At the annual meeting (28th February, 1921) the annual report and balance-sheet were read and adopted.
At the expiry of another year it is the duty of the Council to submit to the members and the general public their fifty-third annual report on the condition of the society and the progress it has made during the year.
Members.—The number of new members added during the year has been twenty-four. Against this, twenty-nine names have been removed—nine by death, fourteen by resignation or removal from the provincial district, and six for non-payment of subscription for mor than two consecutive years. The net loss has thus been five, the number of members at the present time being 450.
Several of the members removed by death have been long in association with the Institute, and have rendered important services to it. Mr. John Reid served on the Council from 1895 to 1915, and was appointed a trustee in 1906, a post which he occupied until his death. Mr. E. K. Mulgan has contributed lectures and papers of importance, while his position as an educationist of the first rank renders his loss a severe one. The decease of the Hon. J. A. Tole should also be referred to, for, although he took no active part in the affairs of the Institute, his work in connection with education generally placed him in sympathetic accord with it.
Finance.—The total revenue of the Working Account, after deducting the balance in hand at the beginning of the year, has been £1,867 5s. 7d., being a decrease of £8 19s. 8d. on the amount of the previous year. Examining the various items, it will be noted that the members' subscriptions show an increase from £407 8s. to £429 9s. The receipts from the Museum Endowment have amounted to £764 12s. 10d., or almost exactly the same sum as that credited last year. The invested funds of the Costley Bequest have yielded £466 10s., also showing a slight increase on the amount realized during the previous year. The total expenditure has been £1,753 9s., and the cash balance in hand is £373 13s. 4d.
The invested funds of the society, which now amount to the sum of £23,211 8s. 9d., have had the careful attention of the trustees during the year.
Meetings.—Nine meetings have been held during the year, at which various lectures were delivered, and an opportunity offered for discussion. Certain papers were also forwarded for publication in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute. The following is a complete list of both papers and lectures: C. M. Carter, “Ceylon, its People and its Archaeology”; Dr. A. B. Fitt, “Some Applications of Modern Psychology”; Professor J. C. Johnson, “Coral Islands, Part I—The Reef, its Structure and Origin,” and “Coral Islands, Part II—The Island, with Particular Reference to Polynesia”; E. V. Miller, “The Theory of Relativity”; Professor F. P. Worley, “Atoms and the Transmutation of the Elements”; Professor R. M. Algie, “The Scenic Attractions of the Tonganro National Park”; Dr. P. H. Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa), “Maori Warfare”; T. F. Cheeseman, “New Species of Plants”; D. Petrie, “Descriptions of New Native Plants”; J. A. Bartrum, “Notes on the Geology of the Great Barrier Island”; M. J. Gilbert, “Notes on the Geology of the Waikato Heads District”; L. T. Griffin, “Descriptions of Four Fishes new to New Zealand”; Dr. P. H. Buck, “The Maori Food-supplies of Lake Rotorua,” and “Maori Decorative Art.”
Those of the above papers which were intended for publication in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute have been forwarded to the Editor, and will probably appear in volume 53, now in the press. Volume 52, containing the papers read before the various branches of the Institute during the year 1919, has been issued during the year, and distributed among the members.
Library.—About £150 has been expended over the library during the year; but some expenditure incurred for the purchase of books and for bookbinding has still to be met. Two consignments of books, numbering over one hundred volumes, have been received during the year. Six weeks ago another order was despatched, which should arrive during the autumn. The magazine and other serial publications subscribed to by the Institute have been regularly received, and have been made available for the use of readers. Various books and memoirs have been received in exchange, and several donations have been made by private individuals. Under this heading special mention should be made of a set of fifty bound volumes of the periodical
Engineering, presented by the trustees of the late H. Metcalfe, C.E. The gift is of considerable importance from a technological point of view, and will form a welcome addition to the library.
