At the annual meeting (23rd February, 1920) the annual report of the Council was read and adopted.
In the fifty-second annual report of the Auckland Institute and Museum, which the Council now submits to the members, an endeavour is made to give an account of the financial and general condition of the Institute, and to briefly summarize the work it has performed during the year.
Members.—The number of new members elected since the last annual meeting has been seventeen. On the other hand, twenty-four names have been removed from the roll—seven by death, twelve by resignation or removal from the provincial district, and five for non-payment of subscription for more than two consecutive years. There is thus a net loss of seven, the number on the roll at the present time being 455.
In the list of members removed by death will be found the name of Major T. Broun, the well-known authority on the New Zealand Coleoptera. Major Broun's connection with the Institute commenced in 1875, and from then to almost the day of his death the greater part of his time was devoted to his favourite study. The results of his work have been published from time to time in the separate parts of the Manual of the New Zealand Coleoptera, in the Transactions and Bulletins of the New Zealand Institute, and in
various other publications. Through his continuous energy and activity, it can be said that no other family of New Zealand insects has been so carefully investigated as the Coleoptera. Major Broun's death will be severely felt by all workers in New Zealand entomology. The remaining members withdrawn from the roll through death are: Mr. J. Batger, who served on the Council for several years, and was President for 1899–1900; Mr. F. D. Halstead, Mr. J. M. Blair, Mr. R. Mitchelson, Mr. W. J. Speight, and Mr. E. V. Ralph.
In this part of the report it should be mentioned that under Regulations 20 to 26 of the New Zealand Institute, gazetted 4th September, 1919, the Fellowship of the New Zealand Institute was constituted, the object being to mark distinction or research in science. It was provided that the first Fellows should number twenty, ten of whom became Fellows automatically on account of possessing certain qualifications, the remaining ten being elected in a manner prescribed by the regulations. Out of the total number of twenty Fellows appointed, the following are members of the Auckland Institute: Mr. T. F. Cheeseman, Mr. D. Petrie, Professor H. W. Segar, and Professor A. P. W. Thomas.
Finance.—The total revenue of the Working Account, after deducting the balance in hand at the beginning of the year, has been £1,886 5s. 3d., being an advance of no less than £207 11s. 6d. on the amount for the previous year, which was rather smaller than usual. Examining the various items, it will be seen that the members' subscriptions have yielded £407 8s., showing a slight decrease. The receipts from the Museum Endowment, consisting of rents and interest, have amounted to £816 0s. 8d. being an advance of £102 7s. 9d. on last year's income. The invested funds of the Costley Bequest have provided £449 10s., almost exactly the same as that of the previous year. The remaining items call for no special remark. The total expenditure has been £1,753 16s., and the cash balance in hand is £259 16s. 9d.
The invested funds of the Institute and Museum, now amounting to £23,154 14s. 1d., have been increased during the year by the sum of £209 0s. 4d., mostly derived from the sale of some small endowments.
Meetings.—The satisfactory results obtained during the session of 1918, described in last year's report, induced the Council to still further increase the number of meetings, and to pay greater attention to the proper illustration of all suitable lectures. Altogether ten meetings have been held, at which the following lectures were delivered, or papers for publication contributed: Dr. J. W. McIlraith, “Some Modern Views on Education and the Social Unrest”; Professor H. W. Segar, “The Attenuated Sovereign”; Dr. K. Mackenzie, “Cancer and its Relation to Public Health”; Professor G. Owen, “The Discovery and Properties of Radium”; Professor G. Owen, “The Lessons of Radium”; J. A. Bartrum, “Some Aspects of the Geological History and Cultural Development of Man”; W. S. Vernon, Electricity in the Home”; T. L. Lancaster, “Energy and Living Organisms”; F. E. Powell, “Ferro-concrete Ships”; J. A. Bartrum, “The Conglomerate Band at Albany,” and “Additional Facts concering the Distribution of Igneous Rocks in New Zealand”: D. Petrie, “Descriptions of New Flowering-plants”; T. F. Cheeseman, “Contributions to a Fuller Knowledge of the Flora of New Zealand.” The attendance at the whole of the meetings was remarkably good; in fact, at Professor Owen's two lectures on radium the hall, although seating nearly four hundred, proved quite insufficient to accommodate all those desiring to hear the lecturer. The papers written for the purpose of publication have been forwarded to the Editor of the Transactions, and will doubtless appear in Volume 52, now being sent to press. It should be mentioned that Volume 51, containing the papers read before the various branches of the Institute during 1918, was not received for distribution until late in 1919.
