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Volume 83, 1955-56
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The Royal Society of New Zealand

Half-yearly meeting, Council of The Royal Society of New Zealand, 16th November, 1955.


The Half-yearly meeting of the Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand was held in the Council Room, Canterbury University College, Christchurch, on Wednesday, 16th November, 1955.

Present—President: Dr. D. Miller; Vice-Presidents Dr. M. A. F. Barnett and Professor L. H. Briggs, Government Representatives: Dr. R. A. Falla, Dr. C. A. Fleming, Dr. G. Archey, and Mr. F. R. Callaghan. Auckland Institute: Mr. S. G. Brooker, Professor K. B. Cumberland. Wellington Branch: Mr. K. R. Allen, Professor L. R. Richardson Canterbury Branch Professor R. S. Allan, Mr. C. E. Fenwick. Otago Branch: Miss B. Brewin, Mr. O. H. Keys. Waikato Scientific Association: Dr. E. B. Davies. Rotorua Philosophical Society: Dr. J. K. Dixon. Hawke's Bay Branch: Mr. N. L. Elder. Nelson Institute: Dr. H. O. Askew. Southland Branch: Dr. G. H. Uttley Co-opted Member: Dr. J. T. Salmon. Fellows' Representatives: Professor C. A. Cotton. Honorary Treasurer: Mr. S. Cory Wright.

Apologies were received from the Honorary Patron, His Excellency the Governor-General, Sir Willoughby Norrie, and from the Hon R. M. Algie, Minister of Scientific and Industrial Research. Dr. F. G. Soper, one of the representatives of the Fellows, apologised for absence on account of his absence from New Zealand.

Minutes of the Annual Meeting. held in May, 1955, were laid on the table.

Presidential Remarks. In his remarks from the Chair, the President, Dr. Miller, briefly commented on certain scientific matters in the forefront to day—namely, the discovery of uranium in the West Coast; the spectacular results of some deep sea fishing experiments in Cook Strait by Victoria University College Zoology Department, the preparations being made for the Antarctic Expedition, the Society's representation on the Ross Sea Committee and the formation of the Royal Society's Antarctic Research Committee; and to the International Geophysical Year planned for 1957-58. He referred also to the many scientific books published in New Zealand during the year, including the Royal Society's own Bulletin “Handbook on New Zealand Mosses,” by Mr. G. O. K. Sainsbury.

Congratulations. Congratulations were extended to Dr. Miller on his appointment as Director of the Cawthron Institute in succession to Sir Theodore Rigg, who is retiring in April.

Luncheon. As the Council members were to be the guests at luncheon of a member of the Canterbury Branch it was announced that the meeting would adjourn at 12.30 p. m.

5a. Reorganization of the Standing Committee. In opening the discussion on this subject [ unclear: ] . Mr. K. R. Allen moved, Dr. J. K. Dixon seconded— “That the

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Council approve in principle the revocation of Rule B.9. and the substitution of the following:— There shall be a Standing Committee of the Council for the purpose of transacting urgent and routine business and assisting the officers. The Standing Committee shall consist of all members of the Council for the time being resident or present in Wellington provided that any member appointed by a Member Body other than the Wellington Branch of the Society may be represented by a deputy. The deputy for any member shall be appointed in writing by that member for each meeting from which he is absent. Each deputy shall have for the purpose of the Standing Committee meeting he attends the full power of an elected or appointed member of Council and instructs the Standing Committee to give due notice in proper form of this change of Rule for consideration at the next Annual Meeting.

Representatives of Otago, Canterbury, Waikato and Auckland Branches expressed the views of their societies on the question of proxies.

At this stage in the discussion it was decided that as

5g. Annual or Bi-annual Meetings was closely linked with the question of the need for re-organization of the Standing Committee these two sections should be considered together.

Some members considered that two separate meetings in the year were too expensive.

Dr. Archey moved, Miss Brewin seconded— “That the Council in future meet for two days in May.”

Professor Cumberland commented that if the Council met twice a year extending to two days if necessary, it would do away with the necessity of augmenting the Standing Committee.

After further discussion, Dr. Archey asked leave to withdraw his motion. Granted.

Professor Briggs moved, Professor Allan seconded, and it was carried— “That the present system of bi-annual meetings be continued, but that when necessary the meetings be extended to two days.”

Reverting to 5 (a) Professor Cumberland moved, Dr. Archey seconded an amendment— “That the matter of re-organizing the Standing Committee be held over for one year, and that meanwhile the Standing Committee be instructed to consider ways and means of better informing the branches of matters of contentious nature likely to appear on Council agendas and that it take the suggestions of the Otago Branch into consideration.”

