First Meeting: 14th May, 1901.
Mr. G. M. Thomson, F.L.S., President, in the chair.
Amended rules consistent with the practice of the Institute were submitted to the meeting and adopted without discussion, and, on the motion of Mr. F. R. Chapman, it was resolved, “That the Institute proceed to incorporate under the Unclassified Societies Act.”
New Members.—Professor Park, Dr. Marshall, and Messrs. D. B. Waters, D. E. Theomin, E. R. Smith, and W. H. Smith.
The Chairman reported the progress that had been made in the direction of the establishment of a fish-hatchery.
The Government department had, he said, met them very fairly in the way of facilitating progress. A site had been selected opposite Porto-bello, and steps had been taken towards acquiring the necessary land. When this was done he presumed the Government would take steps to incorporate a small working body to carry on the station.
Mr. F. R. Chapman exhibited a very valuable collection of stone implements from different parts of the world, including, for the sake of comparison, some New Zealand examples.
The most notable of the exhibits were three from Sweden belonging to the Neolithic age. There were also some recent ones from New Guinea, one of which was remarkably symmetrical and was finished with the greatest care. Amongst other things, comparison was made between a jade implement from New Guinea and some polished stone implements of different size but similar make from Italy. The explanatory remarks proved most interesting, and were applauded. One of the specimens from Italy, Mr. Chapman remarked, was most probably fully ten thousand years old, and yet it was as well preserved as if it had been made within the last twenty years.
Dr. Colquhoun delivered an address, giving an account of recent researches in “The Relations of Mosquitoes to Malarial Fever.”
The subject was a technical one, but it was dealt with in a manner which made it clear and interesting to all, the history and results of the researches made by men of science in Italy, France, India, and England being mentioned. The subject of malaria, the speaker said, was, fortunately for the people of New Zealand, merely of academical interest, though throughout the British Empire malarial fever was second only to tuberculosis in its ravages. It was very prevalent and largely fatal in India, and it was quite impossible to state the number who were attacked by and died of this fever in Africa. In Italy whole
districts had been depopulated by it, and the same thing had occurred in America. The subject was one of immense importance to the world, and particularly to our Empire. Some of the guesses in the past regarding the cause of this disease had been singularly near the truth, and modern scientific research had proved up to the hilt that the mosquito grew the germ in its own tissues, carried it to human beings, and infected them with the disease. It was not every kind of mosquito that did this, but only Anopheles. Investigations showed clearly that this was actually the case, and it had been thought possible to stop the disease by destroying the mosquitoes. Some good had been done in this way by draining swamps and otherwise destroying the insects, but it was found that they were not easily dealt with. The speaker explained his subject by means of some very fine diagrams, and also exhibited a number of books and periodicals containing accounts of scientific research into this subject.
A short discussion took place, and a hearty vote of thanks was passed to Dr. Colquhoun for the clear and highly interesting manner in which he had dealt with the subject.
Second Meeting: 11th June, 1901.
Mr. G. M. Thomson; President, in the chair.
The President communicated to the Institute a letter from Mr. Morton, local secretary at Hobart for the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, giving some account of the programme of the meeting to be held in January, 1902.
The President laid before the Institute a scheme for compiling a faunal census for New Zealand in collaboration with the other Affiliated Societies.
Papers.—1. “An Account of the External Anatomy of a Baby Rorqual (Balænoptera rostrata),” by W. Blaxland Benham, D.Sc., M.A., F.Z.S. (Transactions, p. 151.)
2. “Note on an Entire Egg of a Moa now in the Museum of the University of Otago,” by W. B. Benham, D.Sc., M.A., F.Z.S. (Transactions, p. 149.)
3. “On Charity Organization,” by Miss K. Browning.
This paper gave an account of the aims and meth ods of the Charity Organization Society from her own experiences as a volunteer helper.
The paper was followed by some discussion.
Third Meeting: 9th July, 1901.
Mr. G. M. Thomson, President, in the chair.
New Members.—Rev. Canon Mayne, Miss Rees, and Miss Lena Stewart.
A letter was received from the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury enclosing a petition for presentation to the Board
of Governors of the New Zealand Institute, requesting the New Zealand Institute to undertake the publication of an “Index Faunæ Novæ-Zealandiæ,” a catalogue, with references, of all the species of animals hitherto described from the New Zealand area.