Library.—The annual balance-sheet shows that the actual expenditure over the library has been £153 3s. 6d., but there are still some outstanding accounts to be provided for. An order for over seventy volumes, despatched some time before the last annual meeting, arrived about the middle of March; and another for close upon ninety volumes, forwarded last September, was received shortly after the beginning of this year. In addition to the purchase of books, the magazines and other serial publications subscribed to by the Institute have been regularly received, and made available for the use of readers in the library. The usual expenditure has been incurred in binding the publications of societies and scientific journals, about fifty volumes having been added from that source alone. As in past years, various presentations and exchanges have been received from British, American, and colonial societies, together with several donations from private individuals.
In previous reports the Council has remarked on the growing scarcity of shelf-room in the library. It has now to state that no further accommodation is available therein. Under such circumstances, the Library Committee has been authorized to erect a temporary range of shelving in the small room opposite the curator's office. When this is
done the demand for space will be slightly mitigated; but even then it is difficult to see how the natural growth of the library can be accommodated for more than a very few years to come. In the library, as in all other departments of the work of the Institute and Museum, the call for more space is loud and insistent.
Museum.—With the exception of a short period devoted to cleaning and rearrangement, the Museum has been open to the public throughout the year. The attendance of visitors has been satisfactory, as will be readily admitted when the following statistics are considered. Taking the attendance on Sundays first, the register kept by the janitor shows that 25,839 people entered the building on that day, being an average of 496 for each Sunday. The greatest attendance on any one day was 854, on the 1st June; the lowest 28, on the 5th October, an unusually wet day. On the nine chief holidays of the year the total number of visitors amounted to 6,193, or an average of 688 for each holiday. The largest holiday attendance was 986 on Easter Monday, closely followed by 934 on King's Birthday. From the want of recording mechanism it is not possible to give the actual attendance on ordinary week-days; but taking occasional counts as a basis for calculation, it seems evident that the average daily number of visitors can be safely taken as 250, which would give a total of 75,750. Adding to this number the figures already given for Sundays and holidays, the grand total becomes 107,787. This is the first time the number of visitors has exceeded 100,000, although in several previous years a close approach to it has been made.
In the present crowded state of the Museum it is practically impossible to make any changes of importance therein, or to exhibit more than a small proportion of the many additions that are being regularly received. Under existing circumstances all that can be done is to keep the collections in good order and condition, and to be satisfied with those minor alterations and improvements that can still be carried out. Among these may be mentioned the rearrangement of the collection of New Zealand shells; the working into their proper places of some additions that have been made to the mounted series of New Zealand birds; the mounting for exhibition of a considerable number of articles presented to the Maori collection: and several changes in the Foreign Ethnographical Hall.
By far the most important donation made to the zoological department of the Museum is a series of four skins of the larger North American mammals, presented by Mr. James Dunning, of Remuera, who obtained them during a recent hunting expedition to the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. There is a fine specimen of the moose, the largest existing member of the deer family; an unusually fine example of the Alaskan brown bear (Ursus middendorfii), the largest of all bears; a specimen of the black bear; and one of the remarkable big-horn sheep, with its enormous spiral horns. It is much to be regretted that there is not room in the Museum for the exhibition of four such large and attractive animals. As it is, the skins have been properly treated, and will be packed away until the erection of a new Museum makes it possible to exhibit them. Among other additions belonging to this class, attention should be directed to the gift made by Mrs. L. Moses of a handsome plate-glass show-case, containing 300 species of foreign shells and thirty-five corals. Thanks are also due to Mr. G. Henning and Mr. Hallyburton Johnstone for some interesting specimens of New Zealand birds.
In the Maori Department special interest will be taken in the discovery by Messrs. Hovell and Bell of an ancient Maori workshop near Katikati Harbour, apparently not very far distant from the locality visited by Captain Gilbert Mair, and described by him in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute (vol. 35, p. 240). An inspection made by the curator under the guidance of Mr. Hovell proved that the workshop covers quite a large area. The explorations made have resulted in the formation of a large collection of stone adzes and other implements in various stages of manufacture, together with numerous grindstones, borers, drill-points, &c. Mr. Hovell has set aside for the Museum an extensive series of the articles obtained, with the object of supplying material for the construction of a special group illustrating the manufacture of stone weapons by the Maoris. A portion of this material has already arrived in Auckland, and the remainder will gradually follow. An illustrative group of the character mentioned above, prepared according to modern methods, would form a most interesting exhibit in the Maori Court of the new Museum. The Council have tendered the cordial thanks of the institution to Mr. Hovell for his liberal action; also to his colleague, Mr. R. W. Bell, who has deposited his valuable Maori collection in the Museum.