After some further discussion, on the motion of Mr. Keys the amendment was put to the meeting and carried.

5b. Appointment of Honorary General Secretary. Mr. Keys spoke to the following remit from the Otago Branch— “That the question of re-organization of the Royal Society of New Zealand be considered in the way of the appointment of a distinguished scientist as Honorary General Secretary to be assisted by the salaried staff”. Mr. Keys emphasised the explanatory statement submitted by the Otago Branch. He then moved—

“That the motion adopted at the annual meeting in 1932 be rescinded in such parts as to provide for the office of an Honorary General Secretary as proposed by the Otago Branch in the remit sent forward on 15th September, 1955; and that the Standing Committee be instructed to take the necessary steps for this purpose.”
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The discussion following indicated that some members did not see the need for such an office, others thought it premature, and others were in favour of it. Dr. Archey stated that there was no provision in the Act for such an appointment and before action could be taken an amendment to the Act would be necessary.

Finally, on the motion of Dr. Salmon, seconded by Professor Richardson, it was resolved—

“That the matter be referred back to the Otago Branch for further clarification and brought up at the May meeting.”

5c Member Body Contributions. (1) Nomination of Impartial Authority. (2) Resolution by Hawke's Bay Branch.

Further to the statement on the Agenda, Mr. Brooker said the Auckland Institute did not think that any impartial authority it would nominate would be satisfactory.

A long discussion on the general subject of rising costs, particularly in relation to the Transactions, took place.

A suggestion was made that the cost of publications be investigated. There was comment on the detail in some of the papers printed in the Transactions as compared with overseas journals, where a severe attitude towards verbosity and over detail was adopted.

On the motion of Mr. Brooker, seconded by Dr. Davies, it was resolved— “That the Council set up a sub-committee to investigate the distribution and costs of the Transactions and report to the next meeting of the Council.”

The Hon. Editor stated that the major work of the Society was the printing of the Transactions, and while he welcomed the setting up of the proposed sub-committee, he pointed out that owing to the present-day emphasis on science, increasing numbers of papers were coming to hand for publication. Professor Richardson said that the Society had a national responsibility to print the results of scientific research and that as shown in a recent deputation the Hon. Minister's attitude was entirely sympathetic.

It was decided that the proposed sub-committee should be an Auckland one; and that the Honorary Editor, Dr. Archey (convener), and Mr. Brooker be appointed to act.

Discussion on the proportion which Member Bodies should pay towards the expenses of the Society led to Dr. Archey drawing attention to the opinion of his Council that all the facts should be obtained from Member Bodies and collated, first for the general information of Member Bodies and subsequently for consideration by the Royal Society Council. He concluded, “each Branch should take stock of its activities”.

On the motion of Mr. Allen it was resolved— “That, in the terms of the Auckland Institute's recommendation as stated by Dr. Archey, facts and information be obtained from Branches and proposals as to the obligatory expenditure of Branches under the Rules be collated for presentation to the Council”.

On the motion of Mr. Elder, seconded by Professor Briggs, it was resolved—

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“That in view of the above motion, the Hawke's Bay recommendation that each Branch should donate annually 10% of its income be referred back to the Hawke's Bay Branch.”

On the motion of Dr. Fleming, seconded by Mr. Fenwick, it was resolved— “That the nomination of an impartial authority in terms of p. XXVII of the Proceedings of the 1955 annual meeting be not proceeded with.”

5d. Finance: Report on Negotiations with the Government. Professor Richardson moved that the report of the deputation to the Hon. Minister be received Dr. Barnett endorsed the report stating that the interview with the Hon. Minister had been a satisfactory one, and that the Hon. Minister was quite sympathetic with the Society's problems.

Complimentary remarks were made on the report prepared by Professor Richardson on the “Functions of the Royal Society,” and on the motion of Dr. Fleming, seconded by Mr. Keys, it was resolved—

“That the report be published in some permanent form.”

5e. Fellowship: Method of Nomination. Mr. K. R. Allen traced the position which led to this matter being placed on the Agenda Dr. Archey said the whole thing was out of order as the Fellowship rules had not been amended in the prescribed form. The Secretary reported that an amendment to the Fellowship rules had not been gazetted.

On the motion of Professor Briggs, seconded by Mr. Keys, it was resolved— “That the matter be referred back to the Otago Branch to bring forward in the proper form a notice to amend the Fellowship rules.”

