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No. 2. WELLINGTON, 1921 









136, Gower Street, W.C. i 

28, Essex Street, Strand, W.C. 2 











M.L.C., F.L.S., F.N.Z.INST. 






5 APRIL, 1918 




A HISTORICAL account of the introduced animals and plants of New 
Zealand has long been a felt want in this country. Changes 
had been going on for the last century and a half, but records and 
references to these changes were much scattered, and it was very 
difficult for many persons interested in the natural history of the 
country to acquire any exact knowledge of the subject. This has been 
one of the reasons which induced me to accumulate the facts recorded 
here. The work has led me into a very large correspondence, but I 
have been gratified by the interest manifested by those appealed to, 
and by their readiness to assist me. The whole question of naturalisa- 
tion appeals to most intelligent persons, and my efforts to elicit in- 
formation have been most pleasantly received, and readily seconded 
on all sides. 

To secure accuracy as far as possible, especially in connection 
with those groups of animals and plants with which my acquaintance 
was very imperfect, I sought and most ungrudgingly received the 
cooperation of local specialists, and I desire here to acknowledge my 
deep debt of gratitude to these gentlemen, who have checked my 
lists and supplied me with many of the facts recorded. They include 
the late Major Broun of Auckland who went over the Coleoptera ; 
Messrs G. V. Hudson of Wellington, A. Philpott of Invercargill, 
G. Howes of Dunedin, and D. Miller, Government Entomologist, who 
dealt with Insecta generally, and the last-named especially with the 
Diptera ; Mr G. Brittin, late of Christchurch, the Coccidae ; Dr Reakes, 
Director of Agriculture, the Trematode, Cestode and Nematode 
parasites of our imported animals; and Professor Benham, F.R.S., 
of Otago University, the Oligochaetes. These gentlemen have also 
given me much valuable general information. 

Invaluable assistance has been afforded me in regard both to 
introduced animals and plants by Mr T. F. Cheeseman of Auckland ; 
by Mr W. W. Smith of New Plymouth, whose experience as a field 
naturalist is second to none in the Dominion; by Mr B. C. Aston, 
chemist of the Agricultural Department, who also is a most observant 
naturalist; by Dr F. Hilgendorf, of Lincoln Agricultural College; by 
Dr C. Chilton, Rector of Canterbury College, Christchurch; and by 
Mr A. Cockayne, Biologist of the Agricultural Department. My old 
Otago friends and fellow- workers, Dr D. Petrie, now of Auckland, 


and Dr L. Cockayne, F.R.S., now of Wellington, have contributed 
much valuable information in regard to plant life. Mr F. L. Ayson, 
Chief Inspector of Fisheries, has assisted me very materially in 
bringing the knowledge of introduced fishes up to date. 

In addition to all these I take this opportunity of expressing my 
indebtedness for facts and suggestions to Messrs Edgar F. Stead, 
Elsdon Best, Chas. Hedley (of the Australian Museum, Sydney), 
James Drummond, T. W. Kirk, the late Henry Suter, my sons 
Dr W. M. Thomson, Dr J. Allan Thomson and Mr G. Stuart 
Thomson, and to a large number of valued correspondents whose 
names are recorded in the following pages. 

This work has given me a great amount of pleasure in the prepara- 
tion, and I trust it will prove both interesting and useful to its readers. 



August, 1 92 1. 
























TIONS 536 









Part I 


Chapter I 


I HE naturalisation of animals and plants in any country is a most 
interesting and fascinating subject, as well as being one of very great 
and far-reaching importance. In the present work I have endeavoured 
to state what is known of the subject, as far as it relates to New Zealand. 
I have stated the facts regarding the first introduction of every species 
into the country, as far as these can be ascertained, and its subsequent 
success or failure in establishing itself. 

In gathering the information required and working out the material, 
it was soon evident to me that the subject was unique. It had never 
been attempted before as far as I am aware for any country. 
Indeed it was seen that New Zealand was the only country in which 
such a bit of history could be attempted with any prospect of success. 
The islands forming the group lie isolated at a great distance (over 
a thousand miles) from any other extensive land area. We possess 
a fairly accurate record of what was here when Europeans first visited 
these shores, and we have been able to follow the later introductions 
of new species with a certain measure of success. The missing records 
and the blank pages are very numerous, but they do not vitiate the 
general accuracy of these statements. 

I first approached this subject from the point of view of natural 
selection and (in Chap, xm) have given an outline of the reasons 
which led me to investigate this question. But while the biological 
question of the origin of species was the raison d'etre of this work, 
there are other aspects of the study which are of importance. 

Thus the generation of people now growing up in this country 
is living under conditions which are largely different from those 
which prevailed when the first settlers colonised the islands. The 
surroundings at present are partly determined by the primitive condi- 
tions, and partly by the introduction of many new animals and 


plants. Both the face of the country and its inhabitants have been 
largely changed, but hitherto no connected account has been available 
of the agencies which have brought about these profound changes. 
It is important then that such an account should be prepared, because 
every year as it passes makes it increasingly difficult to gather the 
materials. Then the educational value of the knowledge is considerable. 
The first generations of settlers have already passed away, leaving 
only isolated records behind them. The generation now passing 
witnessed the great outburst of acclimatisation zeal in the sixties, 
but it also failed to keep good records. The acclimatisation societies 
themselves were very careless in the matter. The Auckland Society 
has a lapse apparently of some 20 years in its history; the record 
is somewhere, but it is not available. Nelson has entirely lost its 
early records ; it was one of the earliest societies to enter on the work 
of introducing new forms of animal life, yet no one seems to have 
thought it worth while to preserve a complete report of its doings. 
If such exists it has not been forthcoming. Otago has kept a complete 
record, but neither the society itself, nor any of its members can 
show a full set, and some annual reports are missing. And so on 
with many other societies. The information, therefore, which has 
been accumulated in this work has been gathered piecemeal. But by 
so putting it together, it will be possible to make a fresh start in 
regard to the present position, and any further additions to the fauna 
or flora can be noted and added to the lists now prepared. 

An important consideration is the practical value of such a state- 
ment as is presented in this work, in shaping the future policy of 
acclimatisation. It has hitherto been carried on in the most haphazard 
and irresponsible manner, districts, societies and individuals acting 
quite independently of, and often in direct opposition to, one another. 
One district protects hawks because they destroy rabbits and small 
birds; another destroys them because they attack game. One district 
imported stoats and weasels in order to cope with the rabbit pest ; 
another destroyed them wherever found because they threatened the 
total destruction of the native bird life. There has been no settled 
policy. This has largely been due to the total failure of the com- 
munity to grasp the scientific aspect of the question, or even to realise 
that it has a scientific side. This consistently British attitude towards 
things scientific (which it is to be hoped the war will largely modify, 
and in part dispel) has led to neglect of ordinary precautions in 
nearly all past acclimatisation experiments. Even as late as 1916 
several of the societies were contemplating the contribution of a 
jointly raised sum for the purpose of introducing Australian swallows 
into the country, presumably to cope with some aspect of the insect 


trouble. Apparently no biologist was consulted in connection with 
the proposal. No one seemed to think it worth while to ascertain 
what was known as to the life-histories of the Australian swallows, 
for instance as to what insects they fed upon, or whether the birds 
were migratory and would stay in the country, if introduced. No 
particular species was pointed out as the desirable one, indeed it 
is doubtful whether any one of those who were responsible for recom- 
mending the step knew one species from another. Further, no one 
seemed to know that specimens of at least two species of Australian 
swallows (the Australian Tree Swallow (Pterochelidon nigricans) and 
the Australian Swift (Cypselus padficus)) visit our shores nearly every 
summer, and that natural agencies have been trying to achieve on a 
very large scale what some of our acclimatisation experts proposed 
to do on a small scale with very little prospect of success. 

Still more recently (1916-17) an animated discussion has been 
going on in Auckland as to the desirability of introducing the " stubble 
quail or partridge " (Coturnix pectoralis), as a sporting bird, some 
persons being keenly in favour of, others just as keenly opposed to, 
the step, on account of the harm the bird might do to the farmers. 
Apparently the species has been already introduced three times into 
the country, nearly fifty years ago, at Christchurch, Auckland and 
Hokianga, but it did not become established. 

The whole history of acclimatisation efforts in New Zealand 
abounds in similar bungles and blunders, and while a certain measure 
of good has been achieved notably in stocking our nearly empty 
rivers and lakes with fine food- and sport-fishes, yet the record of 
harm done is enormously greater. So-called acclimatisation societies 
to-day are only angling and sporting clubs, and it is a question whether 
the whole control should not be taken up by the Government. At 
any rate the public wants education on the question, and this work is 
a contribution towards this aspect of it. 

On entering on this task I did not realise how vast it was, and how 
fragmentary was the sum of the existing knowledge, but having com- 
menced it, I had no thought of turning back, or of abandoning the 
project. Even if the record be imperfect, it will be of some use to 
future workers to have pieced together the available material. 

In writing some account of the introduced animals I at first 
thought of confining my attention to mammals, birds and fishes, 
but this seemed so inadequate that I went on from group to group 
until I found that my list included over 600 species, commencing 
with the Marsupials and ending with the Medicinal Leech. The line 
had, however, to be drawn somewhere, so I have left the microscopic 
forms for some specialist to deal with. Having launched out on the 


subject, it seemed inadvisable to stop at the animals, and therefore, 
having some bowing acquaintance with the floras of Britain, North 
America and Australia, in addition to that of New Zealand, in due 
course I added the introduced plants to my previous lists. The two 
groups can hardly be separated in this connection, and on account of 
their inter-relations it is best to study them together. 

This work does not purport to be merely a list of naturalised 
animals and plants. I have recorded the introduction of a great 
number of species which have not succeeded in establishing them- 
selves, though in some cases repeated attempts were made to naturalise 
them. The reasons for these failures are often so obscure that no 
plausible explanation has yet been given. For example the greenfinch 
and the chaffinch have thriven remarkably, the allied linnet has quite 
failed. Among fishes, the Pacific-coast Salmon (Onchorhynchus 
Quinnat) has become strongly established on the east coast of the 
South Island; while all attempts to naturalise the Atlantic Salmon 
(Salmo solar), though carried on unceasingly for half a century and 
in half a hundred different streams, have absolutely failed. The dif- 
ferent attempts made are recorded under the various species, and 
such reasons as can be suggested for failure are also recorded. It 
seems to me that the failure of a species to become established in 
a new country into which it has been introduced, under what appear 
to be most favourable conditions, is as important a biological problem 
as the success of another species, and that the causes of the failure 
are worthy of examination. 

In order that the various species referred to in this work might 
be recognised with a minimum possibility of mistake, I found it 
necessary to adopt some authoritative and readily-accessible scheme 
of classification and nomenclature. It was impossible to go into all 
the niceties (or obscurities) of zoological and botanical nomenclature ; 
all that appeared to be essential was that the species referred to should 
be readily recognisable. Accordingly for the introduced animals I 
adopted, as far as possible, the schemes used by the various authors 
of the Cambridge Natural History (Macmillan & Co., London, 1895- 
1909); and for the plants the Manual of the New Zealand Flora by 
Mr T. F. Cheeseman (Wellington, 1906). 

A considerable, indeed the major portion of this work is necessarily 
a compilation, but the information has been secured only by a laborious 
examination of all the available literature on the subject, and by 
very extensive correspondence. There is no doubt a great deal of 
information buried in the columns of the daily press of old days, 
which I have not been able to consult except in isolated instances. 
An immense amount of sifting of the wheat from the chaff has also 


been necessary, for a vast deal of the information communicated 
to me in all good faith was manifestly unreliable and had to be received 
with caution. I have endeavoured to secure scientific accuracy, so 
that the record may be of use to succeeding naturalists ; at the same 
time I trust it may not be of the dry-as-dust type. The work has 
been a labour of love, and will, I hope, be found of use and interest 
to many who do not profess to be naturalists, but who are interested 
in natural phenomena. 

An important aspect of the question is the legal one. A study of 
all the legislation which has been passed, first by the various pro- 
vincial legislatures, and later by the Government and Parliament of 
New Zealand is extremely interesting from many points of view, and 
I have added this at the end of this work. 

Chapter II 


THE history of the naturalisation of animals and plants in large 
island areas has never, to my knowledge, been fully studied anywhere. 
Isolated introductions have frequently been dealt with, especially 
in recent cases, but apparently no one has sought to work out the 
history of the whole of the introduced fauna and flora of any country. 
The reason almost certainly is that, with one notable exception, the 
beginnings of the introductions could never be ascertained. The one 
exception is New Zealand. Here we have an area of land of very con- 
siderable extent lying far away from any other large areas, in which the 
first introduction of a majority of the species which now occur and are 
not indigenous to the country, can be traced. We can tell when and 
how many of the species which are now so abundantly represented 
first came into the country. We can learn of numerous attempts to 
introduce species which have, however, failed to establish themselves. 

On the other hand we find that a vast number of species, both of 
animals and plants, have found their way into the country, 'as it were, 
by chance. We do not always know with certainty where they came 
from, though we have a knowledge of their geographical distribution 
which enables us to form a fairly correct impression. We often cannot 
tell the time of their introduction, nor the means by which this was 
accomplished. The most we can do and even this is not always 
possible is to record the first notice of their appearance in the 
country and their subsequent history. 

The first date which we can fix upon as that at which a definite 
introduction of new species commenced is that of the arrival of 
Captain Cook in New Zealand on his second voyage, in 1773, when 
he landed at Dusky Sound, and later at Queen Charlotte Sound. On 
these occasions besides leaving various animals, he sowed several 
kinds of European seeds, mostly garden vegetables. Some of these 
are known to have survived. 

Previous to that date the native inhabitants had brought with 
them from Polynesia, and perhaps from Melanesia, certain species 
of plants which they cultivated, and apparently also they had carried 
with them a species or rather a variety of dog. Unintentionally also 
they probably introduced the Polynesian rat (Mvs exulans), as well 
as at least one species of flea probably Pidex irritans (some think 


two species). Mr Best considers the Europeans are responsible for 
the introduction of the fleas. According to Maori tradition two 
species of louse (Pediculus) were also introduced by Polynesian 
immigrants. Mr Cheeseman has pointed out that the Polynesians 
were great cultivators, and carried their cultivated plants from one 
part of the Pacific Ocean to another. He considers that they knew 
of the existence of New Zealand, of the occurrence of greenstone 
and of the moa, and that their migrations were not accidental, but 
were conducted on definite principles. 

While it is not possible to fix even approximately the date of 
introduction of any of the species of animals and plants which 
occurred wild in New Zealand in 1773, and which were common to 
this country, and any other land areas, it is advisable to take a brief 
survey of these common species and see from what region the most 
recent introductions before that date appear to have come. 

To begin with, it must be borne in mind that the introduction 
of living organisms has been going on continuously throughout all 
the ages during which New Zealand has existed as a distinct land- 
area, and that the process still continues naturally. It is impossible 
to arrive at any accurate testimony of the results of this process, but 
certain considerations point to its existence. 

Of the two bats which occur in New Zealand the Long-tailed Bat 
(Chalinolobus mono) is also found in South-eastern Australia; the 
other belongs to an endemic genus, Mystacops. 

The bird-fauna contains a number of endemic genera and species, 
the affinities of many being obscure. Of those which belong to 
readily recognised types of land birds, the majority have affinities 
with the Australian avifauna, but as Hutton has pointed out, only 
with that section of it which is allied to that of Malaysia. 

The lizards do not help us here, for, excluding the Tuatara, which 
is a survival from archaic times, they belong to genera of very wide 
distribution, and are probably of very considerable antiquity. As 
regards the relationships of the land and fresh-water mollusca, Hutton, 
as far back as 1883, stated that "our closest connection appears to 
be with North Australia, but there is a considerable generic affinity 
with the faunas of New Caledonia, Polynesia and South America." 

Taking Suter's Manual as our guide, we find that there are 34 
genera of land and fresh-water mollusca in New Zealand. Of these 
13 are confined to these islands; three range into Tasmania and 
Australia, but no further; 13 are found in Australasia, but are more 
or less widely distributed outside the region ; while five range into the 
Pacific, but are not Australian. Closer analysis bears out the general 
accuracy of Hutton's generalisation. 


These 34 genera are represented by 236 species, all but one of 
them being endemic, viz., Ophicardelus australis, which is also found 
in Tasmania, Australia and New Caledonia. Planorbis corinna which 
is world- wide in its distribution is precinctive to New Zealand, but 
the genus Planorbis has a universal distribution. 

Mr Suter informs me that "the genera of land mollusca which 
we have in common with Tasmania and Australia are far better 
represented in the former country, but disappear gradually as the 
north-east is reached. The affinities of our land and fresh- water 
molluscs are strongly marked on the line extending over Lord Howe 
Island to New Caledonia." 

The relationship of New Zealand insects to those of other regions 
is dealt with in a number of papers scattered through many publica- 
tions, but the knowledge of the subject is still very fragmentary. 
Meyrick, in his papers on Lepidoptera, favours the theory of introduc- 
tion of several groups (e.g. Caradrinina) from South America via 
Antarctica. But leaving the general question and confining myself 
to species derived from the nearest present land surface, the following 
summary of the distribution of the Lepidoptera, for which I am 
indebted to Mr A. Philpott, is of interest : 

Total number of species hitherto recorded in New Zealand . . . 1040 

Common to Australia and New Zealand 63 

Cosmopolitan species ? 24 

Introduced from Australia to N.Z., by shipping (say) ... 6 
Introduced to Australia from N.Z., by shipping (say) ... 3 


Leaving for the question of origin, only 30 species, or say, 3 per cent, 
common to both countries. 

These figures are not very conclusive one way or another. 