Other noteworthy additions to the Maori Hall comprise an ancient historic taiaha bearing the name of Rongotakitaki, and formerly the property of the Ngapuhi warrior Kawhiti, presented by Mr. George Graham; a fine greenstone tiki, a greenstone poria, several stone adzes and fishing-weights, donated by Mr. D. Shanks, Mangatangi;
an ancient bone comb, presented by Mr. F. E. Stewart, per Captain Gilbert Mair; a remarkably large and fine greenstone adze, with a series of six picked ordinary adzes, contributed by Mr. C. Ansell. The Council have also to acknowledge, with many thanks, the receipt of a cheque for £25 from Mr. Guthrie Smith, which, at his desire, has been expended in the purchase of certain interesting Maori carvings from Rotorua. A valuable and instructive addition is a life-size model of a Gilbert-Islander, wearing a remarkable armour made of coconut sinnet, and carrying a long fighting-spear armed with sharks' teeth. Complete sets of this armour, the use of which was confined to a small part of Polynesia, are now rare and difficult to obtain. The Museum is thus greatly indebted to Mr. A. J. Ellis for presenting the admirable specimen now in the Museum. The model of the warrior was prepared in the Museum.
In foreign ethnography the most important acquisition is a collection of Indian swords, armour, art treasures, &c., comprising no less than eighty-nine articles. It was originally formed between the years 1860 and 1890 by the late Mr. James E. Yates, who at that time occupied an important position in the Indian Public Service. On his retirement he emigrated to New Zealand, and died at Gisborne a few years ago. The collection, which has considerable intrinsic value, is now presented to the Museum by his daughters, in memory of their father. The importance of the gift has been suitably acknowledged to the donors, and the collection has been placed on exhibition in the entrance hall of the Museum.
There has been received from the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, a welcome donation of eighteen watches and movements of eighteenth-century age. These are part of a series of 1,500 antique watches presented to South Kensington by the well-known collector Mr. Evan Roberts, with the stipulation that those specimens not required for the national collection should be distributed among a number of selected institutions. It is gratifying to find that the Auckland Museum has been chosen as one of the participants.
The thanks of the Museum are due to Dr. A. C. Purchas for an interesting collection of sixteen Egyptian antiquities, obtained by him while serving in Egypt with the Medical Branch of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. It forms an appropriate supplement to the collections obtained from the Cairo Museum some two or three years ago. Some valuable suggestions made by Dr. Purchas respecting the extension of the Egyptian collections in the Museum will be gladly acted upon when circumstances permit.
War-Collections.—The Council have pleasure in announcing the receipt of a valuable collection of between twenty and thirty guns, revolvers, pistols, &c., formed by the late Mr. D. Evitt, for many years in business in Auckland as a gunsmith. It is now presented to the Museum by his family as the “David Evitt Collection.” The articles date between the years 1750 and 1860, and will constitute an excellent introduction to the war collection now being formed, particularly as it includes examples of the well-known “Brown Bess” flint-lock gun and other types, which, from the reign of William III for quite one hundred years, constituted the standard weapons of the British Army.
A considerable number of small collections have been received from returned soldiers and others, and the following may be specially mentioned: Private J. M. Griffen, N.Z.M.C., presents numerous articles obtained in Egypt, Salonica, and France; Major G. S. Cheeseman contributes a varied assortment collected in Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula, and Palestine; Mr. J. D. Whitcombe presents the house flag of the German trading-vessel “Elfrida.” the last to navigate the South Pacific after the outbreak of the war; while Captain Boscawen donates several interesting articles obtained at Gallipoli or in France.
Since the last annual meeting there has been much correspondence with the Government relative to the distribution of war trophies and war collections generally; and a deputation representing both the city and the Museum waited upon the Premier on his return from Europe. The result has been to smooth away many difficulties, and especially to afford more information as to the intentions of the Government. So far as can be ascertained, no distribution of trophies will be made until the whole of the material has arrived in the Dominion, and has been properly examined and catalogued. This having been done, all those trophies positively identified as having been captured by a particular unit of the Expeditionary Forces will be sent to the nearest headquarter town of the regiment to which the unit belongs. The remainder of the material, constituting by far the greater portion of the whole, will be subject in the first instance to the selection of one sample of each kind of trophy for the National Museum at Wellington. The remainder will be divided into four parts, to be distributed within the four chief districts of the Dominion; and a distinct promise has been given to the effect that the wishes of the local Museums shall receive full consideration. In addition, it is stated that “long ago instructions
were given that, where possible, four samples of allotted trophies should be secured—one to go to the National Museum, and the rest to the three other Museums. “So the matter rests at present.
The Domain Site and a New Museum.—In last year's report the Council dwelt at considerable length on the drawbacks and deficiencies of the present Museum buildings, and showed that the existing site was not large enough for present requirements, to say nothing of future needs. It then described the steps that had been taken to obtain a site in the Auckland Domain, and the sympathetic readiness with which the proposal was received by the Auckland City Council. Finally, it announced that the passage through Parliament of the Auckland Institute and Museum Site Empowering Act had validated the action of both the City Council and the Institute, and that the site—admittedly one of the finest in Auckland—was now open to be dealt with as soon as the necessary funds were available. It is now the duty of the Council to state what action has been taken since the last annual meeting.
