Gentlemen of the Board of Governors,—
It is my first and mournful duty to refer to those members who have gone. Death has made a gap in the Roll of Honorary Members which takes away six names honoured in the Science of Zoology and Botany.
Dr. William Bateson, F.R.S., born in 1861. He became distinguished for his work on genetics. Elected Honorary Member, 1915. Died 8th February, 1926.
Professor George Lincoln Goodale, born in 1839. He succeeded the celebrated Asa Gray as Professor of Botany at Harvard University, U.S.A. Elected Hon. Member 1891, when he attended the Christchurch meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science. Died early in 1926.
Mr. Charles Hedley, F.L.S., born in 1862. He was one of the world's leading conchologists, and was elected Honorary Member 1924. He died at Sydney, 14th September, 1926, beloved by many friends and fellow-workers in New Zealand.
Professor Jean Massart, born in 1865. He became Professor in the University of Brussels. A distinguished botanist, he was elected Honorary Member in 1916, and died in August, 1925.
Professor Carl Fredrik Otto Nordstedt, Ph.D., born in 1838. A distinguished Swedish algologist, he was elected Honorary Member in 1890, and died 6th February, 1924.
Reverend Thomas Roscoe Rede Stebbing, F.R.S., born in 1835. A distinguished naturalist and worker in the group Crustacea, he was elected Honorary Member in 1907, and died 9th July, 1926.
Of the New Zealand members we mourn the loss of Joseph P. Frengley, M.D., born in 1873. He was formerly chief of the New Zealand Health Department. He made a study of Municipal Milk Supply, and it is largely owing to his efforts that the excellent milk distributing system of Wellington City was adopted. He died on 1st August, 1926.
William Townson, born in 1850. He was for many years a keen botanical explorer; being exceptionally diligent and successful in the Westport district. His name is perpetuated in the genus of orchids Townsonia, discovered by him and named in his honour. He died 11th August, 1926.
Sir Arthur M. Myers, born in 1867. He was an able Minister in the War Cabinet; he gave the Myers Park to Auckland City, and was prominent in many movements for the public good. He died 9th October, 1926.
J. T. Ward, Honorary Director of the Wanganui Observatory. He was prominent in imparting astronomical knowledge, and himself constructed the Wanganui telescope, and published many valuable observations. He died on the 4th January, 1927.
Considering the time that can reasonably be allotted to a Presidential Address to this business meeting, it is desirable to speak only on those subjects which touch directly on the work of the Institute.
The year 1926 proved a very full one for the officers, the absence for a part of the year of the Honorary Secretary threw an additional load of work on the Honorary Editor. The Assistant Secretary and Librarian, Miss Wood, has by her diligent attention to details, her organising capacity, and her unfailing cheerfulness under difficulties, considerably lightened the burden of the Honorary Officers. I think the desirability of providing the Assistant Secretary with a cadette in the near future, should be kept steadily in view. A new method of circulating the works in the library to research workers and others has been inaugurated by Miss Wood, and is, I understand, giving satisfaction.
Incorporated societies have been kept well posted concerning the work of the Institute. It is desirable that all members of the Board who visit Wellington at definite times should notify the Assistant Secretary, so that arrangements may be made for them to attend committee and other meetings. The establishment of a College of Agriculture at Palmerston North is now definitely decided, and the advent of new blood into the community may stimulate the Manawatu Philosophical Society, which has presented no reports for two years, into renewed life.
A word may be said as to the President's duties. He represents the Institute on two important bodies by statutory enactment, the Tongariro National Park Board, and the Board of Science and Art. In the latter case, under the Science and Art Act, 1913, he has the power to appoint a deputy to act fully as a member of the Board. It is regrettable that there is not some such provision in the Tongariro National Park Act, 1922. In the New Zealand Institute, the President is elected annually, and it has become an unwritten law that the same person does not take office for longer than two years. Other members of the Park Board hold office for four years, and are eligible for re-election. Hence the scientific representative is at a decided disadvantage, for by the time he gets fully conversant with the business of the Board and the theatre of operations he has to retire without a chance of re-appointment as the Institute's representative. Again, in the case of the New Zealand Institute of Horticulture, the New Zealand Institute may elect anyone, not necessarily the President, to represent it on the Dominion Executive Council, a practice which allows of a continuous representation and makes for efficiency and continuity of policy. To bring about an improvement in the representation on the Tongariro National Park Board, it should be possible for provision to be inserted in the Act allowing the New Zealand Institute to appoint a deputy in place of the President.
