Auckland Institute and Museum
Annual Report for the Year 1956–57
President. It is pleasing to be able to record the fact that substantial progress is being made in the election of the new building. Ground floor level has already been reached and passed, and, at an impressive ceremony, the foundation stone was laid by the Prime Minister on the afternoon of Saturday, March 30. Among those present was the Chief Justice, Sir Harold Barrowclough, a foundation member of the War Memorial Executive Committee, who had made a special trip from Wellington in order to attend.
Membership. This now stands at 1,146 (including 316 life members). New members elected during the year numbered 123, while losses by reason of death, resignation, etc. amounted to 69.
Obituary. It is with regret that the following names are recorded. They are those of members who have died during the year under review. Mrs. E. M. Blackwell, M.B.E., Sir George Elliott, O.B.E., Sir Alexander Johnstone, Q.C., O.B.E., B.A., LL.B., Lieut.-Colonel T. H. Dawson, C. M.G., C.B.E., Captain H. Dryden, Dr. E. D. Aubin, Dr. F. R. Smale, Dr. L. H. Whetter, Messrs. C. F. Bennett, M. B.E, N. W. H. Bonham, A. F. Burton, F. B. Cadman, T. Clements, L. J. Coakley, O.B.E., A. N. Cooper, Bertram Dawson, C. E. Jenkins, C. H. Moses, R. H. Neil, J. B. Paterson, M. B.E., E. J. Prendergast, H. Clinton Savage and Eruni Taipari.
Mr. T. Clements and Mr. J. B. Paterson both served for a time as Members of the Council—Mr. Clements as a representative of contributing local authorities, and Mr. Paterson as a member of the Auckland City Council.
Mr. L. J. Coakley will be long remembered as a former Deputy-Mayor of Auckland, and especially for the active and successful steps which he took to secure more playing fields and open spaces for the city. There were many occasions on which the Museum received the benefit of his specialised knowledge.
Mr. A. N. Cooper was also most interested in the work of the Museum, and, in conjunction with other members of his family, was the donor of an extensive natural history collection.
Sir Alexander Johnstone, one of the Dominion's most distinguished citizens, served the Institute and Museum selflessly for many years. At different times he held the offices of Member of the Council, Vice-President and President. As a further, and substantial, token of his interest, the Museum will benefit by a generous legacy in terms of his will.
Mr. Eruini Taipari, upon whom had been conferred the distinction of Honorary Life Membership, was the leader of the Ngati-Maru people of Hauraki, whose carved Meeting House “Hotunui” is such an outstanding item among the treasures displayed in our Maori Court.
Honours. A pleasing duty which fell to the lot of the Council was to send congratulations to those of our members whose names have appeared in recent Honours Lists. The Hon. Sir Joseph Stanton, Dr. E. G. Sayers, C.M.G, Mr. Douglas Hay, O.B.E., Mr. F. N. Ambler, O.B.E, and Mr. W. Calder Mackay, O. B.E., have all been honoured by Her Majesty.
The honorary degree of Doctor of Science has been conferred upon our Assistant Director by the University of New Zealand.
Professor L. H. Briggs has been elected to the distinguished office of President of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and, at our last annual meeting, formally presented the Hector Medal previously awarded to Mrs. Lucy Cranwell Smith, whom we were glad to welcome on an all too brief visit from her new home in the United States. Six members of the staff—i. e., Mrs. Turbott, Dr. Archey, Dr. Powell, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Turbott and Mr. Scobie have been elected to the newly instituted Fellowship of the Art Galleries and Museums Association of New Zealand.
Council. The usual regular meetings of the Council have been held, and a very considerable volume of business has been dealt with Owing to certain administrative delays over which the Council has no control, finality has not yet been reached as regards the proposed staff superannuation scheme. Mr. J. H. Luxford, C. M. G., Miss Rains, Mrs. M. M. Dreaver, and Mr. A. P. Postlewaite, O.B.E., ceased to be members of the Council during the year. The service they gave is much appreciated.
Western Springs. Representations have been made to the City Council with a view to ensuring, so far as possible, that pioposed development work at the Western Springs lake will not destioy the value of this small sheet of water as a wild-fowl sanctuary.
