Annual Report for the Year ended March 31, 1960
The Institute. Building activities interrupted the customary Institute functions and services to members. Nevertheless, as Miss Evans mentions, 1,050 people used the library; we were also able to arrange two lectures—i.e., “The Heart-Lung Machine,” by Mr. Brian Barratt-Boyes (British Medical Association Lecture) and the “Age of Rangitoto,” by Dr. R. N. Brothers and Mr. J. Golson.
Over five hundred attended a members' evening in November, when planetarium sessions were held, cinema films screened and a musical programme offered. Another evening was held on April 11 to enable members to visit the Second War Hall of Memories and the new museum halls.
Anthropology and Maori Race Section. Interest in the Section was maintained during the year, the meetings being well attended with many animated discussions taking place during question time. The Field Day this year was around the volcanic cones and Maori pa of the Southern Auckland Isthmus. A special bus seating 44 was filled to capacity, while many private cars also made the trip. Mr. V. F. Fisher recounted the Maori history and traditions connected with the cones, while Mr. J. Golson spoke on their significance to the Maori and described the layout of their fortifications. Without a doubt, it was due to their able leadership that the trip proved both interesting and informative.
Lectures and papers presented were: Professor R. Piddington, “My Visit to French Canada”, Mr. S. Brooker and Dr. R. Cooper, “Medical Plants Reputed to Have Been Used by the Maori”; Dr. Murray Groves, “Music, Ritual and Social Life Among a Melanesian People”; Mr. Sinclair and Mr. J. Waititi, “Prison Education—Pakeha and Maori”; Mr. Hugh Kawharu, “Maori Land Tenure of the 19th Century”; Dr. J. B. W. Robertson, of Kawhia, “The Significance of New Zealand Tribal Tradition”, and University of Auckland Students' Papers.
At the Annual Meeting on November 25, 1959, the following were elected officers of the Section for the ensuing year: Patron, Dr. Spoehr, Director of the Bishop Museum, Honolulu; Chairman, Mr. John Waititi; Hon. Secretary and Treasurer, Mr. J. T. Diamond; Committee, Professor R. Piddington, Dr. B. Biggs, Miss I. Hamilton, Messrs. R. Bulmer, V. F. Fisher, J. Golson, E. Grimes and R. Scobie. The membership of the Section is 85.
Astronomical Section. The Society was happy to welcome the official opening of the Planetarium, the gift of the Farmers' Trading Company, and many members have attended sessions. The greatest benefit, however, is the potential one of making the rising generation space minded and perhaps influencing some to undertake scientific careers.
The officers for 1960–61 are: President, Mr. K. D. Adams, F.R.A.S.; Vice-President, Mr. J. Greager; Hon. Secretary, Mr. L. R. H. Beaumont, B.A., F.R.A.S.; Hon. Treasurer, Mr. G. R. Green; Curator of Instruments, Mr. B. D. Smith.
Conchology Section. This section reports well attended monthly meetings, especially since the new club room attached to Dr. Powell's new premises became available last December.
Four meetings have been held in the new room and as a direct result of the greatly improved facilities, much larger attendances, an average of fifty, have been noted.
The section membership stands at 130, which includes associates throughout New Zealand. A pleasing note is the increase in junior membership.
The new club room is self contained, with facilities for staging small exhibitions, provision for supper, and ready reference to the club's collections and library. The club provided the seating accommodation and a further 18 chairs are on order.
Bulletin No. 15, containing nine original papers by members was published in December. It is illustrated with three full page half-tone plates. The monthly News Letter compiled by the secretary was distributed as usual.
The President of the section is Mr. A. K. Hipkins and the secretary Mrs. L. Seager.
Nautical Section. The Auckland Maritime Society, which is also the Nautical Section of the Institute and Museum, is now in its second year of operation, and with a membership of approximately 120 has embarked on a series of interesting projects. Apart from the regular monthly meetings which have been very well attended, several groups have been engaged in research work on the early shipping around the New Zealand coast. Activities planned for the immediate financial year include a “Farewell Monowai Evening” to be held on board this historic vessel, and an evening exhibition when members will have the opportunity of making individual displays from their own collections. Officers elected at the recent annual
meeting were: Chairman, Mr. R. E. Combes; Hon. Treasurer, Mr. E. D. Bevan; Hon. Secretary, Mr. A. A. Kirk; Committee—Mrs. S. W. Bond, Messrs. C. W. Hawkins, B. Hart and R. Ross; Hon. Auditor, Mr. Gatt.
Second War Memorial and Museum Extension. Planning and preparation for the occupation and arranging of the new halls and administrative accommodation have been our chief concern during the year.
The time of waiting until entry could be expected was occupied in making many store cabinets and cupboards, either complete or in sections, and in organising the collections for transfer, while a few of the very large display cases were transferred to near their destined places. Members of the staff entered willingly on the task of preparation for an opening day much earlier than had been anticipated, and I wish to acknowledge their understanding of the endeavour this would entail and their sustained efforts in achieving it, both in the extensive new displays and in respect to the transfers and rearrangements that would be necessary. It should, of course, be understood that our responsibility was that of the Museum alone, for the dignity and warmth of the Hall of Memory and the South African and New Zealand war memorials we have to thank and congratulate the architects for the building, Mr. M. K. Draffin, M. C., and Mr. R. F. Draffin.
