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Volume 44, 1911
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Auckland Institute.

Fifth Meeting: 23rd October, 1911.

New Members.—Messrs. L. W. Alexander, R. Hall, Dr. Marchesini.

Lecture.—“The Canterbury Plains and Banks Peninsula,” by E. K. Mulgan, M.A.

In this lecture, which was copiously illustrated by lantern-views, the physical structure of the Canterbury Plains was fully described, and it was shown that the material composing the plains had been derived from the Southern Alps mainly at a time when the climatic and other conditions were more favourable than now for the supply and transportation of debris of all kinds. The lecture also explained the source of the artesian-water supply at Christchurch and elsewhere on the plains. The structure and formation of Banks Peninsula were then briefly described, and the lecturer showed how volcanic agencies could be proved to be responsible for the formation of Lyttelton Harbour and Akaroa Harbour. The lecture concluded with an account of the loess-deposits on Banks Peninsula and certain portions of the Canterbury Plains.

Sixth Meeting: 28th November, 1911.

New Members.—T. Finlayson, E. Gerard, Dr. P. A. Lindsay, T. F. Wallace.

Papers.—1. “Descriptions of New Native Species of Phanerogams,” by D. Petrie, Ph.D.

2. “On Danthonia nuda and Triodia Thomsoni,” by D. Petrie, Ph.D.

3. “New Genera and Species of Coleoptera,” by Major T. Broun.

4. “On a New Genus and some New Species of Plants,” by T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S.

5. “List of Lichens and Fungi collected in the Kermadec Islands in 1908,” by W. R. B. Oliver.

6. “The Geographic Relationships of the Birds of the Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands,” by W. R. B. Oliver.

In illustration of the last paper Mr. Oliver exhibited an interesting series of lantern-views, based on photographs obtained by him in the Kermadec Islands in 1908, and which clearly showed how largely the Islands are used as a breeding-place by certain species of petrels, terns, &c. He also gave many interesting particulars respecting the habits of the various species.

Professor A. P. W. Thomas spoke in commendation of the paper. He pointed out that it was one of the results of a scientific expedition made to the Kermadec Islands by a party of naturalists who were isolated there for eleven months. It was exceedingly satisfactory to find that there was sufficient enthusiasm in the pursuit of natural science to bring about such an expedition, and to produce such satisfactory results.

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Annual Meeting 26th February, 1912.
Mr. J. H. Upton, President, in the chair.

Annual Report.—The annual report and audited financial statement were read to the meeting, and ordered to be printed and circulated amongst the members.

Abstract Of Report.

Membership.—It is satisfactory to state that there has been a considerable influx of new members, the elections during the year numbering forty-eight. On the other hand, fourteen names have been removed from the roll—four from death, eight from resignation, and two from non-payment of subscriptions for more than two consecutive years. The total number of members on the roll at the present time is 235, of whom twelve are life members and 223 annual subscribers. Among the members removed by death, the Council regret to mention the names of Messrs. J. Kirker, W. Gorrie, D. L. Murdoch, and T. Ching. It is hoped that the increase in the number of members will be maintained during the coming year, and will continue to keep pace with the advancing prosperity of the city.

Finance.—Full particulars respecting the financial position of the Institute will be found in the balance-sheet appended to this report. The total revenue of the Working Account, including the balance in hand at the commencement of the year, has been £1,273 5s. 10d. This is slightly more than £100 in excess of the income for the previous year, which was £1,170 11s. Examining the separate items, it will be seen that the Museum endowment has yielded in rents and interest on investments the sum of £527 12s. 3d. The revenue from the invested funds of the Costley Bequest has been £392 7s. 6d. The increase in the number of members has naturally led to a corresponding advance in the amount received for annual subscriptions, which stand at £208 19s. The total expenditure has been £1,197 14s., leaving a cash balance of £219 13s. 8d. in the Bank of New Zealand. The special fund subscribed by the citizens of Auckland for the purchase of historic Maori carvings and other objects will be alluded to in another portion of the report. The Council have no changes to report respecting the invested funds of the Institute, the total amount of which—£16,379 4s. 3d.—is the same as that announced last year.

Meetings.—In last year's report it was stated that it had been found necessary to engage St. Andrew's Hall, Symonds Street, for holding the meetings of the Institute. This arrangement has been continued during the year, and, on the whole, has proved satisfactory, both from the point of view of the suitability of the hall and the attendance of members and others. In all, six meetings have been held, at which the following lectures and papers were read and discussed:—

1.

Presidential address, “Free Public Libraries and Museums,” by J. H. Upton.

2.

“Sources of Plague in Auckland, and its Prevention,” by R. H. Makgill, M.D.

3.

“Heredity,” by Professor A. P. W. Thomas, M.A.

4.

“Whirling Discs and their Uses,” by Professor F. D. Brown, M.A.

5.

“The Canterbury Plains and Banks Peninsula,” by E. K. Mulgan, M.A.

6.

“Description of New Native Species of Phanerogams,” by D. Petrie, Ph.D.

7.