On the motion of Dr. Archey, seconded by Mr. Allen, it was resolved— “That the Branches be asked to submit revised nominations for the 1956 Fellowship vacancies.”

In order to keep within the rules the Secretary was instructed to forward to Fellows the nominations which had been received with an intimation that voting was to be delayed until the revised nominations were sent to them.

5f. Publications. Suggestion that the Journal of Science and Technology should be allowed as an alternative to the Transactions to Members of Branches.

This suggestion emanated from the Waikato Branch, and Dr. Davies stated in explanation that many members of his Branch were not interested in the Transactions but that they would be glad to receive the J. O. S. T. at a reduced rate.

The Hon. Editor stated that he had discussed the matter with the Editor of J.O.S.T. and there was no possibility of a reduced rate for the Journal being allowed to the Society.

Members expressed disapproval of the suggestion. On the motion of Professor Allan, supported by Mr. Fenwick, it was agreed to proceed to the next business on the Agenda.

6a. Organization of Science. Professor Briggs moved. Mr. Brooker seconded— “That while the Society, and particularly its Branches, should take every opportunity for co-operation with other scientific societies and organizations it would be preferable not to enter into a federal affiliation with these bodies.”

In speaking to the resolution Dr. Archey pointed out that since the original meeting of representatives of various scientific organizations which he had chaired, affiliation of outside scientific societies with the Royal Society had been shown to be impracticable. It was possible for Member Bodies to co-operate when occasion

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arose with other scientific societies in their own centres, and every three years in the Royal Society's Congress it is the practice to have up to twenty-six participating bodies.

After some further discussion the above resolution was put and carried.

6b. Central Headquarters and Science House. A letter from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research stating that at present there were not any definite prospects of a building being erected for the D.S.I.R. in the near future. There is an acute shortage of accommodation for Government Departments in Wellington, and until some fairly extensive building takes place the position will inevitably become worse.

Professor Richardson moved, and it was carried— “That the report submitted and the letter from D.S. I. R. be received.”

On the motion of Professor Briggs it was resolved— “That the thanks of the meeting be extended to Professor Richardson for his comprehensive report.”

7. Special Reports.

(a) Handbooks on Fauna and Flora. On the motion of Mr. Allen, seconded by Dr. Archey, it was resolved— “That the report submitted by the Sub-committee be endorsed.”

(b)National Collections. In opening the discussion on the National Collections Report, Mr. Callaghan, convener of the Sub-committee, spoke of the in-adequate accommodation and insufficient staff to ensure effective use of National Collections housed in many Museums and Departments. The Royal Society, through its report, sought to draw attention to the need for the preservation of these scientific assets. Would be donors of collections sometimes lacked confidence in the safe custody that would be given, and sent their collections overseas.

Professor Allan said changing personnel in staffs was one of the difficulties—an enthusiast might build up a fine collection and later on his successor's interests might lie in other directions.

Professor Richardson maintained that University Departments needed specimens on hand near them rather than centralised in Museums.

Mr. Callaghan asked: “Would the scientists be prepared to recognise the museums as the leaders in taxonomy and as a suitable repository for collections?”

Miss Brewin considered that type collections should be deposited in the Museums on permanent loan.

Dr. Salmon thought the scientist would welcome the Museums as custodians of collected research recognising that curation was a specialised job.

Dr. Falla thought the Society should keep to general principles and not appear to dictate to Museums on administration. The Museums were well aware of the situation as covered in the report, but he recognised that an expression of opinion from scientists generally would be helpful.

Further discussion on staffing and an inadequate salary scale followed, and finally Mr. Callaghan moved. Dr. Salmon seconded— “That the report be received and forwarded to governing bodies of Museums, Government Departments, and specialised scientific societies.”

An amendment moved by Dr. Askew, seconded by Professor Cumberland— “That the report be received and the Committee be thanked and reappointed to report further” was lost.

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After discussing the comments of Branches on the report it was resolved to amend Clause 5 by the insertion of the words “not necessarily” after the word “staffs” and after Clause 6 to add: “Clause 7. To continue to expand their service to education and cultural recreation.”

On the motion of Professor Briggs, seconded by Dr. Fleming, it was resolved— “That the report on National Collections as amended be received and forwarded to the governing bodies of museums throughout New Zealand, to appropriate departments in the University Colleges, to appropriate Government Departments and to appropriate scientific societies in New Zealand as a preliminary report of a sub-committee of the Royal Society, for their consideration and comment.”

