Palmerston North, January, 1921.
The second Science Congress of the New Zealand Institute was held at Palmerston North from the 25th to the 29th January. The attendance was smaller than that of the former Congress, but the standard of papers and discussions was equally high, and the general expression of opinion of the members participating was that the Congress was a great success.
A very attractive booklet for the meeting was issued by the Borough Council, in the form of an illustrated Municipal Year-book, with a full statement of the situation, population, early history, waterworks, public reserves, and municipal enterprises of the borough, and an appendix giving the programme of the Science Congress, including articles on the plants of the Manawatu, by Dr. L. Cockayne; the geology of the Palmerston district, by Dr. P. Marshall; notes on the Manawatu swamps and district, by Mr. R. Edwards; and notes on the botany of the Esplanade, by Mr. R. Black. This booklet will always form a useful handbook for visitors to Palmerston North.
The programme of the Congress was similar in general outlines to that of the Christchurch meeting in 1919. The sectional and general meetings were held in the Boys' High School buildings, the public addresses in the Municipal Hall. The afternoons were devoted, to excursions to the waterworks at Tiritea, the “Glaxo” factory at Bunnythorpe, and to a garden party at the Esplanade. On Saturday a full-day excursion was made, first to the Miranui flax-swamp and Messrs. A. and L. Seifert's flax-mills, and later to the Mangahao hydro-electric works. The evenings were occupied by the opening meeting, two public lectures, and a conversazione.
Officers of the Congress.
President of the New Zealand Institute.
Professor T. H. Easterfield, M.A., Ph.D., F.N.Z.Inst., Cawthron Institute, Nelson.
Hon. General Secretary.
Mr. C. T. Salmon, P.O. Box 293, Palmerston North.
Local. Executive Committee.
Chairman, Mr. M. A. Eliott; Vice-Chairman, Mr. J. Murray; Hon. Treasurer, Mr. J. R. Hardie; and the Mayor (Mr. J. A. Nash, M.P.), Dr. H. D. Bett, Messrs. W. F. Durward. E. H. Crabb, A. Whitaker, H. Seifert, J. B. Gerrand, W. Park, C. N. Clausen, E. Larcomb, C. A. Hertzell, B. Edwards, R. F. G. Grace, A. J. Colquhoun, J. J. Stevenson.
General Executive Committee.
Professors T. H. Easterfield and C. Chilton, Drs. L. Cockayne and J. Allan Thomson, Hon. G. M. Thomson, and Mr. M. A. Eliott, representing the Board of Governors; Sir James Wilson, Professor J. Park, Messrs. E. Miller, and L. Birks, as Chairmen of sections; and Dr. D. H. Bett and Messrs. J. Murray and C. T. Salmon, representing the local executive. Hon. Secretary, Dr. J. Allan Thomson.
Officers of the Sections.
Agriculture.—President, Sir James Wilson, Bulls; Secretary, Mr. J. J. Stevenson, 44 Grey Street, Palmerston North.
Biology.—President, Dr. C. Chilton, M.A., F.N.Z.Inst., F.L.S., Biological Laboratory, Canterbury College, Christchurch; Secretary, Mr. W. R. B. Oliver, Dominion Museum, Wellington.
General Section.—President, Mr. E. V. Miller, 71 Upland Road, Remuera, Auckland; Secretary, Mr. E. K. Lomas, Training College, Wellington.
Physics, Chemistry, and Engineering.—President, Mr. Laurence Birks, B.Sc., M.Inst.C.E., M.I.E.E., M.I.M.E., Public Works Department, Wellington; Secretary, Mr. J. A. Colquhoun, M.Sc., 18 Bryant Street, Palmerston North.
Geology.—President, Professor J. Park, F.G.S., University of Otago; Secretary, Dr. J. Allan Thomson, M.A., F.G.S., F.N.Z.Inst., Dominion Museum, Wellington.
The opening meeting of the Congress was held in the Town Hall on Tuesday night, 25th January, and was well attended not only by members of the Congress, but also by residents. Mr. J. A. Nash, M.P., Mayor of Palmerston North, welcomed the visitors in the name of the Borough Council, and outlined the progressive policy they had pursued in regard to municipal enterprises, and especially in the matter of reserves. He hoped that when the next Congress was held there, which he trusted would be only a few years hence, further great improvements now in train would be visible.
