First Meeting: 9th May, 1905.
The President, Mr. J. C. Thomson, in the chair.
New Members.—Professor J. Malcolm, Dr. Riley, Messrs. E. J. Parr, W. Downie Stewart, Robert Browne, and J. Blair Mason.
The President delivered his presidential address on “The Resources of New Zealand” (fully reported in the Otago Daily Times, 10th May).
He dealt, firstly, with agricultural and pastoral callings, tracing out the developmental history of the frozen-meat trade and the export of butter. In regard to flax, he pointed out the great need for experimental work in the direction of treating the fibre and producing the sort of material familiar to Maoris; he insisted on the suicidal policy pursued by flaxmillers in destroying the flax over large areas, and making no provision for propagation of the best varieties. The fruit industry and fishing industry both needed systematic study; in the latter, the desirability of utilising waste products, for the extraction of oil and manufacture of manure, was referred to. Passing on to the mineral resources, he gave statistics with regard to gold, silver, coal, iron-ore, antimony, scheelite, copper, &c., as well as of limestone, phosphate rock, and cement. He pointed out the value of our timber-supply, and the need for Government to interfere in order to obviate the waste caused by annual clearings of bush land The excellent work carried on by the Forestry Department was discussed; and finally, reference was made to the valuable resource that New Zealand has in its water-supply, both for irrigation purposes and for power.
At the conclusion of his remarks he was, on the motion of Dr. Hocken, seconded by Mr. E. Herbert, accorded a hearty vote of thanks for his very instructive practical address.
Mr. G. M. Thomson made some remarks upon a specimen of mistletoe growing on a hawthorn, submitted by the Hon. Secretary (Mr. Robert Gilkison).
He pointed out that mistletoes usually put their radicles into the heart of the trees upon which they grew and sucked the unassimilated sap, while dodders sucked the formed sap from the outside. This specimen showed both types of nutrition
Second Meeting: 13th June, 1905.
Mr. J. C. Thomson, President, in the chair.
Exhibits.—Professor Benham exhibited and made remarks upon a cast of the skull of an early ancestral horse (Mesohippus)
recently acquired by the Museum, and compared it with the skull of a recent horse; and gave a brief account of the evolution of the horse.
Mr. G. M. Thomson, local Secretary of the Australiasian Association for the Advancement of Science, laid upon the table an advance copy of the report of the Dunedin meeting.
Mr. Thomson gave some account of the work being carried on at the Marine Fish-hatchery at Portobello.
A short note by Mr. H. P. Young, of Orepuki, was read, “On the Native Name of the Fuchsia.”
In the Maori name for fuchsia (kotukutuku) the tukutuku signifies that the flowers are pendulous. The name seems to have been the exclamation of one Native to another on first seeing a number of these flowers: “Kotukutuku !” (“They all hang down”). Another name, Konini, appears to be derived from ninia, to glow, and may be applied on account of the glossy, shining appearance of the flower. According to Mr. Cheeseman this name is applied to the fruit; but Mr. Young's informant—an intelligent North Island Native—says it is the common name in the Taranaki district for the flowering plant.
Mr. D. B. Waters delivered a short lecture on “Oil Engines.”
Mr. W. D. Stewart gave a brief account of a trip across Siberia, illustrated by lantern-slides.
Third Meeting: 20th July, 1905.
Mr. J. C. Thomson, President, in the chair.
Professor Easterfield delivered a most interesting lecture, illustrated by experiments, on “The Romance of Coal-tar.”
A vote of thanks, moved by Professor Black and seconded by Mr. G. M. Thomson, was carried with acclamation.
Fourth Meeting: 8th August, 1905.
Mr. J. C. Thomson, President, in the chair.
Papers.—1. “Notes on the Distribution of Ores in Horizontal Zones in Vertical Depth,” by Professor Park.
2. “On the Geology of the Clarendon Phosphate-deposits,” by Arthur Robert Andrew, B.Sc., A.O.S.M.; communicated by Professor James Park; with map. (Transactions, p. 447.)
3. “Notes on the Influence of Country Rock in Relation to the Distribution of Valuable Contents of Lodes, with Special
Reference to the Productive Zones in the Thames Goldfields, New Zealand,” by Professor Park; with plans and section.