The nearest land-surface of any extent is the continent of Australia 
and, as might be expected, immigrants from thence are by no means 
uncommon. Within the last score or so of years a great many species 
of Australian birds have been recorded as occasional visitants to New 
Zealand. The same remark applies to some of the stronger flying 
insects. This shows that though the fauna recognised as indigenous 
has originally been introduced from several directions in former 
ages, there has been and still is a constant stream of immigrants 
from Eastern Australia into these islands. The remarkable thing then 
is that there should be so comparatively little direct connection 
between the two countries so far as the fauna is concerned. The fact 
is that it is very difficult for a species of animal to establish itself 
in a new country, even assuming that many individuals arrive at 


the same time. The immigrants on arrival are certainly in an exhausted 
state and physically incapable of defending themselves from the 
assaults of enemies. The shores of the new land are patrolled by 
great numbers of gulls and similar predaceous birds, which would 
make short work of any travel-worn immigrants that landed and did 
not immediately find cover. The chances of getting food are also 
problematical. But even assuming that the individuals survived and 
throve, the chances of their finding mates are very remote; so that 
altogether the probabilities are against the establishment of the species. 
As a matter of fact they do not succeed. The only bird which appears 
to have come into New Zealand since the days of European settlement 
and to have established itself, is the Wax-eye or Blight-bird (Zosterops 

In taking a survey of the existing Flora of New Zealand in con- 
nection with its relationship to other plant-associations, and taking 
Cheeseman's Manual as my authority for the following figures, I 
desire to state at the outset that I do not attach too much importance 
to numerical comparisons, because I realise the enormously different 
values attached by systematists to different species. These values 
depend largely upon the personal equation, and further on the amount 
of detailed study given to any specified groups of organisms. There 
are certain genera of New Zealand plants which are apparently in 
a state of flux even at the present time. These have been submitted 
to close examination, a vast amount of material has been gone through, 
and in consequence innumerable differences have been recognised, 
and a large number of species defined. Such, for example, are 
Ranunculus with 37 New Zealand species, Epilobium 28, Coprosma 
39, Olearia 35, Celmisia 43, Senecio 30, Veronica 84, and Car ex 53. 
Many of these are sharply defined, easily recognised species, but for 
others the specific diagnosis is only the central rallying point for a 
large group of individuals showing considerable divergencies in many 
directions. I am safe in asserting that if similar detail were gone 
into with all the plants grouped under such common names as, for 
example, Accenamicrophylla, Gaultheriaantipoda, orPimelea leevigata, 
and many others which might be named, it would be found that each 
deserves to be separated into a group of distinct species. Keeping 
this reservation in mind, we can still form an approximate estimate 
of the relationships shown by any given aggregation of species. Thus 
of the total number of 1396 species of New Zealand flowering plants 
recorded by Cheeseman, no fewer than 263 (or almost 19 per cent.) 
are also found to occur in Australia. Of these 134 occur both in 
Australia and Tasmania (eight in Tasmania alone), while the remaining 
129 have a wider range, some being common tropical or sub-tropical 


weeds, while others are found throughout the temperate zone in both 
hemispheres. The endemic species, which do not range outside of 
New Zealand, number no less than 1069, or 76-6 per cent, of the whole 
(viz. 860 dicotyledons and 209 monocotyledons). This brings out 
the affinities of the remaining elements more strongly than ever, for 
it shows that of 327 species which are common to New Zealand and 
other countries, no less than 80 per cent, are also found in Australia. 
The remaining elements Antarctic and Polynesian are few as com- 
pared with the Australian. 

It would appear from the above analysis that immigration of 
flowering plants from Australia into New Zealand has been going 
on steadily, and an examination of many of the individual species 
leads to the conclusion that much of it is quite recent. Thus of 
pappus-bearing composites, ten species are confined to New Zealand 
and Australia 1 ; six more are found in New Zealand and Australia, 
but have a wider range outside 2 . 

No plant of South American, Polynesian or Antarctic affinity is 
furnished with a pappus. The list of Australian plants includes four 
species of Epilobium, furnished with pappus-like hairs on the seed; 
and 14 species of Orchids (out of a total of 53 species, the remainder 
being endemic) furnished with very minute light seeds which are 
easily carried by wind. These facts tend to show that species 
whose seeds can be distributed by wind are fairly abundant among 
those plants which are common to New Zealand and Australia, and 
the probability is that many were thus introduced into these 
islands 3 . 

I regret that I cannot give the date for the following interesting 
occurrence (I think it was about 1877), but it was so striking a 
phenomenon that it fixed itself in my memory at the time. It 
occurred in Dunedin in the autumn (February or March). One 
bright forenoon the sky became strangely overcast from the west, 
and the sun at midday assumed a coppery appearance. Some 
persons attributed the phenomenon to bush fires in the western 
districts, but no such fires were recorded anywhere in New Zealand. 
Others more accurately thought it was due to a smoke-cloud from 
Australia. This proved to be the case. Vessels voyaging between 

1 Celmisia longifolia, Vittadinia australis, Gnaphalium traversii, G. collinum, 
Craspedia uniflora, Erechtites prenanthoides , E. arguta, E. quadridentata, Senecio 
lautus and Microseris forsteri. 

2 Gnaphalium japonicum, G. luteo-album, Picris hieracioides , Taraxacum qfficinale, 
Sonchus asper and S. oleraceus. 

8 Linnean Soc. 3Oth Nov. 1916 (London). Using a wind-dispersal apparatus 
Mr Jas. Small, M.Sc., found that in a light air the fruit of Senecio vulgaris travelled 
at the rate of 1-6 miles per hour through the air, and of Taraxacum officinale 1-5 
miles per hour. 


Australia and New Zealand, and others passing up the east coast 
of Australia at the time, reported dense smoke-clouds from Gippsland 
and North-west Victoria, and also the falling of considerable quantities 
of ash and charred vegetable matter. The westerly winds drove the 
smoke right across the Tasman Sea, and at a distance of about 1200 
miles it still exerted such an influence on the upper atmosphere as 
to make the whole sky lurid for a period of three or four hours. 
A wind which could carry such a body of smoke such a distance could 
probably easily transport seeds and spores, and though the usual 
course of the wind-currents is not so directly from west to east, 
yet such high winds apparently do occur, and that not unfrequently. 

Another agency by which seeds are carried to oceanic islands is 
by means of birds, which bear them attached to their feet or plumage, 
and in some cases carry them in their crops. Darwin, Wallace and 
others have given numerous instances of this fact in plant distribution 1 . 
Apart from regular migrants which come to New Zealand every year 
from Australia, Polynesia and the Northern Hemisphere, a con- 
siderable number of stragglers are blown or stray over from Australia 
each year. The wonder, therefore, is not that Australian species of 
plants are met with in considerable numbers in New Zealand, but 
rather that they are not more common than is found to be the case. 

As far as all truly indigenous species of animals and plants are 
concerned it is quite impossible to give dates for any which may have 
been introduced in long past ages, as for example those which are 
common, say, to New Zealand and Australia. But when we come 
down to recent times and reach the period of human immigration, 
it becomes possible to give some approximation to definite dates. 

According to Maori tradition, New Zealand was discovered by 
two Polynesian voyagers named Kupe and Ngahue, but authorities 
are not yet agreed as to the period of this discovery. 

The first Polynesian settlement in the time of Toi took place 30 
to 32 generations, that is approximately 800 years, ago. On the 
arrival of these immigrants, they found the east coast, north and 
Taranaki districts occupied by the Mouriuri, Moriori or Maruiwi 
folk in considerable numbers, descendants of crews of three drift 
canoes, which had apparently come from the north-west. Whether 
these people had brought any animals or plants with them it is now 
impossible to say. According to east coast traditions, the Toi tribes 
had the Hue Gourd (Lagenaria vulgaris) in cultivation at an early 

1 Darwin in a letter to Dr J. D. Hooker in January, 1860, says: "Birds do not 
migrate from Australia to New Zealand," a curious error for such a good observer 
to make, and showing the danger of generalising from imperfect data. Many 
species regularly cross, notably the Shining Cuckoo and the Dotterel. 


period, so that this plant was probably introduced from 24 to 30 
generations ago, that is between 1150 and 1300 A.D. Communica- 
tion was kept up with Polynesia for about 200 years more, new 
settlers coming over from time to time. The last batch of vessels, 
including the Arawa, Tainui and other canoes, arrived about 20 
generations or 500 years ago, say about 1400 A.D. Reference has 
already been made to the introduction by some of these early voyagers, 
of the dog, the native rat, one or more species of flea, and two species 
of lice. 

The Kumara (Ipomcea batatas) appears to have been introduced 
first about 1300 A.D. , tradition saying that certain voyagers left Whaka- 
tane for Polynesia about that time, for the express purpose of bringing 
over that plant. Subsequent immigrants by the Aotea, Arawa, Tainui, 
and other canoes, also brought the plant. Indeed it is probable that 
it was continuously introduced by many of the new arrivals. 

Mr Cheeseman in the Manual (p. 100) states in regard to Poma- 
derris apetala: "The Maoris assert that it sprang from the rollers 
or skids that were brought in the canoe 'Tainui' when they first 
colonised New Zealand." Mr Elsdon Best, to whom I referred this 
point, tells me that about 1879 he saw a grove of these trees 

on a terrace near the mouth of the Mohakatina river. Local natives told 
him that the tree was called Te Neke o Tainui (the skid of Tainui), and that 
the grove had originated from the skids of the canoe Tainui, used in hauling 
the vessel ashore on her arrival here twenty generations ago, the skids 
having been brought from oversea. On my return to New Plymouth I 
met Mr Wilson Hursthouse, who, I found, was acquainted with the 
Maori name of the tree and the myth connected with it. 

Pomaderris apetala is an Australian as well as a New Zealand species, 
but is not found in any part of Polynesia. It is difficult to con- 
jecture, therefore, how such a myth could have arisen. 

Perhaps about the same time, that is about 1400 A.D., the introduc- 
tion of the Taro (Calocasia antiquorum) and the Ti (Cordyline termi- 
nalis) took place. One tradition says that they arrived in the Nukutere 
canoe, brought by one Roua, that is about 500 years ago. The same 
tradition narrates that the Karaka (Corynocarpus leevigata) was intro- 
duced at the same time, by the same individual. If so, it may have 
been brought from Western Polynesia by way of the Kermadecs, 
where it is a common tree. At the same time the genus is quite 
peculiar, and is endemic to New Zealand. If it did not originate in 
this country, then the home whence it came has lost it, for its botanical 
position and relationships are by no means clear. 

After the arrival of the main migrations about 20 generations ago, 
there are no definite traditions of further Polynesian immigration, 


but voyagers left the shores of New Zealand for Polynesia as late 
as ten generations or 250 years ago, and presumably others arrived 
from time to time. 

With the arrival of Captain James Cook in New Zealand we can 
begin to assign definite dates to many of the introductions. 

In October, 1769, Captain Cook landed at Poverty Bay, and later 
at Anaura Bay, and at both places Messrs Banks and Solander made 
collections of native plants. He next stayed a week at Tolaga Bay, 
and ii days at Mercury Bay. On 2ist November a landing was 
made some miles up the Thames River, and then six days were spent 
at the Bay of Islands. On i6th January, 1770, he anchored in Queen 
Charlotte Sound, and made a stay of three weeks. Again on 27th 
March he was four days in Admiralty Bay to the west of Queen 
Charlotte Sound. There is no word in all these landings of his intro- 
ducing any animals or any seeds, yet it is more than probable that 
Black Rats (Mus rattus), the common ship's rat, were on board the 
' Endeavour,' and that some got ashore. It is also possible that some 
European seeds may have been accidentally introduced. The voyage 
was one for exploration only, as far as New Zealand was concerned, 
and the ships were quite differently equipped on later visits. 

In December, 1769, only two months after Cook's arrival, De 
Surville spent three weeks in the ' Saint Jean Baptiste ' in Mongonui 

In 1772 the French expedition under Marion du Fresne which 
had such a fatal ending as far as New Zealand was concerned, spent 
over two months in the Bay of Islands ; and it is stated by both Taylor 
and Polack, I do not know on what authority, that Crow Garlic 
(Allium vineale), which is so abundant in that district, was introduced 
by him. No collections of plants were made during either of these 
French expeditions, but it is quite possible that some animals or 
plants found their way into the country. 

Crozet, who took up the command of the expedition on Captain 
Marion's death, writes (in 1772): 

I formed a garden on Moutouaro Island, in which I sowed the seed of all 
sorts of vegetables, stones and the pips of our fruits, wheat, millet, maize, 
and in fact every variety of grain which I had brought from the Cape of 
Good Hope ; everything succeeded admirably, several of the grains sprouted 
and appeared above ground, and the wheat especially grew with surprising 
vigour. The garden on Moutouaro Island alone was not sufficient to satisfy 
my desires. I planted stones and pips wherever I went, in the plains, 
in the glens, on the slopes, and even on the mountains; I also sowed 
everywhere a few of the different varieties of grain, and most of the 
officers did the same. 

Captain Cook in his second voyage in the 'Resolution/ spent 


five weeks from the 26th March to ist May, 1773 in Dusky Sound, 
and while there cleared a piece of ground of about an acre in extent 
to make a garden, and sowed "a quantity of European seeds of the 
best kinds." No list of these seeds is given, though cabbages, onions, 
and leeks are mentioned, but they were in all probability the same 
sorts as were sown later at Queen Charlotte Sound. Apparently not 
one of them was able to establish itself in the moist climate of 
the Sound, and as predicted by George Forster in his Journal, the 
native vegetation quickly re-asserted itself, and obliterated all trace 
of the introduced plants 1 . 

That Cook hoped to introduce useful plants and animals into a 
country which he knew by his previous experience did not furnish 
much food for voyagers, is shown by his leaving geese at Dusky 
Sound, and these were the first animals which were introduced of set 
purpose. He had five geese on board his ship, and these were liberated 
at a spot which he called Goose Cove. This first experiment in 
acclimatisation, like hundreds of others made in later years, was quite 
unsuccessful, and nothing was ever seen or heard of the birds again. 

Lieut. Menzies, the botanist of Vancouver's expedition in 1791, 

As Captain Cook had left five geese in this cove, we were in hopes of 
meeting with some of their offspring, and thereby partaking of the fruits 
of his benevolence, but as they were left in the autumn, I am apprehensive 
they did not survive the first winter, for not the least traces of any could 
be seen at this time about the cove, and though there was a scarcity of 
other birds on account of this being the season of incubation, yet it appears 
to be the most eligible place in the whole Sound for Game at a proper time 
of the year. 

Meanwhile his colleague Captain Furneaux, in the 'Adventure,' 
had put into Queen Charlotte Sound on 7th April, 1773, and was 
joined there by Cook on i8th May. They stayed till 7th June, and 
then went southward in search of an antarctic continent. At the 
Sound, Cook liberated a ram and ewe he had brought with him from 
the Cape of Good Hope, but they were in a very bad state of health, 
and died very shortly after being landed. They were supposed to 
have eaten some poisonous plant. 

Captain Furneaux landed a boar and two breeding sows, and 
turned them into the woods. They were not to be seen, nor were 
there any traces of them found the following year, but the members 
of the expedition thought that the animals had taken themselves off 
into the denser forest. When Cook came back in 1777 he could learn 

1 In & Journal of the voyage of the 'Endeavour' printed anonymously in 1771, 
it is stated at p. 58: "At Otaheite we had likewise planted many European seeds, 
of which none, except mustard, cresses and melons were found to vegetate." 


nothing about them, so he gave the natives another boar and sow, 
with instructions not to kill them. It is probable that these original 
pigs were the ancestors of the long-nosed wild pigs which afterwards 
became so common in the South Island. 

Cook also landed two goats, a male and a female, on the east 
side of the Sound, but there is reason to believe that the natives 
killed them. He' gave them another pair in 1777, and it is popularly 
believed that most of the wild goats found in the South Island in the 
early days of settlement are descended from these. 

In West Bay, Cook liberated some fowls, and though he could 
not find any trace of them when he visited the spot in October, 1774, 
yet in his later visit in February, 1777, he stated that "all the natives 
whom I conversed with agreed that poultry are now to be met with 
wild in the woods behind Ship Cove ; and I was afterwards informed 
by the two youths who went with us, that Tuitou, a popular chief 
amongst them, had a great many cocks and hens in his separate 

During this stay of two months, ground was cleared at more than 
one spot, and numerous kinds of vegetable seeds were sown, including 
turnip, cabbage, white mustard, radish, purslane, peas, beans, kidney 
beans, parsley, carrot, parsnip, onion and leek: potatoes also were 
planted. Of these, cabbage, and apparently also turnip, onion and 
leek succeeded in establishing themselves ; radishes seeded freely, but 
the peas, beans and kidney beans were eaten by rats. It is more than 
probable that some European weeds of cultivation were introduced 
at the same time. 

On 2nd November when near Cape Kidnappers, Cook gave some 
pigs and fowls to natives who came off in a canoe, the first intro- 
duction of these two kinds to the North Island. On the following 
day he once more entered Queen Charlotte Sound, and waited till 
the 25th for his consort, but as she had not arrived by that time, 
he left for a cruise in the Antarctic Ocean. The 'Adventure' arrived 
in the Sound five days later, and remained over three weeks, during 
which time the unfortunate massacre of ten of her crew took place. 
After a long cruise in the Antarctic and Pacific Oceans, Cook returned 
to Queen Charlotte Sound on igth October, 1774, and finally left 
for England on loth November. 

The important thing about this voyage, from our present point 
of view, is that Cook brought with him various animals and plants 
for the express purpose of introducing them, having experienced on 
his first voyage the lack of fresh food in the country, beyond that 
which the natives were able to supply them with. To this voyage we 
can assign the introduction and subsequent naturalisation of the pig 


and the goat and perhaps of fowls ; and among plants, of the cabbage, 
turnip and potato. Other attempts to naturalise plants mostly failed. 

Cook visited Queen Charlotte Sound again on his third and last 
voyage to the Pacific, entering it on i2th February, 1777, and leaving 
it on the 25th. There is no record of any attempts to introduce 
further species, except the pigs and goats previously referred to. 

In 1791, Vancouver visited Dusky Sound, and Lieut. Menzies 
reported that in the garden (made by Cook eight years previously) 
there had grown up a dense covering of brushwood and fern, which 
completely obliterated all sign of the old clearing, and only the fact 
that its position was recorded and described enabled the spot to be 

In view of the struggle between indigenous and introduced plants 
which exercised the minds of many eminent naturalists, and to which 
reference is made in the writings of Hooker, Darwin, Wallace and 
others, the record of further visits to Dusky Sound is interesting. 

The value of the seal and whale fisheries of Southern New- 
Zealand soon drew enterprising sailors to these waters, and a whole- 
sale destruction of these animals took place. Dusky Sound had been 
charted by Cook, its harbour was not only safe, but it provided 
abundance of fish, wood and water, hence it made a good rendezvous, 
and the base of a good hunting ground. 

On 3rd November, 1792, the 'Britannia' from Sydney anchored 
in Facile Harbour, Dusky Sound, and landed a party of twelve sealers, 
with store of provisions, etc. These men were not relieved till 
September, 1793, when the 'Britannia' revisited the spot, and took 
them off. During the early part of the same year the Sound was 
visited by the Spanish corvettes ' Descuvierta ' (commanded by Don 
Alexandro Malaspina), and 'Atrevida' (Don Jose Bustamente). I do 
not know how long they stayed. 

Captain Raven of the ' Britannia ' in reporting from Norfolk Island 
on 2nd November, 1793, says : " The animals I left had fed themselves 
on what they found in the woods, and were exceedingly fat and 
prolific" It would be interesting to know what animals these were, 
and whether any had gone wild, or had been left, or if they were all 
carried away again. Unfortunately we have no information on the 

On i9th September, 1795, the 'Endeavour,' Captain Bampton, 
of 800 tons, and the brig 'Fancy' of 150 tons, sailed from Sydney 
for India, and called in at Dusky Sound perhaps to load some spars. 
They had no less than 244 people on board the two ships. There 
they found a small vessel, which the twelve men left by the ' Britannia ' 
had built during their ten months' stay in the Sound, but which they 


had not taken off the stocks. Captain Bampton completed this little 
vessel, and called it the 'Providence.' On i9th January, 1796, the 
' Fancy ' and the ' Providence ' arrived at Norfolk Island, and reported 
that the 'Endeavour' had been wrecked at Dusky Sound. She had 
been found utterly unseaworthy, and had been emptied, abandoned 
and sunk there. An enormous amount of stuff must have been carried 
ashore. Owing to the small size of the two remaining vessels, no less 
than 35 men had to be left behind, no doubt with abundance of 
stores. These derelicts were not rescued till May, 1797, when the 
'Mercury' left Sydney for Dusky, picked them up, and landed them 
at Norfolk Island, after twenty months' detention in the Sound. 

