Nelson Philosophical Society.
Annual Report for Year ending 30th September, 1940.
President: Mr. H. O. Askew.
Hon. Secretary and Treasurer: Mr O. B. Pemberton, Cawthron Inst., Nelson.
The Committee submits the following report of the work of the Nelson Philosophical Society for the year ending 30th September, 1940.
The membership of the Society consists of 29 ordinary members and 17 associate members, making a total of 46.
Meetings of the Society have been held as follows:—
24th October: Lecturettes with Exhibits. (1) Sir Thomas Easterfield, “Some Features of the Mineral Belt.” (2) Miss E. B. Kidson, “Injection Treatment of Orchard Trees.” (3) Dr. D. Miller, “White Ants.” (4) Mr. J. Glasgow, “Maori Artifact of Unknown Use, and Old Maps.” (5) Mr. A. J. Metson, “Photographs of Seagulls.” (6) Mr. W. C. Davies, “Some Recent Accessions to Cawthron Institute Museum.”
14th May: Lecture by Dr. H. O. Askew, “Geochemistry of Some Mineral Deficiencies.”
18th June: Sir Theodore Rigg, “Chinese Agriculture.”
16th July: Mr. N. S. Tankersley, “Sound Films” as follows: (1) Exploring the Universe; (2) Life Cycle of a Plant; (3) Energy and Its Transformation; (4) Mechanism of Breathing; (5) Reproduction among Mammals.
20th August: Mr. J. H. Jennings of Golden Bay Cement Works: “Portland Cement.”
17th September: Mr. A. N. Field, “Is the Evolution Theory Dead? A Layman Seeks Enlightenment.”
The Canterbury branch of the royal society of N.Z.
President: Dr. R. A. Falla.
Hon. Secretary: Mr. R. S. Duff (Canterbury Museum).
Council: Ten meetings of the Council have been held during the year, and discussion of the proposed library merger has taken up much of the Council's time. The personnel of the Council has been altered by the election of Mr. H. C. Brent in place of Dr. R. S. Allan, who was unable to attend meetings.
Membership: Only three new members have been elected, and two associate members became full members, as against three lost by death, two by resignation, and two struck off, leaving a net total of 131. In addition, six members on active service or other duties overseas have their names retained on the roll, but do not pay subscriptions. Associate membership stands at present at the low total of four.
Obituary: The Society has been unfortunate enough to lose by death the services of three long-established members: Dr. J. P. Whetter, Mr. Guy Brittin, of Motueka, and Mr. James Drummond, F.L.S., F.Z.S.
Mr. Drummond joined the Society in 1902, and for many years was an active member. To his professional skill as a journalist he added a wide interest in natural history, not only conducting a weekly column in several newspapers, but also writing a number of books, some in collaboration with the late Captain F. W. Hutton. Mr. Drummond was a member of several scientific societies overseas and built up a valuable reference library. During his last ten years of continuous ill-health he retained his keen interest in the progress of science and in the welfare of the Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society.
Mr. Brittin, during his residence in Christchurch about 25 years ago, was an enthusiastic microscopist, specialising in the Coccidae or Scale Insects, and contributed many papers on the subject. On his removal to Motueka he retained his connection with the Canterbury Branch, and periodically sent papers to be read. An obituary notice is published in the June number of the Transactions.
Hector Award: Dr. D. B. Macleod brought distinction on the Society as recipient of the Hector Award for 1940. The award, which was made for outstanding work in connection with molecular physics, was conferred by Professor W. P. Evans, of Wellington, the Vice-president of the Royal Society of New Zealand, at the August meeting.
Members on Active Service: The Council records the names of three members of the Society who are on active service overseas: F. K. Roberts, J. H. Strong, E. A. Sorensen.
The Year's Programme: The Council wishes to place on record its concern at the unsatisfactory attendances for the majority of meetings in the year's programme. With two exceptions, popular addresses were no better attended than evenings on which papers were read, and the attendance at the latter was uniformly poor.
Addresses were as follows: March (Presidential Address), Dr. R. A. Falla, “Museums at Home and Abroad”; “Some Maori Sites and Discoveries on Banks Peninsula,” by Mr. L. J. Vangioni; “Conservation at Work in the United States of America,” Mr. L. W. McCaskill; “Before the Pilgrims—Canterbury's Real Centennial,” Mr. C. R. Straubel; “Scientists—a Layman's Perplexity,” Mr. E. Hitchcock.
