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New Zealanders and Science

A Note on Sources

page 153

A Note on Sources

1 The Forerunners

For original material on the history of science in early New Zealand the reader must consult rare books and manuscripts in special New Zealand collections. The most accessible account of the scientific work of Cook's first voyage is Sir J. D. Hooker's edition of the Journal of the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks . . . during Captain Cook's First Voyage. . . . (London, 1896). Banks has suffered much from prudish editing, and it is fortunate that a manuscript copy of the original journal is in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. The admirable engravings of the botanical work of the expedition are to be found in Illustrations of the Botany of Captain Cook's Voyage Round the World in H.M.S. Endeavour in 1768-71 (London, 1900-5) by Sir Joseph Banks and Dr Daniel Solander. The official narratives of the three voyages contain much scientific material and many fine engravings, and they are usefully and sometimes entertainingly supplemented by such works as Dr J. R. Forster's Observations made during a Voyage round the World, on Physical Geography, Natural History, and Ethic Philosophy. . . . page 154(London, 1778). Only twelve arid pages in Vol. i of Captain George Vancouver's A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and round the World. . . . (London, 1798) are devoted to New Zealand, and the expedition's chief scientific contribution, New Zealand Cryptogamia, by Dr Archibald Menzies, was reproduced in W. J. Hooker's Musci Exotici (London, 1818-20) and Icones Filicum (London, 1829-31). The work of Dumont d'Urville's two expeditions was published magnificently in the Voyage de la Corvette l'Astrolabe. . . . (Paris, 1830-3) and Voyage au Pol Sud et dans l'Océanie sur les corvettes l'Astrolabe et la Zélée. . . . (Paris, 1841-3). In the former the botanical observations of Lesson and Richard are fully recorded, while thirteen volumes of the second work are devoted to science, small sections specifically to New Zealand science. It is regrettable that so little of this valuable material has been translated. The results of Allan Cunningham's explorations and those of his brother were published under the title, Florae Insularum Novae Zelandiae Precursor, serially in the Companion to the Botanical Magazine (London, 1836) and later in the Annals of Natural History (London, 1838-40). The best account of Darwin's fleeting visit to New Zealand is to be found in Charles Darwin's Diary of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle (Cambridge, 1933), edited by Nora Barlow. This supersedes earlier and less complete versions of the diary. The scientific work of the United States Exploring Expedition is contained in several splendidly produced volumes, of which J. D. Dana's on Zoophytes (Philadelphia, 1848), Geology (Philadelphia, page 1551849), and Crustacea (Philadelphia, 1852) are of greatest interest to New Zealanders. The space given to New Zealand is limited, but Dana endeavoured to place it in the geological system of the Pacific. The working conditions of the scientist in early New Zealand are nowhere more ably described than in Dr Ernst Dieffenbach's Travels in New Zealand (London, 1843), a book as notable for its scientific value as for its humane outlook. Some reports of the Acheron survey were published in the New Zealand Journal (London, 1840-52), but the scientific work of the expedition was not comprehensively recorded. M. E. Raoul's contributions to New Zealand botany were published in two volumes, Choix de Plantes de la Nouvelle-Zélande (Paris, 1846) and Fleurs Sauvages et Bois Précieux de la Nouvelle-Zélande (London and Paris, 1889), the latter compiled in collaboration with Madame Charles Hetley. The volumes are published and illustrated on the lavish scale common to French scientific works on New Zealand.

2 The Pioneers

Sir J. D. Hooker's successive works on New Zealand flora were the elaborate Flora Antarctica (London, 1844), Flora Novae-Zelandiae (London, 1853) and the monumental Handbook of the New Zealand Flora (London, 1864- 7) which remained the standard reference work until it was superseded by T. F. Cheeseman's similarly planned Manual of the New Zealand Flora (Wellington, 1906). Biographical details will be found in Leonard Huxley's disjointed but interesting Life and Letters of Sir J. D. page 156 Hooker (London, 1918). Dr Ferdinand von Hochstetter's principal work was Neu-Seeland (Stuttgart, 1863) which was later translated and published in a revised form as New Zealand its Physical Geography, Geology and Natural History. . . . (Stuttgart, 1867). The full account of the Novara expedition, Reise der Oesterreichiscen Fregatte Novara um die Erde (Vienna, 1861-74) has never been completely translated, but a portion, Dr Karl Scherzer's Narrative of the Circumnavigation of the Globe by the Austrian Frigate Novara (London, 1861-3), devotes Vol. iii, pp. 93- 194, to lively observations on New Zealand. Of the Rev. William Colenso's writings over a long period a few may be selected as indicating the wide range of his interests: Excursions in the North Island of New Zealand (Launceston, 1844), Classification and Description of some New Zealand Ferns (Launceston, 1845), Botany of the North Island of New Zealand (Dunedin, 1865), and the essay On the Maori Races of New Zealand reprinted in Vol. i of the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute (Wellington, 1868).