(c) Fuel and Power. On the motion of Dr. Salmon, it was resolved to receive the interim report of Dr. Bastings, Convener of the Committee on Fuel and Power.

(d) Manuka Blight. In introducing this subject, Dr. Miller presented to the Society the report prepared by Mr. J. M. Hoy on the insect (Eriococcus orariensis) attacking manuka. He said it was a many sided problem and a good deal more research was required before an opinion can be formulated. The President referred to the letter from the Hon. Minister of Scientific and Industrial Research which had been written in reply to the letter sent to the Right Hon. the Prime Minister.

On the motion of Professor Richardson, seconded by Mr. Keys, it was resolved that the Hon. Minister be thanked for his reply.

(e) Scientific Manpower. On the motion of Mr. Callaghan it was resolved— “That the report be received and the representations endorsed.”

(f) Reading of Scientific Papers. The President warmly complimented Mr. Callaghan and Dr. Dixon on the report presented on the important subject of the delivery of addresses and the reading of scientific papers. It was considered that this report should be widely publicised and sent to the Branches and scientific societies participating in the Science Congresses.

After some discussion it was resolved— “That the report and its recommendations be endorsed.”

(g) International Geophysical Year. On the motion of Dr. Barnett, seconded by Professor Briggs, the report on the I.G.Y was received.

Dr. Archey asked if greater publicity could not be given to the work of I.G.Y. and its local committee. In reply Dr. Barnett stated that his Committee has this very much in mind for next year; probably the Broadcasting Service will be utilized for the purpose.

(h) Ross sea Committee. Professor Richardson, representative of the Society on the Ross Sea Committee, moved the adoption of the report.

Speaking to the report, Professor Richardson said the first of the Antarctic party will be leaving shortly and the programme for Antarctic penetration embarked upon. He stated that the Royal Society, as senior scientific society, had been asked to set up a scientific advisory committee supplementary to the Rosa Sea Scientific Committee.

The Standing Committee had accepted this invitation, and the Royal Society's Antarctic Research Committee had been set up. It would include representatives of the University of New Zealand, the Ross Sea Committee, the N.Z. Antarctic

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Society, the N.Z. National Committee on Oceanography, the Geological Society of New Zealand and an Observer from the I.G.Y. Committee.

Professor Richardson said that this committee would cover a long term planning and be a continuing committee. There was a wealth of scientific information in all branches of scientific work to be obtained.

A slight amendment in the report was made by substituting “Inc.” for “Ltd.” in the title of the Transantarctic Expedition. On the motion of Professor Richardson, seconded by Dr. Falla, the report was received.

On the motion of Professor Richardson, Dr. Fleming was appointed Chairman of the Royal Society's Antarctic Research Committee. Professor Richardson was appointed to act on the Committee, and it was resolved— “That the other members of the Committee be appointed when the nominations of the Ross Sea Committee and other bodies are received”

8a. Land Utilization. Professor Cumberland spoke to the remit from the Auckland Council of the Royal N.Z. Institute of Horticulture concerning the large areas of vegetable producing land being taken over for housing areas. He said there was concern in Auckland at the way in which market garden land was being taken, with the result that vegetable production was being removed further and further from the city population. The Auckland Regional Planning Council was giving much thought to the question of housing areas and its problems including that of local bodies, which were becoming more and more burdened with the resulting roading, drainage, and reticulation schemes.

Professor Cumberland moved, Mr. Cory Wright seconded—

“That the Royal Society draw the attention of the Right Hon. the Prime Minister and the Hon. Minister of Housing to the undesirability of continued destruction of first class market gardening and dairy land by the ever increasing sprawl or urban areas; to the undesirable social and economic consequences of unrestricted urban sprawl and in particular to the effect it has on primary production, the availability of fresh vegetables, and the drain on local body finances.”

Professor Richardson said he did not think this was a matter in which the Royal Society could act. It was totally ignorant of all the implications; if it took action it should be to set up a committee to report on the facts—the Government would require factual information. Others considered that the subject matter of the remit was common knowledge and applicable throughout New Zealand.

On an amendment by Professor Richardson, seconded by Dr. Dixon, it was resolved—

“That this meeting set up a committee to report to the Standing Committee on the utilization of high grade land”

It was decided that Branches be informed that a sub-committee is being set up and that the Royal N.Z. Institute of Horticulture be consulted. Professor Cumberland was appointed to convene the Committee.

Two Notices of Motion were handed in—

  • No. 1: That the Standing Committee be asked to consider the advisability of commencing Council Meetings at 9 a.m. or 9.30 a.m.