Mr. von Haast's address, on May 21st, was the only one arranged in the series on pioneer men of science in New Zealand. His subject was Sir Julius von Haast.
By contrast with the lack of support accorded by the Society for its own programme, the Secondary Schools' Lecture Series (revived this year) was so well attended that the audiences had to be restricted in numbers to the accommodation available. Audiences of up to 268 heard the following series (between June 7th and July 12th): “Liquid Air,” Dr. H. G. Denham; “Maori Life and Origins,” Mr. R. S. Duff; “The Original Plant Covering of New Zealand,” Mr. L. W. McCaskill; “Bird Life in New Zealand,” Dr. R. A. Falla; “Volcanoes,” Dr. G. Jobberns; “Insect Communities,” Mr. W. E. Moore.
Papers: The following papers were presented for publication in the Transactions:—
June 5th: R. Speight, “The Gravels of the Mackenzie Intermont”; E. F. Stead, “A New Race of Island Snipe.”
August 7th: G. Stokell, “A Revision of the genus Gobiomorphus”; A. G. McFarlane, “Rhyacophilid Larvae and their Distribution within the Waimakariri Drainage Area.”
October 2nd: D. H. Graham, “Breeding Habits of 21 Species of Marine Mollusca”; R. Speight, “The Rangitata Glacier—Its Maximum Extent”; E. F. Stead, “Notes on the Down Plumage of Certain Ducks.”
The following papers were presented, but not for publication:—
April 3rd: W. E. Moore, “Ants of the Mountain Swamps of Canterbury.” W. E. Moore, “Notes on Huberia striata.”
June 5th: E. Percival, “Description of a New Intestinal Protozoan from a Gecko.”
W. B. Brockie (communicated by W. E. Moore), “Ranunculus paucifolius.”
August 7th: O. H. Frankel, “Male Sterility in Hebe.”
E. Percival, “The Early Development and Metamorphosis of a Brachiopod (Terebratella inconspicua).”
October 2nd: F. W. Hilgendorf, “Forest Remains on present Tussock Grass Lands.”
G. Stokell, “A Revision of the genus Retropinna.”
Library Merger: First brought up in July, 1939, the question of amalgamating the Society's Library with that of Canterbury University College was discussed at some length at the annual meeting of 1939, and by a motion from that meeting the Council was empowered to proceed with a scheme which when definitely formulated should be placed before a special general meeting of the Society. The Council has discussed the merger at most meetings of the year, and while some disagreement with the proposed scheme has been expressed by one member of the Council, the Council presents to a special general meeting to
be called after this annual meeting, a form of agreement which meets as far as possible the objections of this member, provides for mutual use of the Society and College Libraries, and permanently safeguards the Society's own interests.
Change in Constitution: As the question had been raised, during the Library negotiations, whether the Society had power to so delegate an important function to the care of an outside person or institution, the following motion, altering the constitution, was passed at a special general meeting called for the purpose on June 5th:—
“That Clause 28 of the Constitution be re-numbered 29 and that a new Clause 28 be adotped as follows:
“The Society shall have power, by resolution of a special general meeting called for that purpose, to delegate to any person or persons, authority to undertake on its behalf any special function of the Society referred to him or them by the special general meeting, for the period of time and under the conditions laid down by the Society.”
Report of the Hon. Librarian: As the Society has been considering a library merger proposal during the year, no large projects of reorganisation have been undertaken; the sorting of periodical files begun last year was continued. The list of purchased journals remains the same, and all are arriving fairly regularly except the French Comptes rendus, which ceased in the middle of May. One of our members offered anonymously to bind some of the volumes most needing attention, and about 30 have been bound as a result of this generosity. Scientific workers in other parts of New Zealand continue to make considerable use of our collection by postal borrowing. During the year the College had to partition off part of the Library room as an office, and access is now less convenient.—C. W. Collins, Hon. Librarian.
Riccarton Bush: The Board of Trustees of Riccarton Bush reports that the maintenance of the bush has been carried out during the past year in a satisfactory manner. A considerable area of European oaks has been cleared and prepared for planting with native trees. The Bush continues to attract many visitors, and an increasing number of parties of students from schools and colleges. Careful administration of the limited income of the Board is necessary and the Trustees tender their thanks to those individuals and organisations which have contributed to the funds.