Manawatu Philosophical Society.
Ten meetings of the Council and nine general meetings were held, at which the following papers were read: Dr. E. C. Barnett, “Medical Experiences at the Front”; Mr. Black, Curator of Borough Reserves, “Noxious Weeds”; J. W. Poynton, S.M., “Radium”; W. R. Mummery, F.I.C., “The Action of Collosols in relation to Bacteriology”; W. E., Bendall, “Kapiti as a Reserve for Native Flora and Fauna”; Miss Ironside,
M.A., “The Evolution of the English Drama”; Professor Easterfield, M.A., Ph.D., F.N.Z.Inst., “Explosives”; Rev. H. G. Blackburne, M.A., “English Cathedrals”; R. Edwards, C.E., “The Land we live in”; R. H.F. Grace, “Are other Worlds than ours inhabited ?”
At the annual meeting (21st November, 1919) the annual report and audited balance sheet were adopted.
During the year the society has had to lament the loss of five of its members by death—Messrs. J. E. Vernon, M.A.; R. Gardner; D. Buick, M.P.; S. Greer; and J. Robertson. Three members have left the district—Messrs Barnicoat, Sinclair, and G. Seifert—the two former, however, still retaining their membership. One member, Dr. Bett, has returned from active service. On the other hand, in consequence of a convass undertaken by the President, Secretary, and Messrs H. Seifert and Park, and confined as yet chiefly to the Square and Rangitikei Street, nine who had resigned have renewed their membership, and thirty-five new members have been elected. This is so far satisfactory; but it is not enough. If the society is adequately to discharge its functions the members must not be content with paying their subscriptions, but must take an active interest in its proccedings. The attendance of members at the general meetings continues to be very poor.
The Curator reports that during the year thirty exhibits have been added to the Museum, and sixteen books, together with a number of pamphlets and journals, to the library; and that the average daily attendance has been thirty-one.
A very generous offer was made by Mr. Robert to lend to the Museum for from seven to ten years the whole of his valuable collection of animals, birds, weapons, shells, corns, books, and other curios, nearly equalling in number our present collection. This offer might probably have resulted in a permanent transfer to the Museum; but your Council were compelled very reluctantly to decline the offer on account of their total inability to house the exhibits, as the Borough Council, to whom the matter was referred, had regretfully expressed their inability at present to provide increased accommodation, and the society had no funds for the purpose.
Mr. W. E. Bendall, in the unavoidable absence of the President, represented the society in an expedition made with Professor Kirk, at the request of the Institute, to examine the capabilities of the Island of Kapiti as a reserve for the preservation of the native fauna and flora, and on his return wrote a valuable report, which was read before the society.
The Council was also represented by Mr. Park at a meeting in Wellington of representatives of the bodies interested, and on a subsequent deputation to the Minister in Charge of the Tourist Department to urge upon the Government the need of improving the Tongariro National Park by extending its boundaries, by making roads, and by erecting huts for the accommodation of visitors. The deputation was very sympathetically received by the Minister, who seemed to recognize fully the need for the suggested improvements, and promised to use his influence to have them carried out as far as the funds at the disposal of the Government would allow. It will be well for your incoming Council to keep this matter in view, and, if necessary, to bring renewed pressure on the Government.
The decision of the New Zealand Institute to hold a biennial meeting for the reading and discussion of papers, a plan which was so successfully inaugurated in January last at Christchurch, has opened a prospect of greatly extended usefulness for the Institute and all its branches. On the motion of your President, your Council sent a formal invitation to the Institute to hold its next meeting at Palmerston North. The invitation was accepted, and the meeting will be held in Palmerston in January or February, 1921. It is to be hoped that every member of our local society will consider himself personally concerned in ensuring the triumphant success of that meeting.
Election of Officers for 1920.—President—J. Murray, M.A. Vice-Presidents—M. A. Eliott, H. Seifert. Officer in Charge of the Observatory—R. H. F. Grace Secretary and Treasurer—K. Wilson, M.A. Council—Dr. Bett, M.B., Ch.B., M.R.C.S., M.R.C.P.; C. N. Clausen; J. A. Colquhoun, M.Sc.; R. Edwards. C.E.; J. B. Gerrand; E. Larcomb, C E.; W. R. Mummery, F.I.C.; W. Park, F.H.S.; C. T. Salmon; A. Whitaker.