Fourth Meeting: 4th August, 1909.
Mr. A. Hamilton, President, in the chair.
New Members.—Dr. E. Borghetti, Mr. B. C. Aston, F.C.S., Professor T. H. Laby, Mr. T. S. Lambert, Mr. J. R. Strachan.
Papers.—1. “Notes on the Structure and Habits of a Podura and of an Acarid, with Descriptions thereof,” by J. Bronté Gatenby.
This paper was illustrated by means of a number of large-scale drawings in colour, executed by the author.
Mr. Gatenby was complimented on his paper by Mr. G. V. Hudson, Professor Kirk, and the President, who expressed the hope that it would be followed by other contributions from the author.
2. “An Astronomical Explanation of the Flood of Genesis,” by C. W. Adams.
3. “The Mokoia Aerolite, with a Few Introductory Remarks on New Zealand Meteorites,” by George R. Marriner.
4. “Maori Numeration: being a Reply to Mr. Elsdon Best's Paper on Maori Numeration in the ‘Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,’ Vol. xxxix,” by Hare Hongi.
5. “On Hongi's Armour,” by A. Hamilton.
6. “Botanical Notes made on a Journey across the Tararuas,” by B. C. Aston.
The nearest route to the Tararua Mountains from Wellington City is via Kaitoke. The base of the Quoin is reached either by the track through the Pakuratahi Gorge to the junction of that river with the Hutt River, and thence up the latter to the confluence of it with the Lesser Hutt (nine and a half hours' walk), or preferably along and over the burnt ridge behind Phillips's hut, then down the flank of the spur to the main Hutt River, and thence down-stream to the confluence (four hours' walk).
Making an early start from Kaitoke, the top of the Quoin (3,900ft.) could be reached the same night. A well-blazed track has been cut by Mr. Phillips Turner, Mr. A. Jones, and the writer, to a height of 2,300ft. from Confluence Camp. At 2,200 ft. stagnant water can usually be found, but after this there is none until the summit is reached, where there is shelter, wood, and water. Wild cattle and pigs are abundant.
The second day the range is followed over Mount Alpha (4,466 ft.). After getting well up on Mount Alpha, water is abundant in mountain-tarns until the bush-line on Table Top is reached, after which only temporary ground-water will be found until the Waiotauro River, a tributary of the Otaki, is reached. The characteristic Tararua alpine plants are found from the Quoin upwards. Remarkable “lane formations,” probably due to wind-action, and an interesting “razorback” with two distinct floras on its flanks, either of which is typical to aspect, and alternates from side to side as the ridge zigzags, are met with shortly before reaching the culminating point, Mount Hector (5,016 ft.) The descent into the Otaki watershed lies over Mount Dennan and Table Top. The latter can be reached by the second night.
The third day the descent through the subalpine scrub is rather troublesome, but this negotiated, a good track leads down to the bed of the Waiotauro River, or the junction
of this with the Otaki River. Great care must be exercised in keeping to the proper track during the latter part of the journey, avoiding tracks on several spurs branching off to the right leading into the Otaki Gorge, which can only be traversed with the greatest toil and difficulty. A spring bridge crosses the Waiotauro a little above its junction at Judd's hut, half an hour's walk along a good road from the Gorge settlement.
Lists are given of the plants and birds met with during the four days' journey from Kaitoke to Otaki.