4. “Notes on the Formation of Zones of Secondary Enrichment in certain Metalliferous Lodes,” by Professor Park.
5. “Notes on the Origin of the Metal-bearing Solution concerned in the Formation of Ore-deposits,” by Professor Park.
6. “On the Occurrence of Gold at Harbour Cone,” by C. N. Boult, B.Sc.; communicated by Dr. P. Marshall; with maps. (Transactions, p. 425.)
Addresses by Professor Benham and Mr. G. M. Thomson on “Modern Work on Evolution” were delivered.
Dr. Benham dealt chiefly with some of the modern factors of evolution, such as mutation, isolation, and the experimental study of variation.
Mr. Thomson discussed certain modern work on heredity, especially “mendelism.”
Fifth Meeting: 12th September, 1905.
Mr. J. C. Thomson, President, in the chair.
New Member.—Mr. J. W. Henton.
Dr. Hocken, referring to a proposal to introduce English owls into New Zealand, stated that these birds preyed on mice, voles, &c., and only rerely attacked small birds.
Mr. F. W. Payne gave a lecture on “Irrigation in Central Otago.”
Papers.—1. “Entomology in Southland,” by G. Howes, F.E.S.
2. “Some New Species of Lepidoptera,” by G. Howes, F.E.S. (Transactions, p. 510.)
Sixth Meeting. 17th October, 1905.
Mr. J. C. Thomson, President in the chair.
Exhibits.—Dr. Marshall exhibited some fossil ferns from the Hokonui Hills, near Gore, some of which belonged to the Jurassic period, and others of an earlier geological time.
Some of these showed fructification on the fronds, and indicated a genus found in New Zealand at the present day. Others were of a kind not now found here.
Dr. Marshall exhibited some polished bowemte—a kind of transparent greenstone much more rare than the greenstone commonly found in the colony.
Dr. Benham exhibited casts of the skull and feet of the generalised fossil mammal Phenacodus.
The changes that had gradually taken place in the form of the foot of the horse, from those found on the fossil remains of the horse to that of the present time, were explained by means of the casts and skeleton legs exhibited.
Dr. Benham also exhibited the peculiar spiral cases of the caddis-worm Helicopsyche, received per Mr. R. Browne, of Tokanui.
Dr. Malcolm exhibited a capillary electrometer, and explained its action by means of sketches on the blackboard. Afterwards, under a microscope, by means of the instrument, the electric current in living tissues was shown in a frog's muscle.
Papers.—1. “An Account of some Earthworms from Little Barrier Island,” by Dr. Benham. (Transactions, p. 248.)
2. “Some Additional Earthworms from the North Island,” by Dr. Benham. (Transactions, p. 239.)
3. “Note on a Large Specimen of Pterotrachea,” by Dr. Benham. (Transactions, p. 245.)
Dr. Hocken began the reading of a very interesting paper on “The Rev. Samuel Marsden and the Early New Zealand Missions.”
The author has collected a mass of very valuable data relating to his subject, and during his recent visit to England gathered much authentic information in the village near Leeds where Mr. Marsden was born. The paper dealt with the early life, the education at the university, the ordination, and the appointment to an official position in New South Wales of the reverend gentleman; but the biographical sketch had not got beyond the voyage out to Botany Bay in the convict ship “William,” and the birth of a daughter in the midst of very rough shipboard surroundings, when the further reading of the paper was adjourned.
Seventh Meeting: 14th November, 1905.
Mr. J. C. Thomson, President, in the chair
The following resolution was passed: “That the members of the Otago Institute record their great sense of the loss which the cause of biological science has sustained by the death of Captain Hutton, F.R.S. As an indefatigable and earnest worker in many branches of natural science he has left his mark deep on the scientific records of this colony, in which his name will always be remembered as one of the pioneers of biological work. As teacher of biology and geology in Otago University and Canterbury College, as Curator of both Museums, as President of this Institute and of the New Zealand Institute, and as President of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of
Science, he did yeoman's service for the cause which he had so much at heart. That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to Mrs. Hutton, together with an expression of the Institute's deep sympathy with her and with the members of her family in their bereavement.”
The above was moved by Mr. G. M. Thomson, seconded by Dr. Hocken, and Drs. Benham and Marshall spoke to the motion.