It would have been impossible to instal displays in all the new halls; we therefore concentrated on: (a) moving the Library, under Miss Evans' direction, from the First War Memorial areas to the new building and setting it in order on the newly erected shelving; (b) clearing the former War Trophy Hall, transferring all its show cases and setting out the Spitfire and other large objects as the first hall of the new Armed Services' Museum; (c) arranging two new Services' Museum halls, one with an extensive armoury of small arms, automatic weapons and artillery, also with ship models, the other with small and large exhibits, including a Japanese Zero fighter and a German aircraft torpedo; (d) clearing the hall of New Zealand Geology of its congested store of zoological and botanical collections, and restoring it, together with three other first-floor halls, to public access. This included moving eight large natural history displays, and re-siting them to close the entrances of halls not yet being brought into use; (e) setting up the new hall of Oceanic Navigation, with its canoes large and small, dug-out and plank-built, and with its mural map, beach sand and foliage background, a joint undertaking with the mural and other art work by Mrs. Brookes.
As part of these arrangements it was necessary to establish zoology, botany and part of ethnology in the new study-store rooms, involving (a) the clearing of many large old-style cabinets, dismantling them and making from the material new smaller cabinets (Dr. Powell's chosen task); (b) the making of many new herbarium cabinets and bookshelves (Dr. Cooper); (c) the transfer by floor and block and tackle of really large display cases (Mr. Stewart and Mr. McGuiness); and, generally, unpacking, moving, setting up, painting, fitting and adjusting by everyone.
The result is that at present we have—Top Floor: A 3-hall Armed Services' Museum connecting the First War and the Second War Halls of Memory; a re-established library of 30,000 books, 3,000 sets of periodicals, collections of manuscripts, maps, and photographs; an Assembly Hall (old library). First Floor: Four natural history halls restored to access with considerable rearrangement. Ground Floor: Some rearrangement of Maori and Oceanic Arts and Customs and a new Hall of Oceanic Navigation.
The arrangement of the Armed Services' Museum was shared by Commander Haynes, Captain Thompson, Mrs. Brookes, Mr. Bayliss and myself; we also had welcome assistance from Sir Frank Mappin, Mr. Holgate and Mr. Ecroyd. The Services gave outstanding help and co-operation. The Spitfire and Zeke were dismantled, hoisted with considerable difficulty, and re-assembled by Air Force detachments fhom Whenuapai and Hobsonville who also set up the German V-1 bomb. The German aircraft torpedo and several machine guns were taken over by the Navy and returned cleaned and painted, while a seventeenth century suit of armour was also given expert attention; the Army, besides having already given the greater part of our enemy artillery and machine guns, added several of our own weapons, including a 1914–18 field gun and howitzer “limber-gunnered” to perfection. The Navy also presented an Oerkon rapid-fire anti-aircraft gun.
We were also assisted by the War Memorial Committee authorising the employment of three carpenters. The cost borne by the Museum for all these preparations is referred to in the President's report.
Throughout these moves and re-arrangements the greater part of the museum was kept open for visitors and the customary museum activities continued (the school service, extension service, planetarium and outside lectures).
Now that the opening day is past an extensive programme is before us in restoring to public access the halls not yet freed from storage and in designing and carrying out new installations. By Christmas we expect to have the temporary store-rooms all eliminated from
the Maori Court and Maori Hall East, thereby giving direct and broader access to the new cast entrance and the hall of oceanic navigation; we hope also to have cleared the ethnographical collections at present stored in the New Zealand Bird Hall.
At the same time we must plan and design the installations for four new display halls: (i) Oceanic arts and crafts; (ii) Oceanography; (iii) Birds; and (iv) Insects and small invertebrates, each of which will take eighteen months or more. We shall also have to reorganise the ground floor front halls as halls of the civilisations and of general ethnology; to establish a hall of the domestic arts of Britain (furniture, pottery, silver, etc.), a maritime museum and an aeronautical display on the first floor.
Research. Although the opportunity for study has been very limited we have been able to send a further number of the Museum Records to the printers. It includes papers by Dr. Powell, “Catalogue of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Mollusca”; Dr. D. Squires (New York) “Corals from a deep-sea cable off Norfolk Island”; and Dr. Archey “Pare: the carved door lintel”. A new handbook is also in the press, “New Zealand Medicinal Plants” by Mr. Brooker and Dr. Cooper.
Additions to the Museum. The extension and enrichment of the collections is fundamental to all aspects of museum activity, and it is very satisfactory to be able to record the continuing support of visitors and friends of the Museum in this field. The list of accessions is printed on later pages; here we have space to mention only a few, such as the unusual river canoe stern-post from Doubtless Bay discovered by the donor, Mr. T. Wallace, a charming eighteenth century north country spinning wheel given by Miss Lina Vosper Bruce, a New Hall cup and saucer and a wine-glass cooler, the gift of Mr. Mervyn Hynes, and a silver patchbox engraved with a Jacobite emblem presented by Dr. J. A. Clinch. Two early musical instruments are a clarinet, given by Mr. E. R. Eady, and a flute, from Mr. S. C. Lewis; while a Georgian Irish silver tea pot is the gift of Mr. M. E. Richardson. Other accessions are mentioned in the several departmental reports.