The Institute. The year's extended lecture syllabus apparently imposed no “attendance strain” upon members who gave full support throughout the series. Our thanks are due to the lecturers who provided such an interesting programme. Dr. R. G. Cooper, M.A., B.Com., Ph.D., “Taro Hunting in the Pacific”, Sir Charles Darwin, K.B.E., M.C., Sc.D., F.R.S, “How Scientific Discoveries are Made”; Mr. A. W. B. Powell, F.R.S.N.Z., “In Search of ‘Gloria Maris’ in Dutch New Guinea”, Commander G. S. Ritchie, D.S.C., R. N., “Hydrographic Surveying in New Zealand”; Rev. M. Walsh, “Wordsworth's Place in English Poetry”, Mr. Arthur Tandy, A.C.W.A., “Automation and the Office”. Mr. H. G. Lambert, F.N.Z.I.M., “Automation and the Factory”. Mr. D. McClure, A.F.N.Z.I.M., “Automation and the Man”; Mr. J. H. Rose, LL.B, “Nepal and Its People”; Mr. Elmer Nelson, “Rim Rock: The Story of Colorado Plateau, the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest. A Boat Trip Down the Colorado River.”
Anthropology Section. Chairman, Mr. A. J. Woolston. To the interest in social anthropology that has been a feature of recent years is now added a growing attention to archaeology, stimulated by Mr. Golson's enthusiasm and the visit during the year of Professor R. E. Bell, of the University of Oklahoma. Contributions by our Maori members have also been a welcome feature of the evening discussions. The section membership is 96. The lectures and papers presented were: “Archaeological Work in New Zealand,” Professor R. E. Bell, M. A., Ph.D. (Ohio). “The Festival Exhibition of Food Bowls” at the Museum, Mrs. O. M.' Turbott Panel Discussion, “Dependent Peoples, Past and Present”, “Problems of Maori.
Welfare”, Mr. M, Raureti; Auckland University College Students' Papers; Museums Week activities.
Astronomy Section. The Auckland Austronomical Society has enjoyed another year of vigorous activity and increasing interest both in its membership and from without the Society. The membership is now over 260, of whom about 40 are juniors.
The Society has held eight meetings all largely attended and some with an attendance up to 150. An excellent syllabus provided many distinguished speakers whose addresses were highly informative and greatly appreciated, and the exhibition night was a great success. The O'Sullivan prize was won for a second time by Roger Horrocks, who presented a most careful study of Lunar Rays.
The search for an observatory site and one for the proposed planetarium for Auckland has been pursued with the City Council, but so far no site has been granted. A Spitz school planetarium was purchased and used at the Western Springs Carnival this year; over 2,000 people passed through it.
For the field night on Mt. Eden, thousands went to the summit to view the planet Mars and other celestial bodies through telescopes provided by the Society's members. A special feature has been the printing of the Journal; we feel it was a big advance on previous publications and hope to publish two or three issues a year.
A telescope making class has commenced at Avondale College with three of our councillois as lecturers. This was a long felt need for years, and when the invitation came to form the class the council gladly accepted it.
Conchology Section. Chairman, Mr. N. W. Gardner. The keen interest shown in all activities has made the past year a sound one for the Section.
A number of new members have joined, and the monthly meetings in the Museum have been particularly well attended. These meetings have been divided into a number of periods, such as section business, identification of specimens and study group, both conducted most helpfully by Dr. Powell, and a lecture, usually by a member.
Field days were well attended and newer members gained much from these in learning of habitats and general ecology of marine organisms, land snails, etc.
Monthly newsletters were sent to all members in town and country giving information on Sections affairs, current research, on conchology and new discoveries.
Number 12 Bulletin was published, a larger issue with several extra illustrations and 12 original articles by members.
The land snail section of the Brookes' Collection of N.Z. mollusca which is housed in the Museum was catalogued and arranged in order.
Museum. For a full report of the Auckland War Memorial Museum activities for the current year reference should be made to the published report of the Auckland Institute and Museum for the year 1956–57.