Sealing and whaling vessels continued to visit the Sound at 
intervals, and parties of men were certainly there in 1803, 1804 and 
1805. I have myself gone down in much more recent years with 
sealing parties to the south, and have some notion of the equipment 
they used to carry. In addition to bags of flour, meal, sugar, etc., 
they nearly always carried considerable quantities of potatoes. During 
these fifteen or sixteen years referred to (between 1791 and 1805) 
many men lived on shore, often for lengthened periods, and almost 
certainly took with them large quantities of stores, which must have 
frequently contained seeds of many European weeds of cultivation. 
An example of this is shown in the case of four men (members of 
a sealing party) who were left on the Solanders for four and a half 
years, and were rescued in 1813. They had attempted to raise potatoes 
and cabbages, of which plants one of them happened to have some 
seed wherx they were unhappily driven upon the island, but the 
sea-spray rendered cultivation impracticable. In the same year ten 
men were rescued from Secretary Island, in Thompson Sound, who 
had been left there in 1809. 

Yet it is an interesting fact that in the West Coast Sounds region 
practically no European plants are to be found, except on the Milford 
track, which has been much frequented by tourists in recent years. 

A Sydney paper of 4th September, 1813, reports an interview 
with Captain Williams, who stated that "the natives of the coast of 
Foveaux Strait attend to the cultivation of the potato with as much 
diligence as he ever witnessed. He saw one field of considerably 
more than one hundred acres, which presented the appearance of one 
well cultivated bed." In 1824, De Blosseville of the 'Coquille,' 
writing from Captain Edwardson's report says: "Potatoes, cabbages 
and other vegetables introduced by the Europeans are grown." These 
southern natives had not seen pigs up to the time of Edwardson's 
visit; so he gave them some. 

In 1826 the schooner ' Sally,' with a large number of immigrants, 


together with many cattle, sheep and other stock from England, 
called in at Stewart Island presumably at Port Pegasus and stayed 
for a period of three weeks. Apparently the 'Rosanna' also called 
with immigrants. She then went on to Hokianga, where a settlement 
was made, but Captain Herd and most of the settlers took fright 
and sailed for Sydney, only four men remaining. 

In 1820 Major Cruise, who spent ten months in the north of 
New Zealand, says: "The excellent plants left by Captain Cook" (in 
Queen Charlotte Sound?) "viz., Cabbages, turnips, parsnips, carrots, 
etc., etc., are still numerous, but very much degenerated; and a great 
part of the country is over-run with cow-itch which the natives gave 
Marion the credit of having left among them." (I do not know what 
plant he refers to here.) "Water melons and peas were raised while 
we were in the country, with great success, and the people promised 
to save the seeds and sow them again. The missionaries have got 
some peach trees that bear very well, and an acorn and a seed of an 
orange were sown by a gentleman of the ship near Pomarrees village, 
and the place rigidly tabooed by the inhabitants." Cruise also reports 
that the natives (at Wy-ow Bay) brought a cat for them to cook and 
eat, which he remarks must have come from the shipping at the Bay 
of Islands or from the Coromandel. 

In 1832, d'Urville who spent four months on the coast of the 
South Island found a gang of six men sealers working at Mason 
Bay, Stewart Island. In his visit in 1840, he entered Port Pegasus 
and learned that 20 English sailors had settled on the shores 
of Foveaux Strait, where they had married native women. They 
grew potatoes and various other vegetables, and reared fowls. They 
told d'Urville that as many as 20 vessels anchored in Port Pegasus 

In this same year (1840) Major Bunbury in his report on the 
proclamation of Stewart Island as Her Majesty's possession, says of 
Paterson Inlet, "the Europeans there employ themselves at boat 
building and in the culture of wheat and potatoes, with which they 
supply the whalers, as also with pigs and poultry." 

Previous to this, Waikouaiti was one of the best known whaling 
stations on the Otago coast. In 1838 this was purchased from its 
Sydney owners by Mr John Jones, who two years later sent down 
several families to engage in farming and cattle raising, and at the 
end of 1840 the population of the settlement numbered about 100 
persons. They had enclosed some 6000 acres of land, and had about 
100 acres in crop; while the live stock numbered about 100 horses, 
200 cattle, and 2000 sheep. 

In 1840 also a small settlement was made where Christchurch 


now stands, for the cultivation of wheat for certain Sydney mills. 
About 30 acres were grown, but the place was abandoned soon after 
on account of rats, difficulties of shipment, and fires. 

In 1842 Captain Wm Mein Smith, chief surveyor of the Wellington 
Land Company, visited the south-east of Otago, and writes of one 
settlement there as follows: 

At Tautuku Bay (30 miles from Molyneux River) is a good deal of land 
cultivated by a number of industrious men who are, through the winter, 
engaged in the whale fishery. In the summer they are occupied in their 
gardens. They produce abundance of fine potatoes, and as much wheat 
and barley as they can consume. They have many pigs, goats, and a rapidly 
increasing stock of poultry. 

It is quite probable that several of the European weeds of cultiva- 
tion which are now so common in the south end of New Zealand 
were introduced in these days of early and casual settlement. But 
few animals would be thus brought in, except perhaps certain flies 
and other domestic insects, and perhaps some worms, wood-lice and 
such familiar accompaniments of human settlement. 

Turning to the north of New Zealand, though the visitation was 
greater, the record has not been worked out so thoroughly as for the 
south. But from the end of the i8th century greater numbers of 
vessels visited northern ports for the whale fishery. Captain King, 
Governor of New South Wales, had landed in the Bay of Islands in 
1793, and gave the natives some pigs, as well as wheat, maize, and 
no doubt other things not mentioned. The Rev. Samuel Marsden 
sent them wheat in 1810, and a further lot in 1811. When he visited 
the island in 1814, he brought with him the mission party, which 
was established at Kerikeri and Waimate near the Bay of Islands, 
and the live stock accompanying the party included one entire horse, 
two mares, one bull and two cows, with a few sheep and poultry. 
From this date onwards there is no doubt numerous introductions 
of plants and animals were made. In 1822 the Wesleyan Mission 
station at Kaeo-Wangaroa was established, but the party were driven 
out of there and shifted their ground to Hokianga. The occurrence 
of exotic historic trees of great size at the present day in these regions 
testifies to the activity of the missionaries as pioneers in this work 
of introducing new forms of life in the country. Then too, the 
quantity of flax, potatoes and other produce, exported from New 
Zealand and supplied to ships in these pre-settlement days, was very 
great, and this shows that there must have been much trade and inter- 
communication between the natives and the Europeans. Numbers 
of weeds and of animals must have been introduced into the north 
in this way. About 1826 the ' Rosanna ' (already mentioned) with some 


60 settlers on board, came intoHokianga with the intention of founding 
a settlement, but as a tribal war was being waged among the natives 
at the time, the party did not remain, but went off and landed at 

As I am not writing a history of New Zealand except in so far as 
it relates to the facilities which existed for the introduction of new 
forms of animal and plant life into the country, I must hurriedly 
pass over these pre-settlement days, merely pointing out that a great 
deal of communication must have been going on with outside ports 
from many parts of the country. The township of Russell or Korora- 
reka in the Bay of Islands, was founded in 1830 by Benjamin Turner, 
an ex-Sydney convict, who built the first grog-shop there. Two years 
later the population numbered about 100, and in 1838 about 1000. 
"As many as thirty-six whalers were anchored there at one time, and 
in one year 120 vessels sailed in and out." 

The first regular settlement scheme commenced in 1839 when 
the 'Tory' with Captain Wakefield, Dr Dieffenbach, and others, 
arrived in Port Nicolson, and after trying a site for a town near 
Petone, founded what is now Wellington. Early in the following 
year the immigrant ships began to arrive, and by the end of 1840 
the population of Wellington numbered about noo persons. 

The first official capital of New Zealand was Kororareka or Russell, 
but the seat of government was shifted to the Waitemata, and Captain 
Hobson selected the site of the future town there, which he called 
"Auckland," in September, 1840. The same year saw the commence- 
ment of the Taranaki settlement, and by the end of 1841, the popula- 
tion of New Plymouth numbered some 500 persons. In 1841 Nelson 
was founded, and in January and October of 1842, four vessels with 
some 850 passengers arrived in Nelson harbour. In 1848 the Otago 
settlement was founded and 278 immigrants were landed on the site 
of Dunedin. In 1843 the Deans brothers settled near the present site 
of Christchurch, but it was not till the close of 1850 that the pioneers 
of the Canterbury settlement, numbering 800 souls, landed in Port 

In the First Annual Report (for 1843) of the Agricultural and 
Horticultural Society of Auckland it is stated that the following trees 
were then in cultivation: peaches, nectarines, apricots, almonds, figs, 
lemons, oranges, olives, vines, plums, cherries, mulberries, pears, 
apples, quinces, walnuts, filberts, loquats, gooseberries, red and black 
currants, raspberries and strawberries; the Cape gooseberry (Phy salts 
edulis) is said to be "almost indigenous; it grows wild in every part 
of the country." 

In those early days of settlement voyages between Great Britain 


and the colony were long, extending from three to five months, and 
it must have been difficult to convey many animals on board the 
small ships which were the only carriers. But the immigrants occa- 
sionally brought out pets, especially cats and dogs, with probably 
fowls, pigeons, rabbits, canaries and other song birds. Certainly also 
they introduced most of the common weeds, such as chickweeds, 
thistles, groundsel, and others. I have more than once observed the 
plants which have grown up round a heap of ashes and rubbish where 
immigrants' old bedding and refuse were burned, and only regret now 
that I did not keep a record of the species at the time. 

For several years the settlers were too busy founding homes and 
bringing their land into cultivation to attend much to any but the 
most essential things; but after about a score of years had passed, 
and there was time for leisure and reminiscence, new ideas came to 
them, or perhaps it is more correct to say, original ideas re-asserted 
themselves as they seemed to be capable of realisation. 

The beginning of the rush of immigration dates from between 
1840 and 1850, and the process has been continued with more or less 
intermission ever since. But in a general sketch of the subject of 
animal and plant introduction, we need not concern ourselves further 
as to dates ; these will be given as far as possible in the case of each 
individual species. Here we are concerned only with the general result 
and its causes. 

The early settlers of New Zealand found themselves in a land 
which, as far as regards climate and natural conditions, seemed to 
them to reproduce many of the best features of the homeland from 
which they came. They thought with affection and with the glamour 
of youthful remembrance of the lakes and rivers, the woods and the 
fields, the hills and the dells of that homeland. They recalled the sport 
which was forbidden to all but a favoured few, but which they had 
often longed to share in the game preserves, the deer on the 
mountains or in the parks, the grouse on the heather-clad hills, the 
pheasants in the copses and plantations, the hares and partridges in 
the stubbles and turnip fields, the rabbits in the hedgerows and 
sandy warrens, and the salmon of forbidden price in their rivers and 
there rose up before their vision a land where all these desirable 
things might be found and enjoyed. Their thoughts went back to the 
days when they guddled the spotted trout from under the stones of 
the burns and brooks, to the song birds which charmed their youthful 
ears, to the flowers and trees which delighted the eye. They recalled 
the pleasant memories of hours passed on the hills and in the woods 
of their beloved native land. Here, in a land of plenty, with few wild 
animals, few flowers apparently, and no associations, with streams 


almost destitute of fish, with shy song birds and few game birds, and 
certainly no quadrupeds but lizards, it seemed to them that it only 
wanted the best of the plants and animals associated with these 
earlier memories to make it a terrestrial paradise. So with zeal un- 
fettered by scientific knowledge, they proceeded to endeavour to re- 
produce as far as possible the best-remembered and most cherished 
features of the country from which they came. No doubt some 
utilitarian ideas were mingled with those of romance and early associa- 
tions, but the latter were in the ascendant. They recked not of new 
conditions, they knew nothing of the possibilities of development 
possessed by species of plants and animals which, in the severe 
struggle for existence of their northern home had reached a more or 
less stable position. 

This wonderful wave of sentiment manifested itself especially in the 
sixties. From Auckland to the Bluff the people founded acclimatisa- 
tion societies for the purpose of introducing what seemed to them 
desirable animals, and they allowed their fancy free play. In their 
private capacities they got their friends at home to send them seeds 
of the wild flowers they had loved, and they sowed these in all sorts 
of localities, wherever it seemed to them that they would grow. No 
biological considerations ever disturbed their dreams, nor indeed 
did they ever enter into their calculations. I have been on the council 
of an acclimatisation society, and I know the enthusiasm, unalloyed 
by scientific considerations, which animates the members. As far 
as flowering plants were concerned disappointment followed many 
of their efforts; the primroses and bluebells, the heather and the 
wood violets, refused to grow either in the bush or in the open 
country, and the sowers were frankly disappointed. Even when the 
seed was sown in the garden or the greenhouse and the plants were 
put out in the open, they would not reproduce their kind. Most of 
these early colonists recked not of such things as cross- and self- 
fertilisation, and those who did know were not prepared to recom- 
mend an insect invasion to secure the fertilisation of their favourite 
wild flowers. 

In time some of the plants and animals which had been introduced 
not only established themselves securely, but increased at a rate 
which upset all calculations. Conditions were produced which had 
never been anticipated and the introductions became dangerous and 
expensive pests. Then public measures had to be taken to check the 
newcomers, and in some cases their natural enemies had to be 
introduced. This has led to further complication and unexpected 
results. These natural enemies, like the things they were meant to 
check, did not always do what was expected of them ; they frequently 


failed to achieve the purpose for which they were introduced, and 
took to destroying things which it was desirable should be preserved. 
Legislation had to be resorted to in order to destroy some introduced 
things and to protect others. Noxious Weeds Act, Animal Protection 
Acts, Injurious Birds Acts, and so on, have been passed into law, 
together with countless Regulations and Orders in Council dealing 
with the same subject in its multifarious aspects. By way of com- 
mentary and satire on the whole business, the Government in 
many cases is itself the chief offender against the laws of its own 

At the close of nearly 150 years since Cook first visited these 
shores, the country has not yet realised the necessity of a scientific 
treatment of the whole question of naturalisation. Species are still 
being introduced. In nearly every case now it is claimed that this 
is done for beneficent purposes, but the same argument justified the 
early settlers who introduced insectivorous birds to eat up the cater- 
pillars which were destroying their grain crops, no doubt also the 
sheep farmers who helped to bring in stoats and weasels to enable 
them to grow wool and mutton, instead of rabbits. There is still no 
general principle underlying the work, and not sufficient knowledge 
of the possibilities of each problem. 

Part II 

In Chapters III to VI species which have become thoroughly 
established are distinguished by an asterisk. 

Chapter III 


OF the 48 species of Mammalia which have been introduced into 
New Zealand, 44 have been brought in purposely by human agency, 
and four accidentally. The latter are the mouse and three species 
of rats, but one of the latter, the Maori rat (Mus exulans), has been 
exterminated since European settlement began. 

The following 25 species are truly feral at the present time in 
certain districts, some in limited areas, others very widely distributed: 
wallaby, common opossum, sooty opossum, pig, horse, red deer, fallow 
deer, Sambur deer, wapiti, white-tailed deer, moose, cattle, sheep, 
goats, chamois, cat, ferret, stoat, weasel, black rat, brown rat, mouse, 
rabbit, hare and hedgehog. The following three have been some- 
what recently introduced, but cannot be said to have been naturalised 
yet: Japanese deer, black-tailed deer and thar. 

The classification adopted in the succeeding list is that used by 
Frank E. Beddard in the Cambridge Natural History, 1902. 


Apparently about 12 species of marsupials have been introduced 
into New Zealand at various times, but only three species have 
established themselves and become feral. These are a wallaby and 
two species of phalangers, which are popularly known as opossums. 
Those who introduced them knew little or nothing about the exact 
relationships or the systematic position of these animals and no one 
seemed to have thought it worth while to identify them. The informa- 
tion about them is, and always has been, very vague; they were 
introduced by acclimatisation societies, private individuals and dealers, 
under various popular names, as kangaroos, bush kangaroos, wallabies, 
rock wallabies, etc., but the importance of knowing and recognising 


their specific distinctness with all that this involves in difference of 
habits, never troubled the introducers. 

"Common Scrub or Black-tailed Wallaby (Macropus ualabatus) 
In 1867 the Auckland Society had three wallabies in their gardens, 
and a fourth was added in 1874; but there is no possibility of identi- 
fying the species, and there is no record of what came of them. 

In the same year A. M. Johnson brought over some from Tasmania 
for the Canterbury Society. A Christchurch newspaper dated April, 
1870, says: 

The merit of the introduction into Canterbury province of the brush- 
kangaroo of Tasmania is due to Captain Thomson, and from the thriving 
condition of those in the Society's gardens, their adaptability to the pro- 
vince has been proved, whilst their increase has been such as to now 
render their liberation desirable in suitable localities. 

I cannot help thinking that this is the species which Mr Michael 
Studholme either imported direct from Tasmania, or bought from 
the Canterbury Society, and liberated at Waimate, South Canterbury. 
There they have increased to an extraordinary extent. Mr E. C. 
Studholme writing to me in February, 1916, says: 

I can just remember seeing them turned loose here, two does and one 
buck being the number liberated. For a week or two they hung about 
the homestead, after which they were not seen for about two years, when 
some one sighted them on the hill near Waimate Gorge. They gradually 
spread along the adjoining hills, and are now to be found as far north as 
Bluecliffs. It is very hard to estimate the number there are at the present 
time, but it is quite safe to say there are thousands of them. Parties which 
go out shooting have killed as many as seventy in a day or two. They live 
chiefly in the bush, scrub, and fern about the gullies and gorges, coming out 
in the evenings to feed in the open ground. Their food chiefly consists 
of grass, but they are very hard on certain trees, barking many of them, 
particularly the Ohaus or five-leaf (Panax arbor ewri). There are well-defined 
tracks through all the bushes and scrub they frequent, much on the lines 
of pig tracks. I understand they are quite easy to snare, a good many being 
caught in that manner. If not kept in check they would, no doubt, become 
a great nuisance to farmers. Some years ago I sent the late F. C. Tabart 
of Christchurch (who was a Tasmanian) one for eating, and he wrote me 
saying it was a delicacy. Personally I have never eaten the meat, but the 
tails make very good soup. The skins of those taken in Winter make splendid 
rugs, being very heavy in fur, and they are much sought after. I believe 
they are not a wallaby, but scrub-kangaroo, as they are quite large, some 
of the old bucks weighing over 60 Ibs. 

