Annual Meeting : 22nd February, 1909.
E. V. Miller, Esq., President, in the chair.
Report of the Council.
At the expiry of another year, and in conformity with the rules of the society, it is the duty of the Council to present to the members their forty-first annual report, dealing with the financial and general condition of the Institute, and the progress which it has made during the past year.
Members.—The number of new members elected during the year has been seventeen. The number withdrawn from the roll has been ten—one from death, five from resignation, and four from non-payment of subscription for more than two consecutive years. This leaves a net gain of seven, the total number on the roll at the present time being 183. The Council cannot but look upon this increase as disproportionately small. In the maintenance and extension of a public museum, the Institute possesses an undoubted claim upon the liberality of the citizens of Auckland. It is to be hoped that a recognition of this fact will lead to a larger addition to the membership during the coming year, and that the increase will continue to keep pace with the advancing prosperity of the city and its rapidly increasing population.
Finance.—Full particulars respecting the financial position of the Institute will be found in the balance-sheet appended to this report; but it will be useful to give a brief synopsis here. The total revenue of the Working Account, excluding the balance in hand at the commencement of the year, has been £1,095 7s. 1d The receipts for the previous year amounted to £1,033 8s. 3d., so that there has been an increase of £61 18s. 10d. Examining the separate items, it will be seen that the receipts from the invested funds of the Costley Bequest have amounted to £370 11s. 3d., as against £355 12s. for the previous year. The Museum endowment, which now constitutes the chief source of the revenue of the society, has yielded in rents and interest the sum of £426 15s. 6d., as against £419 13s. 2d. for 1907–8 £100 15s. 1d. has been transferred from the Mackechnie Library Bequest Account for the purchase of books, and £147 has been derived from the members' subscriptions. The total expenditure has amounted to £1,477 16s. 5d; but this includes the cost of the new workroom and other additions chargeable against the balance of the Government grant received last year, amounting altogether to £470 12s. 6d. The ordinary expenditure has thus been £1,007 3s. 11d., leaving a credit balance of £271 10s. 10d. in the Bank of New Zealand. There is no change of any moment in regard to the invested funds of the Institute, the total amount of which is £16,358 4s. 3d., showing an increase of £50 during the year.
Meetings.—Eight meetings have been held during the year, at which the following papers were read and discussed:—
Introductory address by the President, Mr. E. V. Miller.
“The Influence of Engineering upon Architecture,” by F. E. Powell, C. E.
“The Problem of Cancer,” by Dr. R. Briffault.
“Browning,” by Professor C. W. Egerton.
“On the Measurement of Electric Waves.” by Professor F. D. Brown.
“The Comparative Sanity of the Immigrant and Native-born,” by Professor H. W. Segar.
“On the Trisection of an Angle,” by Professor H. W. Segar.
“The Metallurgy of Gold and its Recent Improvements,” by Professor A. Jarman.
“The Maori Migration to New Zealand,” by E. B. G. Moss.
“Maori Forest Lore,” by Elsdon Best.
“Captain Dumont D'U rville's Visit to Tolago Bay,” translated from the French by S. Percy Smith.
“Notice of the Discovery of a Species of Burmanniaceœ in New Zealand,” by T. F. Cheeseman.
“Description of a New Species of Epilobium,” by D. Petrie.
“Notes on Coleoptera from the Chatham Islands,” by Major T. Broun.
“Revision of the New Zealand Cossonidœ,” by Major T. Broun.
Most of the above papers have been forwarded to the New Zealand Institute with the view of publication in the forthcoming volume of Transactions. Volume XL of the Transactions, containing the papers read before the Institute during the year 1907, was not received for distribution until the end of October, although bearing the date “June, 1908” on the title-page. It is much to be regretted that the delay in the appearance of the annual volume has apparently become of regular occurrence. Authors will ultimately hesitate to submit important memoirs to a society which retains them for nearly two years before publication.
For many years the meetings of the Institute have been held in the library; but the alterations made therein, alluded to in last year's report, have compelled the Council to hold them either in the statue-hall or in the Maori house. Neither of these rooms can be considered at all suitable, but the arrangement is the best that can be made until the funds of the Institute permit of the erection of a properly equipped lecture-room.
Museum.—With the exception of a few days devoted to cleaning and rearrangement, the Museum has been open to the public throughout the year. The hours of admission have remained, as before, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on week-days, and from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The attendance shows a considerable increase on that for the previous year, and is the largest yet recorded. The register kept by the janitor on Sundays proves that 20,896 people entered the Museum on that day, being an average of 402 for each Sunday. The largest attendance was 1,897, on the 9th August, being the Sunday of the arrival of the American fleet; the smallest, 51, on the 8th March. On the nine chief holidays of the year the number of visitors was 3,271, being an average of 363. During the stay of the American fleet there was an extraordinarily large attendance, the total for the week being 11,081, or an average of 1,582 for each day. On Monday, the 10th August, 2,797 visitors entered the Museum, being by far the largest number yet recorded. On ordinary week-days the visitors can only be counted occasionally, but the daily average is believed to be not less than 150. Deducting this from the attendance on holidays and during “fleet week,” this would make a total of 44,700, or of 78,051 for the whole year. Last year's estimate was 68,055.