In order to secure uniformity, it was proposed that Captain Hutton, F.R.S., Curator of the Canterbury Museum, be requested to act as editor.
The Chairman expressed the hope that all the members present would sign the petition. He said that the preparation of the work presented no difficulty, provided that the Government, through the New Zealand Institute, would undertake its publication.
Paper.—“The Beginnings of Literature in New Zealand: Part II., the English Section—Newspapers,” by Dr. T. M. Hocken, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 99.)
Prior to delivering his lecture he called attention to a number of interesting exhibits of early New Zealand newspapers, including copies of the New Zealand Gazette (Wellington), the first newspaper ever printed in the colony, dated April, 1840; the curious old newspaper printed on blotting-paper; the ancient and famous Auckland paper printed on a mangle; and the early Bay of Islands papers, which were wretchedly printed. Dr. Hocken adverted to the fact that last year he had placed a paper before the Institute dealing with the Maori section of literature, but he would now deal with the purely English section of his subject as it struggled into life. Starting with the publication of the first newspaper, Dr. Hocken traced in an intensely interesting fashion the rise and fall of the multifarious newspaper ventures characteristic of pioneer times, the recital of which was enlivened with many personal reminiscences of men and things, and humorous incidents of the struggles and difficulties of this early day journalism. Taking the several newspapers, and dealing with them according to locality rather than date, the lecturer described the beginnings and endings of the first Wellington papers, which, after all sorts of vicissitudes, were incorporated with the present New Zealand Times. The Bay of Islands prints were then briefly alluded to, four of them having an average life of ten months each. The Auckland journals came next in order, and the historic newspapers that formed the connecting-link between ancient and modern journalism, finally culminating in the Auckland Herald, made matter for amusing and instructive description. The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle were the last under review.
The Chairman said that he trusted that Dr. Hocken's health would be so far renewed by his proposed trip that he would be enabled to complete the valuable work of which that evening's lecture was only one chapter. It would prove of untold value as a contribution to the history of the colony, and he knew of no one better fitted to undertake and carry through the task than Dr. Hocken. The amount of research involved was no inconsiderable item. In listening to the lecture he had been impressed with the surprising vitality and exuberance displayed by the writers in these early journalistic ventures, in which respect history certainly was repeating itself.
Mr. F. R. Chapman, in congratulating Dr. Hocken upon his paper, said that they were drawing near to the end of the time when it would be possible to obtain accurate information concerning the early history of the colony and of its provinces.
Fourth Meeting: 13th August, 1901.
Mr. G. M. Thomson, President, in the chair.
New Member.—Dr. Young, of Invercargill.
Dr. Benham, curator of the Museum, took the opportunity to bring under the notice of members a few specimens recently added to the Museum.
The first was a specimen of the squid, occasionally cast ashore in the harbour. Another was the New Zealand cockchafer (Prionoplus reticularis), mounted to show its life-history from its early stages till it becomes the full-grown beetle. Specimens of Phalangium cheliferoides, Mantis, and weta, mounted in alcohol, were exhibited, and then two specimens of the leaf insect. One of these was from Fiji, and the other had been sent to the Museum by Mr. Goyen, who got it from a man in the Catlin's district. Dr. Benham said it was not a native of these islands. After exhibiting two scorpions from India, he then showed a couple of lizards, one of a common variety found on the Peninsula, and another which appeared to be new to science. It was found at Fort-rose by a man who thought it was a tuatara. Seeing an advertisement in a paper offering £1 for a tuatara, he brought it up to Dunedin. It was a beautifully coloured lizard, having brown, red, and green markings. He had not had time to work it out thoroughly, but as far as he could judge it was an entirely new variety. A couple of living specimens of Paryphanta hochstetteri from Pelorus Sound were also on view.
Dr. Colquhoun read a paper entitled “Tennyson and Science.”
Fifth Meeting: 10th September, 1901.
Mr. G. M. Thomson, President, in the chair.
An advance volume of the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute” was laid on the table.
Mr. T. D. Pearce, M.A., read a paper on “Erasmus.”
There were exhibited by Mr. C. Brown some fossil leaves from the Kaikorai Valley, and a fossil fish from the same beds, collected by Mr. S. Thomson.
Dr. P. Marshall made some remarks on the leaves, and Professor Benham identified the fish as a species of Hemirhamphus.
