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Volume 34, 1901

Auckland Institute.

First Meeting: 3rd June, 1901.
Mr. James Stewart, C.E., President, in the chair.

New Members.—J. Burns, M. Casey, Dr. H. H. Cheeseman, M. A. Clark, Dr. W. H. Goldie, J. Howden, H. W. Hudson, Mrs. E. A. Mackechnie, E. K. Mulgan, O. R. Nicholson, C. Macculloch, D. B. McDonald, W. J. Parker, W. J. Speigt, H. C. Tewsley, A. A. Wrigg.

The President delivered the anniversary address. (Transactions, p. 1.)

Second Meeting: 24th June, 1901.

Mr. James Stewart, C.E., President, in the chair.

Mr. F. G. Ewington delivered a popular lecture entitled “Brain versus Muscle in the Production of Wealth.”

Third Meeting: 22nd July, 1901.

Mr. James Stewart, C.E., President, in the chair.

Professor F. D. Brown gave a popular lecture, illustrated by numerous experiments, on “The Measurement of Time.”

Fourth Meeting: 5th August, 1901.

Mr. James Stewart, C.E., President, in the chair.

New Members.—J. J. Craig, W. Crosher, F. Mander, M. McLean.

The President said he had pleasure in announcing that the Institute had purchased for the Auckland Museum the celebrated Maori carved house formerly standing at Taheke, on the north side of Lake Rotoiti.

After some general remarks, he said that the history of the house, as far as particulars had been obtained was as follows: In 1867, at which time several notable houses were being erected in the East Coast districts, it was suggested by Captain G. Mair and Mr. H. T. Clarke that one should he built at Taheke, near which a considerable number of

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Maoris were then living. The proposal was taken up by the Maoris with very great enthusiasm. The carving was undertaken by Wero, Anaha te Rahui, and others of the Ngatitarawhai Tribe, with several well-known carvers of the Ngatipikiao Tribe. A large sum of money was collected from the neighbouring Maoris, many who were then employed by the Government as militia contributing a fixed proportion of their regular pay. The carving occupied between three and four years, and many of the side slabs were carved from the sides of famous old war-canoes which had been in the possession of the Maoris for generations, and which had been used against the Tohourangi at Te Ariki, and which had been dragged overland into Tarawera Lake. The house was completed about 1871. The principal owner was Te Waata Taranui, elder brother of the late Pokiha Taranui (Major Fox). It was named Rangitihi, after the well-known hero of that name, who, next to Tama-te-Kapua, was the most renowned ancestor of the Arawas. The house was nearly 60 ft. long by 25 ft. wide, and had a height of about 18 ft. to the crown of the roof. In 1882 Te Waata died, and was buried within the veranda, or porch, of the house. An elaborately carved tomb, in true Maori style, was put up over the grave. This was subsequently acquired by Sir Walter Buller, and, after being exhibited at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition, was finally presented to the Trocadero, at Paris. During the eruption of Tarawera the roof of the house was broken in by the vast quantity of mud lodged upon it. The house was consequently taken down and removed to Maketu, with the intention of re-erecting it there, a project which, for want of funds, was never carried out.

Papers.—1. “Descriptions of New Native Plants,” by D. Petrie. (Transactions, p. 390.)

2. “On the Volcanic Ash-beds of the Auckland Isthmus,” by E. K. Mulgan. (Transactions, p. 414.)

Fifth Meeting: 19th August, 1901.

Mr. James Stewart, C.E., President, in the chair.

Professor H. A. Talbot-Tubbs gave a popular lecture, illustrated with numerous limelight illustrations, on “Greek Painted Vases: their Importance, Form, and Design.”

Sixth Meeting: 2nd September, 1901.

Mr. James Stewart, C.E., President, in the chair.

New Member.—A. D. Austin, F.R.A.S.

Papers.—1. “On the Recent Statistics of Insanity, Cancer, and Phthisis,” by Professor H. A. Segar. (Transactions, p. 115.)

2. “On the Flora of the District between the Manukau and Waikato,” by H. Carse. (Transactions, p. 362.)

3. “Exhibition of Astronomical Photographs,” by A. D. Austin, F.R.A.S.

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Seventh Meeting: 23rd September, 1901.
Mr. James Stewart, C.E., President, in the chair.

Mr. E. V. Miller delivered a popular lecture entitled “Ruskin's Influence on Economic Science.”

Eighth Meeting: 7th October, 1901.
Mr. James Stewart, C.E., President, in the chair.

New Members.—A. S. Bankart, S. Gray.

Papers.—1. “On Maori Games,” by Elsdon Best. (Transactions, p. 34.)

2. “On Maori Magic,” by Elsdon Best. (Transactions, p. 69.)

3. “On the Growth of Indigenous Trees,” by H. D. M. Haszard. (Transactions, p. 386.)

4. “Remarks on Indigenous Trees planted at Parawai, Thames, in 1873 and subsequently,” by J. W. Hall. (Transactions, p. 388.)

5. “On the Occurrence of Panax arboreum as an Epiphyte on the Stems of Tree Ferns in the Mauku District,” by H. Carse. (Transactions, p. 359.)

6. “On the Mollusca of Little Barrier Island,” by H. Suter. (Transactions, p. 204.)

7. “List of the Species described in F. W. Hutton's Manual of the New Zealand Mollusca, with the Corresponding Names used at the Present Time,” by H. Suter. (Transactions, p. 207.)

Ninth Meeting: 28th October, 1901.

Mr. James Stewart, G.E., President, in the chair.

Professor A. P. W. Thomas gave a popular lecture, illustrated with numerous limelight illustrations, entitled “Across the Mountains.”

Annual Meeting: 24th February, 1902.
Mr. James Stewart, C.E., President, in the chair.

