Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
President: Mr G. Stokell.
Hon. Secretary: Mr R. S. Duff.
The following is the Annual Report for the year ending 31st October, 1941:—
Obituary: The Society has lost by death Messrs R. M. Laing, M.A., B.Sc., T. Stone and F. F. Scott (who died recently, soon after being elected).
Mr Laing joined the Society in 1882, and continued a member until the time of his death. He was President in 1894, 1910 and 1927, and held the position of secretary from 1889 until 1892. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1922.
During his long association with the Canterbury Branch he contributed many papers on New Zealand Botany, specialising in Marine Algae, in which field he had an international reputation. He was co-author with Miss E. Blackwell of “Plants of New Zealand,” first published in 1906, editor and part author of “Natural History of Canterbury,” 1927, and part author of “The Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand,” 1909, the two latter works being produced by the Canterbury Philosophical Institute.
His passing severs a link with the Society's most active period and with many notable scientists who predeceased him.
Membership: The position continues to be unsatisfactory; indeed, with nine ordinary members lost by resignation and three by death, as against seven elected, the net total is 126, five less than that of 1940. One associate member has resigned, as against five elected, making a total of eleven.
Council: Changes in personnel include the resignations of Messrs E. W. Hullett (in March) and E. F. Stead (in September). Mr F. J. T. Grigg was elected in place of Mr Hullett. As in 1940, the eleven normal and one special meetings of the Council have been largely taken up with the slow progress of agreement on a satisfactory merger of the Society's Library with that of Canterbury University College.
The Year's Programme: Addresses were as follows:—March (Presidential Address), Mr G. Stokell, “Wild Life Control” (pamphlet published and edited by New Zealand Forest and Bird Protection Society); “Astronomy,” Dr D. B. Macleod; “Moas,” Dr R. A. Falla (Records of Canterbury Museum, September, 1941); “Petrol and Substitute Fuels,” Mr J. Packer; “War Gases,” Mr L. W. Ruddle; “The Preservation of Wild Life in Pre-War Poland,” Count K. Wodsicki.
Papers: The following papers were presented for publication in the Transactions:—
June 4: “A Description of the Body Appendages of Balanus decorus and a Note on the Sub-genus Megabalanus,” J. T. Linzey; “The Balanomorph Barnacles of the Kermadec Islands,” J. T. Linzey.
July 3: “A Detail of the Pukaki Moraine,” R. Speight.
September 3: “The Chromosome Complements of Some New Zealand Plants,” I, J. B. Hair; “A New Beetle of the Genus Nicodema,” E. Fairburn.
October 1: “The Influence of Ultra-short Waves on Plant Germination and yield,” A. G. Roth.
November 6: “A Note on the Genus Neurochorena and the Addition of a New Species Thereto,” A. G. McFarlane.
The following papers were presented, but not for publication in the Transactions:—
April 2: “Changing New Zealand Landscape,” M. K. B. Cumberland (published in U.S. Geographical Review, October, 1941).
September 3: “Some Mutations in Wheat, Their Mode of Origin and Their Significance for the Stability of This Genus,” O. H. Frankel.
October 1: “Winter Distribution of Three Species of Sub-antaretic Penguins,” R. A. Falla.
Library Merger: The decision of Canterbury University College on September 30 to accept the agreement to merge the libraries of the Royal Society and of the College, was followed by a Special General Meeting of the Society on November 5, when a motion that the merger take place, in terms of a slightly modified agreement, was passed unanimously. The main outlines,
of the present agreement are that the Society's library is to be housed with the Canterbury College Library. The Society's ownership is not affected, and either party can reverse the agreement by giving one year's notice. The combined collection is to be available to members and associate members of the Society under the usual conditions for borrowing. For members of the Society living outside Christchurch a postal loan service is available, provided that the borrower pays the expenses of postage.
Members have been circularised with details of the agreement, essentially the same as those approved by the Society at its recent meeting in November, and it is to be hoped that the privileges of access to the combined library collections will help to keep old members from resigning and encourage new members to join.