The outstanding events of the past year are:—
(1) The visit of Sir Frank Heath, and the publication of his comprehensive report.
(2) The transfer of the Institute's printing from the Government Printer to a private firm.
(3) The opening of the Wilton's Bush Open Air Plant Museum.
Other subjects which must be mentioned are:—
(4)The formation of a branch of the Institute of Chemistry in New Zealand.
(5) The successful publication of a valuable work on Australian and New Zealand Insects by Dr. Tillyard, F.R.S., and
(6) The grant of a considerable sum by an Imperial Department for research in New Zealand.
Scientific and Industrial Research Department and Sir Frank Heath's Report.
There are now three bodies in New Zealand each deriving authority from a different Act of Parliament, but having similar aims and functions.
The New Zealand Institute derives authority from the New Zealand Act, 1908, consolidated from the New Zealand Institute Act, 1903, which had been reconstructed from the New Zealand Institute Act, 1867. The title of the last Act was “An Act to establish an Institute for the Advancement of Science and Art in New Zealand,” which may be taken in the broadest sense to be the functions of the present Institute.
The Science and Art Act, 1913, is entitled “An Act to provide for the constitution and control of a Dominion Museum, Art Gallery and Library, and for the production of certain Scientific Works.”
The Scientific and Industrial Research Act, 1926, has the title “An Act to make provision for the promotion and organisation of Scientific Research, and for its application to the primary and secondary industries of New Zealand.” The last Act provides for the appointment of an advisory council, but no provision is made whereby the New Zealand Institute is represented on the Council. This Council has been appointed and is especially strong on the Medical, Engineering and Chemical side. One looks for some means of bringing the Council into co-operation with the New Zealand Institute which is strong on the botanical, zoological, and geological side.
The means by which the New Zealand Institute, or its incorporated societies, promotes science are chiefly the publication of original researches and memoirs, the organisation of scientific congresses, excursions, expeditions, and lectures, the administration of trust funds for promoting scientific work, the making of grants towards the expenses of carrying on research, the rewarding of scientific workers of merit by means of money prizes, medals, and titles, the institution and development of scientific libraries and museums, and making recommendations to the Government.
The Science and Art Board conerns itself mainly with the control of the Dominion Museum, and the publication of Government Scientific Memoirs and Papers, which latter duty will in future, if Sir Frank Heath's advice is followed, be transferred to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
The Scientific and Industrial Research Department is constituted to deal with applied science and industries, and control the scientific departments of the Government other than those of the Department
of Agriculture. This new Science Department is directly the result of the visit to New Zealand in February, 1926, of Sir Frank Heath, K.C.B., the Secretary of the English Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The valuable report of this high imperial officer, “Organisation of Scientific and Industrial Research in New Zealand,” dated 12th March, 1926, was presented to Parliament under covering memo of the Prime Minister, dated 25th May, 1926, and as soon as copies were available they were distributed to Governors of this Institute. Sir Frank Heath met the members of the Board of Science and Art, who afterwards passed a resolution to the Government aproving of his report. Sir Frank also met the Standing Committee of the Institute and discussed matters. The Standing Committee resolved that in view of the extreme importance of Sir Frank Heath's report it offer its services to the Government in any direction in which it can be of assistance. Sir Frank Heath's references to the New Zealand Institute are as follows:—
“I recommend that the present grant to the New Zealand Institute be continued; that they be assisted to pay off their heavy overdraft to the Government Printer: and that thereafter they be required to make their own arrangements for printing.”
It is to be noted that in respect to this, the assistance which has been granted the New Zealand Institute is the permission to pay off the outstanding Government Printer's Account in instalments, interest being charged on the unpaid balance at the rate of 5 per cent., and to transfer the printing to a private firm at once.
Paragraph 67 of Sir Frank Heath's report states:—
“The central authority (of the new Department) should enter into an agreement with the New Zealand Institute to prevent any overlapping between their own grants and those of the Institute. Such an arrangement has been made with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research at Home and the Royal Society with very satisfactory results.”
Sir Frank evidently anticipated that the Government vote for research in past years to the New Zealand Institute would be continued.