New Members.—J. H. Howell, A. M. Myers, A. Waterworth.

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Abstract of Annual Report.

The Council submits the thirty-fourth annual report, dealing with the financial and general condition of the Institute and the progress it has made during the past year.

Twenty-four new members have been elected during the year, a number considerably above the average. On the other hand, seventeen names have been withdrawn from the roll—five from death, six from resignation, and six from non-payment of subscription for more than two consecutive years. The nett gain is thus seven, the number on the roll at the present time being 162. The members removed by death are Mr. W. Aitken, Captain Colbeck, Mr. E. T. Dufaur, Mr. S Eastham, and Mr. W. Hill, all of whom have been associated with the Institute for many years.

The balance-sheets accompanying the report give full particulars of the financial position of the Institute, so that a brief synopsis is all that need be given here. Omitting the donations received for the purchase of the Mair collection, which will be referred to in a special paragraph, and also excluding the balance of £136 1s. 6d. in hand at the commencement of the year, the total revenue of the working account has been £759 8s. 10d., as against £897 7s. 4d. for the previous year. The interest yielded by the invested funds of the Costley Bequest has been £365 8s. 2d., the amount for 1900–1901 being £436 5s. The Museum Endowment has contributed in rents and interest £309 10s., the sum for the previous year being £333 11s. 7d. The members' subscriptions have amounted to £126, showing a substantial increase on the sum collected during the last year. The total expenditure, omitting the amount paid for the Mair collection and the Maori house, has been £869 3s. 10d., leaving a credit balance of £76 6s. 6d. in the Bank of New Zealand. The Council are glad to report that the invested funds of the Institute are in a satisfactory state. The total amount at the present time is £13,877 8s. 9d., showing an increase of £287 18s. 9d. during the year. With the exception of a few hundred pounds lodged in the Bank of New Zealand, the whole of this is invested in mortgage on freehold properties or in Government debentures.

The Crown Lands Board have sold two small blocks of country lands during the year, and the proceeds, amounting to £413 12s., have been paid over to the Institute for the purpose of investment. With this exception, there is little to report under this head. The interest on the capital sum invested has been regularly received, and the Crown Lands Board has from time to time handed over the rents derived from those endowments which are leased. The Council regrets that there are several endowments situated in country townships which are apparently unsaleable at present, and from which no revenue is being obtained.

Nine meetings have been held during the year, at which eighteen papers were read.

The most noteworthy occurrence in connection with the Museum is undoubtedly the purchase of the Mair Maori collection. This, which was deposited in the Museum by Captain Gilbert Mair in 1890, has long been admitted to be the best private collection of the kind in existence, and its removal would have done irreparable harm to the Museum. When Captain Mair intimated in September last that he intended to dispose of the collection, and that offers had already been made for it by several European museums, the Council at once recognised that an effort must be made to retain it in Auckland. The price asked was £1,000, which was to cover not only the articles in the Museum, but a considerable number of others which had been retained by Captain Mair in his own possession, the total number of specimens being about four hundred. The Council need hardly say that the Institute itself was unable to make the purchase. For many years the whole of the revenue

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has been absorbed by the growing needs of the Museum, and to have drawn so large a sum as £1,000 from the invested capital, upon which the income of the society depends, would have been rash and injudicious in the extreme. Under such circumstances, it was decided to issue a circular to the citizens of Auckland, explaining the position and inviting donations for the purchase of the collection as the only means of retaining it in Auckland. The response to this invitation has been most generous, and has amply proved that the people of Auckland are ready and willing to support any object of undoubted public utility. The amount contributed up to the present time has been £962 7s. 7d., and there can be little doubt that the full sum of £1,000 will be obtained before the subscription-lists are finally closed. In the mean-time the collection has been secured, and the whole of it is now displayed in the Museum. The Council has great pleasure in recording their most grateful thanks for the liberal and sympathetic assistance which has been so freely rendered. A full list of all donors will be found appended to the report.

The Council has also to report the purchase of the well-known Maori carved house Te Rangitihi, formerly standing at Taheke, on the northern shore of Lake Rotoiti. This house, which is about 60 ft. in length by 25 ft. in width, with a height of 18 ft., is beautifully carved throughout, and is considered to be one of the best and most complete runanga houses in existence, and will doubtless form a most attractive addition to the Museum. It is hoped to erect it as an annexe to the eastern side of the Maori hall, but the estimated cost is so large that it is doubtful whether it is within the means of the Institute. The matter is now in the hands of a sub-committee, which will report to the Council. The thanks of the Institute are due to Captain G. Mair for his assistance in negotiating the purchase.

The Institute still retains the management of Little Barrier Island as a reserve for the preservation of the avifauna of New Zealand. The curator, Mr. Shakespear, has resided on the island during the year, and reports that no unauthorised persons have landed thereon, and that no attempt has been made to interfere with the birds. So far as can be ascertained, the birds show no signs of decreasing in numbers; in fact, the curator is of opinion that several species have shown a decided increase during the last two or three years. There can be little doubt that if a resident guardian is maintained on the island it will for many years remain a secure home for a large part of the avifauna of New Zealand.

Election of officers for 1902.—President—E. Roberto, M.D.; Vice-presidents—J. Stewart, M.I.C.E., and Professor H. W. Segar; Council—Professor F. D. Brown, C. Cooper, H. Haines, F.R.C.S., E. V. Miller, T. Peacock, D. Petrie, J. A. Pond, H. Swale, M.D., Professor H. A. Talbot-Tubbs, Professor A. P. W. Thomas, F.L.S., and J. H. Upton; Secretary and Curator—T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S., F.Z.S.

Paper.—“On the Volcanic Belts of the Auckland Isthmus,” by C. E. Fox. (Transactions, p. 452.)