Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 31, 1898
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The President thanked the members of the Society for his re-election, but remarked that he supposed he had been proposed for a new term in consideration of his not having performed the duties during the pant term. He also felt be had cause for thankfulness on account of his colleagues who had been elected. He proposed in his opening address, which ha had not had time to prepare, to speak upon a subject which was becoming more and more one of general interest to all_ civilised communities—the conservation of scenery and of the natural objects connected with scenery. The subject, he remarked, was one that had received attention in all parts of the world, but up to a comparatively recent period it had not been deemed worthy of being included in the programme of State policy. The speaker spoke of the scenery of Switzerland and Alaska and Australia and New Zealand, referring to the means which were adopted for the conservation of natural beauties and places of interest. One of the greatest acquisitions in this colony was the national park acquired by the colony in the centre of the North Island some years ago, which had been a gift to the people by the Maori owners. There was in almost every county in New Zealand, the President remarked, some object worthy of preserving, and he wished to add his testimony to that of others as to the usefulness and attractiveness of such objects, and to urge upon people everywhere to prize and take care of little pieces of scenery in their own districts. It seemed to him, for instance, that such a place as the Nuggets should have been, preserved. It seemed to him a pity that a considerable area had not been reserved there, as being the nearest place where they could get permanently and easily preserved a perfectly rough piece of ground as a park for an outlet for the people of Dunedin. It was not possible to conserve the bush in the hills here, because settlement must, as a matter of necessity, go on, but at the Nuggets there was a good, deal of land that might have been preserved in its natural state. Whether or not the land was all alienated from, the Grown he did not know, but if any was loft it was certainly desirable to preserve some part of it as a national park between the Nuggets and the nearest point of Catlin's Beach. Local parties should form committees and local bodies subcommittees to take an interest in preserving places of natural beauty for the public and from destruction.

Mr. A. Bathgate expressed regret that the Water of Leith Valley had not been preserved for the public. At the present time picnic parties could not go to any suitable spot near Dunedin without trespassing on private property.

Mr. J. Allen, M.H.R., suggested that societies such as the Institute should bring under the notice of the Government spots that ought to be preserved as national parks, and that something should be done to recover suitable areas round about Dunedin for the enjoyment of the people.

Mr. Chapman, in his reply, said that the scenery on the West Coast, to which reference had been made, was indestructible—the Sounds could take care of themselves; but there was not occasion to alienate land there, for when settlement did go there it would be purely fishermen's settlement. As to reserves near towns, he had thought a good deal about that question. The only way to get them was to pay for them. Unfortunately, the land was alienated, and the process of destruction was going on. There was still a beautiful bush area under Flagstaff,

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but every year it got narrower and narrower. The City Council had done something to preserve some areas at the head of the stream, but it was, of course, desirable that something more should be done.

The following botanical notes were received from Mr., B. C. Aston :—