The scarcity of shelf-room in the library has long been a source of anxiety to the Council. An attempt has been made to mitigate the evil by erecting a temporary range of shelving in the assistant's room, to which the geographical portion of the library has been transferred. This has slightly improved matters, but the position will soon be as acute as before. At the present time there can be no proper classification of the books on the shelving, making it more difficult for readers to consult the library, and causing much increased work to the custodians.
Museum.—With the exception of a very short period necessarily reserved for cleaning and rearrangement, the Museum has been open to the public during the whole of the year. The attendance has been most satisfactory, as proved by the following statistics. Taking the Sunday attendance first, the register kept by the janitor shows that 27,102 people entered the building on that day, being an average of 521 for each Sunday. The greatest attendance was 887, on the 4th April; the smallest 88, on the 26th September. The total number of visitors on the ten chief holidays of the year was 8,478, or an average of 847 for each holiday. The greatest attendance on any one holiday was 4,320, on the 23rd April, the date of the arrival of the Prince of Wales. But this extraordinary attendance was purely caused by the massing of huge crowds at the foot of Princes Street in order to see the Prince's vessel arrive and pass up the harbour to her berth. The next largest attendance was on King's Birthday, amounting to 975; but the number of visitors on Easter Monday and Labour Day almost equalled that. As explained in last year's report, it is impossible to give the actual attendance on ordinary week-days, but it is believed to be about 250, which would give a total of 75,000. Adding this number to that counted for Sundays and holidays, the grand total becomes 112,500. Last year the number was estimated at 107,787.
In the report for the previous year the Council stated that in the present congested 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. The correctness of this statement will become more obvious with each succeeding year. All that can be done at present is to keep the collections in good order and condition, and to see that they are properly labelled and arranged for public exhibition. In short, until a new building is provided little work can be done in the Museum itself beyond those minor alterations and improvements that can still be carried out. During the year it has been proved that excellent work can be done, and important results obtained, by a series of short collecting trips into various parts of the country. It is suggested that this plan should be extended during the coming year.
The additions and donations received or announced during the year have been exceptionally numerous and valuable, but only the more important can be mentioned here. Among them, the chief place must be given to Mr. J. B. Turner's superb collection of Filian and Polynesian ethnological specimens. For nearly fifty years Mr. Turner has been engaged in building up this collection, which is recognized as being the finest and most complete in Fiji. It contains sets of nearly all the articles necessary to fully illustrate the manners and customs of the ancient Fijian, and when placed in association with the Maori collection in the Auckland Museum and the numerous Polynesian articles already there will render the Museum pre-eminent as a centre for the study of Polynesian culture. Mr. Turner is a native of Auckland, and his magnanimous gift will ensure him a high place among the benefactors of the city.
During a collecting tour made by Mr. Griffin through the Hauraki Plains and other districts, donations of Maori articles were received from many settlers. Mr. L. Carter presented three large ancient stone-worked carvings, a bundle of seventeen long rods presumably used in house-building, two fine wooden wedges, together with a number of other objects. Interesting Maori articles were also presented by Messrs, Miln, Benny, and Bond, R. Muir, J. A. Lennard, J. Kidd, T. Dunbar, Mrs. Shelley, and others. Articles of note from other districts have been received from G. Graham, Colonel Boscawen, S. A. Browne, D. Munro, R. Wild, F. Wood, and numerous others.
Attention should also be directed to an interesting collection of ethnological articles from Assyria, comprising seventeen inscribed clay tablets, a Roman lamp, four scarabs, thirty ancient coins, the whole presented by Mr. Graham Findlay. Finally, it is well to mention a collection of ethnological specimens from Australia received in exchange from the Australian Museum, Sydney.
The War Memorial Museum and the Appeal for Funds.—At the last annual meeting, held on the 23rd February, 1920, full particulars were given of the progress of the scheme up to the time of the meeting. Briefly stated, it had been decided that the War Memorial for the City of Auckland should consist of a suitable building to be erected on Observatory Hill, in the Auckland Domain. It was further decided that the building
should form a combined museum and war collection; and that it should be planned on an impressive and dignified scale, so as to keep permanently alive the purpose and aim of its existence as a memorial of the Great War.
