and either sold or leased. The chief difficulty in dealing with the endowments is that there is little demand for country lands except under perpetual lease; and under that system the rents are so small, and are often paid with such irregularity, that the Council are unwilling to adopt it, except in a partial and tentative manner.

Ten meetings were held during the year, at which fourteen papers were read.

The attendance of visitors at the Museum was satisfactory. On Sunday afternoons 9,873 persons visited the building, being an average of 189 for each Sunday. The largest attendance was 334, on the 26th August, and the smallest 34, on the 17th June. The average daily attendance was about a hundred and ten. The approximate week-day attendance is given at 33,000, the total for the year consequently being 41,873. The greatest attendance on any one day was 443, on the 24th May.

The most interesting addition made to the Museum is the Maori House.* The desirability of securing for the City of Auckland such an excellent example of Maori art at a price so reasonable as £150 could not be gainsaid. The house was very carefully taken down and shipped to Auckland, and has since been erected in the centre of the Ethnological Hall. The total cost of its purchase, together with removal and re-erection, has been £306 6s. 7d. The Council record their appreciation of the services rendered by Mr. Fenton in this matter. All the preliminary negotiations for the purchase were made by him; while at considerable personal inconvenience he accompanied the Curator to Maketu to smooth over any difficulties which might arise in completing the purchase. During the re-erection of the house his wide knowledge of the Maori race and its manners and customs was freely available.

Appended to the report will be found a complete list of all additions to the Museum. Many, of these are Both interesting and valuable.

During the year the following work has been done in the Museum: The rearrangement of the foreign birds, commenced in the previous year, has been completed; several minor changes have been made in the classification of the ethnological collections; the mineralogical collections have been cleaned, rearranged, and relabelled, all recent additions being worked into their proper places; an explanatory series, intended to facilitate the study of the mineral collection by beginners, has been formed, and supplied with descriptive printed labels; the collection of New Zealand fossils, by far the greater proportion of which has never been exhibited to the public, has been cleaned, systematically arranged, mounted, and labelled; the type collection of rocks, purchased some time ago in London, has been more suitably displayed, as also a special collection presented by Mr. Park, intended to illustrate the geology of the Thames Goldfields; the recent shells, both New Zealand and foreign, have also been carefully overhauled and relabelled. In carrying out the above work the Curator has had the help of Mr. Henry Suter.

The library is in a satisfactory state.

At the conclusion of last year's report the Council drew attention to the serious delay in concluding the purchase of the Little Barrier Island,

[Footnote] * See p. 674 for description.

– 679 –

and pointed out that the island was being gradually rendered less suitable for the preservation of the New Zealand fauna. At the annual meeting a resolution was passed requesting the Council to urge the Government to complete the purchase; and, in response to this, a deputation of the whole Council waited on the Premier, fully explaining the position of affairs, and the necessity for immediate action. The Premier expressed himself as being anxious and willing to expedite the purchase, and engaged that if the native owners continued to refuse reasonable terms a Bill would be introduced into Parliament providing for the compulsory purchase of the island at a fair valuation. This has since been done, and it is now stated that the Native Land Court has fixed the amount payable to the owners. Probably no long period will elapse before the Government will be the sole owner of the island. If so, the Council trust that no time will then be lost in removing the few Maoris still resident on the island, and in furnishing the caretaker with full powers to prevent unauthorized persons from landing.


President—Professor A. P. Thomas, F.L.S.; Vice-president—J. H. Upton; Council—Rev. J. Bates, W. Berry, Professor F. D. Brown, F.C.S., E. A. Mackechnie, G. Mueller, T. Peacock, J. A. Pond, T. H. Smith, J. Stewart, C.E., Professor H. A. Tubbs, E. Withy; Trustees—E. A. Mackechnie, S. P. Smith, F.R.G.S., T. Peacock; Secretary and Treasurer—T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S., F.Z.S.; Auditor—W. Gorrie.