The Hon. G. J. Anderson (Minister of Internal Affairs), in declaring the Congress open, stated that during the last year he had given a good deal of attention to three matters dear to the heart of the Institute. He mentioned as desirable the acceptance of the gift of telescopes offered by the Yale University. Inquiries had shown, however, that, instead of costing only £7,000 for installation, the preliminary cost would be £16,000, and m the present serious condition of the world's money-market and the country's finances, desirable as it was, he could not recommend so large an expenditure to Cabinet. Otago, with its proverbial patriotism, had offered to raise by subscription the sum of £7,000, and he regretted to damp their enthusiasm by telling them how much more would be necessary. As very desirable the Minister characterized the proposal to found in the
volcanic district a vulcanological observatory. Dr. Jaggar, of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, had presented him with a very able report on the subject, and had convinced him that such an observatory in New Zealand, by issuing warnings of eruptions, might be the means of saving life. No sum of money was too great to expend in saving valuable lives, and as the sum needed for an observatory was modest he intended to ask Cabinet for it. The Minister said he had intended to do something last session in the matter of encouraging scientific and industrial research, and his colleague the Hon. Mr. Parr and himself were made a committee by Cabinet to deal with the matter. He referred to the complexity of the scheme prepared by the New Zealand Institute and National Efficiency Board, and to the large amount, £20,000 for a period of five years, which, that scheme demanded. He had not yet made up his mind just what form the Government assistance would take, but emphasized the need for all the scientific bodies co-operating fully with one another and preventing all overlapping of effort and expenditure.
The President of the New Zealand Institute, Professor T. H. Easterfield, referred to the loss by death of two members whom all had looked forward to seeing at this Congress—Mr. K. Wilson and Sir David Hutchins. At his invitation the meeting stood in silence in their memory. He then delivered his presidential address (see page xxv of the present volume).
Public lectures were given on Wednesday and Thursday evenings in the Town Hall, and were well attended by the citizens and visitors. On Wednesday Dr. Tillyard gave an illustrated address on “Modern Methods of Scientific Control of Insect Pests.” American practice, he said, was far above British in these matters, and he must “take off his hat” to the Americans. Time permitted of a selection only of cases illustrating the general principles involved. The first was quarantine and fumigation at the ports of entry. In Honolulu the sugar-planters had thought it worth while to supplement the salary of the Government officers in order to secure fully qualified men, and the museum of the pests that had been detected and kept out was a most educative one. Various mechanical devices for catching or trapping insects were described, and spraying was also illustrated by a picture which looked like a fire brigade at work, throwing spray over a high forest-tree. It was found that the important thing in spraying was the pressure, and large quantities of weak solutions of the sprays were used. Injections of chemicals into the sap of trees was at one time believed to be of little use, but recently the Italian Government had had great success by this method, though it was being kept a close secret at present. The most successful methods of control were biological. These were of two kinds—the selection of strains immune from disease, often the only possible and sometimes a very successful method of meeting the ravages, and control of insects by their own insect enemies. Predatory insects often served to keep pests under control, and many such could be advantageously introduced into New Zealand. “Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs,” and very many insects could be controlled by their own parasites. In introducing useful insects to a country it was all-important to see that their own parasites were not introduced at the same time. The lecturer concluded with an account of his own work in bringing to New Zealand an enemy of the woolly aphis.
On Thursday Mr. J. H. Edmundson, of Napier, gave a lecture on “Liquid Air.” It was illustrated by lantern-slides of famous investigators in the science of liquefaction, and by diagrams. Following upon the explanations, the lecturer carried out some very remarkable and spectacular experiments showing the results of extremely low temperatures. These included the liquefaction on the stage of atmospheric air and pure oxygen.
Discussion on the Flax Industry.
The problems of the New Zealand flax industry were discussed at a general session of the Congress on the morning of Thursday, 27th January.
The subject was introduced by Mr. A. Seifert, who gave an account of the dimensions of the industry, and mentioned the ravages of the yellow-leaf disease, which had caused during the last year the abandonment of 5,000 acres of flax swamp. He compared the return per acre of land under flax with that of land grazed for dairy-produce, and concluded that the growing of flax was a much more profitable method of utilizing the land. Compared with the difficulties confronting other types of fibre, New Zealand flax was in a favourable position, but it was, necessary to obtain immunity from the yellow-leaf disease. His firm had made some experiments with fertilizers, and, though it was too early to give definite results, they were so far in favour of the use of fertilizers, especially superphosphate.
Dr. J. W. McIlraith spoke on the economies of the flax industry. The price of flax had steadily risen, and at a greater rate (136 per cent. in the last twenty years) than other agricultural products (104 per cent. during the same time). In the “nineties” flax formed only 12 per cent. of our exports; now it formed 3 per cent. He concluded that it would have been profitable to grow more flax in the past, and mentioned the existence of large swamp areas which he thought should be utilized.