3 Haast, Hector, and Hutton

Sir Julius von Haast was an able and prolific writer and left a very full record of his activities as explorer and scientist. For the general reader the most interesting of his publications are Topographical and Geological Exploration in Nelson Province (Nelson, 1861) and the classic Geology of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland (Christchurch, 1879). Sir James Hector was also a prolific writer. His Geological Expedition to the West Coast of Otago, New page 157 Zealand, published in the Otago Provincial Government Gazette of 5 November 1863, has a general interest which some of his later publications lack, although his purely scientific books, such as Outline of New Zealand Geology (Wellington, 1886), are written in simple, fluent English. Hutton's chief work as an explorer scientist is contained in Report on the Geology and Goldfelds of Otago (Dunedin, 1875), written with G. H. F. Ulrich. Later he specialised in reference books, among them Catalogue of the Birds of New Zealand, with Diagnoses of the Species (Wellington, 1871), Fishes of New Zealand (Wellington, 1872), written in collaboration with Hector, the Manual of the New Zealand Mollusca (Wellington, 1880), and the Index Faunae Novae Zealandiae (London, 1904). The philosopher and the man are most clearly revealed in his essay on Darwinism (Christchurch, 1887) and, above all, in The Lesson of Evolution (2nd ed., London, 1907), a charming and thoughtful book.

4 Later Scientists

The works of individual scientists are so numerous in the more recent period of New Zealand science, that only a brief selection is here possible. Rutherford's own publications are extremely technical, and their greatness can be appreciated only by the trained physicist. They include Radioactivity (Cambridge, 1904), Radioactive Substances and their Radiations (Cambridge, 1913), later revised with the co-operation of J. Chadwick and C. D. Ellis and page 158published as Radiations from Radioactive Substances (Cambridge, 1930), and a lecture, The Newer Alchemy (Cambridge, 1937). There is an excellent biography, Rutherford (Cambridge, 1939), by A. S. Eve, himself a professor of physics at McGill University, and a more popular but inferior book, Man of Power (London, 1939), by Ivor B. N. Evans. Mellor's principal work is A Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry (London, 1922-37), a vast and exhaustive work. The lighter side of his nature and his facility as a draughtsman are shown in the delightful humorous reminiscences, Uncle Joe's Nonsense (London, 1934). Cockayne's books on New Zealand botany are well written and illustrated with fine photographs. New Zealand Plants and their Story (2nd ed., Wellington, 1919), Vegetation of New Zealand (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1928), and the Trees of New Zealand (Wellington, 1928), written with E. Phillips Turner, are classics in their subjects. The cosmic theories of Bickerton and their substantiation by Gifford have been widely published in books and scientific periodicals. The most lucid exposition of his theory may be found in Bickerton's The Genesis of Worlds and Systems (Christchurch, 1879), The Romance of the Heavens (London, 1901), The Evidence and Scope of the Theory of Impact (Christchurch, 1905), and The Birth of Worlds and Systems (London, 1911). Gifford's work is found in many scientific publications, including Scientia (Milan, 1919-), January 1927, April 1930, April 1931, September-October 1932, October-November 1934, January 1938, The New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology (Wellington, 1918-), and page 159 Southern Stars (Wellington, 1934-). Cotton's main work is the invaluable Geomorphology of New Zealand, Part I: Systematic (Wellington, 1922), but he is also the author of many scientific papers.

5 Scientific Periodicals

For the period from the late sixties to the present day the most valuable source is the bound volumes of Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute (Wellington, 1868-1934) and Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand (1935-). The Transactions include articles on almost every branch of science and therefore provide a unique record of scientific work in New Zealand during the last seventy years. Earlier volumes were more general in character, but since the nineties there has been a marked tendency for the publication to become highly technical. Since the foundation of the Polynesian Society and the publication of its quarterly Journal (Wellington, 1892-), articles on anthropology have rarely appeared in the Transactions. The New Zealand Journal of Science was an ambitious but useful periodical, published in Dunedin at two-monthly intervals and edited by G. M. Thomson. Three bound volumes appeared, Vol. i, 1882-3, ii, 1884-5, and Vol. i of a new series, 1891. Vol. ii contains brief biographies of von Haast, Hochstetter, Hutton, and Hooker. Of more recent scientific periodicals mention may be made of The New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology (Wellington, 1918-), published by the New Zealand Board of Science and Art, page 160the New Zealand Journal of Agriculture (Wellington, 1910-), the organ of the Department of Agriculture, and Southern Stars (Wellington, 1934-), published by the New Zealand Astronomical Society.