“On Danthonia nuda and Triodia Thomsoni,” by D. Petrie, Ph.D.

8.

“New Genera and Species of Coleoptera,” by Major T. Broun, F.E.S.

9.

“On a New Genus and some New Species of Plants,” by T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S

10.

“List of Lichens and Fungi collected in the Kermadec Islands in 1908,” by W. R. B. Oliver.

11.

“The Geographic Relationships of the Birds of the Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands,” by W. R. B. Oliver.

Most of the above papers have been forwarded to Wellington for insertion in the forthcoming volume of Transactions.

Museum.—With the exception of the ten days devoted to the usual annual cleaning and rearrangement, the Museum has been open to the public daily throughout the year. The attendance of visitors continues to be satisfactory.

The year has been one of considerable activity in the Museum, and the progress made must be regarded as satisfactory. Numerous additions have been made to the collections, as will be seen from the appended lists, and several of them are of more than ordinary importance. Those selected for exhibition have been carefully and artistically mounted by Mr. Griffin, and have added much to the attractiveness of the institution.

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The most noteworthy additions to the zoological department of the Museum are as follows: A series of 103 bird-skins from the Kermadec Islands, purchased from Mr. Roy Bell. A small collection of bird-skins from the Chatham Islands has also been purchased from Mr. Dannefaerd, containing several species (as, for instance, Spheneacus rufescens) now almost, if not altogether, extinct. Special mention should be made of a fine specimen of a male ostrich in full plumage, presented by the Helvetia Ostrich Company. Thanks are due to Mr. Hallyburton Johnstone for his kindness in specially collecting several New Zealand birds required to fill up blanks in the collections or to replace worn-out examples. Finally, Mr. Pickering has placed the Museum under many obligations by presenting a magnificent specimen of the twelve-wired bird of paradise, one of the finest species of the family.

In the geological and mineralogical department the only addition of importance is an extensive series of specimens illustrating the geology of the Waihi-Tairua Subdivision, Cape Colville Peninsula, very kindly presented by the Geological Survey Department, per Mr. Colin Fraser.

Turning to the ethnographical portion of the Museum, mention should be made of the figurehead of H.M.S. “Virago,” presented by the Admiralty through the kind efforts of Archdeacon Walsh. Under the head of the Maori collections the thanks of the Institute are due to Mr. G. Graham for a historic greenstone pendant dating back to the times of the Waiohua, the former inhabitants of the Auckland Isthmus, also for a greenstone knife or saw used for cutting up human flesh, and for several other articles of interest. Contributions have also been received from Mr. Hallyburton Johnstone, Mr. Vaile, Mr. J. Macmillan, Mr. Curtis, Mr. Condron, and others.

The chief addition to the Maori collections, however, and to the Museum generally, consists of a series of ancient historic carvings from the East Cape district, purchased for the Museum only a few weeks ago, and, as they are remarkably good examples of the best period of Maori workmanship, their value from an ethnographical point of view is very great, and the Council consider that the Museum is to be congratulated on their acquisition.

Library. — The Mackechnie Library Bequest has yielded its usual income of slightly more than £100. A sum of £75 from the general funds of the Institute has been applied to the purchase of the serial publications regularly subscribed to, and in binding. Under this last head ninety-two volumes have been added to the library during the year. The usual exchanges and presentations have been received from foreign societies, together with some donations from private individuals.

As the numerous additions made to the library of late years had absorbed the whole of the shelf-room, a new press, capable of accommodating 800 volumes, has been erected.

Enlargement of the Buildings.—As guardians of the Museum and of the scientific library of the Institute, the Council cannot conclude this report without calling attention to some of the drawbacks and deficiencies which will impede the future development of the Museum and library unless additional accommodation can be provided, or, in other words, an enlargement of the buildings obtained. It is perhaps not generally known that in order to provide room for new acquisitions large numbers of specimens are being withdrawn from exhibition and packed away.

Granted the necessity of enlargement, the question of funds at once arises. To this it should be replied that such funds ought to be drawn from the public revenue, the course which has been followed in the southern portion of the Dominion.

In Auckland the total amount of the contributions made by the Government since 1875 is considerably below £4,000. Without in any way objecting to the expenditure on southern museums, the Council maintains that the amount so far expended on the Auckland Museum is entirely disproportionate, and should be rectified as soon as possible. They commend the facts quoted above to the earnest consideration of all those who deal with public affairs in Auckland, and they trust that the just claims of the Museum will receive that attention which they undoubtedly deserve.

Election of Officers for 1912.—President—Professor H. W. Segar; Vice-Presidents— J. H. Upton, Dr. R. Briffault; Council — Professor F. D. Brown, Professor C. W. Egerton, E. V. Miller, E. Mitchelson, T. Peacock, J. A. Pond, J. Reid, J. Stewart, Professor A. P. W. Thomas, H. E. Vaile; Trustees—Professor F. D. Brown, T. Peacock, J. Reid, J. Stewart, J. H. Upton; Curator and Secretary—T. F. Cheeseman; Auditor—S. Gray.