Mr. A. H. Cockayne mentioned the improvement of the Manawatu swamps by draining, after which pure stands of flax automatically sprang up. The district now possessed 23,000 out of the 50,000 acres of flax in New Zealand. The gross returns per acre were greater than for any other form of agriculture except orcharding. Diseases were now the limiting factors of production; of these the yellow-leaf disease was the most serious, rendering 6,000 acres unproductive. He exhibited specimens of diseased plants, showing how the outer leaves of the fans assume a yellow colour and ultimately shrivel up, while the next inner leaves are attacked, and so on. The problem his department had to solve was whether the disease was caused by bacteria, fungi, insects, or other pests. They had isolated six species of bacteria infecting the roots, none of which had developed under experimental conditions any pathogenic symptoms. A nemotode worm had also been investigated—one of these worms is the cause of a disease called “yellow stripe” in the similar monocotyledonus daffodils—but the numbers found were not sufficient to account for yellow-leaf disease. Insects also failed to account for the disease, though they caused trouble of another sort. Finally a fungus had been isolated, Ramularia phormii, and was held to be the cause of the disease. The delay in its isolation was the difficulty of sterilizing the surface of the roots, owing to their great porosity. Field experiments showed that only that portion of the root which absorbs water could be infected; this was not the primary root, but the secondary or tertiary branches. Once these are infected, the fungus spreads and reaches the primary roots. As it destroys the water-absorbing roots, the fungus prevents the absorption of water. When
the swamps get very dry the disease spreads very rapidly. Unless the disease can be eliminated the industry is doomed. The fungus had been isolated, developed in pure cultures, reintroduced into healthy plants, and had produced yellow-leaf disease. Three methods of combating soil-diseases were known: (1.) Soil-treatment, of which well-known cases were the use of lime for club-root in cabbages, and sulphur for onion-smut. On the whole, few diseases could be controlled by this method. (2.) Crop-rotation, a method used successfully with a large number of diseases, such as “take-all” in wheat. All such cases were diseases attacking annuals, and the method was not possible with flax, which was a perennial. (3.) The use of disease-resistant strains. Wonderful success had been secured by this method in a great variety of diseases, including some caused by other species of Ramularia—e.g., Irish-flax wilt, tomato-wilt, cotton-wilt, &c. Healthy plants growing in diseased areas had been selected for breeding, and the diseases had been combated. The control of yellow-leaf disease must be found along this line.
Mr. R. Waters, who had conducted the isolation of the fungus under the direction of Mr. Cockayne, mentioned the difficulty of sterilizing the exterior of so porous a root. In the end slightly infected roots were selected, a jelly was infected, and a growth obtained, of which he exhibited specimens. The results of infection of healthy plants was at first negative until seedlings were tried, when the disease quickly appeared. In answer to Professor Easterfield, who asked whether disease-resisting plants showed any root-infection, Mr. Waters stated that no work on disease-resistant strains had yet been done, but root-infection was absent from healthy plants.
Dr. L. Cockayne stated that flax grew under almost all conditions—dry areas, wet areas, sweet soils, sour soils, rocky slopes, wet clay, dry clay, &c. No one could say yet under what circumstances we get the best flax, and so an accurate survey of the plant as it grow in nature was needed. The question to be settled was whether flax would not be a profitable crop on poor lands. In his opinion, quite possibly the sand-dune areas might be turned into flax-fields. He briefly alluded to his previous work on the flax,* and stated that he did not at first believe it to be a disease, but merely an effect of a non-correct system of swamp-management.
Dr. C. Chilton asked whether Koch's conditions as to proof of pathogenicity had been fulfilled, whether spores of the fungus had been obtained, and whether treatment of the soils might not also help.
In reply, Mr. Waters stated that all of Koch's conditions had not yet been fulfilled, owing to the short time since the discovery. Spores of two kinds had been obtained, both from the cultivated fungus and from diseased plants.
Dr. Tillyard referred briefly to the insects found on or in the flax-plants, and mentioned the work of Mr. Miller on the Xanthorhoe grub. A noctuid grub, a species of Melanchra, also bit out the sides of leaves, but did not do serious damage. Syrphid grubs were found in the rotting jelly inside the leaves, and a mealy bug at the leaf-bases. Mr. Miller was ably investigating these insects. A scale insect, Pseudococcus, had been described many years ago from New Zealand flax by the late Mr. Maskell, but his type specimen was in very bad condition and practically indeterminable. A similar scale was found on sugar in Honolulu, and
[Footnote] * N.Z. Jour. Sci. & Tech., vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 190–96, 1920.
the Americans were very anxious to learn all they could about all the scales on New Zealand flax. Specimens shall be collected and sent to America for determination. It had been shown that the work on flax demanded expert mycologists, entomologists, chemists, agriculturists, horticulturists, &c., and this was only possible in a central station. He described briefly what had been done for the sugar industry in Hawaii by the sugar-planters' experimental station, and advocated the formation of a similar station by the flax-planters.
Dr. J. A. Thomson, in supporting Dr. Tillyard's recommendations, expressed disappointment with what he had heard so far. Mr. Seifert had stated that the control of the disease was not the flax-millers' business. Knowing Mr. Seifert's activities in this direction, he thought that it would be unfortunate if this statement were allowed to stand. Three years ago Dr. Cockayne had suggested the selection of disease-resisting strains, but nothing seemed to have been done, and he had not heard any mention that it was proposed now to be done by any one in particular. Was it to be left solely to the Government?
Mr. Seifert, in explanation, stated that he had meant that the actual investigations were not the business of the millers, but of the scientists. As the industry was likely to expand greatly by the planting of flax on a large scale, it was not fair to saddle the present small areas with the whole cost. The question to be decided was how much the present areas should stand, and how much the Government, representing the whole people, should contribute.