Sir Frank Heath's report (paragraph 69) also deals with the formation of a National Research Council:—
“If the encouragement of scientific research and the organisation of industrial research is to become a declared function of the Government as recommended in this report, it appears to me to be of great importance that the men of science in the Dominion should be encouraged to organise themselves on a completely unofficial basis. Such an unofficial body of the best scientific opinion, if fully representative of all branches of science (including medicine and engineering), would be a most valuable support to the Government in influencing public opinion and by offering friendly criticism and suggestions to the Government on its official policy. The best of Departments is the healthier and better for instructed outside criticism, while occasions may well arise—e.g., the selection of representatives of the Dominion at important international science congresses—when the Government would be glad to seek the advice of an independent body other than itself. The New Zealand Institute has many but not all the qualifications needed in a body of this kind. It is specially strong on the biological side, in geology and chemistry; but it is not representative of engineering, nor of medical science; and I understand that the astronomers have recently formed a society of their own. Moreover, the Board of Governors is in large part elected on a popular basis by local institutes in a manner that gives no assurance of a suitable balance of the sciences in the governing body, while two are
official members, and a further four of its members are appointed by the Government. It is an old and distinguished foundation which is obviously doing most valuable work, and it would be doubtfully wise to suggest any change in its constitution. But it might well be invited by the Government to take a leading part in bringing a body into existence which would be truly representative of the best men the Dominion has in all branches of science. Such a body, if elected by the leading representatives in each field of work, would become the National Research Council for New Zealand. It would become affiliated to the International Research Council, like the National Research Council of Australia. The Dominion would take her proper place in the international world of science, and her council would exercise naturally and inevitably the valuable functions referred to at the beginning of this paragraph. On this Council the Fellows of the Institute would certainly hold an important place.”
Clearly Sir Frank has a high opinion of the New Zealand Institute, and his criticism as to the representation of the sciences is worthy of careful consideration by the Institute. I have thought that one way of effecting a better balance of the sciences on the Board of Governors would be for the Government to appoint its nominees on the Board from those sciences which are not at present represented. Thus four Governors could be appointed for medicine and engineering. The Institute has in the past published papers from medical men, and there is no reason why now the Transactions are to be printed quarterly, they should not absorb The New Zealand Medical Journal. The New Zealand Institute would, I am sure, welcome a larger number of medical men to membership. There may be other similar scientific journals which could be so incorporated. The Journal of Science and Technology, for instance, and the Journal of the Polynesian Society. This is the day of great mergers in the world of commerce. Science has followed suit in England, especially in the matter of printing. New Zealand must organise and decrease the cost of production of its scientific publications.
Printing Transfer.—Arising out of Sir Frank Heath's recommendation is the transfer of the Institute's printing from the Government Printer to a private firm. This step was authorised at the last annual meeting of this Board, the Standing Committee having been given power to act, a contract has been made with a private printing firm to the satisfaction of the Hon. Minister in charge of the Printing Office, to whom all the papers have been submitted. Since 1868 the New Zealand Institute has published the yearly volume of Transactions and Proceedings by the same printer who did the work for Government Departments. It was not without serious consideration that a change has been made, as the Government Printer has always given satisfaction for quality of product, but the delay in publishing has become so great that the value of the Transactions as a publishing medium has been imperilled. Speed in publication will form a prominent feature in the new arrangement. It is hoped that Volume 57 will be issued in a few weeks, and the following volume will be issued in quarterly parts. With the quarterly publication, the contents of the Transactions might be made to appeal to a wider audience. The appointment of a body of abstractors to send in matter from their own districts on science subjects should be attempted. Abstracts of papers concerning New Zealand matters published in overseas science journals should be a special feature. It should
certainly be the duty of those abstractors to see that every paper of merit not published in the Transactions, but containing the result of original scientific work on a subject which has a peculiar interest for New Zealand is abstracted, however briefly, in the Transactions and Proceedings, and the author himself, if in New Zealand, would no doubt be glad to prepare a brief abstract. In the case of new manuals and works of reference, the Hon. Editor would, of course, see that they were adequately reviewed. In this way the quarterly Journal of Transactions and Proceedings may be made to become an indispensable reference work on science in New Zealand, and the anomaly that such monumental works as Thomson's History of Acclimatisation in New Zealand, Guthrie Smith's Tutira, and Cockayne's Vegetation of New Zealand can be published and remain unnoticed in a Journal devoted to New Zealand science may disappear.