Report of the Treasurer: In the General Account the balance has risen from £5 to £8, but this result has been achieved only by rigid economy. The receipts from subscriptions of ordinary members have fallen by £3, but the sale of copies of the Report on the Sub-antarctic Islands produced £4 2s, a welcome contribution to our funds when we are working on so narrow a margin. Interest from investments has remained stationary at £16.
The Farr Memorial Binding Fund still stands at £6 1s, but arrangements have been made to close this account by binding certain volumes presented to the Society by Dr Farr.
No binding of our own volumes was done in 1940, but this year £20 has been appropriated for this purpose from the accumulated interest in the Savings Bank Account.
The Investment Accounts stand at £466, of which £266 is in the Savings Bank and £200 in Government Stock. The balance in the Savings Bank will be invested otherwise when a suitable opportunity offers.
A new item in the statement of Liabilities and Assets is the books in the Library and the spare volumes of the Sub-Antarctic Islands. These are entered at the sum for which they are valued for insurance purposes. No depreciation has been allowed for, as this is probably offset by the annual accretions of periodicals. With this item included, the assets of the Society appear as £2038.
Report of the Hon. Librarian: Except for the merger negotiations, recorded elsewhere, the year has been uneventful. Some binding has been done, and a survey made of binding arrears. Up to the end of 1940, there were about 750 volumes awaiting binding at an estimated cost of £375. Annual additions are 45 volumes, of which funds allow only 20 to be bound. In addition, there are missing numbers of periodicals to be acquired. Individual donors have included Dr C. C. Farr, Mr C. H. E. Graham, Mr P. G. Bamford, and Dr O. H. Frankel.
Report of the Field Club: The Club's activities have been greatly curtailed owing to the absence of many members on active service. The shortage of petrol caused the chief project to be the making of a survey of the plants of Sugarloaf Bush, and in two interim visits 81 species were noted and recorded in a type-written list. A visit of inspection was also made to the plant life in the vicinity of the Heathcote Estuary.
At the Annual Meeting regret was expressed at the death of the Club's patron, Lady Kinsey. A suggestion that the Club go into recess during the war was not acted upon, after some serious discussion of the problem.
The following officers were elected:—Patron, Sir R. Heaton Rhodes; President, Mr W. B. Brockie; Secretary, Mr M. Hunter; Committee—Messrs A. G. McFarlane, W. E. Moore, F. Reed, W. Wood.
The balance sheet shows a credit of £9 6s 3d.
Ricoarton Bush: The Board of Trustees of Riccarton Bush reports that the maintenance of the bush during the past financial year has been carried out with due regard to available income. The salary of the Board's ranger has been increased, as an additional grant was made by the Christchurch City Council for this purpose. The Board tenders its thanks to those individuals, public bodies and organisations which have contributed to its funds.
The removal of European oaks and their replacement by native trees and shrubs has been continued, and a small revenue has been obtained by the sale of oak firewood. By arrangement with the Christchurch Teachers' Training College, working parties of the College students have been carrying out much
needed and useful work in the removal from some areas of certain troublesome weeds, such as the bittersweet, which in the seedling stage has to be pulled out by hand. The Board's thanks are due to Mr L. W. McCaskill for organising these student parties. Noxious weeds are gradually being eliminated; gorse and elder are now practically exterminated, and blackberry is reduced to a few dwindling patches now under control.
The number of visits to the bush is highly satisfactory, and the number of conducted parties of students from schools and colleges seems to be increasing. During the year a visit of inspection was carried out by the President, officers and members of the Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society, accompanied by the Chairman and members of the Board of Trustees of the Bush.
The Board wishes to tender its appreciation of the efficient work done by its ranger, Mr Leonard Armstrong, who has carried out general maintenance and effected several improvements.
Congratulations: The Society extends its congratulations to Dr R. A. Falla, a Vice-president, on his election to Fellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand.