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
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.