Professor Easterfield then dealt with the chemical aspects of the industry, and traced the history of the leaf from the swamp to the finished fibre, showing the amount of loss of weight at each stage. He stated that in reality the machinery was much more efficient than was generally supposed. It was foolish to think of turning stripper-waste into paper, and this fact must have been known to those who made paper from flax as far back as 1830. A number of other possible uses of flax-waste were mentioned, and a scheme outlined for the extraction of alcohol, the manufacture of fertilizer, and the provision of boiler-fuel from this material, of which one mill in the Manawatu provides over 30 tons daily.
Mr. Bell deprecated comparison of the flax industry with the sugar industry in the Hawaiian Islands, on the ground that in the latter place the land was only fit for growing sugar, whereas in New Zealand the flax swamps could easily be converted into dairying-land. Consequently, if it was desired to retain the flax exports, it was a matter not for the millers but for the Government, and not for a flax-millers' experimental station.
Dr. Tillyard, in reply, pointed out that quite a considerable area of good land in the Hawaiian Islands was being put under pineapples instead of sugar, and this was an exact parallel to the position here, where it was suggested that dairying should replace flax-growing.
After some further discussion, in which flax-millers and representatives of the Department of Agriculture took part, it was resolved, on the motion of Dr. Tillyard, That a committee of flax-millers and members of the Congress be set up to go into the matter of forming a biological station to have the yellow-leaf disease investigated from all sides. The following were appointed members of the committee: Messrs. Ross, Seifert, and Bell, representing the flax-millers; and Professor Easterfleld, Dr. Tillyard, Messrs. A. Cockayne, and R. Waters, representing the Congress.
At a general session of the Congress held next morning the committee submitted the following report, which was adopted by the Congress. The committee were asked to continue their deliberations, reporting as occasion demanded to the Standing Committee of the Institute.
Report of Committee.
1. The first essential of the flax problem is to find out whether or not races of Phormium exist which are resistant or immune to yellow-leaf disease.
2. For the carrying-out of this research it is recommended that a small flax experiment station should be built, and placed in charge of a skilled plant-propagator, with one or more assistants.
3. The minimum salary to be offered for the position of chief investigator should be £500 per annum, with guarantee of employment for five years.
4. A levy of 2s. per ton on flax should be collected through the Grading Department, and devoted to payment of salaries, cost of building, equipment, and upkeep of the experiment station.
5. The experiment station should be under the direction of a committee of the Flax-millers' Association.
Papers read at the Sections.
Presidential Address: “Science and Agriculture,”
After insisting on the dependence of New Zealand on the agriculturist and pastoralist, Sir James Wilson referred to the general deficiency of New Zealand soils, after a few preliminary crops, in phosphates, especially in the North Island. They are equally necessary in dairying. The relative merits of the different forms of application were briefly discussed. Fortunately there is apparently sufficient nitrogen in most New Zealand soils, and the deficiency that may arise in time can be met by fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in New Zealand. Meanwhile the natural method of fixation by the growing of leguminous plants should not be neglected. Potash is available in New Zealand in only small quantities, but kainit can now be imported from our ally France. Lime exists in quantity, and in general it will pay to lime our soils where the cost is reasonable, but the question of liming is one which requires very careful study and experiment by experts.
The humidity of the New Zealand climate combined with the high temperature gives great assistance to fungoid pests, and the absence of hard frosts in many districts leaves our insect pests almost without an enemy. We have now got to rely on the plant-breeder to find us resistant varieties to help us to cope with our troubles. Judicious stocking with sheep and cattle will help to keep the weeds in our pastures down. Where the weeds have got such a hold that it would be ruinous to try and eradicate them, they will tend to dwindle and gradually come under control by the exhaustion in the soil of the particular ingredients they need, while some will be attacked by natural enemies.
“Some Important Insect Problems of 1920,” by D. Miller.
Although beneficial insects have occasionally done good work, they should be looked upon merely as auxiliaries in the reduction of destructive insects. The insect pests of New Zealand are mostly of European origin; very few native species have become destructive. The address was illustrated by numerous lantern-slides showing the life-history of the injurious species upon which the author was at present working. Among these is the pear-midge, which is causing so much damage in the pear-orchards of the Auckland district; the gall - making insect destroying the blue - gums around Palmerston North and in many other parts of the country; and the common wood-borer, upon which he had located a natural insect enemy. Other important insects referred to were the cattle-tick, the grass-grub (the life-history of which he had recently worked out), and the flax-grub.
Discussion on Fire-blight.
A lecture on fire-blight was given to the Agriculture and Biology Sections jointly by Messrs. A. H. Cockayne and R. Waters, and the subject was further discussed by Drs. Tillyard and L. Cockayne and Mr. J. B. Garnett. A committee consisting of Sir James Wilson, Mr. Campbell, and Dr. Tillyard was appointed to consider steps to be taken to assist in combating the ravages of this pest.
