Sir David Ernest Hutchins, 1850–1920.
The late Sir David E. Hutchins, born on the 22nd September, 1850, was educated at the well-known Blundell's School, Tiverton, England, and after leaving went, when twenty years old, to the famous École Nationale des Eaux et Forêts at Nancy, France, where he gained his diploma in forestry. From Nancy he went to India as Deputy Conservator in Mysore, and spent some ten years in the Indian Forest Service. Here he showed his wide views of forestry in two papers which he wrote on Australian trees in the Nilgiris and on the coastal planting of Casuarina. These papers are still standard works on their subjects. From India he was transferred in 1882 to Cape Colony, where, after some years passed in charge of the Knysna forests, he succeeded Count Vasselot de Regné as Chief Conservator of Forests, and remained until 1905. Sir David's work as a forester in South Africa has received the highest praise from such well-known authorities as Sir W. Schlich, the late Professor Fisher, M. Pardé, H. R. McMillan, and others. Under his regime in South Africa not only was scientific management applied to the remaining indigenous forests, but extensive plantations were made of eucalypts and other exotics, which are now yielding an annual revenue of about £20,000.
On his retiring from the South African Forestry Department Sir David was later employed by the British Government to report on the forests of British East Africa, where he succeeded in demarcating reserves, and, among other things, in establishing economic plantations of the Chinese coffin-wood tree (Persea nanmu). He was appointed Chief Conservator of Forests for this territory, and after three years service there he retired from regular Government employment. At various times in his career he was called upon to visit different countries and report on forestry problems. In 1907 he was employed by the Colonial Office to report on the value of the Kenia forests, and in 1909 to inspect the forests of Cyprus.
In addition to his experience in India, South and East Africa, Sir David during several visits had gained an intimate knowledge of the forests of Algeria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, and Germany.
Sir David came out to Australia in 1914 with the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and remained there to study forestry in that land. Whilst in Australia he wrote a valuable book on Australian forestry, A Discussion of Australian Forestry, with Special Reference to the Forests of Western Australia (1914–15), and by his persistent advocacy stirred up such an interest in the matter that in all the various States of the Commonwealth Forestry Departments are now firmly established.
In 1916, on the invitation of the Government, Sir David Hutchins came to New Zealand to report on forestry in this Dominion, and it was mainly on his advice that it was decided to establish forestry as a separate and independent State Department here. He was also the original promoter
of the New Zealand Forestry League, as he recognized that some such body is essential to sustain the interest of the public in a matter which, unfortunately, is liable to be thought to concern our successors more than ourselves.
Whilst in New Zealand Sir David devoted the whole of his time to the study of forestry in this country, and when not in the field inspecting native forests and plantations he was writing on those matters. Before his death the Government had published his Report on the Waipoua Kauri Forest (1918), and Part I of Forestry in New Zealand (1919), and up till the time that he passed away he was engaged in writing Part II of this latter work.
For forestry in the British Empire probably no one has done such service as Sir David Hutchins, and it was for this that he in 1920 received the honour of knighthood, which, in connection with forestry, had previously been conferred only on three official heads of the great Indian Forest Service. His published works were numerous, including, besides those mentioned above, Report on Transvaal Forestry, 1903; Report on Rhodesia Forestry, 1904; Extra-tropical Forestry, 1906; Forests of Mount Keria, 1907; Report on Forests of British East Africa, 1909; Cyprus Forestry 1909; and others.
He died at his residence, Khandallah, on the 11th November, 1920.
E. Phillips Turner
>Colonel Thomas William Porter, C.B., 1844–1920.
