Notice of Death of Mr. F. E. Clarke.
The President called attention to the loss the Society had sustained owing to the death of the late Mr. F. E. Clarke.
He said he had contributed most valuable papers to the Transactions on the subject of the fishes of New Zealand.
Sir James Hector also drew attention to the valuable work that Mr. Clarke had done in this particular branch of science.
Papers.—1. “On Maori Spirals and Sun-worship,” by E. Tregear, F.R.G.S. (Transactions, p. 284.)
Sir James Sector said the paper was a valuable one, full of erudition, and with a good deal of original matter. He had questioned an old Maori carver on the subject of the bow ornaments of the war-canoe, and had been answered that they were copied from the spiral markings on the skin of the thumb. Having made some experiments, he found to his surprise that the thumbs of Europeans gave single spirals, whilst those of many Maoris (though not of all) gave double spirals. It might yet be found that this distinction gave valuable information as to the race-limits and even as to the origin of the Polynesian.
Mr. Hogben stated, in corroboration of what had been said in the paper about the peasants in the Old Country jumping through the Beltine fires in honour of Baal, the Sun-god, that he had noticed the lines of people had always moved in one direction—viz., that of the sun's course.
Mr. Tregear, in reply, said he considered if there was any difference between the thumb-markings of Maoris and Europeans that such discovery would be of great ethnic interest. As to a modern Maori's opinion on such a subject as the origin of the double spiral in carving, it was worthless as evidence. One Maori would say that it came from the unfolding fern-frond, another from the thumb-marking, &c. None of them could possibly know why their ancestors three thousand years ago used the mark, unless a legend of undoubted antiquity had been handed down from that period, and no such legend on the subject was at present known.
2. “Notes on Notornis mantelli,” by R. Henry; communicated by Sir J. Hector. (Transactions, p. 53.)
3. “On Hereditary Knowledge,” by R. Henry; communicated by Sir J. Hector. (Transactions, p. 51.)
Mr. Harding, Mr. Hudson, Mr. Tregear, and Sir J. Hector gave some interesting information on the habits of certain birds and animals, which seemed to indicate that they had something more than mere instinct.
4. “On the Result of Crossing with the Muscovy Duck and Andalusian Drake,” by Coleman Phillips. (Transactions, p. 56.)
The author exhibited a specimen of the bird described.