About 1870, Sir George Grey introduced a number of species 
of marsupials into the island of Kawau, and among these was a 
wallaby (there is no record of where it came from) which increased 
in an almost incredible manner. Colonel Boscawen informs me that 


these animals have all been killed off, "except the small brown rock- 
wallaby, of which very few are now left." This latter species (Macropus 
ualabatus) was also imported to Auckland by Mr John Reed, who 
liberated them on Motutapu Island, where they are still common. 
They also crossed the narrow neck of land to Rangitoto Island, where 
they found a haven of rest, and where they are now abundant. 
Colonel Boscawen says: "The Wallaby furnishes great sport in 
shooting, and it is harder to hit than a rabbit, as when driven the 
animal does not hop, but goes on all fours and dodges from side to 
side, running at a great rate." Mr Cheeseman tells me that when 
the Island of Kawau was sold, the new owners encouraged shooting 
parties to go down indeed contracts were let to kill the marsupials 
off the island and the slaughter was great. One informant, whose 
name I have lost, told me that even in Sir George Grey's time, as 
many as two hundred wallabies would be killed in a battue. This 
gentleman considered them to be useless creatures, fit neither for 
food nor fur. The consensus of opinion is that the flesh is not par- 
ticularly attractive, but that the tails make excellent soup. This same 
informant told me that at Kawau they ate out most of the vegetation, 
and starved out most of the other animals, being assisted in this by 
the hordes of opossums. They came out at nights in the fields, 
grazing like sheep, and in the summer went into the garden, stripping 
it of fruit and vegetables. 

There are still a few left about Kawau, not more than a dozen 
or two, according to Colonel Boscawen. 

Pademelon Wallaby (Macropus thetidis) 

The Auckland Society had some specimens of this species in 
1869, but the number is not specified, nor what came of them. 

Kangaroo (Macropus species) 

Under this name various animals were introduced and liberated, 
but it is quite impossible to identify the species. 

Note, du Petit-Thouars, who visited New Zealand in 1838, says 
in the account of his voyage (p. 115): " Kangaroos have multiplied 
very well, but it is much to be regretted that there, as in New Holland, 
the colonists have not taken the trouble to look after them and increase 
their numbers, instead of leaving them to perish." I have no idea 
what animals he is referring to. 

The Canterbury Society received a pair of kangaroos from the 
Rev. R. R. Bradley in 1866, and in 1868 a single large specimen 
from Sir George Grey. The Society's Report for 1872 states that 
there were "about 15 " in the gardens, but no further information 
is vouchsafed. 


The Otago Society introduced one specimen in 1867, and 
apparently others were privately introduced but not recorded, for the 
late Mr F. Deans (Curator of the Society) wrote me in 1890: 

I do not know when these were liberated, but in 1869 I saw one on 
several occasions where the Northern Cemetery (Dunedin) now is ; he went 
bounding out of that gully while I was passing down to my work. I heard 
of one or two having been killed by dogs in the gully above the rifle range. 

In 1868 Mr Christopher Basstian liberated three specimens on 
the Dunrobin Station, but nothing was heard of them afterwards. 
In the same year the captain of a vessel brought three kangaroos to 
the Bluff, one male and two females. These were purchased by the 
Southland Acclimatisation Society and liberated on the range of hills 
there. Nothing further was ever heard of them. 

Wallaroo or Euro (Macropus robustus) 

Some of these kangaroos were introduced into Kawau by Sir 
George Grey in the sixties, but there is no subsequent record of 
their occurrence there. 

Rock Wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus ?) 

In 1873 tne Auckland Society received a rock wallaby from Sir 
James Fergusson, which was quite distinct from any previously 
recorded, and which it is surmised belonged to the above species. 
There is no later report of it. 

Kangaroo Rat (Potorous tridactylus) 

The Auckland Society introduced this species in 1867, but no 
later report of the Society mentions them. 

* Common Opossum, Grey Opossum, Brush-tailed Opossum, or 

Vulpine Phalanger (Trichosurus vulpecula; Phalangista vulpina) 
*Sooty Opossum (Trichosurus fuliginosus) 

The Australian and Tasmanian phalangers, or, as they are popularly 
called "opossums," which are now so common in many forest- 
covered parts of New Zealand were first introduced into Southland 
by private individuals, and a few later on into other districts by some 
of the societies. Details of these early introductions are somewhat 
inexact and difficult to obtain. One report (Wellington Acclimatisa- 
tion Society, 1892) says: 

These animals were first liberated in the bush behind South Riverton in 
1858 by Mr Basstian. Some years after, one or two opossums (presumably 
Australian Grey Opossums) escaped from confinement in the same neigh- 
bourhood. In 1889 they were found to have increased enormously. 


Mr T. D. Pearce of Invercargill writes (and August, 1915): "The 
opossums in Southland owe their origin, not to the Council, but to 
private enterprise. They were liberated between 1865 and 1868 in 
the Longwoods by Mr Christopher Basstian, who brought them 
from Victoria or Tasmania." Mr J. L. Watson of Invercargill writes 
(October, 1890) : " One pair were liberated by the late Captain Hankin- 
son atWaldeck,Riverton,in 1875 or J 876. They have increased marvel- 
lously and are plentiful in the South Longwoods." This, no doubt, 
refers to a later introduction, and Mr C. Basstian was evidently 
the first person to liberate them in New Zealand. The Auckland 
Society imported some (number not stated) in 1869; five more in 
1874-75; and four more in 1876. There is no record as to where 
they were liberated. Most of these came through Sir George Grey; 
who liberated several grey opossums on Kawau. 

In 1892 the Wellington Society obtained 19 black Tasmanian 
opossums (T. fuliginosus), and liberated them on the ranges behind 

In 1895 the Otago Society obtained 12 silver-grey opossums ( T. 
vulpeculd) from Gippsland, and liberated them in the Catlins district. 

This appears to complete the record of introductions. 

By 1890 these animals had increased to a great extent in the forest 
covering the Southern Longwood Range, and the Southland Society 
caught and distributed in that year some 236 to " the Auckland Islands, 
Stewart Island, various districts of Otago (including the Te Anau 
and West Coast Sounds region), North and South Canterbury, West 
Coast of South Island, Nelson, Wellington and Gisborne." In suc- 
ceeding years more were obtained and distributed throughout other 
parts of New Zealand, e.g. to Kapiti and Wainui-o-mata in 1893, and 
to Taranaki in 1896. For the last 30 or 40 years grey opossums have 
been very abundant on Kawau. In 1893, Captain Bollons, in N.Z.G.S. 
' Hinemoa,' liberated 72 opossums in the West Coast Sounds. They 
are now abundant from far north of Auckland to Stewart Island. In 
all localities they appear to have increased to a great extent, becoming 
so abundant in some parts that people began to destroy them for 
their skins, while others especially the Acclimatisation Societies 
claimed protection for them and demanded the introduction of restric- 
tive legislation. Some idea of their increase may be gathered from 
the statement made by the President of the Otago Society that in 
1912 no less than 60,000 skins were taken in the Catlins district 
alone. Mr R. S. Black of Dunedin, a well-known exporter of rabbit 
and other skins, tells me this number is not an over-estimate. 

W. W. Smith (3ist July, 1918) reports opossums as common about 
New Plymouth. They feed on the leaves of the hou-hou (Panax 


arboreum) and come to the shed where horsefeed is kept, and help 
themselves to the oats. 

Protection and Legislation. In 1891, protection of the opos- 
sums was urged on the Government by an Invercargill merchant who 
stated (in Southland Times of 2Oth January) that some New Zealand 
skins were worth los. each, and he noted that the supply of skins 
from Australia and Tasmania was diminishing. 

At the same time complaints began to be made by settlers in bush 
districts that the opossums were robbing their fields and orchards, 
and destroying plantations apparently an attempt to justify the 
destruction of the animals which was then commencing. Such a 
charge was not supported by evidence. On the other hand Mr T. C. 
Plante of Melbourne, writing to the Premier of New Zealand on 
the subject (in 1891) says: 

Tasmania is the orchard of Australia, yet so little harm is caused by this 
animal and so well is its commercial value appreciated, that a close season 
is prescribed for it, and indeed for all marsupials. Although the species 
of Victoria yield a fur of little value, except such as live in the cold and 
mountainous parts, the case is different with the Tasmanian species, which 
are of much greater value ; the animal is larger, producing fur denser and 
of much better quality, and the colour is black or reddish-black. Now 
this is the kind that has been introduced into New Zealand, and from 
specimens caught in Riverton bush that have been shown to me, I can 
vouch that in New Zealand they grow even larger and produce fur of better 
quality. At the October (1890) fur sales Tasmanian skins realised up to 
8*. 6d. each. 

Mr Plante recommended trapping from June to September when 
the fur is fully grown, with a close season during the summer months. 

Owing to the increasing destruction which went on in succeeding 
years in all districts where opossums were found, the societies interested 
brought pressure to bear on the Government, and in 1911 an Order 
in Council was issued (Gazette, i6th November), declaring these 
animals to be "Imported Game within the meaning of the Animals 
Protection Act, 1908." Thus it became illegal to catch or destroy 
them. By this time, however, the settlers in bush districts at least 
in Otago had found the trapping of opossums a very profitable 
business, and though they do not appear in published returns of 
exports, the probability is that their skins were classed and counted 
with rabbit-skins. Accordingly they set to work through their repre- 
sentatives in Parliament and got the restrictions removed. By Gazette 
notices of 22nd August, 1912, it was stated that "opossums of every 
variety shall cease to be deemed to be imported game," and "all 
protection of opossums has consequently been removed, and they 
may be taken or killed without restriction, and their skins sold." This 


see-sawing legislation immediately produced an outcry from all the 
societies in the country, and so much feeling was expressed that the 
Government reconsidered their decision and another Order was issued 
on yth August, 1913, declaring opossums to be absolutely protected 
in certain specified counties practically in all the bush-covered 
districts in New Zealand. A further warrant was issued in 1916 
absolutely protecting opossums in the Wellington Acclimatisation 

The position therefore in I9I9 1 briefly was as follows: 

Opossums have ceased to be imported game and they have been abso- 
lutely protected in certain areas. There is therefore no existing law in force 
giving power to declare an open season for these animals unless they were 
again declared to be either imported or native game, and this is not prac- 
ticable as they would then automatically be protected in parts of the 
Dominion where protection is not desired ; there being no existing power 
to enable them to be declared imported game in part only of the Dominion. 

In spite of these regulations it is the opinion of some at least of 
the societies that the law is habitually broken and that the protection 
is very imperfect, and the Wellington Society in its report for 1915 
says that "opossums are being slaughtered wholesale." I learn also 
from the Comptroller of Customs that the number and value of 
opossum skins exported during the year ended 3ist December, 1915, 
was as follows: 

Wellington 173 skins valued at 43 

Nelson 191 48 

Dunedin 2115 361 

It is known that thousands more go out of the country, nominally 
as rabbit-skins. 

Food, Habits, etc. Mr F. Hart of Round Hill, who had a 
long experience in catching opossums for the Southland Society, wrote 
a report on the habits of these animals to Mr Eustace Russell of 
Invercargill, from which I extract the following. The technical names 
of the plants given are added by myself: 

The food the opossum lives on is chiefly seeds of Broadleaf (Grtselinia), 
Kamai (Weinmannia), Broad -gum (Panax), Maple (Pittosporum), Rata blos- 
soms (Metrosideros), Supplejack berries (Rhipogonum), Fuchsia, Mako-mako 
(Aristotelia), and practically all the seeds and blossoms that grow in this 
part of the bush. The opossum is not a grass-eating animal. They will 
eat white, or red clover, sweetbriar shoots, and seeds, but if an opossum 
is caged up and fed on grass, he will die of starvation. Also, if he were 
fed on turnips, it would take as much to feed one sheep, in quantity, as 
would feed twelve opossums. When I and my brother were catching 
1 For recent regulations (May, 1921) see Appendix A, p. 556. 


opossums for the Society, we fed them on carrots, boiled wheat, bread, 
boiled tea-leaves with sugar, and anything sweet. 

The damage the opossums would do running at large would be very 
little, seeing that they never come on to open country. The animal is blamed 
for barking apple-trees, but the opossum does not bark a tree. He might 
scratch the bark with his teeth, but he does not strip it off. The opossum 
has one young one once a year. The young one is from five to six months 
old before it leaves its mother, and is very nearly half-grown. The first 
four months it is carried in its mother's pouch, and after it leaves the 
pouch it rides on the mother's back, until it is able to look after itself. The 
proper season for catching opossums would be from April to the end of 
July; that would save destroying so many young ones. 

Mr Hurrell of Ararata (Hawera) tells me they are destructive to 
fruit trees in his district, eating the shoots in spring-time and the fruit 
in autumn. This applies to apples and plums. At Kawau, they were 
reported as very destructive to the shoots of young plants, and to 

Colonel Boscawen of Auckland, who is a most reliable authority, 
states that as long as there is plenty of green stuff available, opossums 
do not interfere with fruit, but that the damage they are often credited 
with is the work of rats. 

On Kapiti Island they feed extensively on Kohekohe (Dysoxylum 
spectabile), Mahoe (Melicytus ramiflortis), Passiflora tetrandra and 
Fuchsia excorticata, trees of the latter species being sometimes com- 
pletely destroyed by them. 

In " Nature Notes" in the Lyttelton Times of i9th October, 1912, 
by Mr Jas. Drummond this passage occurs:. 

Mr A. J. Blakiston, Manager Orari Gorge Estate, South Canterbury, 
where opossums are very plentiful, says: "My experience here is that they 
do very little damage. The garden adjoins the native bush and in the fruit 
season they eat and knock down some fruit, but do us no great harm." 

Mr Dudley le Souef, Director of the Zoological Gardens, Mel- 
bourne, writes : 

Opossums are protected in Tasmania for half the year, in Victoria all 
the year round, and in South Australia and New South Wales for half 
the year during the breeding season. We find them only occasionally 
troublesome in apple, pear and peach orchards; but as they are easily 
snared and shot, one seldom hears of any complaints even from the large 
orchard districts 1 . 

1 All orchardists are not of this opinion as the following extract from an Auckland 
letter shows : 

" If you want to see how opossums and fruit trees thrive together, take a run 
down to Motutapu. Opossums you will see, but it will need a guide to show you 
where the fruit trees were planted. I have several acres in orchard, which today 
is free from Opossums, and needs only the regular care to combat moth, scale, 
scab, mildew, blight, dieback, fungus, leech, collar rot, birds, rabbits, picnickers 


Professor Flynn of Hobart states that even with the protection 
given to the opossum in Tasmania their position in the State is 
seriously endangered. It is estimated that 100,000 were killed in 191 1 
for their skins. 

Ring-tailed Opossum (Pseudochirus peregrimis) 
The Canterbury Society introduced two of these animals in 1867, 
but do not seem to have liberated them. 

Family DASYURID^: 
Australian Native Cat (Dasyurus viverrirmis) 

In 1868 the Canterbury Society received two of these animals from 
a Captain Thomson. Presumably they were not liberated, as there 
is no further record of them. The introduction of hurtful carnivorous 
animals, except under Government sanction, has always been forbidden 

in New Zealand. 


Bandicoot (Perameles obesuld) 

The Auckland Society obtained some bandicoots, how many is 
not specified, from a Mr E. Perkins in 1873, DUt there is no record as 
to what was done with them. These were probably the short-nosed 
bandicoot (Perameles obesuld) which is common in Australia and 


*Pigs; Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) 

The first pigs landed in New Zealand were two little ones which 
De Surville presented to the Chief of the natives at Doubtless Bay 
in December, 1769. It is not known what happened to these early 
juvenile immigrants. 

Captain Cook introduced pigs on his second voyage to New 
Zealand as he states that while in Queen Charlotte Sound in June, 
1773, "Captain Furneaux put on shore, in Cannibal Cove, a boar 
and two breeding sows, so that we have reason to hope this country 
will, in time, be stocked with these animals, if they are not destroyed 
by the natives before they become wild, for, afterwards, they will 
be in no danger." 

and small boys. These I can manage to fix during the daylight, but cannot see why 
a set of cranks, who have nothing of their own to destroy, should compel me to 
sit up at night to shoot further vermin. If I am counted out in the assumption, 
will some ' boobs ' join me in bringing pressure on the Government, for the intro- 
duction of rattlesnakes, tigers and other interesting subjects, because the rattle 
and claws are beautiful, and the meat would compete with local grown bully?" 


Forster, in his Journal (vol. I, p. 221), says "they were turned into 
the woods to range at their own pleasure." In the following year, 
October, 1774, he says (vol. n, p. 467): 

We took the opportunity to visit the innermost recesses of West Bay, 
in order to be convinced, if possible, whether there was any probability 
that the hogs, brought thither about a year before, would ever stock those 
wild woods with numerous breeds. We came to the spot where we had left 
them, but saw not the least vestiges of their having been on the beach, 
nor did it appear that any of the natives had visited this remote place; 
from whence we had room to hope, that the animals had retreated into 
the thickest part of the woods. 

On 2nd November when off Cape Kidnappers Cook gave some pigs 
to natives who came in their canoe. 

On his third voyage, he gave a boar and sow to a native 
chief (?) in February, 1777, and they made him a promise not to 
kill them. He adds: "The animals which Captain Furneaux sent on 
shore here, and which soon after fell into the hands of the natives, 
I was now told were all dead." I think, however, that this refers 
chiefly to the goats, for he says: "I was afterwards informed by the 
two youths who went away with us, that Tiratou, a popular chief 
amongst them, had one of the sows in his possession." There is little 
doubt that the wild pigs of the South Island, "Captain Cooks" as 
they came to be called, were the progeny of those originally left at 
Cannibal Cove, though Cook himself says in 1777: "I could get no 
intelligence about the fate of those I had left in West Bay and in 
Cannibal Cove, when I was here in the course of my last voyage." 
They have in later years had their numbers added to, and their breed 
modified by pigs which escaped from settlers, but the type remained 
dominant, and is still found in most wild parts of the country in 
great abundance. 

Dieffenbach (in 1839) states that "the natives had come from 
Cannibal Cove to catch pigs, which overrun the island" of Motuaru. 

The North Island wild pigs, which are also abundant in nearly 
all wild country from Cook Strait to North Cape, are largely the 
progeny of animals given to the natives in later years. Governor 
King (of New South Wales), during his visit to New Zealand, 
in 1793, gave the natives at the Bay of Islands, ten young 
sows and two boars. Dieffenbach states that these animals were 
mistaken by them for horses, they having some vague recollection 
of those which they had seen on board Captain Cook's vessels. They 
forthwith rode two of them to death; and a third was killed for 
having entered a burying-ground. A very old man, who had known 
Captain King, related this singular story to me. The introduction 


of the pigs may have been correctly reported, only Dieffenbach is 
not very trustworthy, and his credulity seems to have been played 
on as regards the horses ; it is most improbable that any horses were 
on board either the ' Resolution ' or the 'Adventure.' 