In last year's report it was stated that the Council had decided to expend the greater portion of the balance remaining from the last Government grant, about £500, in providing a new workroom, a necessary adjunct to any Museum, and the want of which has long been felt. The room, which is situated in the basement under the Maori house, is 50 ft. by 30 ft, and is very conveniently placed for the purposes of the Museum. It was completed early in the year, the total cost being a little under £400. The remainder of the grant has been utilised in erecting a range of showcases in the foreign ethnological room, presently to be alluded to, and in providing a new staircase to the basement rooms.
Considerable progress has been made in the Museum during the year. The whole of the alcoholic specimens have been remounted and placed on new shelving erected between the pillars of the gallery of the main hall, a situation in which they are much better inspected than before. The collection of foreign shells, formerly on the floor of the main hall, has also been moved to the gallery, the specimens having been cleaned and rearranged. As foreshadowed in last year's report, a large amount of time and trouble has been spent in arranging, mounting, and labelling the foreign ethnological collection. It has been placed in the small hall adjoining the Maori House, and is now ready for public inspection. As the collection is an excellent one, and as a large part of it has never been previously exhibited, it will doubtless prove an attractive addition to the Museum.
A complete list of all additions and donations will be found in the appendix to the report, but special mention may be made of the following: In the Maori department,
an unusually large and fine greenstone hei-tiki; two bone harpoons, of a type new to the collection; an elaborately carved bone thatching-needle; and several other interesting specimens, obtained by purchase from various sources. Mr. G. Graham, who has previously made valuable contributions to the Maori collections, has placed the Museum under further obligations by presenting several articles, some being interesting additions to the collections. Mr. Winkle, of Mangawai, has presented an ancient Maori spade of a type entirely new to the Museum; and Mr. Mackenzie, of the Bay of Islands, has forwarded two beautifully carved bone barbs for pigeon-spears. In the zoological department the two most interesting additions consist of a specimen of the North Island thrush, now a very rare bird indeed, presented by Mr. P. Barlow, of Opotik; and one of the white-eyed duck, forwarded by Mr. H. Rowlands, of Hamilton. Finally, mention should be made of an old hand weaving-loom, deposited by the Hon. G. Fowlds.
Shortly after the last annual meeting it was resolved to add a resident taxidermist, or preparator of specimens, to the staff of the Museum. Inquiries were made in England and America for a suitable person, and after full consideration it was resolved to appoint Mr. L. T. Griffin, formerly employed in a similar capacity in the Cape Town and Pretoria Museums. Mr. Griffin arrived in Auckland shortly before the end of the year, and has already assumed his duties. His appointment will place the Museum on similar footing to the southern Museums, each of which has a taxidermist as part of the permanent staff, and will enable the zoological portion of the collections to be renovated and extended. The Council are confident that the action taken will result in important additions being made to the Museum, and a rapid improvement of the general appearance of the collections.
Library.—The Mackechnie Library Bequest has yielded its usual revenue during the year, which, as provided for by the Bequest, has been applied solely to the purchase of books. In all, three consignments have been ordered from London, two of which, numbering over 125 volumes, have been received, a list of the books appearing in the appendix to the report. The third is now on its way, and will shortly arrive. The Council have also purchased a small number of volumes from the library of Professor Talbot Tubbs. In addition to these purchases, the usual exchanges and presentations from foreign societies have been received.
Acknowledgment should also be made of a donation of twenty-three volumes from Mr. Henry Shaw, who has been a frequent contributor to the library in previous years. The magazines and other serial publications subscribed to by the Institute, a list of which will be found on another page, have been regularly received, and to some extent circulated among the members.
The card catalogue of the library, the preparation of which was authorised some time ago, has been completed during the year. The titles of the books have all been typed on the cards in duplicate, one set being used as a catalogue of authors, and the other as an index of subjects. The catalogue is now available for use, and should be of great advantage to readers in the library.
In concluding the report, the Council invite the active assistance of the members and the general public in furthering the objects of the Institute, either by adding to the Museum or library or by contributing papers to be read at the meetings, or in any other way that may seem advisable. They feel sure that in the future, as in the past, a liberal support will be given to an institution whose chief aim is to secure the diffusion of scientific and practical information throughout the community.
Election of Officers for 1909.—President—Professor C. W. Egerton; Vice-Presidents—Professor F. D. Brown, E. V. Miller; Council—L. J. Bagnall, Dr. R. Briffault, H. D. M. Haszard, T. Peacock, D. Petrie, J. A. Pond, J. Reid, Professor H. W. Segar, J. Stewart, Professor A. P. W. Thomas, J. H. Upton; Secretary and Treasurer—T. F. Cheeseman; Auditor—W. Gorrie.