At a meeting of the Council held in March last it was decided that the best chance of successful effort was to be found in securing the co-operation of the City Council, then preparing to discuss the shape that the war memorial for the City of Auckland should take, and the following resolution was carried: “That this Council affirms the suitability of a modern Museum as the selected form of war memorial for the Auckland District; such Museum to be erected on Observatory Hill, in the Auckland Domain, and to have special reference to war-memorial exhibits, including a hall devoted to such. It is further suggested that the special committee of the City Council appointed to consider the question be earnestly requested to favourably consider the proposal, and to commend it to the citizens as the most suitable project to commemorate the war, and as being in the interests of the citizens generally.” The above resolution was duly forwarded to the City Council, which had also received numerous other proposals from various sources. All these were carefully considered by the City Council and its advisory committee, with the result that the erection of a modern Museum on Observatory Hill was accepted as the most suitable war memorial for the Auckland District.
The erection of a new Museum building will now necessitate some organized movement to raise funds. There seems to be no serious rivalry to this project; on the other hand, there is every indication that it is coming more and more into favour, even on the part of a section of the community which at the outset hesitated to give its support, with the result that the community will probably now be united in its favour. The building will combine with Museum accommodation suitable halls for the adequate display of war trophies, also galleries to contain photographs of those members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces who have specially distinguished themselves. The grounds will permit the suitable display of those large armaments which cannot be provided for in any building.
The cost of building on the Domain site will doubtless be considerable, and will probably not be less than £100,000. It must be remembered that the first instalment of Museum buildings must provide not only for immediate needs and for the display of the exhibits in a modern manner, but must also be sufficiently extensive to accommodate many invaluable collections at present in private hands, but which, if they can be displayed in an adequate manner, will be donated to the citizens of Auckland, thus forming a priceless addition to the Museum.
The Council is in communication with the Right Hon. the Prime Minister with a view to securing a subsidy from the Government towards the erection of the building. The position has been fully set out to the Government as follows: “The Auckland Museum occupies an anomalous position as regards State assistance, as is proved by the following facts respecting the four chief museums of the Dominion. In Canterbury from £18,000 to £25,000 has been expended in erecting the Museum, every penny of which came from public funds. In Otago the original buildings cost £12,500, also all derived from public funds. Half the cost of an addition made some ten or twelve years years ago was also borne by the Government. Whatever has been done in the past in Wellington has been done directly by the Government, and in the immediate future a large expenditure is contemplated for the erection of an entirely new Museum. In Auckland alone has the governing body of its Museum been compelled to provide almost the whole cost of erecting buildings, and, while the bequests and the monetary contributions made to the Museum amount to over £20,000, the total sum given by the Government barely reaches £3,500, all of which was granted many years ago. Had the Museum Council been able to provide intact the whole of the benefactions made to the Museum, the revenue of the institution would have been much greater, but it has been necessary to use a large proportion for enlarging the site of the Museum and erecting buildings, an expenditure which in the other Museums has been provided for out of public funds. In no other part of the Dominion have such large benefactions in money been made to Museums as in Auckland and so little done by the Government. Surely the public
spirit evidenced by the citizens of Auckland should have received more assistance and more appreciation than has been shown by past Governments of the Dominion. The claims of Auckland in this connection are such that the proposal for a subsidy should commend itself favourably to the consideration of the Government. This, however, will not absolve our community from a very considerable voluntary effort. If this is well organized and the claims of the Museum substantially placed before the citizens of Auckland there need be little fear of an inadequate response.” It is hoped that the Government will grant a pound-for-pound subsidy—namely, £50,000—and that the balance of £50,000 be then raised by voluntary subscriptions, for which purpose suitable action will be duly undertaken.
Election of Officers for 1920.—President—Mr. J. H. Gunson, Mayor of Auckland. Vice-Presidents—Hon. E. Mitchelson; Mr. C. J. Parr, C.M.G., M.P. Council—Professor C. W. Egerton; Mr. J. Kenderdine; Mr. T. W. Leys; Mr. E. V. Miller; Mr. T. Peacock; Mr. D. Petrie, F.N.Z.Inst.; Professor H. W. Segar, M.A., F.N.Z.Inst.; Professor A. P. W. Thomas, F.L.S., F.N.Z.Inst.; Mr. J. H. Upton; Mr. H. E. Vaile; Professor F. P. Worley, D.Sc. Trustees—Mr. T. Peacock; Mr. J. Reid; Professor A. P. W. Thomas, M.A., F.N.Z.Inst.; Mr. J. H. Upton; Mr. H. E. Vaile. Secretary and Curator—Mr. T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S., F.Z.S., F.N.Z.Inst. Auditor—Mr. S. Gray.