There is no doubt that the abundance of wild pigs in the country 
was of great value to explorers, particularly to prospectors, and also 
to shepherds, miners and back-block settlers. Dieffenbach says: 
"the natives have great quantities of pigs, which have run wild, but 
are easily caught by dogs" (this was in the Piako). 

Dr Monro, who accompanied Mr Tuckett on his trip through 
Otago in 1844, speaking of the hill country south-west of Saddle Hill, 
says: "There is a famous cover for pigs, too, between the upper 
part of the Teiari (Taieri) Valley and the sea .... The whalers come 
up the river in their boats and kill great numbers of pigs here; as 
the Maoris told us." 

As to the breeds of these wild pigs, it is evident that they were 
quite distinct in the two islands, due, of course, to their different 
origin. Mr Robert Scott, M.P. for Central Otago, writing me in 
January, 1916, says: 

They were originally a variety of the Tamworth breed, long snout, 
razor-backed, built for speed rather than for fattening, quick and agile 
in movement, as I have often seen when watching two boars fighting, 
and as many a dog found to his cost. The predominating colour was red, 
or sandy red, with some black, and a few black and white, but these may 
have come from an occasional tame boar which strayed and became wild. 
At the time when they were most numerous (in Otago) they were 
decidedly gregarious, usually three or four generations running together 
in mobs numbering from half a dozen up to forty or even fifty. When 
attacked by dogs, if cover, such as flax, scrub or high grass was handy, 
they made for it and would form a circle, with the older pigs on the outside 
ring, and the younger ones in the centre for greater protection. The boars, 
particularly old ones, lived alone and roamed far and wide. The habits 
of the wild pig were clean, and in the case of those tamed exceptionally so. 

Angas in Savage Life and Scenes in Australia and New Zealand , 
vol. n, p. 37 (published in 1847), says: "The New Zealand pigs are 
generally black ; and on the approach of a European they erect their 
bristles, and, grunting, gallop off like wild boars." 
Dieffenbach says : 

Pigs have only of late been generally introduced into many parts of 
the country, and in some places where tribes have been broken up they 
are found wild in large numbers .... The New Zealand pigs are a peculiar 
breed, with short heads and legs and compact bodies. 

They were evidently quite distinct from the "Captain Cooks" of 
the South Island. 



The Rev. Richard Taylor (in The Past and Present of New 
Zealand, in 1868) states that: 

there are three kinds of pigs which have been naturalised, whether the 
produce of the original pair left by Captain Cook, or from later importa- 
tions it is impossible to say. The ordinary one, which has stocked the 
forest, is black, with a very long snout, almost resembling that of a Tapir ; 
this pig was probably the original one. The next is a grey one, commonly 
known by the name of Tonga tapu, and may therefore be supposed to have 
been thence derived. The third variety is generally of a reddish brown, 
marked with lateral black or dark stripes, running the whole length of 
the body. 

Taylor was neither a good observer, nor much of a naturalist, and 
accepted a great deal of information without sifting its accuracy ; still 
the above may be quite correct for the part of New Zealand which 
he knew. 

Mr Robert Gillies, writing in 1877, says: "In 1848 (the year of 
the settlement of Otago) wild pigs were very common on the site of 
Dunedin." In 1854, he and a party killed 70 pigs at the back of 
Flagstaff in two days. 

The long-pointed snout, long legs and non-descript colours of the true 
wild pig showed them to be quite a different breed from the settlers' 
imported pig. Their flesh tasted quite different from pork, being more 
like venison than anything else. 

Mr Jas. D. Drummond quotes Mr E. Hardcastle of Christchurch 
on this subject: 

In most parts of the Dominion black is the commonest colour of wild 
pigs, and he believes that the Berkshire probably was the dominant type 
in the pigs of our early days. The red coat of the Tarn worth type has 
defied time. It has lost most of its lustre but he thinks that nobody can 
doubt that the sandy, long-snouted wild pig has Tamworth blood in its 

Black pigs with a white stripe over the back or the shoulder were 
plentiful in Canterbury. The markings still may be found in that 
province and in other parts of the Dominion. 

" These pigs," Mr Hardcastle writes, " were ascribed to an original cross 
between black pigs and white pigs, but there are in England at least two 
breeds with those markings, and probably some of these were introduced 
with other ancestors of our wild pigs. The Hampshire has a white belt 
round its body, including the shoulder and the front-legs; the saddle- 
back, or white-shouldered pig, which now is being brought under notice 
in England, does not seem to have as much white as the Hampshire has." 

Mr E. C. d'Auvergne, formerly of Rangiora, and now of Waihoa 
Forks, Waimate, South Canterbury, states that the late Captain 
Forster, of Oxford, imported some white-shouldered pigs from England 


many years ago and gave one to Mr d'Auvergne's father. From these 
facts, Mr Hardcastle builds up the theory that the white-shouldered 
pig amongst the wild New Zealand pigs is the descendant of a distinct 

"Perhaps the most interesting specimen of the wild pig in this Do- 
minion," he adds, "is the blue pig found in the Mount Grey and Karetu 
districts, North Canterbury. The blue colour is produced by a blend of 
apparently equal numbers of white and black hairs. So fixed is the type 
that blue pigs may be found in a litter with blacks or black and whites. 
The blue pig, evidently, is the result of a cross between a black pig and a 
white pig, and the progeny crossed and inbred until the two breeds are 
absolutely blended as far as colour is concerned." 

Mr J. Drummond (1907) says: 

They multiplied astonishingly, and enormous numbers assembled in 
uninhabited valleys far from the settlements. At Wangapeka Valley, in 
the Nelson Province, Dr Hochstetter in 1860, saw several miles ploughed 
up by pigs. Their extermination was sometimes contracted for by experi- 
enced hunters, and Dr Hochstetter states that three men in twenty months, 
on an area of 250,000 acres, killed no fewer than 25,000 pigs, and pledged 
themselves to kill 15,000 more. 

Even much earlier they must have been very abundant, both 
tame and wild, for nearly every sealing and whaling vessel which 
visited these islands between 1800 and 1830 took away quantities 
of pork as part of the cargo to Sydney. 

Aston (1916) speaks of the wild pigs in the high country of 
Marlborough as being remarkably tame, apparently from never seeing 
human beings. 

Two sows, in response to our grunts, came out of the bush on to the 
ridge, and as we remained perfectly still, they came up close and smelt us. 
My companion made a grab at one leg, and pig and man went rolling down 
the hill together. 

At the present time they are still common in nearly all bush 
country which is not too near settlement, and to those who like the 
element of danger in their hunting they afford good sport. They are 
usually pursued by dogs, often especially trained for the purpose, 
which after a time succeed in bailing up their quarry. They prefer 
to take their stand in the hollow of a tree or some such locality, and 
an old boar will often do considerable damage to the dogs before he 
is despatched. The orthodox manner of attack is to run in and stab 
them, but a man without a gun has little chance if he ventures to 
close quarters with a bailed-up boar. 

As regards the Southern Islands, pigs were landed on the Auckland 
Islands in 1807 by Captain A. Bristow, and were reported as numerous 
by Hooker in 1840, and by Enderby in 1850. Captain Musgrave, who 


was wrecked on the Auckland Islands in 1865, found no traces of wild 
pigs, however. More recently Captain Bollons of the 'Hinemoa,' 
and others have landed and liberated pigs. Hooker reported them 
as feeding chiefly on Pleurophyllum criniferum y while McCormick, who 
was surgeon on the ' Erebus,' states they fed on Stilbocarpa polaris. 
Waite, writing in 1909, says : 

There can be small doubt that the introduction of pigs to the Auckland 
Islands has already resulted in considerable havoc among the ground- 
nesting birds, by destroying both eggs and young. Traces of pigs were 
very plentiful, not only their spoor but their rootings also being abundantly 
apparent. Native plants are also suffering, for we found whole patches 
turned over, Bulbinella and Pleurophyllum evidently being favourites. On 
several occasions we came across the pigs themselves, but they were very 
wild and were approached with difficulty. Of four seen on one occasion, 
one was black, two white, and one pied. One of them was shot, and proved 
to be a lean, long-legged, and long-snouted animal, apparently reverting 
to the characteristics of a wild type. 

In 1865 Captain Norman liberated three pigs on Campbell Island, 
but they appear to have died off. 

Dr Cockayne informs me that in the Chatham Islands, the 
magnificent forget-me-not, known as the Chatham Island lily (Myoso- 
tidium nobile), formerly grew commonly as a coastal plant, forming a 
fringe of vegetation round the islands, but that it has been nearly 
exterminated by wild pigs aided in part by wild cattle so that 
it is now found only in inaccessible spots. They have also helped to 
reduce the number of plants and nearly exterminate Aciphytta 
Traversii, one of the most characteristic plants of the Chatham 
Islands, by digging it up and eating the succulent tap-root. Formerly 
two species of spear-grass Aciphytta squarrosa and A. Colensoi were 
extremely abundant, especially in the South Island. Vast quanti- 
ties of these plants were grubbed out by the wild pigs, which are 
particularly fond of their succulent and aromatic root-stocks and 

Aston states that they eat down Gaya Lyattii. They root up the 
ground wherever the bracken fern (Pteris aquilina, var. esculentd) is 
found, the starchy rhizomes furnishing abundant food. They are also 
especially fond of the thick root-stocks of spear-grasses (Aciphytta) and 
other umbelliferous plants, such as Ligusticum and Angelica. 

In some parts of New Zealand wild pigs are destructive to sheep. 
I am informed that in North Canterbury an old boar has been seen 
to come down from his hill fastness into a paddock in which were a 
number of ewes, charge into the midst of them, and kill two of them, 
"seemingly," said my informant, "more out of mischief than for 


want of food." Mr W. R. Bullen of Kaikoura writes me in August, 

It is a well-known fact that wild pigs are very destructive among newly 
born lambs. I myself have watched a wild boar working a lamb like a dog 
so as to get straight above him on a hillside, and catch the lamb with a 
downhill rush, as the latter was too nimble for the boar to catch him other- 
wise. I think, however, that an old sow with a litter of young ones does 
more damage, as they follow up the ewes when lambing. We always en- 
deavour to reduce their number before lambing commences both by 
hunting and laying poison. Phosphorus is usually employed in the latter 

Mr Kennedy of Greentown, Kaikoura, supplements this informa- 
tion, and informs me that when boars once begin to eat lambs, they 
will travel long distances to get them; fortunately the habit is not 
common. He thinks the habit is learned by their finding hoggetts 
which have got caught and hung up in lawyers (Rubus), and dying 
there. Sows that have a litter of young ones also attack and destroy 
lambs, but they do not travel any distance to do so. He adds that 
pigs are very destructive to rabbits, eating the young ones when they 
take refuge in shallow burrows; and states that where pigs are 
abundant, very few rabbits are to be found. 

The following species of native plants, in addition to those named, 
are eaten by wild pigs: Gastrodia Cunnunghamii and G. sesamoides 
and Marattia fraxinea. 

Family CAMELID^; 
Alpaca (Lama huanacos) 

Two of these animals were imported by the Otago Society in 1878, 
and were liberated on the property of Mr John Reid of Elderslie, 
Oamaru. They never increased. 

* Horse (Equus caballus) 

It seems rather strange that in such a small country as New 
Zealand there should be any wild horses, but there are several areas 
very inaccessible and rarely visited, where escapes appear to have 
congregated and bred. The natives frequently have very imperfect 
fences, and stallions have from time to time got away and run free. 
Mr E. Phillips Turner of the Forestry Department and in charge of 
Scenic Reserves, informed me (January, 1916) that "wild horses occur 
on Mt Tarawera, round the base of Ruapehu, and in many places on 
the volcanic plateau." Mr Yarborough of Kohu Kohu states that at 
one time wild horses were numerous in the bush country of Hokianga 


and the west coast of the Auckland peninsula. The natives used to 
snare them, but they were mostly so inbred as to be valueless for 
any purpose. They are now (1916) very scarce. 

Horses were first imported into the Chatham Islands in the 
forties, and were commonly wild in the unsettled districts in 1868. 
There are probably still a few of them on the table land. 

Zebra. (Equus zebra) 

Sir Geo. Grey, among his numerous other introductions, imported 
a pair of zebras into Kawau about 1870, apparently in the hope that 
they would breed. But one got killed, and the other had to be shot. 


The desire to stock the mountain country of New Zealand with 
large game, so that the Briton's delight in going out and killing 
something might be satisfied, has led to the introduction of no fewer 
than ten kinds of deer, in addition to other large animals. Of these, 
four species red deer, fallow deer, white-tailed deer and Sambur 
deer have established themselves in different parts of the country 
and are included among the animals for which licences to shoot are 
now issued. By law they are strictly preserved, but much poaching 
has always been and still is done. At the same time it must be 
remembered that the poaching is chiefly done by two classes of 
people, viz. residents in the neighbourhood of the districts where 
the game abound, and mere pot-hunters. For the first class it may 
be said that many farmers, who take no interest in acclimatisation 
work or in so-called sport, and who were not consulted in any way 
on the subject, object to the incursions of animals which ignore or 
break down their fences, harass their stock, and eat their hay and 
turnips. Therefore some of this destruction of imported game takes 
the form of reprisals for injury done to crops, fences and stock. There 
is practically no poaching on the property of private individuals such 
as is characterised by the name in the mother country, and con- 
sequently destruction of game in New Zealand is not looked upon as 
a heinous offence, as are breaches of the iniquitous game-laws of 
Britain. The game in New Zealand are either the property of the 
State or of the acclimatisation societies, and public opinion on the 
subject of their destruction is lax in comparison with what it is in 
countries where game is looked upon as something reserved for and 
sacred to the sporting instincts of a small class. Still a very fair 
measure of protection is ensured to the animals, and they have 
increased in most districts where they have been liberated. It is 
recognised, too, that a wealthy class of tourists can be induced to 


visit the country, if, in addition to scenic attractions, there can be 
added those things which appeal to the sporting instincts of humanity. 
This has led the Government of the Dominion in recent years to 
devote some attention to the subject of introducing various additional 
kinds of big game to those already brought in by the acclimatisation 
societies. Several experiments have been made in this direction, and 
most of them seem likely to be successful. 

* Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) 

(a) According to Mr Huddleston, whose father was curator of 
the Nelson Acclimatisation Society, a red deer stag and doe were 
landed in that district in the fifties. The doe was killed, but the 
stag remained near Motueka, and ultimately joined those which were 
introduced in 1861. In Judge Broad's account of Nelson, he states 
that Felix Wakefield landed one stag in 1851. He further states that 
in September, 1854, the first stag was turned out on the hills near 
the mouth of the Waimea, brought in the ship 'Eagle.' Two hinds 
were sent for to England. 

(b) The next importation of red deer into New Zealand was in 
February, 1861, when a stag and two hinds, presented by Lord 
Petre from his park in Essex, England, were landed in Nelson. The 
progeny of these animals increased and rapidly spread themselves 
over a great part of the high country in the provincial districts of 
Nelson and Marlborough of late years they have further spread 
into North Canterbury, and over towards the west coast. Mr Hard- 
castle, who in 1906 wrote a report on the red deer herds in the 
country, says: 

The heads obtained in Nelson are of a good dark colour and fairly 
massive, but compared with those of Wairarapa and Hawea, they have 
not the same average of span or spread. . . .Lord Petre 's herd had had no 
new blood introduced into it for many years, so that a particular type of 
antler had been fixed from which there is no throwing back. 

According to Mr Hardcastle the type of head of the first imported 
stag continues to persist, and dominates all the deer of the Nelson 
herd. In 1900 a herd, descended from Nelson deer, was started in 
the Lillburn Valley, west of the Waiau River, in Southland. 

(c) In 1862 a stag and two hinds presented by the Prince Consort 
to Governor Weld were handed over by him to Dr Featherstone, 
then Superintendent of Wellington Province. The deer (six in number) 
were captured in Windsor Park, and housed there for some time as 
preparation for their long sea voyage. One stag and two hinds were 
shipped by the 'Triton,' for Wellington, and after a passage of 127 
days, during which one hind succumbed, arrived on 6th June, 1862. 


About the same time the remaining three were shipped for Canterbury, 
but as one only arrived it was forwarded to Wellington to join the 
other two. For some months these animals were kept in a stable 
close to "Noah's Ark," Lambton quay, and subsequently Mr C. R. 
Carter (then M.P. for Wairarapa) arranged to have them conveyed 
to Wairarapa. Owing to there being no trains in those days, the 
animals were placed in the crate in which they came from England, 
and were carted over the Rimutaka Ranges to the Taratahi Plains, 
where they were handed to Mr J. Robieson. This gentleman, being 
an Englishman, took a special interest in the animals, and kept them 
for some considerable time. Early in the year 1863 he liberated the 
deer on the Taratahi Plains, and for some time they were constant 
visitors to the farmers, accepting all kinds of food. Later, however, 
they crossed the Ruamahanga River, and took up their abode on the 
Maungaraki Ranges, where they rapidly increased. Mr Hardcastle 
reported in 1906: 

The Wairarapa Forest is "probably the best stocked red deer ground 
on the globe. On Te Awaite run bordering on the East Coast, the deer may 
now be seen in bunches of up to a hundred head. At the beginning of 
last year it was estimated that there were fully 10,000 head on the station. 
According to information given in The Field of September i5th, 1906, the 
Windsor Park herd" (from which the original stock came), "has been re- 
plenished from English, Scottish, German and probably Danish stock. The 
result has produced in the Wairarapa herd, stags that are remarkable for 
their massive antlers, some of which are of the German type, and others 
again more resembling the Scottish form. The antlers do not grow to 
great length, but some are very wide in spread, and there is a great propor- 
tion of Imperials, the most number of points recorded being 22. The stags 

mature their antlers early A number of heads have been shot on Te 

Awaite station, showing the abnormal development of the back tines on 
one antler, such as is seen to be the case of the great Warnham Park stags 
in England, and is probably due to the highly favourable conditions of 
climate, food and shelter." 

From these ranges some of the finest heads in New Zealand have been 
secured. There is no doubt whatever that the exceptionally rich lime- 
stone formation and the English grasses were responsible for the 
large growth of horn. 

(d) In 1871 the Otago Society imported 15 red deer, some of 
which were sent to the care of Mr Rich of Bushy Park, Palmerston, 
while seven were liberated on the Morven Hills run east of Lake 
Hawea. Those at Bushy Park spread over into the Horse Range, but 
they did not succeed, and no definite explanation of the failure has 
been given. Probably the country was not high and wild enough; 
on one side they were encroaching all the time on well-stocked sheep 
country, and on the other on old-settled farm land, besides which 


there were many old diggers still about the neighbourhood. From 
one cause or another they did not succeed well. Mr Hardcastle states 
that they are still to be met with on the Horse Range, but they have 
always been heavily shot by settlers. 