Professor Benham exhibited a probably extinct species of wren (Traversia lyalli) obtained on Stephen Island, and a species of gigantic weta (Hemideina broughi) from the West Coast.
Papers.—1. “Treatment of Partially Decomposed Pyritic Tailings by the Cyanide Process,” by Mr. F. Shepherd; communicated by Professor Park. (Transactions, p. 558.)
2. “Portobello Fish - hatchery, with Scientific Notes and Record of Observations,” by Mr. G. M. Thomson, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 529.)
3. “The Gem Gravels of Kakanui, with Remarks on the Geology of the District,” by Mr. J. Allan Thomson, B.Sc., Rhodes Scholar. (Transactions, p. 482.)
4. “Geological Notes on the West Coast,” by Dr. Marshall. (Transactions, p. 560.)
5. “Note on the Occurrence of Two Rare and Two Introduced Moths,” by Mr. G. Howes. (Transactions, p. 509.)
Mr. G. Howes read the following note on “Fruit-destruction by Small Birds in Central Otago”:—
I have lately returned from a trip through Central Otago, and while in the Teviot and Alexandra districts had my attention called to a new phase in the destruction of fruit by small birds. Until this year fruit has been comparatively safe until it ripened. Now, they are attacking the trees while still in flower and just as the fruit forms. Roxburgh and Coal Creek have over thirty orchards producing fruit for the market. Of these half a dozen only have escaped serious loss from the ravages of small birds. Some orchards have only one-tenth of their usual crops left. The smaller outlying orchards have been practically stripped, the larger ones adjoining each other not having suffered so heavily. The birds, of whom the green linnet seems the worst offender, attacked the apricosts after the fruit was formed, and the cherries while still in flower. When I left they were attacking the peaches and plums also. I visited the two largest orchards at Alexandra, and they have suffered greatly. Mr. Iverson will be a very heavy loser, having some 20 acres of fruit-trees, and yet only able to save the fruit on trees immediately about his house. The introduction of owls has been advocated, and if they are to be introduced there could be no better districts than the Teviot and Alexandra for the experiment. There are but few native birds for the owl to destroy, and the hillsides swarm with destructive introduced birds.
Dr. Hocken read the second part of his instructive paper on “The Rev. Samuel Marsden and Early New Zealand Missions.”
Dr. Hocken sketched in a most interesting manner the terribly uphill and disheartening work of a missionary in the early days of the convict establishment in New South Wales
The annual meeting was then held.
The annual report stated, inter alia, that during the session ten new members were elected and ten had resigned, the total membership standing at 102.
A very handsome gift was made to the Institute by Dr. Fulton of a fine collection of New Zealand birds' eggs, which were gratefully accepted and handed over to the Otago University Museum.
The Council, on the strength of information received from various members, drew the attention of the Government to matters of pressing importance in connection with the preservation of our fauna and flora, and had assurances from the Government that the recommendations will be favourably considered. It is hoped that prompt action will be taken.
Referring to the lecture by Professor Easterfield, delivered in the chemistry room at the University, the report states that it is matter for regret that the attendance of members was small, and it is certainly neither encouraging to the lecturer nor to the Council in securing talent from beyond our own borders.
The Chairman moved the adoption of the report.
He said that it was an interesting fact that several of the papers contributed were written by students of Otago University. He hoped that their example would be followed. He referred also to the fact that the membership of the Institute never seemed to get much beyond about a hundred. The balance-sheet showed a revenue of £170. When they commenced the year they had a balance of £25 10s. 2d., and at the end of the year the balance was £52 5s. 5d. According to their rules they were supposed to spend at least a third of their revenue on literature. This year they had spent over half.
The report and balance-sheet were formally adopted.
Election of Officers for 1906.—President—Dr. P. Marshall; Vice-Presidents—Mr. J. C. Thomson and Dr. Fulton; Hon. Secretary—Professor Benham; Hon. Treasurer—Mr. W. Fels; Council—Mr. A. Bathgate, Dr. Hocken, Mr. G. M. Thomson, Mr. E. Collier, Professor Malcolm, Professor Park, and Mr. D. B. Waters.
It was recommended that Dr. Benham and Mr. G. M. Thomson should be elected in December Governors of the New Zealand Institute.
Dr. Marshall having returned thanks for his election, the meeting terminated.