Sixth Meeting: 8th October, 1901.
Mr. G. M. Thomson, President, in the chair.
Dr. P. Marshall delivered a highly interesting address on “Leaf-beds in the Kaikorai Valley,” and laid on the table a paper which he had prepared on the subject.
The existence of leaf-beds in the neighbourhood of Dunedin, he said, had long been known, but their exact position seemed of late years to have been forgotten. After describing the geological formation of the
locality, which he placed in the Oligocene period, Dr. Marshall said that from a preliminary cursory examination he had been led to believe that all the leaves whose impressions are to be found in the bed would prove to belong to a species of plants still quite common in New Zealand, but a closer inspection showed that in nearly every case they were utterly different from the plants at present growing in New Zealand soil. For the most part, the leaves belonged apparently to a species of oak, elm, birch, or beech. There were several kinds of beech-trees here, but the fossil leaves differed more from those of the present New Zealand beech-trees than they did from the beech-trees of England, and they indicated a very close alliance with the flora of England. There were leaves also which represented the remains of Magnolia. The Magnolia was a plant which had entirely disappeared from the flora of Australia and New Zealand, and was now characteristic of North America and Asia. Two leaves certainly represented a species of rata very closely allied to the large rata of the North Island. It would be known, the speaker continued, by those who paid any attention to the classification of fossil flora that Baron Von Ettingshausen considered that in all parts of the globe the Eocene and early Tertiary flora contained an assemblage of species indicating a generalised flora. Towards the close of the Tertiary age he supposed that one section of the flora—the principal element—became dominant, while the other forms sunk to co-elements. He considered that climatic variations and changes must be held to account for the dominance of the principal element in any country. An exact determination of the flora in such a deposit as that of the Kaikorai Valley would enable one to judge of the nature of the climatic changes that in New Zealand had induced the dominance of such a peculiar “principal element” as now characterized our flora. So far as the present leaf-bed can be used in this connection, it appeared that, although the climate during the deposition of these leaf-beds was, on the whole, probably a little milder than the present climate, a subsequent increase in temperature took place, securing the preservation of such forms as Piper and Metrosideros, while the oaks, elms, beeches, &c., became extinct. It was to be hoped that a fuller description of the flora would be afterwards given, with, if it were deemed advisable, the greater definiteness that was gained from specific identifications and specific descriptions. At present it was interesting to note the presence of Magnolia and Metrosideros and Piper in our Tertiary flora.
Mr. Malcolm Thomson, M.A., read an account of a new species of Annelid (Polynoe comma) from New Zealand waters. (Transactions, p. 241.)
It lives as a commensal in the tube of a Terebellid.
Professor Benham read a paper on the “Osteology and other Parts of Cogia breviceps” (Transactions, p. 155), and exhibited a number of ethnological specimens from Malekula, New Hebrides, recently acquired by the Museum.
Annual Meeting: 12th November, 1901.
Mr. G. M. Thomson, President, in the chair.
New Member.—Mr. George Howes, F.E.S.
On the motion of the Chairman, the following resolution was affirmed: “That the Otago Institute become registered under ‘The Unclassified Societies Act, 1895.’”
Papers. 1. “Notes on some Glacier Moraines in the Leith Valley, Dunedin,” by Professor Park. (Transactions, p. 444.)
2. “Notes on the Secular Movements of the New Zealand Coast-line,” by Professor Park. (Transactions, p. 440.)
3. “Notes on the Thames Goldfields,” by Professor Park. (Transactions, p. 435.)
4. “Reference List to the Literature of New Zealand Fishes,” by Mr. A. Hamilton. (Transactions, p. 539.)
5. “Notice of an Electric Ray new to the Fauna of New Zealand, belonging to the Genus Astrape,” by Mr. A. Hamilton. (Transactions, p. 224.)
6. “On the Method of Feeding by the Rorqual,” by R. Henry.
A fine specimen of Histopterus, or boar-fish, caught off Napier in 1900, was exhibited.
A specimen of the brilliantly coloured fish “Opha” (Lampris lima) was recently caught off Timaru and exhibited in Dunedin, but was acquired for an Australian museum.
Abstract of Annual Report.
The Council have held seven meetings for the transaction of the business of the Institute. During the session the Council have been deprived of the services of two of their number—viz., Mr. Melland, who went to England in July, and Dr. Hocken, who left Dunedin in August for a trip to Europe. Your Council did not deem it necessary to make use of their powers to fill these vacancies.
