Sixth Meeting: 10th October, 1899.
Mr. F. R. Chapman, President, in the chair.
Captain F. W. Hutton, F.R.S., delivered a lecture on “The Geological History of New Zealand.” (Transactions, p. 159.)
In his introductory remarks Captain Hutton said no systematic geological survey had as yet been made of New Zealand. Nevertheless, in the intervals between an examination of the mines and mining districts Sir James Hector managed to get a sketch-map made of the greater part of the country, while some of the more important districts had been examined in detail. A good deal was known about the general geological structure of New Zealand, but it was not known accurately. While something had been done towards unravelling the geological structure of the colony, the palæontology had been sadly neglected. Nearly all we knew about the palæontology was either due to the Government of Austria or the result of private enterprise. The large collections that had been made by the Survey Department had never been classified, and were practically wasted owing to the apathy of the Government. It was a great pity that this should be so, for the geographical position of New Zealand gave to its geology a world-wide interest. It was in New Zealand alone that we had any record of the ancient flora and fauna that
overspread the South Pacific. Captain Hutton proceeded to say that he thought all geologists who had examined New Zealand were pretty well agreed on most points of its geological history. There were only a few points on which they differed. He then went on to give details as to the general geological structure of New Zealand, and referred to the conclusions to be drawn from a study of these details. In concluding, he referred to the fact that the great river-gorges in Central Otago had been cut out by the action of glaciers. He also mentioned the well-known fact that Lake Wakatipu formerly overflowed at the Kingston end, but owing to the formation of a huge moraine which blocked up that exit the outlet by means of the Kawarau was formed. In this connection, he observed that he did not know if there were any persons present interested in mining, but he might say that the Molyneux Gorge was some two million years old, while the Kawarau Gorge was only about two hundred thousand. They would know what that meant.