  • Moved by Miss Brewin. seconded by Mr. Allen. Carried.

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  • No. 2. That the Standing Committee, in allotting travelling expenses to be paid by Member Bodies, take into account expenses borne personally or otherwise covered by the delegate concerned.

    Moved by Dr. Davies, seconded by Professor Richardson. Carried.

Votes of Thanks were accorded to Canterbury University College Council, to the Press, to the Agenda Sub-committee, and to the President for presiding over the meeting, which concluded at 6 p.m.


M. A. F. Barnett

December 16, 1955.

Functions of The Royal Society of New Zealand.

1 Report presented to the Council at the Half-Yearly Meeting on the 16th of November, 1955.


The Royal Society of New Zealand is acknowledged nationally and internationally as the senior scientific organisation in the Dominion. It is broadly charged with the encouragement of science. Membership is democratic. The 2,000 members are divided between nine Branches. The Council of the Society is formed of the officers, of representatives from the Branches, others appointed by the Governor-General, and also from the Fellows of the Society. Through its affiliations, publications, and library, the Royal Society is the New Zealand liaison with international scientific organisations and with some 500 scientific bodies and national learned societies in at least 60 countries. By selecting suitable New Zealanders temporarily overseas, the Royal Society frequently arranges representation of this Dominion at scientific meetings and other proper occasions without further cost to the. Dominion It initiates, conducts and assists scientific congresses in this country. It represents science and the scientific viewpoint in national and regional domestic affairs in the Dominion. It maintains a major scientific library available to all research workers throughout the country. It provides the only medium in this Dominion available to all research workers for the publication of original researches in any field of science, and distributes these publications to scientific institutions throughout the world. This establishes internationally the status of New Zealand science, and makes the work of New Zealand scientists accessible in all countries. The Royal Society organises lectures by prominent visiting scientists in the main centres and so brings such visitors before the public. The Branches support museums, scientific libraries, observatories, etc, in their legions, and by holding more than 160 meetings a year encourage the understanding, development and application of scientific advances in the Dominion. They maintain a watching brief over scientific matters in their respective regions from Northland to Southland. The Branches are self-supporting and contribute about 20 percent [ unclear: ] of then income from members to the support of the Royal Society.

International Responsibilities

A considerable number of overseas scientific organisations are in communication with the Royal Society. The following samples the work of the Society during the past few years.

The Royal Society is Member Body for New Zealand in the International Council of Scientific Unions (I.C.S.U.) based on London. This Council through international bodies in 12 or more fields of science links together scientific affairs and activities in 56 countries. The Royal Society arranges New Zealand representation at the General Assemblies of the I.C.S.U. held triennially and at the International Congresses held in the different fields such as Crystallography, Entomology. Botany, Genetices, Geodesy and Geophysics, Pure and Applied Physics, Pure and Applied Chemistry, Geology, Zoology, Anatomy, etc. Representation was arranged at nine such Congresses in the past few years, and at the Empire Scientific Conference. New Zealand was represented also through the Royal Society at such proper occasions as the Isaac Newton Tercentenary Celebrations, at the Celebrations of the National Academy of Science in the United States, at a meeting of the American Philosophical Society; at the Bicentenary Celebration at Princeton University, etc. In nearly all cases, representation was arranged by the selection of suitably qualified New Zealanders already overseas on other affairs.

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The Royal Society functions as a Nominating Body for the Nobel Peace Prize; the Kalinga Prize for science writing; the Walter Burfitt Medal for outstanding scientific of medical research; the Nuffield Commonwealth Bursaries Scheme, etc. From time to time the Society receives notification of scientific distinctions for which nominations may be proposed. This information is brought to the attention of scientists throughout the country.

The International Science Foundation has invited the Royal Society to join as participating member in arranging scholarships and fellowships for scientists and engineers going to the United States for graduate study and other research experience as well as research cooperation between United States scientists and those of other countries.

As Corresponding Society and in other capacities, the Royal Society maintains contact with senior learned societies in all countries and with many other organisations such as the Atomic Scientists' Association, the American Polar Society, etc.

The Royal Society is the New Zealand participating body in the Pacific Science Association and maintains contact through a permanent representative on the Council of that organisation This Association includes all countries concerned with the Pacific area It covers all branches of science. In 1947 the Royal Society was responsible for the organisation of the VIIth Pacific Science Congress, which was held in New Zealand in 1949 and brought 200 leading overseas scientists to this country This gave New Zealand scientists the opportunity to make personal contacts and to join in discussion with leaders in all fields of science Much valuable information and advice was obtained and exchanged Subsequently, the Royal Society was publishing body for the Proceedings of the Congress These ran to seven volumes.

