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Volume 42, 1909

Wellington Philosophical Society.

Sixth Meeting (Annual Meeting) : 6th October, 1909.

Mr. A. Hamilton, President, in the chair.

New Members.—Mr. John Strauchon, Mr. T. A. Johnston, Mr. O. N. Campbell, Mr. H. E. Girdlestone, Mr. P. G. Morgan, and Mr. K. M. Graham

Exhibits.—1. Mr. B. C. Aston exhibited specimens of the alkaloids of the pukatea.

2. The Chairman called the attention of the meeting to a pig's jaw which he exhibited, showing a remarkable variation in the tusks.

The jaw had been found at Pipiruki.

3. The Chairman exhibited a medal which he had received as Director of the Dominion Museum from the University of Oviedo, Spain.

The medal had been struck in commemoration of the third centenary of the University, and in the covering letter the opinion was expressed that the presentation might be “regarded as a happy emblem of the fraternal friendship existing between the ancient and classic seat of learning in Ovido and the justly celebrated Museum in New Zealand.” This extract, the Chairman remarked, showed how the work of the late Sir James Hector, the founder of the Museum, was regarded in distant lands.

Papers.—1. “Preferential Voting and Vote-counting,” by G. Hogben, M.A.

The author delivered an address on the subject of this paper, restricting himself to systems in which only one member is to be elected for each constituency, and lucidly explained several schemes that have been devised to make sure of the election of the right candidate. The right candidate was the one who could singly beat each of the others, or the one preferred by the majority of the electors to any other single candidate. The author, by a series of numerical illustrations, showed that the second ballot, so far as indicating the preference of the majority in a single electorate, had the same defects as the old system of allotting the seat to the candidate at the head of the poll, and he showed how the second-ballot system might in some cases return a candidate who represented a minority. Other systems were also shown to fail, and a description was then given of the author's extension of Nansen's system of voting, in which the counting of the votes was much simplfied.

2. “On Hongi's Armour,” by A. Hamilton.

The author read some interesting correspondence settling the historic problem of Hongi's armour.

The following papers were taken as read:—

3. “Notes on a Small Ethnological Collection from the Solomon Islands,” by A. Hamilton, from notes supplied by the Rev. W. G. Ivens.

4. “Notes on Lepidoptera collected in Otago and Southland in the Season. –9,” by A. Hamilton and F.S. Oliver.

5. “A Review of the Present Position of the Palæontology of New Zealand,” by A. Hamilton.

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6. “Early History of Rangitikei, and Notes on the Ngati Apa Tribe,” by T. W. Downes.

7. “Lepidoptera from the Kermadec Islands,” by E. Meyrick, B.A., F.R.S.; communicated by G.V. Hudson, F.E.S.

8. “The Physiography of Wellington Harbour,” by Dr. J. M. Bell.

Annual Report.

A noticeable feature of the session which is now closing has been the large attendance at nearly all the meetings. Doubtless this is due to the fact that the Council has been trying the experiment of announcing by advertisement that the meetings are open to non-members. The session opened on the 5th May with an inaugural address by the President, Mr. A. Hamilton, his subject being, “Some Suggestions concerning Scientific Research in New Zealand.” Nineteen papers in all have been read, and at several of the meetings exhibits of an interesting nature have been laid on the table.

At its annual meeting in January, the Board of Governors of the New Zealand Institute did itself the honour of electing Sir George Howard Darwin, F.R.S., an honorary member of the Institute. Sir George was nominated by the Council of this Society on the ground of his eminence as a mathematician and an astronormer.

In 1908 the Council suggested to the Surveyor-General, Mr. Thomas Humphries, that permanent bench-marks should be-set up at each place in the Dominion at which tide-gauges were in use. At the first meeting of the session the Council was able to announce with pleasure that the Surveyor-General had found it practicable to adopt this course. If these marks are left undisturbed, they should prove of great value in time to come to students of earth-movements.*

In accordance with a recent decision of the Board of Governors of the Institute, the Transactions and the Proceedings are now published distinct from one another, and the size of the page of the Transactions has been increased. To reduce the risk of delay in distribution, arrangements have been made whereby both the Transactions and the Proceedings are posted direct to members from the Government Printing Office.

Since the last annual meeting twenty-one new members have been elected, six members have resigned, one has died, and three have been struck off the roll is now 116 (inclusive of four life members and one honorary member).

A statement of the receipts and expenditure of the year, duly audited, is presented with this report. Inclusive of the balance brought forward from the previous year (£42 1s. 11d.), the receipts amounted to £144 19s. 11d., and the total expenditure was £105 10s. 3d., leaving a credit balance of £39 9s. 8d. The research fund, on fixed deposit with the Bank of New Zealand, now amounts to £46 9s. 3d.; making a total sum in hand of £85 18s. 11d. Mr. Thomas King, who has been Secretary and Treasurer for the last six years, finds it necessary, owing to increasing demands on his time, to ask to be relieved of office at the end of the current year. The Chairman reported that, in recognition of his services as Secretary and Treasurer, Mr. King had been elected by the Council an honorary life member of the Society, and that a minute was being prepared expressing the Council's appreciation of Mr. King's services.

Referring to the inaugural address delivered on the 5th May, the President reported that the joint library scheme was still under consideration, and that the negotiations pointed to a useful scheme being arrived at. The suggestion to erect a shelter-shed on the Tararuas had not been lost sight of and it was probable that the Council would make a grant towards the cost of the building.

Election of Officers for 1910.—President.—Mr. A. Hamilton; Vice-Presidents—Mr. Thomas King, Dr. C. Monro Hector; Council—Mr. T. W. Kirk, F.L.S., Professor T.H. Easterfield, Mr. M. Chapman, K.C., Mr. E. D. Bell, Professor H. B. Kirk, Mr. G. V. Hudson, F.E.S., Mr. F.G.A. Stuckey, M.A.; Secretary and Treasurer—Mr. C.E. Adams, M.Sc., A.L.A. (Lond.); Auditor—Mr. E. R. Dymock, A.I.A. (N.Z.).

[Footnote] * See “Report on the Survey Operations for the Year –9,” by Thomas Humphries, Surveyor-General. Wellington, pp. 4 and 18.