(A paper on this subject, by R. Waters, “Fire-blight: Bacteriological History in New Zealand,” appears in the N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, vol. 22, pp. 143–45, 1921, and another, by A. H. Cockayne, “Fire-blight and its Control,” in the same Journal, vol. 23, pp. 30–36, 1921.)
“Some Fodder Crops of England and New Zealand,”
It has been definitely shown in the past that although forage crops are not able to compete with grass for cheapness of production in New Zealand, yet they fill a very necessary part in the economy of both dairying and sheep-farming, in so far as they are able to supply a succession of green food at times of the year when the pastures are bare. The man who has no supplementary feed ready at these times loses a great deal of milk immediately, and also later, because his cows, once having dropped in yield, do not pick up again readily when the next growth of grass occurs. Various fodder mixtures were given which have proved useful for these purposes in England, and would probably, with slight modifications, prove equally good in New Zealand: (1.) Oats 2 bushels, peas 1 bushel per acre. (2.) Giant ryecorn 2 bushels, winter vetches 1 bushel per acre. The second mixture sown in autumn will grow right through the winter and come in early in the spring, before the grass starts. (3.) Field peas 1 bushel, buckwheat 1 bushel, rape ½ lb. per acre. This mixture sown in spring will produce a big bulk of succulent fodder in the late summer, when the pastures are dry and burnt up. It would be much freer from “blight” than rape sown alone. Various other fodder plants and the best varieties were dealt with, and finally the importance of the fuller study of the economics of the question was emphasized.
“The Economic Significance of Powdery Scab in Potatoes,” by R. Waters.
“Science and its Relation to Field Instruction to Farmers,” by T. H. Patterson.
“The Importance of Soil Survey,” by T. Rigg.
“What constitutes a Fertile Soil,” by G. de S. Baylis.
“Factors in the Establishment of Lucerne,” by A. H. Cockayne.
“'Take-all' in Wheat,” by R. Waters.
“Some Important Successions in Permanent Grassland in New Zealand,” by E. Bruce Levy.
Presidential Address: “New Zealand and the Biological Problems of the Pacific,” by Professor C. Chilton.
A summary was first given of the various theories suggested by Hutton, Hedley, and others to account for the relationship of New Zealand with South America on the one hand, and with New Caledonia, New Guinea, &c., on the other. The similarity in several respects between the animals and plants of the Hawaiian Islands and New Zealand was pointed out, and it was suggested that a careful consideration of the two would not only throw light on the origin of the New Zealand fauna and flora, but would also give useful information on the methods of evolution which had taken place in these two groups of islands.
The address was followed by a short discussion, in which Drs. L. Cockayne and P. Marshall, and Mr. W. R. B. Oliver took part.
“Some Notes on the Habits and Uses of the Toheroa,” by Miss M. K. Mestayer. (This paper appears in the N.Z. Journal of Science and Technology, vol. 4, pp. 84–85, 1921.)
“Notes on the Natural Camouflage of some Marine Mollusca,” by Miss M. K. Mestayer.
These notes on natural camouflage deal with some of the ways in which our marine molluscs protect themselves from their enemies. This end is achieved in two ways: either by the animal's own effort, or by the shell becoming encrusted with the surrounding animal and vegetable life. Some measure of protection is also obtained by those molluscs living above half-tide, through the action of sun, wind, and rain weathering their shells till they closely resemble the rocks they live on. The best example of deliberate camouflage among New Zealand molluscs is to be found in the Hauraki Gulf, at about 30 fathoms. It is known as the “carrier” shell, from its habit of cementing other shells or bits of stone to its own, till it looks like a heap of old shells. The commonest forms of this natural camouflage are those which depend on the surroundings of the shells concerned; some being covered with coralline and other seaweeds, others often having their shells more or less hidden by small barnacles or other animal ife.
“Plant-propagation,” by P. Black.
“On Growth-periods in New Zealand Plants, especially Nothofagus fusca and the Totara,” by Professor H. B. Kirk. (This paper appears in the present volume, pp. 429–32.)
“Littoral Plant and Animal Communities,” by W. R. B. Oliver.
“A Remarkable New Mosquito,” by D. Miller.
“The Popular Names of New Zealand Plants,” by J. C. Andersen.
The author has compiled lists of names used by various writers from the time of Captain Cook onwards, showing the common names given to various plants, and showing when the names were first applied, and how long and how consistently they have been used. The cabbage-tree (Cordyline australis), for example, has nearly twenty different names, and many trees have a dozen or more. The tree known as Nothofagus Solanderi has been called “black,” “white,” “red,” and “black-heart” birch in various districts, whilst at the same time the names “black-birch,” “white-birch,” &c., have been given to many other trees as well, “black-birch” being applied to no fewer than five. The object of the paper was to make a list available so that scientists and others might adopt the same common name and avoid the confusion that had taken place in the past.
“Ecological Problems relative to Salmonidae,” by W. J. Phillipps.