Of course such amplification of the Institute's publishing functions will throw more work on the Hon. Editor, but with local abstractors, and the help of the Assistant Secretary, the Transactions and Proceedings as a quarterly Journal may be made to appeal to a greater range of readers. Long articles might be separated by the authors into suitable parts to be spread over the whole year.
Now the Transactions is to appear quarterly, the propriety of accepting approved advertisements should be considered as a method of augmenting this Institute's income.
With regard to the quality of the new printer's work, those authors' copies which have already been circulated have given satisfaction. With regard to expense I would refer you to the Hon. Treasurer's statement, but I may say that at present this may be regarded as the most satisfactory feature in the change.
The question of finance naturally follows the last subject. I consider that a strenuous effort should be made to increase the income of the Institute. The membership of each society might be increased by an active personal canvass by some well-known member or members of each society working together. The levy on the societies should certainly be raised as suggested by a former President, Professor Easterfield, in his 1922 address, so as to enable the Standing Committee to pay off more of the heavy indebtedness. In addition, I would suggest that an appeal be made by circular and personally to all bodies and trusts who are willing and able to help forward scientific work in New Zealand for a donation to the printing fund. I would ask for the appointment of a finance committee with representatives from all larger societies for the purpose of organising an appeal in each district. It is essential if the New Zealand Institute is to promote science successfully that the governors should be free from the cares and limitations of the debtor.
The Government annual statutory grant to the New Zealand Institute is now paid under the authority of Section 7 of the Finance Act, 1925, the section of New Zealand Institute Acts authorising Government grants having been repealed in order to increase the amount granted. It is desirable that the acts and portions of acts dealing with the New Zealand Institute should be consolidated.
I have also to remind the Board of the necessity for providing a building fund. The desirableness of this has already been admitted at the 1924 meeting of this Board (see p. 776, vol. 55). This is a matter which should perhaps stand over until the more important printing debt is paid.
The Assistant Secretary informs me that difficulty is experienced in collecting debts due to the Institute. Some authors are in arrears two or three years for their copies, and other accounts for books supplied are not being paid punctually. To remedy this state of things, I suggest that all accounts be increased 20 per cent. which surcharge shall be remitted if the debt is paid within a reasonable stated time.
Establishment of a National Botanical Garden.
In 1924 I drew attention to the need of a National Botanical Garden (New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology, July, 1924, vol. 7, No. 2, p. 128):—
“The scattered distribution of the finest plants of New Zealand prompts the question whether it would be possible to grow them all in some well-selected site to form the nucleus of a national botanical garden. Here an endeavour might be made to bring together the noble sub-antarctic element of our flora already mentioned, the East Cape and the Marlborough endemic plants, the Stewart and Chatham Islands tree composites, and all the beautiful alpine plants of both islands. Provided that some such mountain as Mt. Egmont were chosen, stretching from sea-level to beyond sub-alpine heights, the writer sees no reason why all the native plants could not be grown successfully. Already there are National Parks at Mount Egmont, Mount Ruapehu, and in the Fiordland with custodians, rangers, and caretakers. There are sanctuaries and caretakers for them. Could not a beginning be made on one of these sites, and a national arboretum or botanical garden established under conditions which would assure its perpetuity? The fault of private or even municipal gardens is that, when collections of New Zealand plants are established, the life of the collection is synchronous with the life of the collector. Private collections are obviously fated to untimely ends, and public collections are subject to like fate owing to change of management. It seems that the foundation of such an institution as here proposed would be a very fitting commemoration of not only the life labours of those eminent botanists who have gone, but of those who are still with us.”
The English Gardener's Chronicle (20th December, 1924, reprinted in New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology, December, 1926, p. 383) in commenting on this proposal states:—“It comes as something of a shock to realise that New Zealand, in spite of its wonderful flora, and the variety and beauty of the plants in the Islands not far removed therefrom, possesses no national botanic garden.” Mr. W. R. B. Oliver in the same Journal (1926, vol. 8, p. 227) has emphasised the necessity for making a national collection, and suggests Mount Egmont for alpine plants. Since then, owing to the enthusiasm of Dr. L. Cockayne, the Wilton's Bush Reserve of the Wellington City Corporation has been formally opened, in the presence of a large and distinguished gathering, as an open-air museum for New Zealand plants, where an attempt will be made to grow them, (a) as isolated specimens, (b) in association with each other as they occur in nature, an entirely novel undertaking. One hopes this new municipal departure will succeed, and that an arrangement will be made by means of deed of trust and suitable endowment
to ensure perpetuity for this open-air museum. It is remarkable that large sums are spent annually in maintaining collections of live foreign animals in zoological gardens while there is no national botanical garden where may be exhibited the unique New Zealand plants. That such a state of things can exist is most puzling to residents in centres of culture beyond the seas, where the plants of New Zealand are in great demand and treasured for their beauty.
