Report of Representative for the Year ending 31st March, 1936
No meetings of the full Board have been held during the year, the business being left by consent to the Wellington Executive Committee. Three meetings of the Wellington Executive Committee have been held in Wellington, all of which were attended by your representative.
The printed report of the previous year's operations, that is to 31st March, 1935, is included in Parliamentary Paper C-10, “Public Domains and National Parks of New Zealand,” which is being circulated with the papers for this Annual Meeting of the Royal Society.
An interesting report by Mr. C. M. Smith, a member of the Society's Council, dealing with the trees of the Park, is printed in the report. Mr. Smith's paper also deals with a few exotic trees planted in that portion of the Park which was included when the boundaries were extended. He mentions the possibility of eliminating them, but stresses the greater menace of the heather, and states that it is spreading freely in the tussock grasslands in the north-east corner of the Park.
The introduction of foreign plants is bad enough, but it is a past sin. What is one to think of the recent introduction of trout fry into the streams of the National Park which has been permitted by a great majority of the votes of the Board? A further application for the introduction of more fry is to come up at the next meeting.
The introduction of foreign animals into the Park is strictly against this Society's policy. The excuse for so doing is that the trout may prove an additional attraction to the Chateau's visitors. On the other hand, the trout cannot fail to destroy the native fish in the streams, which are also an attraction to naturalist visitors to the Park.
I consider that there is great danger that the welfare of the Chateau and its economic success may be placed before the welfare of the National Park.
In the report of the honorary warden, Mr. Cullen, it is stated that “Native wild life is fast disappearing from the north-west side of the Park owing to swarms of cats which have gone wild, which now infest it, as well as the damage done by stoats and weasels, which are also numerous there. Tuis, which used to be plentiful there some years ago, are now rarely seen or heard there.” The warden also regrets that although the Park has been free from fire during the last year, in the past the tussock fires have so seriously damaged or destroyed isolated patches of bush that they have now completely disappeared at Moturoa.
B. C. Aston.