“The Order Hemiptera in New Zealand, with Special Reference to its Biological and Economic Aspects,” by J. G. Myers.
“Notes on the Vegetation of the Mid-Clarence Valley,” by B. C. Aston.
The author stated that he had made five visits to this district since the first in April, 1915, when a journey through the remarkable Ure Cañon, or Ure Gorge, as it is called, was made, and the ascent to the summit of Tapuaenuku (9,450 ft.) from the Dee River was accomplished. The main features of the work accomplished were the botanical examination of the Medway, Ure, Kekerangu, Nidd, Mead, and Dee River basins, including the hills surrounding them (the last three being tributaries of the Mid-Clarence), and the limestone foothills and eastern slopes of Mount Tapuaenuku.
The results included the discovery of a remarkable polymorphic new species of gentian which exhibited different habits of growth according to the habitat. This semi-arid district was well supplied with moist, dark stations in close proximity to very dry, strongly isolated stations. The same species might grow on a dark, dripping river-cliff, a shingle-bed exposed to a large measure of sunlight, a dry shady hillside, or a rock-crevice. A Carmichaelia, which was probably C. Monroi, exhibited such a variety of forms under these conditions that a botanist might class them as distinct species if he did not know the conditions under which the specimens were growing. The rediscovery was made of Wahlenbergia Matthewsii, the finest of the New Zealand species of that genus, originally discovered by H. J. Matthews, and found to be common in the Ure Valley as a rock-plant. Flowering specimens of Olearia coriacea were found in the Mead Stream, a Haastia growing at 8,500 ft. elevation, and Helichysum Purdiei, which, as Dr. Cockayne had pointed out, was probably a hybrid between H. bellidioides and H. glomeratum, since H. Purdiei was always found in association with its reputed parents. The speaker also described the rock associations met with. A Notospartium was found to be abundant in the Inland Kaikouras, and it was this plant which Mr. Petrie was now naming N. glabrescens; it attained a height of 15 ft. to 30 ft.
“Inheritance in Self-fertilized Plants,” by Dr. F. W. Hilgendorf.
“Wellington Island Soils and Florulas.” by B. C. Aston.
Presidential Address: “The Birth and Development of New Zealand as a Geographical Unit,” by Professor J. Park. (This paper appears in the present volume, pp. 73–76.)
“The Cretaceous Rocks of the Kaipara District,” by Dr. P. Marshall.
Up to the present time very few fossils have been found in rocks of Upper Cretaceous age in New Zealand. The author, however, gave a description of a rich series of important fossils that he had recently found. These were largely ammonites, and showed a great similarity to fossils of similar Cretaceous age in South India and Antarctica. This recent discovery enforces the opinion previously held that New Zealand was joined to Antarctica in late Cretaceous times, and that this land was not distant from an Indian extension.
“The Geology of Western Samoa,” by Dr. J. Allan Thomson. (This paper appears in the N.Z. Journal of Science and Technology, vol. 4, pp. 49–66, 1921.)
“The Structure of the Mangahao No. 1 Gorge (Mangahao Hydro-electric Scheme), and its Bearing on the Construction of the Proposed Dam,” by G. L. Adkin. (This paper appears in the N.Z. Journal of Science and Technology, vol. 4, pp. 1–4, 1921.)
“The Warped Land-surface of the South-eastern Side of the Port Nicholson Depression,” by Dr. C. A. Cotton. (This paper appears in the present volume, pp. 131–43.)
“The Great Barrier Island,” by J. A. Bartrum. (This paper appears in the present volume as “Notes on the Geology of Great Barrier Island, New Zealand,” pp. 115–27.)
“The Geology of the Port Waikato District,” by M. J. Gilbert, M.Sc. (Rev. Brother Fergus). (This paper appears in the present volume as “Geology of the Waikato Heads District and the Kawa Unconformity,” pp. 97–114.)
“The Tertiary Geology of the Awamoho District,” by G. H. Uttley.
“A Ball and Pillow Lava from Hawaii,” by Dr. J. Allan Thomson.
Physics, Chemistry, and Engineering Section.
Presidential Address: “Electric - power Supply in New Zealand,”
Dealing with the cost of electric-power plants, the author said that the legislation under which electric installations may be established in New Zealand, based on the assumption that the majority of the plants would be publicly owned, was exceedingly simple, and the legal procedure cheap compared with that of Great Britain and elsewhere. With regard to the future, the Government proposals provided for one horsepower for each five head of population—say, 240,000 horse-power for the whole Dominion. The normal coal-consumption for the Dominion was about 2,500,000 tons per year, and the possible saving in coal-consumption, averaging both city and country users at about 10 to 12 tons of coal per horse-power-year, was thus approximately the total amount of the present consumption of the Dominion. Of course, a large consumption must still be required for gas-generating, bunkering, and main-line railways; but, on the other hand, the electric supply would be largely required for new houses and new industries, and would also be largely used to replace candles, kerosene, petrol, and mainly firewood, as well as coal, leaving a fairly large demand for coal even when the full 240,000 horse-power is available from hydro-electric sources. As to future developments, the total recorded hydro-electric-power sources of 1,000 horse-power or over in the Dominion as recorded in the Year-book of 1914 are between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 horse-power, apart from probably another 1,000,000 horse-power available in small units below 1,000 horse-power. As to the demand, the provision of one horsepower per five head of population was, of course, only a stage in the development, which would ultimately be exceeded, possibly many times over.