Active liaison is maintained with the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science. New Zealand representation on the Council is arranged for meetings of this body The Royal Society is concerned in the organisation of meetings of the Association when these are held in New Zealand. The next meeting is to be held in Dunedin in 1937.

National Responsibilities

The Royal Society functions administratively in providing all parts of the scientific community with information from its international scientific affiliations and associations Information is supplied regularly to the nine Branches and to other bodies when suitable.

The maintenance of high standards in science in New Zealand is the primary responsibility of the Royal Society This is encouraged by the election of New Zealand scientists of proven highest merit to the limited Fellowship of the Society Leading overseas scientists of the highest scientific status are elected to Honorary Membership The highest standards in research are also encouraged through the award of the Society's Hector Prize and Medal and the Society's Hutton Medal to senior scientists for researches of the highest order in New Zealand, by the award of the Society's Hamilton Prize to young scientists for outstanding original research, by the Sidey Award for original work of the highest standard in radiation in physics and in relation to human welfare; and by maintaining a high standard in the publication of original scientific researches.

The Transactions of the Royal Society constitute a medium for the publication of research in all branches of science Its pages are available to all research workers whether member of the Society or not Publication is refused only when a paper is found unworthy as determined by a panel of Honorary Referees Accordingly the demand for publication in the Transactions increases with the growth of the scientific community Editing is in the hands of an Honorary Editor and his Honorary Associates Overhead is reduced to the absolute minimum The Transactions are distributed to over 500 scientific societies and other learned institutions throughout the world, so that New Zealand researches are available to all scientists and the international status of our scientific effort is maintained.

The Society is now re-establishing the publication of major studies as “Bulletins” of the Society These are publications too large for inclusion in the Transactions One was published this year. A second, which surveys mosquitoes and malaria in the Pacific, is moving to press and publication has been urgently requested by the South Pacific Commission.

The library of the Society is entirely a research library It is formed of the publications received from the scientific and learned bodies throughout the world sent in exchange for the Transactions and Bulletins of the Royal Society. Some 2,000 new items are added each year Nothing is purchased The annual cost by purchase would greatly exceed the cost of publication of the Transactions and of the Bulletins. The library deals with all branches of science It holds many complete runs of Journals from all parts of the would not available elsewhere in this country Any item in the library is available through library inter-loan to any research worker in New Zealand whether a member of the Society or not. The loans each year averaging

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650, are related to research work. The demand on the library is growing proportionally with the increase in the scientific community. The library provided the nuclei for the libraries of the Geological Survey, the Dominion Museum, and the Carter Observatory.

The Society administers eight Memorial Trust Funds having a total capital value of £8,000, and is now asked to consider trusteeship of a ninth Trusts cover the award of medal and prizes; a Plant Diseases Trust for the encouragement of research in this field; the Cockayne Memorial Fund; etc In particular, the Hutton Memorial Fund which provides small sums for research is the only source of research funds at short notice for scientists in all fields.

The Royal Society maintains the organisation of the triennial Science Congresses of the Royal Society of New Zealand, in which 28 different scientific societies are brought together as participating bodies, and all active branches of pure and applied science in the country are represented, including Dentistry. Medicine, Animal Husbandry. Engineering Forestry, etc Recent Congresses have been attended by 500 to 600 persons. The Royal Society has supported and arranged publication of the Proceedings from those Congresses.

The Council of the Royal Society draws on its nation-wide background to form and express views on scientific problems of national importance. In the past, the Society was active in bringing about the establishment of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, etc. It organised meetings for preliminary considerations on the need for the preservation of historic sites, so leading to the formation of the Historic Places Trust. It was consulted and active in the procedure leading to the present National Parks Authority. At present it is urging that further consideration be given to the setting up of a body to investigate fuel and power needs and resources and the co-ordination of all sources into a single scheme. It also urges that further consideration be given to the formation of an inter-departmental advisory committee to co-ordinate the control and protection of wild life and to the re-establishment of the Scientific Manpower Committee. The matter of the care and control of scientific and other collections of national importance is now under enquiry.

Scientific experience is contributed to national affairs through the representation of the Royal Society on many national bodies. It is represented on the Board of Trustees of the National Art Gallery and Dominion Museum; the Museum Management Committee; the Royal N.Z. Institute of Horticulture; the N. Z. Oceanographic Committee; the Trans-Antarctic Expedition (N.Z.); the Medical Research Council; the National Parks Authority; the Historic Places Trust; the Unesco Science Sub-Committee; the Great Barrier Reef Committee; Carter Observatory Board, etc. In the past it has sent representatives to a number of temporary committees such as the Sir Peter Buck Memorial Committee. Rutherford Fund Committee, etc.

