President: Mr W. A. Fairclough.
Director: Lieut.-Col. Gilbert Archey.
Acting Director: Mr A. W. B. Powell
The seventy-third Annual Report of the Auckland Institute and Museum marks the completion of a critical year in a period of great stress for the British Commonwealth of Nations. Under the circumstances, some curtailment and modification of normal Museum activities have been inevitable, nevertheless the Museum continues to carry out its most useful function in the community, particularly in providing educational facilities for the young, and in the handling of technical inquiries.
Staff: The Director, Dr. Gilbert Archey, has been called up by the military authorities, and he now serves as Lieut.-Colonel in the 4th Battalion Auckland Regiment (National Military Reserve).
Mr A. W. B. Powell, Assistant Director, in addition to his regular duties, has been appointed Acting-Director during the term of Dr. Archey's military service.
Mr V. F. Fisher, Ethnologist, is also serving in the 4th Battalion, and Mrs O. M. Turbott has been appointed Acting-Ethnologist during his absence.
Mr R. A. Scobie, Education Officer, is abroad in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and Miss Z. O. Lloyd has been appointed in charge of the Education Services during Mr Scobie's absence.
We have recently lost a member of the honorary staff in the death of Mr J. D. Richardson, who rendered valuable service as honorary photographer since 1939. Mr Richardson has bequeathed to us a very extensive collection of photographs, lantern slides and data relating to early Auckland, as well as a fine collection of slides featuring native flora and New Zealand nature subjects generally. These collections will be of definite value both as a research unit and as a source of material for the educational service.
Membership: At the beginning of the year the list comprised 168 life members and 405 annual members. During the year we lost 27 members by death, resignation and deletion, and 26 new members have been elected. The present roll is 572, of whom 165 are life members.
Obituary: During the year we have lost by death many valued members—Hon. Sir James Parr, Ven. Archdeacon MacMurray, Lieut.-Col. J. M. Allen, M.P., Dr Kenneth Mackenzie, Dr Newton Drier, Messrs J. Alexander, J. Catchpole, G. H. Fleming, W. La Roche, J. A. Pond, R. Pudney, J. D. Richardson and G. Ryalls. R.N.Z.A.F. I must refer in particular to the passing of the Hon. Sir James Parr, President in 1913–14, and the Ven. Archdeacon MacMurray, both of whom rendered distinguished services to New Zealand; and to Mr J. A. Pond, who had been a member since the 9th June, 1873. Mr Pond completed 68 years of continuous membership, and both as President and as a member of the Council for 37 years gave valuable and wholehearted service to the Institute and to research.
Congratulations: Congratulations are extended to Dr H. H. Allan on the award of the Hutton Medal, to Dr H. J. Finlay on his being awarded the Hector Medal, to Dr R. A. Falla on his election to Fellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and to Mr E. Earle Vaile on his being awarded the Loder Cup.
A Doctorate of Science has just been conferred on our Director, Lieut.-Colonel Gilbert Archey, and I take this opportunity of inviting you to join with me in extending to him our hearty congratulations.
Council: Six well attended meetings were held during the year.
Finance: Receipts were approximately the same as last year; the slight reduction in members' subscriptions is due to the fact that many of our members are serving overseas. The apparently substantial balance of £1,440 in the General Account must be viewed in relation to the necessity of providing for two “lean” months from the end of the financial year to the receipt of the Museum maintenance contributions.
Museum: The nearer approach of hostilities to our shores has called for greater precautions regarding the safety of our national treasures. A large
cross-section of the collections has been removed to safer quarters in the country and outer suburbs, but the larger exhibits of the Maori Court presented a problem. The large war canoe, 82 feet in length, cannot now be removed from the building, for it was placed in position before the structure was completed around it. However, a considerable measure of protection has been afforded this priceless relic by the erection over it of a framework cover of massive timbers and a layer of sand. The two large pataka, Maori food storehouses, have been dismantled and stowed in a safer part of the building, and the thatch and other inflammable materials removed from the large meeting house “Hotunui.”
In spite of the inevitable disorganisation caused by the packing and removal of specimens, the exhibits other than in the Maori Court have not been notice-ably depleted, and the Museum services continue to operate satisfactorily, and attendances during the year totalled 161,859.
An exhibit of outstanding interest was received through the generosity of Mr H. R. Jenkins. This is the historic anchor intimately associated with the ill-fated H.M.S. Bounty, for this relic is believed to have been abandoned by Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers in 1789, when they used it as a kedge to free the vessel from a coral shoal in the Papaea Arm of Matavia Bay, Tahiti. After generations of Tahitians had made unsuccessful attempts to raise the anchor, it was at last recovered about 1890.
Smith's Bush: During the year strong support was given in respect to the securing of Smith's Bush, near Takapuna, as a nature park. This bush is one of the few remaining examples of the original vegetation of the Auckland area that has survived ancient fires and European settlement. It is characterised by an interesting range of species, great size of the older components, and splendid regeneration of timber trees on its margins. It was gratifying that our local bodies entrusted us to frame the appeal both to the Government and the public. The success in acquiring this valuable area of bush as a reserve is in no small measure due to the efforts of his Worship the Mayor, Mr J. A. C. Allum, his Council and the contributing local bodies. Our thanks are also due to Miss Cranwell for her efforts in this direction, to the Scenery Preservation Committee and the Auckland Botanical Society, also to members of the Council and friends who contributed £100 towards the purchase cost.
In closing my report I would join you in praying for the success of our armed forces and for the speedy return of peace.