“Some New Zealand Mineral Oils,”
A statement was given of the districts in New Zealand in which mineral oils had been found, and the paper also alluded to the attempts to supply mineral oil by the distillation of oil-shales at Orepuki, Southland. The sulphur content of the southern shales was stated to be a very serious objection, and a comparison was given of the properties of Taranaki and Kotuku oil. The former is said to be remarkable in the high content of benzoles and cycloparaffins. The proportion of toluol, used in the manufacture of T.N.T. explosive particularly, was higher than in the case of the light oil from coal-tar. A number of pure chemical compounds taken from Taranaki petroleums were exhibited.
Professor Easterfield stated that, in his opinion, the boring of new wells in Taranaki promised at present greater success than development in any other area, but urged that as a matter of Imperial interest systematic prospecting by bores should be carried out in a number of areas.
“The Quantum Theory,” by Professor P. W. Robertson.
“The Horizontal Pendulum,” by Dr. C. E. Adams.
“The Wet Process of recovering Mercury from Cinnabar,” by W. Donovan. (This paper appears as “Thornhill's Sodium-sulphide Process for the Recovery of Mercury,” in the N.Z. Journal of Science and Technology, vol. 4, pp. 129–34, 1921.)
Discussion on Isotopes in New Zealand Minerals.
At a joint meeting of the Physics and Geology Sections Professor P. W. Robertson introduced the subject by explaining the recent developments in chemistry which had shown that certain elements were mixtures of isotopes, while others were suspected to be mixtures. It would be useful to place on record the occurrences of New Zealand minerals which were available as sources of these suspected mixtures, in order that chemists might know where to turn for material. The subsequent investigations might prove to have fundamental geological significance.
After some discussion it was resolved to set up a committee (see “Resolutions,” below).
“The Transit Micrometer,” by Dr. C. E. Adams.
Presidential Address: “Science and the Principle of the Relativity of Motion,”
The aim of the address is not to give an adequate account of Einstein's theory of relativity, but to pick out therefrom certain features which should serve to fit the subject on to familiar scientific conceptions, and thereby render the most important results of the theory intelligible, perhaps even acceptable, to the non-specialist. The metaphysical notion of void space involves the relativity of all positions, directions, and motions, including rest, or zero motion. But the scientific conception of space has for ages past been more or less inconsistent with this view. The latter, however, has, during the progress of science, vindicated itself with regard first to position and direction, then in regard to uniform motions, and, within the past few years, with regard to all motions. Each such vindication has constituted a sudden and remarkable increase of intellectual power, and has involved a notable reconstruction of scientific conceptions. The conceptions chiefly affected by the recent intellectual advance are those of space and time, natural geometry, gravitation, and the other natural forces. Besides these, a new dominating conception has been introduced which, when it is once mastered, allows of a much more accurate and simple representation to our minds of what is really happening in the external world.
Events referred to this entity, which has four dimensions, lose certain refractory inconsistencies which they undoubtedly present when they are described in the usual terms of space and time. Just as ethereal radiation is put forward by science as the real external event giving rise to our subjective experiences of light and warmth, so our movement in this four-dimensional continuum is put forward in the address as giving rise to our subjective and other experiences of the measure of space and time which we associate with natural occurrences. The conception affords us a truer apprehension of what is really going on in the external world than we can receive directly by our space-and-time experiences, which have been found by modern science to vary with our relative motion in a most confusing and irreconcilable manner. The satisfactory unification, as seen from the new point of view, of previously unrelated facts, especially of the facts of gravitation, inertia, and centrifugal force, was described in the address; and, since non-Euclidean geometry is used in relativity investigations, a short popular account was given of what such a thing may be.
“Maori Culture Areas in New Zealand,”
The main culture-division in the island region of the Pacific lies between Melanesia and Polynesia. “Melanesia” is culturally a very ill-defined term, and appears to cover very heterogeneous material. The culture of Polynesia appears, on the other hand, to be remarkably homogeneous. Maori culture, taken broadly, shows features derived from Polynesia and others that find their closest relationships in Melanesia. In language and in social structure the Maoris are Polynesian, but their material culture shows many points of resemblance to that of the Western Pacific. Thus the rectangular, circular, and pile types of house common in New Zealand are without parallel in Central and Eastern Polynesia, but occur in almost identical form in Melanesia.
The material culture of the North Island shows strong affinities with the Western Pacific while that of the South Island seems more nearly related to the material culture of Polynesia. This division between the North Island and the South is the most important that can be made on cultural grounds in New Zealand There is a transitional belt embracing both shores of Cook Strait. The South Island may be divided into three other districts—Murihiku, south of the Rangitata; Kaiapoi, south of the Buller and the Awatere; and the Wakatu, including the rest of the Island except the transitional region about the Marlborough Sounds.