Colonel Porter came of a soldiering family. His father, Lieut.-Colonel Porter, 7th Bengal Native Infantry, died in India during the Mutiny. On his mother's side he was Highland in descent, of the aristocratic and ancient Roses of Kilravock Castle, Geddes, Nairnshire, a family whose records go back for over a thousand years. He was a nephew of Lord Strathnairn, a prominent figure in military history. He went to sea at the age of thirteen as a midshipman in the Royal Navy, and served in H.M.S. “Hercules” in raids against pirates on the China Station, 1857–58. Leaving the Navy in 1859, he came to Australia and New Zealand, and entered upon the military life in the Maori War. He joined the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry, and after spending some time in charge of a blockhouse at Mohaka (H.B.) he served in his first engagement with the Hauhau natives at Waerenga-a-Hika Pa, near the present town of Gisborne, at the end of 1865. There he distinguished himself by assisting a wounded comrade under fire, receiving a slight wound. After the disbandment of the Cavalry, Porter joined the New Zealand Armed Constabulary, and during the campaigns against Te Kooti on the east coast, and against Titokowaru on the west coast, he served in command of Maori contingents. He was continuously on active service from 1868 to the beginning of 1872, and during that period fought in scores of engagements and skirmishes. His courage and skill were conspicuous at the siege of Ngatapa, in the Gisborne district, where he commanded a portion of Major Ropata Wahawaha's Ngati-Porou contingent. After sharing in the final defeat and pursuit of Titokowaru and the west-coast Hauhaus, in the interior of Taranaki in 1869, he returned to the east coast with his No. 8 Division, Armed Constabulary, and then took a very prominent and useful share in the campaigns against Te Kooti in the Urewera Country. In this most arduous chase, lasting for three years, Porter (then Captain) was a marvel of energy and physical endurance. The Ngati-Porou contingents under Ropata and Porter sometimes remained months in the formidable forest ranges, far from their base of supplies, often without any food but what the bush afforded, rigorously searching the almost unknown Urewera terrain for the rebel bands. Numerous skirmishes were fought and fortified positions captured, and in September, 1871, Porter and his Ngati-Porou decisively defeated Te Kooti at Te Hapua. (The final shots in this forest war were fired by Captain Preece's force in February, 1872.) The infamous Kereopa, the fanatic murderer of the Rev. C. Volkner at Opotiki in 1865, was captured by a detachment detailed by Captain Porter in the Upper Whakatane, November, 1871.
After the close of the Maori wars Colonel Porter, who during his prolonged and incessant activities was four times wounded, filled many important military and Civil Service appointments on the East Coast. In 1889 he was once more called upon to take the field against Te Kooti, who with a large body of followers insisted on a visit from Waikato to the east coast. The old rebel was arrested by the Colonel at Waiotahi, Bay of Plenty, and sent back to Auckland. When the South African War began Colonel Porter once more sought active service. He commanded the
Seventh New Zealand Contingent of Mounted Rifles in the Transvaal, Orange Free State, Zululand, and later the Ninth Contingent. For his services on the veldt (1900–2) he was awarded the Queen's Medal (four clasps) and created Commander of the Bath. For some time before retiring from the service of the State, in 1908, Colonel Porter was Acting Under-Secretary for Defence.
He was the author of The Life and Times of Major Ropata Wahawaha, and had also completed a history of the war with Te Kooti (published in several forms) and a book of East Coast Maori legends.
Colonel Porter was actively interested in the Historical Section of the Wellington Philosophical Society, formed in September, 1918. He held the office of vice-chairman from the beginning, and his picturesque figure, his manly and military bearing, and his conversation, based on a long, varied, and active experience, were always of interest.
His contributions on Maori subjects were highly valuable, and had his life been prolonged he would no doubt have added considerably to the store of New Zealand historical data. He died on the 12th November, 1920, at the age of seventy-six years.
Kenneth Wilson, 1842–1920.
Kenneth Wilson, M.A., was born at Leeds in 1842, the youngest son of Thomas Wilson, M.A., Director of the A. and C. Canal Navigation Company. He entered the Leeds Grammar-school, completing his school education there, and leaving with a scholarship which took him to St. John's College, Cambridge. At Cambridge he took his degree, and at that place he imbibed that pronounced appreciation of the classics of English literature which he retained throughout his life. After leaving Cambridge Mr. Wilson spent some years as assistant master at Mostyn House, Cheshire, and on being offered a position on the staff of King Edward VI School at Southampton he accepted it, and remained there until he came to New Zealand in 1881 as Headmaster of Wellington College, with which he was connected for many years. During this period many men now in Wellington and elsewhere passed through the school, and they recall with friendly affection the upright and distinguished figure of the Headmaster. For the last thirty years of his life Mr. Wilson resided in Palmerston North; his was a familiar figure, and his devotion to the beloved classics provided one of the few remaining links with that period of English University life when the Classical Tripos represented the beginning and the end of educational excellence. Though actively engaged in teaching during his residence in Palmerston North, he found time for other pursuits, and in conjunction with Mr. Welch was one of the founders of the Manawatu Philosophical Society. He was President, and for eleven years Secretary, of the society, and its members have good reason for remembering him, since it was mainly due to his enthusiasm and tireless, patient work that the society is in the strong position it occupies to-day. Mr. Wilson, who lost a son in the war, died on the 10th October, 1920, aged seventy-eight years.
Chas. T. Salmon.