Rotorua Philosophical Society
Annual Report for 1956
On behalf of the Committee I have pleasure in presenting the third annual report of the Rotorua Philosophical Society for the year 1955/56.
Officers. The following members held office during the year: President, Mr. J. Healy, Vice-President, Dr. W. J. Watt; Secretary, Mr. S. A. Cooper; Treasurer, Mr. L. Clark; Committee—Dr. R. N. Beale, Mr. E. D. Forester, Mr. R. S. Martin, Mr. I. J. Thulin.
The Committee met 10 times during the year. Towards the end of the period Dr. Beale resigned to take up an appointment in Australia.
Membership. Financial membership decreased from 77 in 1955 to 72 in 1956.
Meetings. Nine scheduled meetings were held in 1956 as follows: April 3, “Forecasting the Future”, Sir Charles Darwin; April 23, “Rambles in New Zealand”, Mr. M. C. Gudex; May 23, “The Pre-European History of the Arawa People”, Mr. D. M. Stafford; June 25, “The Soils of New Zealand”, Mr. N. H. Taylor; July 25, “Symposium on White Island”, Messrs. C. J. Banwell, J. Healy and G. E. K. Thompson; August 13, “An Economic Survey of the Whanau Apanaui Tribe”, Mr. M. Raureti; “Recent Eruptions in the Waiotapu Area”, Mr. D. Cross; August 29, “Potentialities of New Zealand Plants”, Dr. L. H. Briggs. September 24, Conversazione, South Auckland Branch N.Z. Institute of Engineers; October 24, “Modern Trends in Architecture”, Dr. R. H. Toy.
The Society was privileged in having Sir Charles Darwin, who was in New Zealand to deliver the Rutherford Lecture, to give the opening address, which attracted the largest attendance of the year. The White Island symposium was arranged at short notice to replace a talk by Dr. L. R. Wallace, who was unable to come. The August 13 meeting was what is now regarded as the annual evening devoted to papers on original local research.
The Conversazione this year featured engineering, with sections on geothermal power, surveying, water supply, concrete, tele-communications and highway design in the hands of a panel of engineers introduced by Mr. R. S. Martin. This feature again proved a popular and profitable one.
At a well-attended extra meeting held on October 2, Mr. J. McCreary spoke on “Social Work in the United States”. Thanks are due to all the above speakers for their contribution to the year's programme.
As suggested last year, meetings were held on alternate Mondays and Wednesdays in the fourth week of each month. The Committee now feels that it would be more satisfactory to have one regular meeting night each month. The average attendance was 48, but was in fact somewhat irregular. It is neither possible nor desirable for the Society to confine lectures to those of purely popular appeal, and members are urged to give full support to all speakers.
Finance. A balance of approximately £100 carried forward from last year has been reduced to £90, and outstanding dues to the Royal Society and expenditure on books ordered amount to an additional £15. The apparent loss is due to a double expenditure this year on the library, to make up for last year's unexpended vote. The financial position can therefore be regarded as satisfactory.
Once again the Society has to thank the Rotorua High School authorities for permission to use the common room for meetings. This resulted in an appreciable saving in expense.
Library. Mr. R. W. McMillan was appointed as librarian at the last Annual Meeting. During the year a large number of New Zealnad publications were added, and recently a number of books have arrived. These were selected by the Library Committee, consisting of the President, Mr. W. G. Harwood, and Drs. T. C. Highton and W. J. Watt. Publications have been tabled at meetings, and there has been an increased interest taken by members in the library. It is now growing to the point where it will form an important part of the Society's activities, and members are urged to make free use of it.
Royal Society of New Zealand. The Society has again been well served on the Royal Society Council by Dr. J. Dixon, who visited Rotorua and reported to the Society on August 13. Thanks are due to Dr. Dixon for his able and conscientious representation.
During the year the Council circulated to member bodies a questionnaire on financial obligations and the relationship of the member bodies to the parent Society. This Committee favoured a compulsory payment of one sixth of subscription income to the Royal Society without a fixed rate of expenditure on any other obligatory activity such as support of a library or museum. The future policy of the Royal Society will be further considered at the November meeting of the full Council.
Borough Museum. An opportunity having arisen for the Rotorua Borough Council to divide its Museum exhibits, a meeting was held of the Council representatives and the Committee and those who prepared reports on the Museum last year. The Borough Council has now agreed to the Society reorganizing the Museum, and at present a visit by Dr. Archey is awaited to get things under way.
Historical Sub-Section. A request from Mrs. Enid Tapsell to the Borough Council for the formation of an organization for the preservation of local historical records was referred to the Society. The Committee met Mrs. Tapsell and his Worship the Mayor to discuss how the Society could help. It was decided to bring to the Annual Meeting a proposal to form a Historical Sub-Section, and to invite interested members of the public to attend.
More active participation by members by the formation of a sub-section could be regarded as a healthy sign, and is a logical development in any society of sufficient size.
Other Projects. A proposal for special lectures to High School pupils was discussed with the headmaster by the proposer, Mr. D. R. Gregg, and the secretary. The matter was deferred for further consideration early in the new year.
The provision of an annual prize for a scientific project among High School pupils has been approved and will be put into operation next year. As an immediate gesture, two books are being presented this year to the High School library.
The Society again owes a vote of gratitude to the headmaster, Mr. W. G. Harwood, for the use of the staff room and laboratories and facilities for general and Committee meetings. His kind co-operation at all times is gratefully acknowledged. To Mrs. Harwood and those other ladies who so regularly provide supper at the right time, special thanks are due from all members. The kind services of Mr. D. Holloway, who audited the financial statement, and the co-operation of the Rotoiua Post, are gratefully acknowledged.