The North Island may be divided into four areas, exclusive of the transitional belt along the shore of Cook Strait. The West Coast Area stretches from the Rangitikei to a little north of the Mokau. The East Coast Area lies south of the Mahia. The Central Area includes the rest of the Island south of the Auckland Isthmus. The Northern Area includes the rest of the North Island. To these areas must be added the Chatham Islands, which show many points of resemblance to Murihiku.
“The Strange Disappearance of Maoris in Fiordland,” by W. H. Beattie. (This paper appears as “A Mystery of Fiordland: A Vanished Maori Tribe,” in the N.Z. Journal of Science and Technology, vol. 4, pp. 86–90, 1921.)
In his paper Dr. Buck pointed out that anthropometry, which dealt with the measurements of the human body so as to establish the standard type of genus of a race, had been neglected as regards the Maori branch of the Polynesians. It was absolutely necessary to set up the Maori type in order to study his relationship to the other branches of the Polynesians, and to determine what Melaneaian characteristics existed amongst them. The Americans had four scientific expeditions working in Polynesia, and, since New Zealand administered Samoa, the Cook Group, and Niue Island, we should not lag behind in the scientific study of those Polynesian branches under our control. Attention was drawn to the unsatisfactory condition that existed with regard to standard Polynesian and Melanesian type owing to insufficient measurements of a large enough number of living persons. Our primary duty was to remove this charge of scientific neglect as regards ourselves by first establishing the Maori type or types. He detailed some of the measurements made of over eight hundred members of the Maori Battalion that served in the late war. For full-blooded Maoris he established racial standards of 5 ft. 7 ¼ in. in height and 11 stone 9 lb. in weight, which were 1 ¼ in. and 22 lb. greater than those so far accepted on too few observations. Head, face, and nose measurements were detailed, and attention drawn to the tribal differences that existed. An interesting feature was the modification of face and nose width which occurred amongst those of mixed blood, the narrowing in these two measurements being shown to increase with the greater admixture of white blood. The whole subject opened up a new field of great scientific interest, and further investigation would probably throw additional light on tribal and racial origin, and have an important bearing on the culture differences that existed in various parts of New Zealand.
“Some Investigations into the Variations in the New Zealand Price-level: the Political, Social, and Industrial Effects following therefrom,” by Dr. J. W. McIlraith.
“The Horizontal Pendulum,” by Dr. C. E. Adams.
“History of the Offer of the Yale Telescopes to New Zealand,” by Dr. C. E. Adams.
“The Earthquake of 20th September, 1920,” by Dr. C. E. Adams.
“A National Observatory for New Zealand,” by Dr. C. E. Adams. (This paper appears in the N.Z. Journal of Science and Technology, vol. 4, pp. 91–94, 1921.)
Resolutions of the Science Congress.
1. That this Congress, recognizing Bacillus amylovorus as being in the forefront of destructive plant-diseases, views with alarm its introduction into New Zealand, and urges upon the Government the necessity of adopting the most effective means towards its early eradication, and is further of the opinion that it will be little short of criminal not only to the fruitgrower and general public of the present day, but to future generations, should any consideration of expediency whatever be allowed to interfere with the vigorous prosecution of such a policy.
2. This Congress is of opinion that an absolutely complete census of all hawthorn hedges or single plants and all other hosts of fire-bright should be carried out in conjunction with the forthcoming general census.
3. That the time has arrived when the Marine Department ought to establish systematic observations of the sea temperatures on the coasts of New Zealand. In Europe and the United States, where such observations have been regularly made for thirty years or more, important economic
results have been obtained, it being found possible from temperature-observations to predict the arrival at certain points of migratory food fishes, such as herring, some time beforehand.
4. That this Congress congratulates the Government on the beginning made to equip the Hector Observatory with improved seismological equipment, as urged at the last Congress, and that, owing to the importance of seismology to New Zealand, the Congress desires to urge the Government to add to the equipment of the Hector Observatory by providing another Milne-Shaw seismograph, so that both horizontal components may be determined, and that a vertical-component seismograph also be provided.
5. That a sub-committee consisting of Dr. Thomson, Mr. P. G. Morgan, and Mr. Donovan (Dr. Thomson as convener) be set up and requested to collect available information with respect to the New Zealand occurrence of minerals containing suspected isotopes of certain elements, and that this be handed to Professor Robertson for publication in some suitable journal.
6. That this Congress urges upon the Government and people of New Zealand the great importance of accepting the generous offer to New Zealand of astronomical equipment and staff made by the Yale University Corporation, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.
7. That this Congress urges upon the Government the importance of taking steps to participate in the determination of the longitude of the Hector Observatory by radio-telegraphy from the Greenwich and Paris Observatories, as recommended by the Bureau des Longitudes, Paris.