The Royal Society is always available to assist the Government and other national bodies in the organisation of scientific societies to meet collectively on such proper occasions as was that of the address of the Duke of Edinburgh to New Zealand scientists during the Royal visit to this Dominion.

Regional Responsibilities

These rest largely in the hands of the nine regional Branches to which the Royal Society is the Parent Body.

Branches are established in Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. The Rotorua and Hamilton Branches have been added in the last fifteen months. The total membership of the Branches is 2,000 members and associates. Membership is democratic. Science qualifications are not required.

The Branches are entirely self-supporting from membership dues. Twenty per cent, of their income is subscribed to the funds of the Parent Body. By regulation, each Branch must contribute to the support of a library, museum, or other similar institution in their region. The Auckland Institute administers the Auckland War Memorial Museum and gives financial support to the Museum. The Canterbury Branch is represented on the Board of the Canterbury Museum and on the Riccarton Bush Board of Trustees, and has financially supported several scientific expeditions. This has led to the formation of small but valuable libraries in some regions, and assisted the development of museums, observatories and other valuable institutions, libraries and museums at Nelson and Napier, the valuable libraries of the Wellington Branch, Canterbury Branch and Auckland Institute; observatories are maintained by the Wellington and Otago Branches.

Each Branch holds meetings at various times in the year when lectures are given on scientific developments and on the applications of science. More than 160 such meetings are held throughout the country each year. The Hudson Memorial lecture uses from a trust fund administered by the Wellington Branch. These lectures create and maintain interest in

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science. The Branches also organise in their regions special and public meetings at which lectures are given by visiting prominent scientists.

The Triennial N.Z. Science Congresses are held in turn at suitable centres under the immediate organisation of the Branch of the region. The size of the Congresses now restricts them from the smaller centres.

Each Branch maintains a watching brief over matters of scientific interest in its region. These may be made the subject of a lecture, of an enquiry, or when required brought to the attention of the Parent Body and so to the Society as a whole for consideration and action.

L. R. R

Presentation of Addresses: Reading of Scientific Papers.


Experience has shown that there is a very real need in New Zealand for improvement in the delivery of scientific papers (and addresses). In the community there are a few born speakers and a few who never will become fluent. The great majority, however, can by practice, study and effort develop a fluency which scientific subjects deserve. To-day science is suffering from the poor way it is propounded by many scientists who have good material to publicize. The charge of obscurantism is too often only too true, while the hesitating and muddling way scientific knowledge is delivered not only gives a very bad impression but does a disservice both to scientists and to science generally.

The following paragraphs are intended to serve as a guide to the delivery of scientific addresses:—

II. Preparation.


Preparation by thought, note making, writing out the address and spoken rehearsal is essential.

The title selected should be brief and self-explanatory.


The time allocated for the delivery of the address should be known. Addresses should be limited in general to a maximum period of 45 minutes where no definite time is specified. Commonly in symposia at conferences the speaker will have less time (say 20 minutes) at his disposal. In such cases it is best not to aim to cover the whole subject but rather to make a few good points developed logically. The shorter the period available the more planning is necessary to get a clear, concise and factual story over to the audience.


In general the main sections intended to be dealt with will be thought out first; when the pattern seems clear the section headings will be written down, then expanded in a logical order to cover the whole address. Revisions will be necessary to give the address the proper balance and emphasis. If the address is to be published further revision will be necessary, similarly, if the address is to be handed to the press the key points should be underlined or a separate resume written.


The object of all scientific addresses is to make the salient points in a convincing fashion in the time allotted. Only a very few can attain this by speaking extempore with notes of some sort. Fluent speakers sometimes fail because they get carried away by their own words and do not in the time allotted establish their main points.

At the other extreme a well prepared paper wholly read may lack conviction through monotonous delivery by a speaker who has barely looked at his audience. The problem for each speaker will be to decide where best he can fit in between these extremes.


Addresses that Are to be Read. In addresses that are to be read in the main, a rehearsal of the written address should then be made and a record of the time of delivery taken. Repeated rehearsals are desirable until the paper is so familiar that the eyes can be raised to the audience from time to time without the thread of the discourse being lost. The final draft of the address should be marked with time indicators to ensure easy adherence to the time allotted for delivery.