The seven which were liberated on the Morven Hills were part 
of a shipment received from the estates of the Earl of Dalhousie in 
Forfarshire, Scotland. They are the only lot of pure Scottish red 
deer in the country. They multiplied at a great rate and have spread 
over the country between Lakes Wanaka, Hawea and Ohau. They 
have worked their way up the Hunter and Makarora rivers, across 
the Haast Pass into South Westland, and right up to the neighbour- 
hood of Mount Cook. Most of this country runs from 3000 to 
7000 feet in height, and much of it is very steep and rugged. But it 
contains much bush in the valleys and gullies, and the open country 
is well grassed in summer. Hardcastle says : 

The North Otago Stags maintain the true Scottish type of antler, but 
they grow to much greater length than the antlers of any stags that have 
been shot in the British Isles. The antlers are also remarkable for their 
symmetry and perfection in the development of the tines, and particularly 
the lower tines .... Some magnificent heads have been got, including a 
17- and i8-pointer, and two Royals each 46 inches in length of antlers. 
The coats of the stags are generally shaggy, owing, no doubt, to the severe 
climate in winter. 

Recently (1918) Mr Hardcastle informs me that the record length for 
an Otago red deer head is 49 inches (J. Forbes, Christchurch) ; 
record spread 50^ inches (J. Faulks, Makarora); and record points 20 
(J. Fraser, Mount Aspiring); "and I think a 2O-pointer was got in 
the Makarora." In 1895 the Otago Society obtained two fine stags 
from the Hunt Club, Melbourne, to add to the North Otago herd. 
I do not know what special strain these belonged to. Again in 1913 
the Society imported a stag and six hinds from Warnham Park, 
England, the object being to introduce new blood into the herds. 

(e) One stag was brought over from Hobart to Christchurch in 
1867 by Mr A. M. Johnson, and was kept in the Acclimatisation 
Gardens for a time. In 1897 the Canterbury Society imported nine 
red deer, but it is not recorded from whence, and liberated them in 
the gorge of the Rakaia River. They have increased rapidly since, 
herds of 40 and more having been seen from time to time. Some 
of the heaviest heads secured in New Zealand have been got from 
this herd. According to Mr Hardcastle the record length of a head 
from the Rakaia Gorge is 48^ inches (Williams, England); the 
record spread 465 inches (G. Sutherland, Christchurch), and the 
record points 24, from the same head. But in 1918-19 Mr Barrer 
of Wellington secured one with a length of 50 inches. 


More recent importations have been as follows: 

In 1900 the Southland Society received one stag and two hinds 
from Sir Rupert Clark, Victoria; and in 1901 two stags and eight 
hinds from the same source. From these, herds were started at Lake 
Manapouri, and at the Hump, to the west of the Waiau. 

In 1903 either seven or eight fawns were obtained from Victoria, 
presented by Miss Audrey Chirnside of Werribee Park, and were 
liberated at Mount Tuhua in Westland. In 1906 four more from the 
same source were added to this herd, and eight were liberated at Lake 

In 1903 the Tourist Department obtained eight deer from the 
Duke of Bedford, and liberated them at Lake Wakatipu. In 1908 four 
were obtained from Warnham Park, Sussex, England, and were liber- 
ated at Paraparaumu. In 1909 three were liberated at Dusky Sound. 

The five original importations of red deer account for the vast 
numbers of these animals which are now to be met with in so many 
mountainous parts of both islands, for many of the societies as well 
as the Tourist Department have obtained deer from one or other 
of the original herds and have started new herds in other districts, e.g. 
the country round Taupo and Rotorua, the West Coast Sounds of the 
South Island, and Stewart Island, and these are all increasing. In re- 
gard to the last named locality, six fawns taken from the Wairarapa 
herd were liberated on the banks of the Fresh Water River at the 
head of Paterson Inlet in April, 1901. In the following year twelve 
more from the Werribee Park herd were liberated in the same locality. 
From a report made for the Southland Acclimatisation Society by 
Mr Moorhouse, who inspected the Stewart Island herds in 1918, it 
is evident that the deer are now very numerous in the wooded 
northern and western parts of the island. Stewart Island is a sanctuary 
for native birds, and this stocking of the island with deer means the 
opening up of it to stalkers. Mr Woodhouse says : 

Indications to be seen in this big belt of bush clearly go to prove that 
the deer must be very numerous. Well-beaten tracks lead from the bush 
to the various clearings, on which grow flax and a coarse tussock. In the 
bush can be seen their various camping grounds, and the trees and shrubs 
show where they have been feeding on the barks and leaves. 

To the naturalist it is deplorable that an animal should have been 
introduced into this sanctuary, which compels men with guns and 
probably with dogs to go in, in order to keep them in check to 
some extent. Writing to me in August, 1918, Mr Hardcastle says: 

Deer increase more rapidly in New Zealand than in the northern 
hemisphere. Whether there is a larger percentage of calves born, I cannot 
say, probably there is, considering the conditions here. But the large 


increase is mainly due to the hinds calving a year earlier. In Europe 
hinds do not calve until they are three years old ; here they calve at two 
years. I am speaking of Otago, and the conditions there are not as favourable 
as further north. At sixteen months (April ist) a young hind is as large 
as her mother ; and these young animals can only be distinguished by their 
rounder and neater bodies, and the darker rufous colour of their hair. 
They are quite big enough therefore to be served by a stag. Further there 
are not more of these young hinds in a herd than would represent the female 
progeny of one year. If they did not take the stag till they were twenty-eight 
months old there would be so many more of them. 

The great want of a deer herd is either proper culling by human agency 
or the presence of carnivora to weed out the old and weakly, but above all 
to break up the family life and prevent inbreeding. Left alone, deer adopt 
the family life, and where a hind has once bred she will stay, unless forced 
away by one means or another. The pioneers of the herd in search of new 
ground, where there is scope as in Otago, are the big stags, after they have 
reached their third or fourth year, and are living for ten months away 
from the hinds. They are followed by young hinds. An old hind on the 
outskirts of the herd in the line of migration is a rarity. A young stag at 
twenty-eight months will get a few hinds if he can; a forty months stag 
will frequently have a good herd, and so will a fifty-two months (four 
years old) stag. A strong three-year old, that is likely to grow into a good 
shootable head, will, say in 1918, serve a number of hinds; in 1920 when 
he is five, he will be serving his own daughters (a stag always makes back 
to his previous year's rutting ground, if he is not driven off it). In 1922, 
when he is seven and a quarter years of age, he will be serving his own 
daughters and grand-daughters! As he only got his royal head at six 
years, and it may take a few more years to grow it to its maximum weight, 
he has escaped the stalker until he has done a considerable amount of 
inbreeding. The opinion of those who have had much experience in Otago 
is that most of the big heads are of deer that are between eight and twelve 
years of age. Many of them show signs of their teeth going, and as stags 
are said to live well over twenty years, one would not expect to see the teeth 
much worn in the first half of its life. Of course, only a certain percentage 
of stags get good heads, and, of course, the inferior are left. 

In the case of the largest herds attempts are continually being made 
to thin out the weeds and deer with malformed antlers. Some mal- 
forms arise from injury to the horns during the velvet stage of growth, 
but this injury is often due to the fact of the deer being a weedy 
specimen in the first instance and in poor condition. Polled stags, 
that is those without antlers at all, are occasionally met with, but these 
have apparently suffered from lack of food in the early stages of their 
growth , for there is no doubt that in some parts the country is already 
greatly overstocked and severe winters reduce the deer to a poor 
condition. Mr Hardcastle says: 

the great majority of malforms are malformed in the skull itself, and not 
merely in the bones. A common form is for the pedicle to be misplaced, 


nearly always being in front of its proper position, and sometimes as low 
as just above the brow. The horn of the misplaced pedicle is sometimes a 
switch, and grows either up or down over the face. Sometimes the pedicle 
is bent outwards, I have never seen it bent in or back. Sometimes mal- 
forms have three distinct pedicles and horns, and four have been found; 
unicorns are also not uncommon. In nearly all these cases there is no 
apparent sign of injury, nor would it be possible to misplace the pedicle 
without killing the animal. The country where malforms appear most in 
Otago, is open tussock and open birch (Nothofagus) bush. Malforms, 
except an odd one or two that have probably migrated from more over- 
stocked country, are not to be found in the rugged gorges of the Hunter 
or the Makarora. They did not appear in the rough and dense bush country 
in the Wairarapa until a few years ago, when the bush was more cleared, 
and sheep competed more strongly with the deer for food. We do not 
know whether the defects of the skull are hereditary or not, but from the 
fact that there are so many to be found in different types, one would think 
they are. Another question is whether the calf is born with the defect, or 
at what time it begins to manifest itself. Want of nourishment either in 
quantity or quality of food rapidly leads to degeneration in stags' heads, 
and in deer generally, but why it should affect the bone of the head in the 
way it does is remarkable. 

It is clear that there are several distinct strains of red deer in the 
country, recognised chiefly by the form and growth of the antlers, 
which are chiefly what sportsmen look to. This mixing of breeds 
probably tends to the production of a strong race, and the efforts 
of the main societies are directed, often, it must be admitted, rather 
blindly, to the elimination of defective deer. In the 1918-19 season 
the Otago Society had 1000 head shot in the Hunter Valley Makarora 
herd and 667 head in 1919-20. The problem is an interesting one 
from the eugenic standpoint. 

The vast number of red deer found in New Zealand enables the 
various leading societies to offer shooting privileges to sportsmen, who 
come from all parts to enjoy this form of sport. The attraction of 
red deer shooting is now to be reckoned as one of the assets of the 
country from a tourist's point of view. 

Effect of deer on the native vegetation. In the North Island 
it is stated that Fuchsia is the principal food of the deer in spring and 
summer, but that in winter they take to Koromiko (Veronica salici- 
folia) and other shrubs. Probably they eat the majority of the native 
shrubs in the bush, but how far they destroy the vegetation of the 
higher country is not recorded. They are reported as not caring very 
much for grass. In the North Otago forest the following are mainly 
eaten: broadleaf (Griselinia), native gum (species of Panax), ribbon- 
wood (Gay a Lyallii), various species of Coprosma, pepper tree (Drimys 
color ata), milk tree (Paratrophis heterophylla) and Tutu (Coriaria). 


But when these are scarce they will eat almost any shrub. They will 
not eat birch or beech (Nothofagus sp.) nor celery- leaved pine 
(Phyllocladus), till other food is exhausted. In the thickly-stocked 
districts all the undergrowth of the bush, as high as the deer can 
reach, is eaten out by them, and this is mostly done in the winter, 
when the high open country is covered with snow and they take to 
the forest for food and shelter. For the rest of the year the grass 
country is in the undisturbed possession of the deer, as they have 
no sheep to compete with them for the food. Mr B. C. Aston in an 
account of the crossing of the Ruahine Range in January, 1914, says: 

After getting up about 3200 feet in Fagus fusca and Fagus cliffortioides 
forest, where there was a sprinkling of Phyllocladus alpinus saplings, we 
found many with the bark rubbed off, which R. A. Wilson (an experienced 
deer-stalker) informed me was done by the deer, which always select this 
tree to rub their horns on. Mr Wilson was surprised that the deer in this 
district had left bunches of Loranthus flavidus and L. tetrapetalus hanging 
within reach, whereas in the South Island they are so fond of Loranthus, 
that they are frequently found hanging by the feet, caught in the Fagus 
trees in an endeavour to jump higher. . . .On an open clearing at a height 
of 4000 feet, where there was an abundance of Aciphylla squarrosa and 
Hierochloe redolens growing together, we found the deer had eaten the 
grass back into the Aciphylla, until the spinous leaves of the latter had 
pricked their noses. 

Mr Hansen, lighthouse keeper at Cape Palliser, reports (April, 1911) 
on the Waitutumai Creek, the gully of which is here eight miles 
long, three miles broad, and surrounded by hills from 2000 to 3000 
feet high and completely bush-clad: 

The terraces have been made passable by the Red Deer, which have 

eaten away all the lower branches and foliage There are no pines, ratas, 

fuchsias, native currants or other berry-bearing trees, on which many 
native birds make a living. There are no native birds seen, except a few 
bush-wrens, and one tui was heard. Silence reigned. The deer, mostly 
stags, come out of the forest from the middle of September to the end of 
January, when they are in the 'velvet,' and are very tame. 

W. G. Morrison of Hamner Springs in giving evidence before the 
Royal Commission on Forestry in 1913, said the red deer were very 
destructive to forests both of indigenous and planted trees. They 
were particularly fond of Nothopanax Colensoi, and stripped them 
to a height of 9 ft. the trees mostly dying. He had counted as many 
as 15 trees damaged in a space of 20 yards square. They also destroyed 
larch and Pinus laricio. 

* Fallow Deer (Cervus damd) 

Hon. S. Thorne George, who lived on Kawau from 1869 to 1884, 
says that the first fallow deer in the colony were introduced there 


by his uncle Sir Geo. Grey; but he cannot give the exact date of 
their introduction. In 1864 the Nelson Society received three fallow 
deer from England, and from these there has descended a well-known 
herd, but I cannot find any record of the increase and disposal of 
the original importation. In 1867 the Otago Society introduced two 
deer, in 1869 twelve, and in 1871 one. All these were liberated on the 
Blue Mountains, Tapanui, where they have increased to a vast extent, 
and now form one of the most important herds in New Zealand. 
Licences to shoot them have been issued for over 25 years. The most 
recent report (1921) from this district is that so many deer are being 
shot by the settlers that the herd is threatened with extinction. In 
1871 the Canterbury Society had four fallow deer in their gardens, 
but there is no record now obtainable as to where they came from, 
nor definitely as to what was done with them. But in later years some 
were running on the Culverden Estate and two more deer obtained 
from Tasmania were added to them. This herd did not increase, 
and apparently has been gradually destroyed since. In 1876 the 
Auckland Society received 28 deer (out of 33 shipped from London), 
and liberated 18 on the Maungakawa Range, Waikato; while 10 were 
sent down to Wanganui. The former herd has increased very largely, 
and is noted for the fine heads of the stags, due, no doubt, to the 
abundance of food and the favourable climatic conditions. The Wan- 
ganui herd is now also a large one. On Motutapu in the Hauraki Gulf, 
there is a very large herd numbering a thousand or more, and these 
were probably obtained in the first instance from the Waikato herd. 
Smaller, more recently established herds occur near Timaru, Hokitika 
and Lake Wakatipu. It is thus seen that the species is widely spread. 
Mr Hardcastle informs me that the rutting season for fallow deer is 
about April i3th to i5th, depending upon the weather. Frosty nights 
and clear days bring both fallow deer and red deer into season a 
little earlier, while warm weather delays the rut. 

Axis Deer or " Chital " (Cervus axis) 

In 1867 the Otago Society imported seven of these deer, which 
were liberated in the Goodwood Bush near Palmerston S. In 1871 
another stag was landed and added to the herd, which at that time 
numbered about 30. In 1881 the inspector reported that he had 
seen over 40. Then complaints began to come in from the settlers 
that the deer were a nuisance, and their numbers gradually diminished. 
Gradually they disappeared, apparently destroyed by the settlers in 
the district, and none has been seen for the last 20 years. In 1898 
the Wellington Society received a pair from the Zoological Society 


of Calcutta, and placed them on Kapiti Island in Cook Strait. They 
had not increased by 1902. In 1907 the Tourist Department liberated 
five deer at Mount Tongariro in the North Island; and in 1909 five 
at Dusky Sound in the South Island. No reports have as yet been 
received regarding either of these experiments. 

* Sambur Deer or Sambar (Cervus unicolor) 
In 1875 tne Auckland Society received a buck from a Mr Lark- 
worthy, and in the following year a doe. There is no further record 
of these deer in the Society's reports 1 . But in the annual report of 
the Wellington Society for 1894 it is stated: 

The Ceylon Elk (Sambur Deer) imported into the Carnarvon district, 
Manawatu, by Mr Larkworthy, have been brought under the provisions 
of the Animals Protection Act, and are at present under the control of 
the Society. It has been reported that the herd now numbers about thirty. 

There is no word of these deer in any previous report of the Wellington 
Society. Then in 1900 the herd is reported to number about 100, 
" but there is good reason to think that they are really more numerous. 
. . .A pair of antlers were found on the hills near Cambridge, and 
two deer were shot there," some 200 miles from Carnarvon. 

In 1906 the Wellington Society (Marton Branch) reported that 
"Stag-shooting (Sambur) was opened for the first time this season 
in this district,. . .but we fear that numbers of stags have been shot 
by persons unauthorised to do so." This poaching has gone on 
regularly for many years past, and though the herd seems now a 
fairly large one, the local rangers complain of indiscriminate destruc- 
tion in season and out of season. In 1907 the Tourist Department 
imported two deer (from Noumea) and liberated them in the Rotorua 
district, adding to them some others secured in the Manawatu, so 
as to form the nucleus of a new herd. 

* Wapiti or Elk (Cervus canadensis) 

Sir George Grey introduced a pair of these deer into Kawau 
Island some time in the seventies. The doe died, and the buck had 

1 The difficulty of getting accurate and authoritative information on this subject 
is characteristic of the manner in which many of the reports of the acclimatisation 
societies have been kept. The governing bodies of these societies frequently included 
enthusiasts who took an interest in the work of introducing what they considered 
desirable forms of animals ; but the secretaries in many cases were selected for their 
capacity in keeping the business of the society in order and in conducting corre- 
spondence. The secretaries and the personnel of the committees were also frequently 
changed. The result has been a great want of continuity in many cases, so that 
there is now no consecutive record of the work done. Thus in the case of the Sambur 
deer referred to, the only record of introduction is that of the two specimens 
received by the Auckland Society in 1875-76; yet it is almost certain there were 
others. If not, then all the Sambur in New Zealand up to 1907 were the progeny 
of one pair, and of course are very closely interbred. 


to be shot as he became dangerous. In 1905 the Tourist Department 
obtained 10 of these deer, three bucks and seven does (presented 
by President Roosevelt), and liberated them at the head of George 
Sound on the S.W. coast of the South Island. The country, which 
is eminently suitable for all kinds of deer, is very seldom visited. 
But Mr Moorhouse, Conservator of Fish and Game (Rotorua), who 
was sent down by the Government in February, 1921, reports that 
these deer are now well established in the neighbourhood of the 
Sound. In April, 1921, they are reported to have crossed over into 
the Lake Te Anau district. 

Japanese Deer (Cervus mkd) 

In 1885 the Otago Society received three of these deer from Mr J 
Bathgate, and they were liberated on the Otekaike estate near Oamaru 
Five years later they were reported as "doing well and growing into 
a nice little herd." In the report for 1892 it is stated that "little or 
nothing has been heard about these deer on the Otekaike estate." 
Apparently they have all been destroyed as there is no further record 
of them. In 1905 Government obtained six Japanese deer and liberated 
them on the Kaimanawa Ranges, near Taupo. 