The first step was clearly to obtain information as to the minimum cost of a building large enough to accommodate the war collections and associated “Hall of Memory,” together with the collections of the present Auckland Museum. Without such particulars it was obviously impossible to frame an appeal for funds of a sufficiently definite nature to place before the citizens of Auckland. A committee of the Council was therefore appointed to investigate the matter, and sufficient, evidence of a reliable nature was obtained to enable the committee to form an adequate idea of museum requirements.
After consideration it was decided that the next step should be to ascertain what assistance could be obtained from the State. The Mayor, as President of the Institute, appealed to the Prime Minister on the subject. After the facts of the case had been fully and clearly represented, a reply was received to the effect that a grant of £25,000 would be made if a similar sum was obtained by public subscription.
It was then determined to apply to the major financial institutions of the city, the name of the Auckland Savings-bank heading the list. The request was generously and willingly received by the bank, which unanimously agreed to give a donation of £25,000—probably the largest single donation ever made in Auckland. Then came a reply from the Auckland Racing Club, which at first voted a donation of £2,000, which was afterwards generously increased to £5,065, that sum representing the net profits derived from the race meeting given in honour of the visit of the Prince of Wales to Auckland.
At this stage it was felt that the time had arrived for setting up an organization to promote the furtherance of the appeal for funds, and to enlarge the number of workers in the cause. A public meeting was therefore held in the Town Hall on the 22nd October, the Mayor in the chair. It was then resolved to appoint a Citizens Committee to promote and organize a public appeal throughout the Auckland District for the balance of the funds required to erect in the Auckland Domain a War Memorial Museum, which was declared to be the most appropriate form for Auckland's War-Memorial to take; and, further, the meeting resolved that all questions arising there-from be referred to such Citizens Committee, with power to act. At a subsequent meeting of the committee, Mr. J. H. Gunson (President of the Auckland Institute and Museum) was appointed chairman of the committee, Mr. V. J. Larner treasurer, and Mr. W. Elliot secretary. It was further resolved that these three gentlemen should be the trustees of the Building Fund. On further consideration, it was decided to fix £200,000 as the objective of the fund, the general opinion being that such a sum will be required to erect a memorial worthy of the city and its inhabitants.
Almost immediately after the appointment of the committee the City Council, acting with a high sense of civic responsibility, decided to vote £10,000 to the fund. This was followed by a donation of £5,000 from the Auckland Harbour Board, while the two chief insurance companies—the New Zealand and the South British—have each given the sum of £2,000.
Since than many public institutions and private individuals have made large contributions. So far, the Citizens Committee have published no authoritative list of donations, but it is understood that such will be shortly issued. In the meantime, it is no breach of confidence to say that the total of the contributions made, a considerable proportion of which has been actually received, is sufficiently large to ensure the final success of the movement.
It is not without justifiable pride that this sketch of the attempt to provide funds for the Auckland War Memorial has been written. The beginning has been so unexpectedly full and generous that it cannot be doubted that the objects of the promoters will be fully attained. And, if so, the citizens of Auckland will leave behind them a proof of far-seeing generosity that it will be difficult to match in cities of much larger size.
Election of Officers for 1920–21.—President—J. H. Gunson, Mayor of Auckland. Vice-Presidents—Hon. E. Mitchelson, M.L.C.; Hon. C. J. Parr, C.M.G, M.P. Council—J. Kenderdine; T. W. Leys, Ph.D.; A. J. Lunn; E. V. Miller; H. H. Ostler; T. Peacock; D. Petrie, M.A.; Professor H. W. Segar, M.A.; Professor A. P. W. Thomas, M.A, F.L.S.; H. E. Vaile; Professor F. P. Worley, D.Sc. Trustees—T. Peacock; Professor A. P. W. Thomas; J. H. Upton; H. E. Vaile. Secretary and Curator—T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S., F.Z.S., F.N.Z.Inst. Assistant and Preparator of Specimens—L. T. Griffin, F.Z.S. Auditor—S. Gray, F.R.A.