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Volume 42, 1909

Manawatu Philosophical Society.

Third Meeting: 8th July, 1909.

Mr. M. A. Eliott, President, in the chair.

Mr. R. C. Bruce, of Hunterville, gave a very interesting address on “Reminiscences of the Maori Race.”

Speaking on the question of the origin of the Maoris, Mr. Bruce expressed himself as strongly of the opinion that they were originally a branch of the Aryan stock, though no doubt they had become mixed with many other strains in the course of their slow migration from the central plateau of Asia to the islands of the Pacific. In support of this, Mr. Bruce pointed out the close resemblance existing in some cases between Maori and Celtic myths—as, for instance, those associated with the hokioi in the one case and the eagle in the other. As illustrating the curious occurrence at times of a “throwback” to a long-previous strain, he stated that he had himself seen a Maori who was an exact reproduction of the Aztec type, comparing that fact with the recently reported occurrence of a black calf in the Chillingham herd of wild cattle.

As to the existence in New Zealand at the time of the coming of the Maoris of an aboriginal race of lower type, Mr. Bruce stated that the best authorities with whom he had discussed the subject—Sir George Grey, Sir Walter Buller, and others—had always declined to express any definite opinion; but that there were certain facts which tended to support the idea—as, for instance, the discovery by Mr. Field, on the Waitotara, of human remains distinct from the Maori type, and the discovery also of an old building, at the supporting posts of which were found human skeletons.

Mr. Bruce concluded with an earnest appeal for the preservation of all legends and memorials of the Maori yet remaining.

Fourth Meeting: 19th August, 1909.

Mr. M. A. Eliott, President, in the chair.

Dr. J. M. Bell, Director of the Geological Survey, gave a most interesting lecture on “The Heart of the Southern Alps.”

The lecturer pointed out the points of difference, geological, botanical, and climatic, between this district and similar ones in other parts of the world, calling special attention to the very low level, considering the latitude, reached by the Franz Josef Glacier, and the remarkable contrast between it and the semi-tropical vegetation which fringed its lower reaches. He also mentioned the fact—unique as far as was known—that the terminal of this glacier had been during the last few years perceptibly advancing.

The lecture was illustrated by a series of very fine lantern-slides, from photographs taken by Dr. Bell during his different expeditions.