Formation of a New Zealand Branch of the Institute of Chemistry of Great Britain and Ireland.
The Institute of Chemistry was founded in 1877, and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1885. The chief functions of the Institute are the examination of the qualifications of those who wish to practice the science as a profession by granting to those approved a certificate and watching over their interests, and generally advancing the science as a profession. There are now over 4,000 Fellows and Associates, and some 400 students, and practically all private and public analytical chemists and most professors and lecturers in chemistry hold the Institute's Fellowship or Associateship. The New Zealand members of the Institute met in November, and have asked the London Council to permit the formation of a New Zealand Section to create a local organisation for the acquisition and dissemination of useful information connected with the profession, to maintain the status and advance the interests of the profession, to arrange conferences and social meetings, and the delivering of lectures. It is proposed to act in conjunction with the New Zealand Institute, the Society of Chemical Industry, the Chemical Society of London, and the Society of Public Analysts, in the promotion of conferences and lectures.
Imperial Grant In Research.
The Empire Marketing Board has generously offered £2,000 per annum for five years to be expended in New Zealand on research into the problem of eradicating the blackberry and other noxious weed pests, on condition that the Government and the Cawthron Institute between them will assist with a like sum. The Marketing Board is further offering a similar sum for two years on similar terms for the investigation of mineral content of pastures. According to the Hon. Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Hawken) (Auckland Weekly News, 4th November, 1926) this splendid offer was chiefly brought about by Dr. Tillyard, of the Cawthron Institute. It is to be hoped that it will be promptly dealt with and ultimately accepted.
Scientific Survey of the North Island Thermal District.
The decision to establish the headquarters of the Maori Arts and Crafts Board at Rotorua with Mr. H. Hamilton as Secretary must be mentioned. There is now much scientific activity in this wonderful district, which is also a charming health and holiday resort. Commencing with a topographical survey, now approaching comple-
tion, under the Lands Department, followed by a soil survey under the Agricultural Department, which has also progressed considerably, the vulcanologist of the Geological Survey (Mr. Grange) is now at work, and no doubt intensive biological and geological surveys will follow, so that the motion passed years ago by the Institute, that:—“The Government be urged to undertake the preparation of a complete scientific report on the Thermal Regions of the North Island” (p. 625, vol. 47, Trans. N.Z. Inst., 1914) is now progressing towards realisation.
The thermal and adjacent districts of the North Island are destined, I am convinced, to become one of the most densely settled of all New Zealand's undeveloped lands; the more light that science can bring to bear on this unique and fertile country, the quicker will be the response in settlement.
The Scientific Library of the Institute is rapidly growing, and the need for additional accommodation is giving some cause for anxiety. The Standing Committee reported to the last Annual Meeting that it had left the matter in the hands of Professor Kirk, and it is hoped that he will be able to induce the authorities to conceed more room.
A body which has evolved in England as the outcome of increased activity in scientific matters is the Association of Special Libraries and Information Bureau (38 Bloomsbury Square, London, W.C. 1) which is about to become incorporated. I became acquainted with the organising secretary in London in 1925. The information he gave me may be consulted in the library. The object of the association is to assist members to get in touch with information buried in special libraries or otherwise difficult of access. The subscription is £2 2s. Od. a year. The Institute might consider acquiring the above advantage for its members.
One notices that most of the scientific appointments recently are to comparatively young men, and the announcement has been made that no officer in the Government Service over sixty years of age will be promoted. One hopes much from youth, but a scientific life does much to keep the worker young, and the wisdom of experience is not to be despised. At a recent Chemical Society dinner in London, one of the speakers pointed out that Fellows of the Royal Society enjoyed an expectation of life 10.7 years longer than ordinary men. The moral is that we should all join the Royal Society. There are, however, difficulties in doing that; there is none in seeking to join the New Zealand Institute.