New Zealand Scientific Centenaries
In the period which we are now entering fall the centenaries of several important events in the history of New Zealand Science.
These include: Novara Expedition, 1858–9, and Hochstetter's field work in Auckland and Nelson (1859) which earned him the title of, “Father of New Zealand Geology”; appointments of geologists, who furthered all branches of natural sciences in the provinces of Otago (Hector), Canterbury (Haast) and Wellington (Crawford).
Founding of the New Zealand Institute and its branches and the passing of the New Zealand Institute Act (1868); founding of the museums, including the Colonial Museum; arrival in New Zealand of F. W. Hutton, the greatest of the pioneer biologists;
Founding of Universities, and of Government Scientific Societies.
Birth dates of prominent New Zealand scientists.
Some of these events are more appropriate for branches to celebrate if they see fit, but others are so important in New Zealand's scientific history that commemorative activity by the Royal Society of New Zealand is called for. Such commemoration might take the form of special public lectures; broadcast programmes; publications of the Festschrift type; public exhibitions; republication of relevant papers of high scientific significance.
(a) That the attention of Branches be drawn to the opportunity to commemorate scientific centenaries during the coming years.
(b) That Standing Committee be asked to formulate a programme and suggestions for the commemoration of centenaries of scientific events of national significance.
(c) That the Royal Society of New Zealand organise during the next six months a fitting commemoration of Hochstetter's visit to New Zealand.
Prepared at the request of the Standing Committee.
C. A. Fleming.
Dr. Fleming spoke to the report he had brought down and on his motion, seconded by Dr. Brown the following recommendations were approved:—
“(a) That the attention of Branches be drawn to the opportunity to commemorate scientific centenaries during the coming years.
(b) That the Standing Committee be asked to formulate a programme and suggestions for the commemoration of centenaries of scientific events of national significance.
(c) That the Royal Society of New Zealand organise during the next six months a fitting commemoration of Hochsetetter's visit to New Zealand.”
Dr Powell suggested that postage stamps such as the Health stamps should be used to commemorate certain events and people—they have been using such stamps in Switzerland for the last thirty or forty years.
Scientific Education. Dr. Archey had prepared a statement on Education in Science, touching on several aspects of the subject and designed to provoke discussion and obtain the views of members of the Council. In speaking to his report, Dr. Archey raised the question of Honours B.Sc., or M.Sc., and the standard required for admission. Should the university admit all who wished to enter or should some be excluded because of insufficient standard? What should be the policy with regard to postgraduate scholarships—the effect on the university of losing its most gifted students and the need for trained scientific teachers?
Professor Percival saw no loss in students taking postgraduate courses overseas providing the country saw to it that they came back to New Zealand afterwards. He went on to outline his own attitude towards entrants.
Professor Allan moved, Dr. Archey seconded:—
“That the President be invited to appoint a committee to consider and report upon problems relating to the status of science in New Zealand.”
After some further discussion the resolution was carried.
Earthquake Risk. Mr. Willett and Mr. Callaghan presented a report dealing with the need for greater vigilance in inspection of buildings with a view to their stability during earthquake shocks.
After some discussion Mr. Willett moved, Mr. Callaghan seconded and it was carried:—
“That the Royal Society of New Zealand examine the advisability of calling a meeting of all interested parties to consider problems associated with the regular survey and strengthening of buildings against earthquake damage.”
Notices of Motion. Mr. S. G. Brooker moved, Dr. R. S. Duff seconded:—
“That any increase in revenue arising from the resolutions passed earlier in the meeting be allocated to a fund to assist in the participation by New Zealand scientists in congresses and expeditions and research projects in the Pacific and Antarctic areas.
A number spoke opposing this motion, stating that it was inadvisable to tie the hands of the Council in any particular direction.
On being put to the meeting the motion was lost.
The following motion proposed by Dr. Archey and seconded by Mr. Allen was carried:—
“That the relationship of Rule H (e) to Section 11 (1) a of the Royal Society New Zealand Act, 1933 be referred to the Standing Committee for investigation.”
The following motion proposed by Dr. Archey, seconded by Mr. Callaghan was carried:—
“That the Branches be invited to comment by March 15, on the suggestion that instead of holding two one-day meetings each year, the Council hold annually a two-day meeting in May in alternate years in Wellington, and in conjunction with one of the Waikato, Rotorua, Hawke's Bay, Nelson and Southland Branches; and that triennial science congress be held under arrangements made by the Wellington, Auckland, Canterbury and Otago Branches.”
Medical Research Council. The term of office of Dr. L. Bastings as representative of the Royal Society of New Zealand on the Medical Research Council having expired, it was resolved to appoint Dr. Bastings for a further term.
Travelling Expenses. On the motion of the President it was resolved that travelling expenses for the meeting be paid.
Annual Meeting. It was resolved that the annual meeting be held in Wellington, the date to be decided by the Standing Committee.
Vote of Thanks. On the motion of the President cordial thanks were expressed to the President and Secretary of the Hawke's Bay Branch for their helpful co-operation and to the members of the Hawke's Bay Branch for the afternoon tea provided and for flowers sent to the wives of members of the Council at the hotel, and to the Secretary.
Thanks were also expressed to the Standing Committee for its work and to the Secretary.
On the motion of Dr. Dixon the congratulations and thanks of the meeting were accorded to the President, Professor Allan, for his able conduct of the meeting.
The meeting closed at 5.45 p.m.