As the introduction and the conclusion of the address present the greatest problems, these sections merit special care. It is important that the address should finish on a good note.


In addresses that are to be given for the most part extempore, reliance on notes on section headings is desirable. These, too, must have time indication marks, and need much rehearsal in order to keep within time limits. Rehearsals before a sympathetic critic and before the clock are very helpful.


Slides, films, maps and diagrams greatly assist both the lecturer and the audience if properly prepared and used.

All should be clear and of a size that is legible from the rear of the hall.

– lviii –

Details of the preparation of slides in proper size have been excellently described in an article Legibility of Lantern Slides, by Saxby, Scott and Averis and published in the N.Z. Journal of Science and Technology. Vol. 36, Nov., 1954, p. 191. It is important that slides should be sorted and placed in correct sequence before the address and properly spotted so that the operator can readily place them in the carrier right way up.

All maps and diagrams should be firmly pinned up before the address starts or placed in position for ready reference. Annoyance and embarrassment arise unless this is care-fully done.

If a blackboard and chalk are to be used these should be in readiness beforehand.


Prior to the Address.

Prior to the address being delivered a visit should be paid to the hall and the following matters dealt with as well as obtaining a general idea of its lay-out.


See that chans, a table, or a reading stand are available and in proper position.


If a lantern is to be used, see that its location and stand are provided for, that a suitable screen is in place, that there are power points available and that the location of all light switches are known. If possible the lantern should be given a trial run. Lighting and lantern failures and poor operation constitute one of the commonest vexations in the delivery of illustrated addresses.


If portions of the address have to be delivered during darkness in the hall make sure that a shaded table lamp is available and equipped with a readily accessible switch.


If the blackboard is to be used it will be necessary to have this in position with chalk and duster handy.


A readily available pointer is essential and often overlooked for many illustrated addresses Its location should be ascertained prior to standing the address.


It is the responsibility of the lecturer to ensure prior to the delivery of his address that all due preparations in the hall are made for it.


At the Address.


The lecturer should arrive early—10 minutes at least before due starting time—to ensure that everything is in order and to deal with any last minute problems and to pick a suitable spot for delivery of the address.


He must find the operator of the lantern and discuss with him the order of the slides and the plan for showing them.


It is desirable to have ready some well prepared brief introductory remarks to be addressed to the back of the hall in order to overcome any initial nervousness and to test the loudness of tone necessary. Such remarks may deal with the title of the address and its general significance.


The pitch of the voice should be such as will reach the back of the hall, and some early thought should be given to this if no amplifying system is installed. Endeavour to avoid monotony in speech by modulating the voice, by altering speed of delivery, introducing pauses and emphasis from time to time, and endeavour to put some sparkle into the speech. Short, pithy sentences are preferred to long involved statements. If the address has been thoroughly rehearsed mumbling, disjointed speech and hesitation should be absent.


The audience should be faced throughout the address if at all possible. When slides are in use the lecturer should stand well back and use the pointer so that at worst he is only facing the audience sideways. If the blackboard is in use (and it should be used sparingly) the voice should be raised considerably. Avoid cluttering up the blackboard with a mass of mathematical or chemical formula unless the address is to a very specialised group.


When slides are displayed, proceed slowly. The audience requires time to grasp the general features displayed, before it is ready to assimilate the particular points which the lecturer wishes to make. Excessive speed with slides or attempts to use too many slides are among the worst and commonest faults in illustrated addresses.


The time limit of the address should be closely adhered to and no apologies offered (or excuses put forward) on account of time restrictions.


Generally speakers err on the side of taking up too much time in then address, and this points to inadequate rehearsal or preparation. Audiences are better satisfied if not more than five or six points are well made, and then emphas [ unclear: ] sed in then minds in a final summing up.


Attention should be paid to good stance on the platform—avoidance of slouching and of mannerisms, which give rise to an unfavourable audience reaction. The speaker should give his audience the impression of being at ease.

– lix –

The Sub-committee recommends that the Royal Society urge all its Branches and their Sections to devote the year 1956 to a policy of endeavouring to improve the standard of presentation of scientific addresses by.


Drawing the attention of members to the study of the above recommendations.


Asking each Section and Branch to appoint one or more of its members to criticise sympathetically, with a view to assisting and guiding improvement in delivery of addresses during the 1956 session.


That the above recommendations when amended be e [ unclear: ] culated to all participating bodies, seeking their co-operation towards improvement of the standard of delivery of scientific addresses.

F. R. Callaghan


J. K. Dixon.