During the present session five general meetings of the members and seven meetings of the Council have been held.
Eighteen papers were brought forward.
At the last annual meeting Dr. J. R. Don, D.Sc., was elected President of the Institute, but at the beginning of the year he resigned the office, on his removal from Dunedin to Oamaru. Professor Shand, LL.D., was appointed to the Presidential office for the remainder of the year, Mr. F. R. Chapman was elected Vice-president, and Mr. Crosbie Smith to the vacancy in the Council.
The Committee on the Establishment of a Fish-hatching Station at Purakanui made a further report on the matter, and the following resolution was carried: “That this Institute vote the sum of £250 for the erection of a fish-hatchery at Purakanui, conditional—(1) On the Otago Acclimatisation Society voting a like amount; (2) on the Government giving a grant of pound for pound on the amount raised here; (3) on the Government undertaking to provide the means to carry on the establishment for a period of, say, ten years, the management to be vested in a Board to consist of six members, two to be nominated by the Government, two by the Acclimatisation Society, and two by the Otago Institute.”
The fisheries committee were requested to proceed with the necessary arrangements for bringing the matter forward at a meeting of the Acclimatisation Society, and to interview the local members of the House of Representatives on the subject. A full statement of what has been done in the matter will be appended to this report.
Further representations have been made to the Directors of the New Zealand Institute about the publication of the Transactions, and separate
copies of the Proceedings of this Institute have been received and distributed. This will be done in the future, so that members at a distance from Dunedin will be kept better informed of the work of the Institute. It is also proposed that the Proceedings shall include in the future a collection of short notes on subjects of interest to the society which may be sent in by members.
During the year a number of books have been added to the library, and the binding-of the serials is now well in hand.
The number of members belonging to the Institute is not at all satisfactory, and compares very unfavourably with that of the other branches. Only three new members have been elected, and a large number have been struck off the roll, by resignation, removal, and by death. One very great loss has been sustained by the Institute in the death of Professor T. Jeffery Parker, D.Sc., F.R.S., who, for nearly eighteen years, has been closely connected with the society, and whose work on its behalf will long be remembered by those with whom he was associated. The Council desire to record their deep regret at the loss of one who had held the office of President of the Institute, and who, at the time of his death and on many previous occasions, had held the office of Secretary. The Institute has also to regret the loss of Mr. John Allan, Dr. Fergusson, and Dr. Jeffcoat, all of whom have been for many years members of the Institute.
Your Council are pleased to notice that the number of papers brought forward is an increase on the number presented last session, and they are also pleased to see that some of the members of the Dunedin Field Club have brought to the meetings collections of botanical specimens of much interest, showing that good work is being done by the club in the practical investigation of the natural history of the district. The success of the Field Club is always a matter of interest to the Institute, and should naturally result in an accession of members in due time.
Mr. James McKerrow was nominated to represent the Institute on the Board of Governors of the New Zealand Institute.
The balance-sheet shows the receipts for the year to be £87 3s., making, with the balance from last year, a total of £109 10s. 8d. The expenditure for the year was £82 1s. 5d., of which £44 13s. 6d. was spent on new books, periodicals, &c., leaving a credit balance of £27 9s. 3d.
On the motion of Mr. Hamilton, seconded by Dr. Hocken, the report and balance-sheet, as read, were adopted.
Mr. G. M. Thomson submitted the following report of the committee appointed to further the establishment of a marine fish-hatchery at Purakanui:—
In our last report it was stated that communications had been addressed to the Scientific Director of the Scotch Fishery Board and to the United States Commissioner for Fisheries regarding the extent to which it would be possible to retard—by chilling or otherwise—the hatching-out of certain fish-ova. No information on the subject was available from America, but Dr. Fulton was of opinion that retarding the ova could be accomplished to a certain extent, and suggested that experiments could be undertaken at Dunbar with the object of testing the question if the Institute would pay the cost of the ice required. Your committee agreed to do so, and passed a vote of £10 to cover expenses of the experiment, and on the 22nd December, 1896, Dr. Fulton was written to and asked to undertake the experiments during the following summer. We have not heard yet as to the results.