Black-tailed Deer ; Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) 
In 1905, five of these deer, purchased in America, were imported 
by the Tourist Department and liberated at Tarawera, Hawke's Bay. 
The Hawke's Bay Society reports them as increasing in March, 1915. 

* Virginian Deer; White-tailed Deer (Cariacus virginianus; 

Odocoileus virginianus) 

The Tourist Department imported 18 of these deer in 1905. Of 
these nine (two stags and seven hinds) were sent to Port Pegasus 
on Stewart Island, and nine to the Rees Valley, Lake Wakatipu. There 
is no further record regarding those in the last named locality; but 
the herd in Stewart Island has increased greatly, and threatens to 
destroy much of the vegetation, besides opening up the country 
which is a reserve for native birds to deer-stalkers. 

South American Deer (Cariacus chilensis) 

In 1870 the Auckland Society received three South American 
deer, probably of this species, from Mr W. A. Hunt. Beyond the 
mention of their receipt, there is no further record of them. 

* Moose; Elk (Alches machlis) 

The first attempt to introduce these animals was made by the 
Government in 1900, when 14 young ones were shipped on board 
the 'Aorangi' at Vancouver. Owing, however, to the rough voyage 


only four two bulls and two cows, nine months old arrived in 
New Zealand. They were liberated in 1901 near Hokitika, but appear 
soon to have separated, as in 1903, 'one cow was in one district, 
another at the gorge of the Hokitika River, while nothing was known 
of the bulls. In 1913 the cow at the junction of the Hokitika and 
Trews rivers was "in splendid condition, and as tame as a kitten." 
The others seem to have disappeared. In 1910 the Government 
obtained ten more, and these were liberated on the shores of Dusky 
Sound. Mr Moorhouse found (in February, 1921) that these deer 
were in considerable numbers round the Sound. Their food seems to 
consist of certain mosses, and the tops and ends of punga ferns 
(Cyathea dealbatd). 

Gnu (Connocheetes gnu) 

Sir George Grey introduced one or more of these quaint animals 
into Kawau about 1870, but there is apparently no record of what 
happened to them. 

* Ox (Bos taurus) 

From the earliest days of settlement, cattle were run in large 
numbers on the open country, seldom seeing men, and running 
practically wild. They were gathered together by stockmen at certain 
times of the year in order to brand the calves, castrate the young 
bulls, and separate marketable animals. Otherwise they ran wild, 
each herd or mob occupying its own particular area of country, and 
this they kept to, except in winter, when they roamed into the forest 
and fed on Panax, Melicytus, and other trees, of which they are very 
fond. It was inevitable that numbers of them should become truly 
wild, escaping altogether from the musterers, and getting right away 
into the back country. Consequently wild cattle have been very 
abundant in all the back country for the last seventy years. 

Apparently the first recorded introduction of cattle into New 
Zealand took place at the Bay of Islands, for the Rev. R. Taylor says 
that Marsden brought them over from New South Wales. This must 
have been in the twenties of last century. Dr McNab states that on 
30th March, 1833, John Bell set out from Sydney for Mana Island 
with ten head of cattle. He adds: 

With the exception of the domestic animals which accompanied the 
expeditions of Cook and Vancouver, this is the first record of any such 
having been taken to New Zealand, though it is incredible that sheep, 
cattle, goats and rabbits were unknown at the shore whaling stations of 
Preservation, Otago, Cloudy Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound and Kapiti. 



E. J. Wakefield saw wild cattle in 1839 on tne hills at the entrance 
of Pelorus Sound. In 1840 he states that they were abundant on 
Kapiti, and that they were the descendants of some given to the 
natives there in exchange for flax. I recall in 1868 how they used 
to come out of the Southland bushes during the winter season to 
feed on the paddocks of English grass. They raided these during the 
night, and when disturbed in the morning used to jump the fences and 
ditches just like deer. The Hon. S. Thorne George, M.L.C., writes 
(February, 1916): "When I first went to Kawau (1869) there was a 
large number of wild cattle. The island was originally occupied as a 
cattle station, but owing to the rough country and heavy bush, very 
many were lost and became quite wild." Mr A. C. Yarborough of 
Kohu Kohu informs me (August, 1916) that 40 years ago wild cattle 
were very numerous in all thebush country, and in those days Hokianga 
and the West Coast were nearly all covered with bush. The natives 
used to kill them in large quantities for the sake of their hides, which 
were valued at from 6s. to 125. each. In later years these wild cattle 
have been driven further and further back, until they are now found 
only in the ranges distant from settlement. These cattle are merely 
the descendants of tame ones which have wandered the Maoris' 
fences being usually of a defective character and are not of any 
distinct character. Wild cattle are found in the high country between 
Lake Wakatipu and the West Coast. Their tracks were numerous 
in the Valley of the Rockburn. 

Cattle were first introduced into Chatham Island in 1841, and 
soon became wild; and they used to be trapped by the natives in 
the early sixties. Wild cattle are now very numerous on the table land. 

In regard to the Southern Islands, cattle were landed on the 
Auckland Islands in 1850 by Captain Enderby, but they were all 
killed off by sealers. In 1894, cattle were landed from the ' Hinemoa ' 
on Enderby Island and Rose Island, where (according to Cockayne) 
these were about 10 and 15 head respectively in 1903. Aston says 
that on Enderby Island they have exterminated the tussocks of Poa 
littorosa. Cattle were landed on Antipodes Island at various times 
between 1886 and 1900, but they either died or were killed off by cast- 
aways. Three more were landed in 1903 ; these have disappeared also. 

Effect of Cattle on Native Vegetation. Aston, who was over 
the country in 1914 and 1915, says: 

Wild cattle are abundant in unfrequented valleys and gorges of the 
Tararua Range. They are apparently Hereford cattle gone wild. They eat 
out many species of native plants, and have destroyed great numbers of 
Ligusticum dissectum, which is one of the most abundant and characteristic 
plants of the higher ground. 


He adds: 

Cattle are particularly fond of certain native trees and shrubs, e.g., 
Tahoe or Hina hina, Melicytus ramiflorus; Karamu, Coprosma grandifolia 
and C. tenuifolia\ Broadleaf, Griselinia littoralis, Mangrove, Avicennia 
officinalis; Tawa, Beilschmiedia tazva; and Karaka, Corynocarpus leevigata. 

According to Mr Maxwell, caretaker of the Waipoua Kauri Forest 
Reserve, cattle eat out the following plants from the undergrowth 
of the forest: Melicytus ramiflorus, Pittosporum tenuifolium, Hoheria 
populnea, Coriaria ruscifolia, Corynocarpus leevigata, Panax (Notho- 
panax) arboreum, Schefflera digitata, Coprosma robusta, Myrsine 
(Rapanea) Urvillei, Olea lanceolata, Geniostoma ligustrifolia, Solanum 
aviculare, Veronica salicifolia, Vitex lucens, Freycinetia Banksii, and 
Cyathea medullaris. In addition to these, cattle chew the leaves of 
bracken fern (Pteris aquilina), of the flax (Phormium tenax)and cabbage 
tree (Cordyline australis)\ and occasionally eat Ngaio (Myoporum 
Icetum) and anise (Angelica gingidium). 

* Common Sheep (Ovis sp.) 

The first attempt to introduce sheep into New Zealand was made 
by Captain Cook on his second voyage, and was unsuccessful. He 
brought away two rams and four ewes from the Cape of Good Hope, 
but by the time the 'Resolution' entered Dusky Sound in March, 
1773, only a ram and an ewe survived, and they were in such a bad 
state, "suffering from an inveterate sea-scurvy," that their teeth were 
loose, and they could not eat the green food which was given to them. 
Forster in his Journalstates that they "were in so wretched a condition, 
that their further preservation was very doubtful." However, they 
must have improved, for considering the country about Dusky Sound 
too rough and forest-clad for them, Cook took them on to Queen 
Charlotte Sound, which was entered on i8th May. In his Journal 
he says : 

On the 22nd in the morning, the ewe and ram, I had with so much 
care and trouble brought to this place, were both found dead, occasioned, 
as was supposed, by eating some poisonous plant. Thus my hopes of 
stocking this country with a breed of sheep were blasted in a moment. 

According to the Rev. R. Taylor, Marsden brought over a merino 
ram and four ewes from Sydney in the twenties. These animals, 
which were a present from the King, were the originals of the first 
flock of sheep in New Zealand. I cannot find when sheep were next 
brought into the Colony, but as soon as settlement began they were 
imported freely from New South Wales. In those early days fences 
were very rough, and little or no attempt was made to keep the sheep 


within enclosures. They were therefore allowed to roam freely over 
the open country, and were only mustered at rare intervals for shearing, 
tailing the lambs, etc. It was inevitable, therefore, that numbers 
escaped the musterers, especially on high and inaccessible country, 
and that thus wild sheep became very common, especially in the 
mountain districts of the South Island. 

Twenty or thirty years ago when the minds of naturalists were 
saturated with Darwinian views, it was somewhat confidently antici- 
pated that isolation would lead to the rapid development of new 
varieties and species, and that such changes might well be looked 
for in New Zealand. At the meeting of the Australasian Association 
in Christchurch in 1891, 1 read a paper " on some Aspects of Acclima- 
tisation in New Zealand " from which I take the following extract : 

In the district of Strath-Taieri, in Otago, some years ago, certain sheep 
on one of the runs probably the progeny of a single ram were found 
to be evidently short-winded. Apparently the action of the heart was 
defective, for, when these sheep were driven, they would run with the rest 
of the flock for a short distance, and then lie down panting. The result of 
this peculiar affection was that, at nearly every mustering, these short- 
winded sheep used to be left behind, being unable to be driven with the 
rest. Sometimes they were brought on more slowly afterwards; but, if it 
happened to be shearing-time, they were simply caught and shorn where 
they lay. As a result of this peculiar condition, a form of artificial selection 
was set up, the vigorous, active sheep being constantly drafted away for 
sale, etc., while this defective strain increased with great rapidity through- 
out the district; for, whenever the mobs were mustered for the market, 
shearing, or drafting, these "cranky" sheep (as they came to be called) 
were left behind. This defective character appeared in every succeeding 
generation, and seemed to increase in force, reminding one of the Ancon 
sheep referred to by Darwin. At first, of course, the character was not 
recognized as hereditary; but, as the numbers of this "cranky" breed 
increased to a very serious extent and spread over the district, it came at 
last to be recognized as a local variety. When the runs on which these 
sheep were abundant were cut up and sold, or re-leased in smaller areas, 
the purchasers found it necessary, for the protection of their own interests, 
to exterminate the variety, of which hundreds were found straggling over 
the country. This was easily and effectually done in the following manner. 
As soon as a sheep was observed it was pursued ; but, after running for a 
couple of hundred yards at a great rate of speed, it would drop down panting 
behind a big stone or other shelter, and seemed incapable for a time of 
rising and renewing its flight. It was immediately destroyed ; and, in this 
manner a useless but, to the naturalist, a very interesting variety was 

Wild sheep are still abundant in some of the wilder parts of the 
country, and are especially numerous in the high limestone country 
of Marlborough. Mr Aston says: 


On the North-west side of Isolated Hill is a gently-sloping tussock land 
stretching down towards the Ure river, on which are hundreds of wild 
sheep in small flocks of about half-a-dozen in each. All, rams, ewes, and 
particularly the lambs, are, as far as we could see, in excellent condition. 
Some were curiously marked and coloured. One had a brown body, black 
legs and face, and white forehead. The rams had large horns, and all were 
tamer than ordinary domestic sheep. Their food appears to consist of the 
Silver Tussock, Poa ccespitosa, which was well eaten down; a Poa like P. 
colensoi; the Spear Grass, Aciphylla Colensoi; and several other native plants 
and shrubs. 

In another place he says: "these sheep destroy the Gaya trees" 
(the mountain ribbon-wood, Gaya Lyallii), " by eating the bark, which 
we watched one stripping off in large sheets." 

Sheep have been liberated on the Auckland Islands at various 
times since 1890, and on the Antipodes between 1886 and 1900, but 
they either died off or were killed by castaways. They were also 
liberated on Campbell Island between 1888 and 1890. In 1896 the 
island was taken up as a sheep run (a piece of vandalism on the part 
of the man who did it, and the Government which granted it), and 
in 1903 there were about 4500 sheep on it. The changes produced in 
the vegetation have been described and discussed at length by Dr 
Cockayne. In 1907, according to Laing, there were some 8000 sheep 
on the island, and the transformation and destruction of the native 
flora was going on at a great rate. 

They were introduced into Chatham Island in the early forties, 
but as late as 1855 there were only about 200 of them. When sheep 
stations were organised in 1866 there were about 2000 on the island, 
and by 1900 they had increased to about 60,000, and a number of them 
were wild. They have profoundly altered the native vegetation by 
eating 'out many species, such as Myosotidium nobile, Aciphylla 
Traversii, Veronica Dieffenbachii and allied species, all of which they 
eat greedily. 

At the present time (1919) several hundred wild sheep are running on 
the island of Kapiti which is now a plant and animal sanctuary. Steps are 
being taken to destroy these animals. Nearly all of them carry long, 
filthy dags ; very many of them have the wool torn more or less completely 
from the back by the bushes. Not only do they prevent to a very large 
extent the growth of young trees, but they open up the forest to the sweep 
of the wind. They prepare it for invasion by grass, tauhinu (Pomaderris 
phyliccefolia), manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), and other hardy plants. 
Although the manuka is one of the least objectionable of these invaders, 
yet in dry situations, such as some of the spurs, where it harbours no moss 
or liverworts, ve'ry little humus is formed, and that little is quickly washed 
away by rain. On some spurs for example, on one just south of Waterfall 
where manuka has replaced the forest, much soil has been removed, 


and in no great time the manuka itself will be unable to retain its footing. 
In such cases the manuka marks a phase in the passage to utter barrenness. 

I quote this from the report on Kapiti Island recently made by 
Professor H. B. Kirk and Mr W. E. Bendall, as showing the far- 
reaching effects of introduced animal life on the physiography of the 

In connection with the introduction of sheep into New Zealand, 
it is of interest to note the remarkable development of the carnivorous 
habit in the kea or mountain parrot (Nestor), a bird which originally 
fed, chiefly, if not exclusively, on a vegetable diet. In 1867 it was 
observed in regard to certain sheep in the Wanaka district of Otago 
that they were wounded or badly scarred on the loins. It was found 
that this was done by keas, which lighted on the backs of the sheep, 
and attacked them with their powerful beaks. Many shepherds in 
the district saw the birds attack the sheep, especially when the latter 
were in snow or were in poor condition. The keas lighted down on 
the wool, and bit into the loin generally above the kidneys. Numbers 
of sheep succumbed to the injuries received, the loss in the Lake 
Hawea region being estimated at 5 per cent, annually over the whole 
of the flocks. In the Amuri highlands in North Canterbury the annual 
loss of *j\ to 8 per cent, was estimated to have risen to 15 per cent, 
in 1906. All keas do not attack sheep. The habit was originally 
acquired in the Wanaka district, and spread from there; but it has 
now been recorded from the Takitimos in the south to Amuri in 
the north. The origin of the habit is not very clear, but it is probable 
that it was first learned by keas picking the fat off sheep-skins which 
were hung on stockyards or on the wire fences, that then they 
attacked dead sheep which are common enough in the high country, 
especially, after heavy snowfalls and that from these they learned 
to attack living sheep. Keas shot on mountain country have often 
beenfound to have a good deal of both flesh and wool in their stomachs, 
but it is quite possible that this has been taken from carcasses lying 
in the snow drifts, where they are often preserved for a long time. 

Bharal ; Himalayan Bhurrel Sheep ; Blue Sheep (Ovis nayaur} 

In 1909 the Tourist Department liberated three of these animals 
in the Mount Cook district. Mr J. R. Murrell, guide at the Hermitage, 
writing in October, 1915, says : " Three were liberated, one of which was 
in poor health. Another was caught disturbing ewes on a neighbouring 
station, and was perhaps destroyed. The third has not been seen since 
being liberated." 


* Goat (Capra esgagrus) 

The introduction of goats dates from Captain Cook's second 
voyage. He says in his Journal: 

On 2nd June, 1773, I sent on shore, on the East side of the Sound, 
(Queen Charlotte), two goats male and female. The former was something 
more than a year old, but the latter was much older. She had two fine 
kids some time before we arrived in Dusky Bay, which were killed by 

Forster in his Journal says they were left by Captain Furneaux in 
an unfrequented part of East Bay, " this place being fixed on in hopes 
that they would there remain unmolested by the natives, who indeed 
were the only enemies they had to fear." 

On the third voyage, the 'Resolution' was in Queen Charlotte 
Sound from the i2th to 25th February, 1777, and Captain Cook says: 

I gave Matahouah two goats, a male and a female with kid, (and to 
Tomatongeauooranuc two pigs, a boar and a sow). They made me a 
promise not to kill them; though I must own I put no great faith in this. 
The animals which Captain Furneaux sent on shore here, and which soon 
after fell into the hands of the natives, I was now told were all dead. 

It is popularly believed that all the wild goats of New Zealand 
are descended from those introduced by Captain Cook, but while 
this may be partly true of those in the South Island, especially at 
its northern end, it can hardly explain those found in the North 
Island. It is more likely that they are descended from escaped 
animals; they are now abundant in many parts of New Zealand. 
Mr F. G. Gibbs tells me that goats were imported into Nelson some 
time in the forties. "In the fifties a large number were kept 
tethered on some hills in the Maitai Valley, still called the Goat 
Hills. Some of these goats escaped into the back country, and were 
the progenitors of the wild goats." 

In the high country of Marlborough they are mainly of three 
colours, black -which is perhaps the commonest khaki and white. 
In a trip through the canon of the Ure River, Mr B. C. Aston says: 
"the fusillades of stones showered down on us by the goats which 
we had disturbed were a source of ever present danger." 

Great numbers of them are to be met with in the rocky and 
precipitous country at Palliser Bay, near Wellington. Except when 
they move they are difficult to see, as their colours blend almost 
undistinguishably with that of their natural surroundings. They are 
abundant on Kapiti Island and unfortunately are also common in 
the Mt Egmont reserve, where they are doing much damage. 

They also occur, though not commonly, on the sparsely scrub- 


clad faces of the west coast, north and south of Hokianga, as well as 
on the outskirts of bush land. They are not therefore considered to 
be of any commercial value. 

Writing of those in the Lake Wakatipu district, Mr L. Hotop of 
Queenstown says (April, 1916): 

There is an immense number spread all over the Lakes district, a 

moderate estimate gives them as many as 30,000 They are principally 

at Moonlight, Skippers, Sandhills, and at the lower end of the Lake, 
seriously interfering with the pasturage in these localities; one runholder 
has paid year after year for as many as a thousand during the season. 
At Moonlight, a digger, during the past nine months, has shot 550. My 
informant tells me he was offered 2s. ^d. a skin for as many as he could send. 