The usual number of meetings of the members has been held, and the plan adopted last year of arranging a definite programme of lectures has been again followed; yet the Council still have reason to regret the relatively small number of members that have been attracted by these lectures, which have covered a wide range of subjects. In addition to these lectures, eleven original contributions have been laid before the Institute for publication in the Transactions. A few years ago it was suggested that natural-history notes—records of observations scarcely worthy of being termed “papers”—might be made by members and handed to the secretary from time to time, but hitherto no response has been made. To the naturalist every careful and accurate observation, however slight and apparently unimportant, has its value, and the Council would welcome the notes, whether made by the wayside, or the seaside, or in the bush. Our native fauna and flora are rapidly disappearing, so that every opportunity should be taken of putting on record any observation of habits, of occurrence, of species, &c.
The number of new members elected during the session is eleven, and the Council hope that this is a promise of further increase, and that some of these new members will, by their efforts, contribute towards rendering the meetings interesting and varied.
During the last few years, owing to insufficiency of funds, it has been impossible to carry out the binding of the periodicals, but during the present session an attempt has been made to overtake the arrears; and, with the exception of some less important works, the periodicals up to date have been bound—namely, fifty-one octavo and twelve quarto volumes. The honorary librarian begs to point out to members the necessity of entering in the book provided for the purpose any volume borrowed
from the library, for during the present session one or two books have been taken away without this notification and have not been returned. It is in this way that books are liable to be lost. In view of the continued additions to the number of volumes, your Council have increased the sum for which the library is insured to the amount of £1,000. The yearly volume of the Transactions arrived on the 24th October, and was distributed to members as soon as possible.
At the beginning of the session a committee of your Council was appointed to revise the rules and constitution of the Institute, in order to bring them into agreement with the various changes effected by resolutions passed by the members from time to time since 1876, when the rules were last printed. The revised edition was issued to members in April of this year. A resolution was adopted that the Institute should be incorporated under “The Unclassified Societies Act, 1895.” This matter will be carried out forthwith.
The fish-hatchery has received a good deal of attention since the last annual meeting. During the recess a deputation of your Council waited on the Minister of Marine, who was passing through Dunedin, in order to urge upon him the importance of proceeding with the matter at the earliest opportunity, and the desirability of appointing a board of management at once. The Minister stated that he considered the matter as practically settled, and your Council indulged in the hope that they might see the building commenced ere the year was out. The lease of the necessary land was drawn up, plans and estimates of the buildings were made, and the Inspector of Fisheries, together with representatives of the Acclimatisation Society and of your Council, visited the proposed site, marked out the position of the tanks, laboratory, house, &c., the Government surveyor received instructions to make a detailed survey and plans, and all looked most promising. But since that date nothing further has been heard of the matter, nor has any board of management been appointed, without which it will be impossible to proceed.
The Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, conjointly with this and other institutes, is engaged in compiling an “Index Faunæ-Novæ-Zealandiæ,” of which they hope to persuade the Governors of the New Zealand Institute to undertake the cost of publication.
Your Council desire to express their sympathy with Mr. Hamilton and with the publishers of “Maori Art” on the unfortunate accident that has delayed the issue of the final part. Not only were nearly all the copies of Part V. when just completed and ready for issue destroyed by fire, but the blocks used for the illustrations of that part and the embossing of the binding-covers suffered the same fate. It is satisfactory to learn that the loss was covered by insurance, and that the reproduction has now been prepared and will be shortly issued.
The balance-sheet showed the receipts from all sources during the year to be £535 18s. (including £400 on deposit and a balance of £16 Os. 6d. brought forward from last year) The balance on the year's expenditure amounted to £29 11s.
Election of Officers for 1902.—President—Professor Benham; Vice-presidents—F. R. Chapman and C. W. Chamberlain; Hon. Secretary—G. M. Thomson; Hon. Treasurer—W. Fels; Council—Professor Park, Dr. Hocken, Dr. Colquhoun, Dr. Marshall, A. Hamilton, T. D. Pearce, and A. Bathgate; Auditor—D. Brent.
The President then gave an interesting address on the surroundings of the City of Dunedin. On its conclusion he vacated the chair in favour of Dr. Benham.