Mr W. H. Gates of Skippers writes (April, 1916): 

there are a lot of wild goats here, almost within rifle-range of my cabin .... 
One sheep-farmer gave a shilling per pair of ears, and a shilling for each 
pelt. The male is a rough-looking customer; some have horns 15 inches 
in length, and 2\ inches by if inches at the root; and they grow in a slightly 
spiral form .... I think there is a strain of many breeds running through 
them all. Some have long hair, but are not the Angora breed. Some are 
almost white, but the chief colours are black and white, or black and tan. 
I have noticed here (and also on the West Coast) that the female has her 
young in winter, when food is not plentiful. Why this is I never could 

Goats are still found wild on the Galloway Station, Central Otago, 
though not so abundant as in former years. They live in the high 
country, and do not come down to the settlements. Mr A. Gunn, 
who managed this large run for many year-s, tells me: 

they are of great use to sheep farmers, as they keep down the "lawyers" 
(Rubus australis), and thus save the sheep from being entangled. In shooting 
them, if the wind is coming from them, you can smell them before you 
see them; and while they are feeding a billy-goat is always standing on 
guard. While they are of all colours, black and white is the commonest, 
though brownish- red, grey and even occasionally a white one are found. 
They live in the roughest places they can find. 

They are also found in considerable numbers round the south- 
west corner of the South Island, but whether they have escaped from 
the settlements about Preservation Inlet, or have worked overland 
from Southland it is not possible to say with certainty. Probably the 
former is the explanation of their occurrence from Puysegur Point 

Mr W. R. Bullen of Kaikoura informs me (August, 1916) that they 
are numerous on his run, but while they eat very much the same food 
as the sheep do, they keep the scrub and bush open, so that the sheep 
can move through it. 


The attempts made from time to time to acclimatise goats on 
the out-lying Southern Islands are of interest. Captain Enderby 
landed some on Enderby Island in 1850, and Captain Norman landed 
them both on the Auckland and Enderby Islands in 1865, but none 
appears to have survived. Cockayne says : " Two or three were landed 
on Ewing Island in 1895, but none have been seen recently. On 
Ocean Island, a very small island in the Auckland Group, goats are 
numerous at the present time, but I have no details as to how they 
got there." Captain Bollons writing me in February, 1916, speaks 
also of the last-named island, and adds: 

Goats have been sent down from time to time to the Auckland Islands 
since 1890, most of which have either died or been killed off for food 
by castaways. At the Snares they were liberated about 1889, but soon 
died off. At Campbell Island some were landed in 1888 and 1890, and 
several were alive when the main island was taken up for a sheep run in 
1896. At the Antipodes several were liberated between 1886 and 1900, 
but were either used for food by the castaways or died off. 

Special breeds of Goats. In 1867 the Canterbury Society intro- 
duced three Cashmere goats, but it is not stated what was done with 
them. In the same year they introduced a pair of Angora goats, 
and these commenced to breed at once. From a newspaper cutting 
dated 1876, I find that "a flock of 120 Angora Goats on the Port 
Hills (Lyttelton), chiefly descended from two pairs introduced into 
New Zealand by the Melbourne Acclimatisation Society, has recently 
been dispersed and sold." The Otago Society imported four in 1867, 
and liberated them, but it is not stated where. The Auckland Society 
in 1869 also imported a number, and sold them to a Mr Howick. 
In addition to these, Angora goats were frequently introduced by 
private individuals, and in some cases became wild. Mr Aston writes 
(1916): "I hear that the Angora is hybridizing with the common 
goat in some parts of Maryborough." In the report of the Agricultural 
Department for 1903 it is stated: 

The original flock (of Angora Goats) imported from Victoria and South 
Australia has now assumed considerable proportions, partly through the 
natural increase and the purchase of nineteen grade nannies from Mr 
Taylor White, of Wimbledon, Hawke's Bay. . . .The mob has been running 

at the Weraroa Experimental Station up till now The usual wire fence 

will not keep them in, consequently wire netting must be resorted to. . . . A 
few of the ordinary goats, with a pure Angora billy, have been sent to the 
natives in the Urewera Country, Bay of Plenty. If not allowed to run mid 
they should in a few years become of some commercial value. 

No native fence will keep a goat in. The Angora goat is now being 
bred in fairly large numbers especially in the Auckland province in 


order to keep the blackberry pest in check. They are usually 
tethered close to the bushes, and shifted frequently as they eat them 
down. The total number of these animals registered in the Dominion 
in 1917 was only 6836. 

*Thar; Himalayan Goat (Capra jemlaicd) 

In 1904 six of these animals were received from the Duke of 
Bedford, and were liberated near the Hermitage, Mt Cook. In 1913 
three more were liberated near the Franz Joseph Glacier. Mr J. R. 
Murrell, guide at the Hermitage, writing in October, 1915, says: 

Other guides and I saw a few days ago a nice "mob" of 13 Thar on 
the Sealey Range ; these were in the pink of condition and doubtless will 
become plentiful. Previously a much larger number were seen, but doubt- 
less there are a number of mobs on this range. 

By the end of 1920 these herds had increased very considerably. 

* Chamois (Rupicapra rupicaprd) 

In 1888 enquiries were set on foot by the late Sir Julius von Haast 
and the author with the object of obtaining chamois for New Zealand. 
Dr von Hochstetter of Vienna who was communicated with was 
hopeful of obtaining some partially-tame animals from the King of 
Bavaria's park near Munich, and arrangements were made with 
Hagenbeck of Hamburg for their transmission to the Colony. To 
meet the expenses of shipment a vote of 150 was placed on the 
estimates by the Government, and the passage of this vote through 
the House of Representatives led to a scene of historic interest, and 
one of the most amusing incidents in the history of the House. The 
vote was objected to by Mr Kerr, member for Motueka, a goldfield's 
representative more remarkable for his vigour than for his knowledge 
or the accuracy of his information. The following is an extract from 
the New Zealand Times of 28th June, 1889 : 


The vote of 150 appearing on the estimates for the importation of 
Chamois afforded Mr Kerr an opportunity last night of protesting vigorously 
against the introduction of more pests into the Colony. Amidst consider- 
able merriment the honourable member said he was reliably informed that 
this animal was a cross between a pig and a sheep, and that it bred scab ; 
and, in case it might be a goat he reminded the Government that there 
were already plenty of these animals running wild. The climax was reached 
when Mr Kerr unsuspectingly quoted from the book handed to him by 
Mr Turnbull (and which proved to be Mark Twain's Tramp Abroad) a 
remarkable history of the habits of "small deer," under which name the 
celebrated American humourist concealed the identity of the flea. "Was 
it reasonable," Mr Kerr asked, "to spend money on the importation of 


animals no bigger than a mustard seed ? " The House, however, was quite 
resolved, and deliberately passed the vote, in spite of the earnest protests 
of the member for Motueka 1 . 

I cannot recall now, nor find any record, as to why the introduc- 
tion of chamois was not carried out in 1889, but I think the cause 
was that the animals could not be procured. No further attempt was 
made till recently. In 1907, the Government received eight chamois, 
a present from the Emperor of Austria, and these were liberated on 
Mt Cook. In 1913, two more, from the same source, were received 
and were set free in the same locality. Unfortunately one of the latter, 
a buck, attacked a party of tourists near the Mueller Hut, and was 
killed by the guide. It is most unusual for chamois to attack persons, 
but this particular animal is believed to have been in captivity for 
some years prior to importation. By latest reports (August, 1920) the 
flock is increasing fast and the animals are in very fine condition, 
herds of 30, 40 and 70 being noticed at one time. There is, therefore, 
no doubt that this species will be shortly strongly established in the 
Southern Alps. 

Family FELID^E 
* Cat (Felts catus) 

Wild cats have been found in New Zealand from the early days 
of settlement, though for long they never strayed very far from the 
abodes of men. But after rabbits began to increase in many parts 
at such a rate as to reduce the sheep-carrying capacity of the country, 
sheep farmers began to purchase cats in the towns. These were taken 

1 The passage which Mr Kerr quoted, in which he spoke of the animals he 
objected to as "shammies," is as follows: 

"Within a day or two I made another discovery. This was that the lauded 
chamois is not a wild goat; that it is not a horned animal; that it is not shy; that it 
does not avoid human society ; and that there is no peril in hunting it. The chamois 
is a black or brown creature no bigger than a mustard seed ; you do not have to go 
after it, it comes after you ; it arrives in vast herds and skips and scampers all over 
your body inside your clothes ; thus it is not shy ; but extremely sociable ; it is not 
afraid of man, on the contrary, it will attack him; its bite is not dangerous, but 
neither is it pleasant ; its activity has not been overstated, if you try to put your 
finger on it, it will skip a thousand times its own length at one jump, and no eye 
is sharp enough to see where it lights. A great deal of romantic nonsense has been 
written about the Swiss chamois and the perils of hunting it, whereas the truth 
is that even women and children hunt it, and fearlessly; indeed, everybody hunts 
it ; the hunting is going on all the time, day and night, in bed and out of it. It is 
poetic foolishness to hunt it with a gun ; very few people do that ; there is not one 
man in a million can hit it with a gun. It is much easier to catch it than it is to shoot 
it, etc., etc., etc." 

The same gentleman is credited with another amusing "acclimatisation" 
blunder. When the Nelson Borough Council proposed to import half a dozen 
Venetian Gondolas to be placed on the lake in the Public Gardens, he protested 
against such extravagance " Why not import a pair, and then let Nature take its 
course ? " 


out to the back country, turned out and fed for a time, till they were 
established. No doubt some died, but most became more or less 
wild and learned to subsist on the smaller animals of the neighbour- 
hood. They certainly destroyed many young rabbits. They cleared 
off the rats which were formerly so common, they also largely 
exterminated native lizards, and did much to destroy many native 
and introduced birds. Mr Chas. J. Peters, of Mount Somers, considers 
that wild cats are far more effective in keeping down rabbits than 
stoats and weasels, and estimates that a cat will kill more rabbits 
in a month than one of the others will in six months. Dieffenbach, 
writing of the Piako district (Auckland) in 1839, says: "the cats 
which, on becoming wild, have assumed the streaky grey colour of 
the original animal while in a state of nature, form a great obstacle 
to the propagation of any new kinds of birds, and also tend to the 
destruction of many indigenous species." This statement about the 
colour of wild cats has been made much of. It is only true to a limited 
extent, and I have always felt that such statements coming from a 
traveller who had only limited means of observing the facts, and who 
apparently founded his conclusions on a few isolated observations 
of the settlers, are not always safe to generalise from. In this instance 
they led Darwin (in The Variation of Plants and Animals under 
Domestication) to quote him, and to use the statement as a proof of 
the strong tendency to reversion shown by the cat when it escaped 
from domestication. At the time Dieffenbach wrote, settlement was 
quite in its infancy, and cats had not long been introduced. It is 
probable, therefore, that his statement, whether the result of his own 
or other people's observations, referred to cats which were themselves 
the progeny of grey animals. It certainly is the case that in Central 
Otago, where cats were freely liberated to cope with the rabbit pest, 
animals of many colours are now found wild 1 . 

Mr Robert Scott, M.P. for Otago Central, who had exceptional 
opportunities for observing the facts, has recently given me most 
interesting information regarding this question. He says : 
the wild cat was no doubt the descendant of the shepherds' and miners' 
tame cat. The predominating colour was grey-striped, or tiger-striped as 
some people called them, occasionally yellow, and rarely black or black 
and white. The time I write of was the seventies, say from 1870 on to 
the time when poisoning the rabbits with phosphorized grain came in. 
The cats, though not numerous, were fairly common especially in districts 
where cover, such as fern and scrub, was plentiful. They grew to an 

1 In a paper entitled "Red Cats and Disease" (Trans. N.Z. Inst. xxxi, p. 680), 
Mr Richard Henry refers to the occurrence of distemper among wild cats at Mana- 
pouri Station in 1881, and states that red cats which were always males seemed 
to survive, when those of other colours succumbed to the disease. He also states 
that cats which live wholly on rabbits are very liable to disease. 


immense size and were game to the last if attacked ; in fact no dog would 
tackle one single-handed. They were always in the pink of condition, 
which may be accounted for by the abundance of feed available in the shape 
of wekas, ducks and rats, with perhaps a dead sheep or bullock occasionally. 
When the rabbit poisoning came in that class or variety of cat disappeared 
along with the wild pig and the weka. The reason for the extermination 
of the cat is because it prefers the entrails to the flesh. Since that time up 
to the present cats have been turned out in considerable numbers, but the 
rabbit-trapping has effectually prevented their increase, and the survivors 
still retain their original colours, that is black, black and white, grey, grey 
and white, etc., but they are much smaller than the wild cat of forty years 
ago. My opinion is that had the original cat survived till to-day the colour 
would have invariably been grey, or rather grey-striped. 

Mr H. C. Weir of Ida Valley Station, Otago, states that on high 
country where rabbit-traps are seldom if ever used, they grow to a 
very considerable size, and are most commonly of a grey colour, but 
yellow, grey and white, and black are also to be met with. He adds: 
" I cannot say I ever saw any approaching the tiger- like stripe of the 
home country Wild Cat, and I have seen a good few of them in the 
wilds of Sutherlandshire, Scotland." 

Some people consider that wild cats are responsible for much of 
the failure which has followed the constantly-renewed attempts to 
naturalise game birds. At the annual meeting of the Wellington 
Society in 1898, a member said: "cats are more destructive to game 
than all the hawks, weasels and stoats in the colony. Most of the bush 
coverts are full of these cats, a fact which he himself proved near 
Fielding where, with the assistance of traps baited with smoked fish, 
he caught many. " I think they may have contributed to some extent 
to this failure, but only in a few parts of the country, and then chiefly 
in the neighbourhood of settlements. I do not think wild cats have 
had much to do with the extermination of game. 

Mr B. C. Aston, in a paper on the Kaikoura Mountains, speaks 
of the half-wild cats which are found about deserted fencers' and 
musterers' camps, as retaining 

all their love for man's comradeship if encouraged, but they invariably 
refuse to eat anything that they have not killed themselves. They probably 
exist on rabbits, birds and mice. As a result of their hunting habits their 
chest and foreleg muscles are largely developed, and they have a different 
look to the ordinary domestic cat, being leaner, and quicker in action. 

When the Russian Commander Bellingshausen visited the Mac- 
quaries in 1820 he found numbers of wild cats, which hid among the 
foliage. There were at the time, however, two parties of traders (seal 
hunters ?) on the island, one of 13 and the other of 27 men, and these 
probably accounted for the cats. 


Captain Musgrave, who was a castaway from the schooner 
'Grafton' when she was wrecked on the Auckland Islands in 1864, 
found a cat in a trap, more than a year after the date of the wreck. 
" She soon cleared the hut of mice, which were dreadfully common.'* 

In 1868, H. H. Travers in his account of a visit to the Chatham 
Islands states that wild cats were very abundant, and that they had 
destroyed a great number of the indigenous birds. Mr F. A. D. Cox, 
writing to Mr Jas. Drummond in 1911, from the Chatham Islands, 
reports that on Mangare, a small island of the group, there is a colony 
of tortoise-shell cats ; the progeny of some liberated on the island in 
order to destroy the rabbits which were present in large numbers. 
He adds: "I do not know whether they have succeeded in killing 
out the rabbits, but they certainly have exterminated the small native 
birds." Presumably the Chatham Island Fern-bird (Sphenaeacus rufes- 
cens), which was only found on Mangare, has now ceased to exist. 
Mr J. Grant of Wanganui informs me that cats frequently catch 
eels; he has four or five direct observations of the fact (1918). Cats 
are also responsible for the destruction of birds and tuataras on 
Stephen's Island in Cook Strait, where they have exterminated the 
little wren Trover sia Lyalli, peculiar to this island. 

* Dog (Cants familiaris) 

When Captain Cook arrived in New Zealand in 1769, he found 
that the dog and a species of rat were the only mammals in these 
islands. The dog had been brought with them by the Maoris, and 
was similar to the form which was commpn in Polynesia. Most of 
the histories of the migrations of the Maori refer to the fact of their 
bringing dogs with them, so that they had probably been in the country 
for some centuries before the advent of Europeans. 

Crozet saw them in 1772 and described them as follows: 

The dogs are a sort of domesticated fox, quite black or white, very low 
on the legs, straight ears, thick tail, long body, full jaws, but more pointed 
than that of the fox, and uttering the same cry ; they do not bark like our 
dogs. These animals are only fed on fish, and it appears that the savages 
only raise them for food. Some were taken on board our vessels; but it 
was impossible to domesticate them like our dogs; they were always 
treacherous, and bit us frequently. They would have been dangerous to 
keep where poultry was raised or had to be protected ; they would destroy 
them just like true foxes. 

Forster, in his account of the second voyage, 1773, writing of 
Queen Charlotte Sound natives, says: 

"A good many dogs were observed in their canoes, which they seemed 
very fond of, and kept tied with a string round their middle ; they were of 
a rough, long-haired sort, with pricked ears, and much resembled the 


Common Shepherds' Cur, or Count Buffon's chien de berger. They were of 
different colours, some quite black, and others perfectly white. The food 
which these dogs receive is fish, or the same as their masters live on, who 
afterwards eat their flesh and employ the fur in various ornaments and 
dresses." Later on in the same journal he says: "The officers had ordered 
their black dog to be killed, and sent to the captain one half of it; this 
day (Qth June) therefore we dined for the first time on a leg of it roasted, 
which tasted so exactly like mutton that it was absolutely undistinguish- 

able In New Zealand, and in the tropical isles of the South Sea, the 

dogs are the most stupid, dull animals imaginable, and do not seem to 
have the least advantage in point of sagacity over our sheep. In the former 
country they are fed upon fish, in the latter on vegetables." 

Bellingshausen, who visited New Zealand in 1820, says: "We saw 
no quadrupeds except dogs of a small species. Captain Lazarew 
bought a couple. They are rather small, have a woolly tail, erect ears, 
a large mouth and short legs." 

Dieffenbach, writing nearly seventy years after Cook's visit, re- 
marks that : 

the native dog was formerly considered a dainty, and great numbers of 
them were eaten; but the breed having undergone an almost complete 
mixture with the European, their use as an article of food has been dis- 
continued, as the European dogs are said by the natives to be perfectly 
unpalatable. The New Zealand dog is different from the Australian dingo; 
the latter resembles in size and shape the wolf while the former rather 
resembles the jackal; its colour is reddish-brown, its ears long and straight. 

The Rev. R. Taylor says: "The New Zealand dog was small 
and long-haired, of a dirty white or yellow colour, with a bushy 
tail; this the natives state they brought with them when they first 
came to these islands." Then he adds : " it is not improbable, however, 
that they found another kind already in the country, brought by the 
older Melanesian race, with long white hair and black tail; it is said 
to have been very quiet and docile." 

S. Percy Smith saw several Maori dogs in a native village at 
Warea, near Cape Egmont, in 1852. They were long-bodied, fox- 
eared, sharp-nosed, long-haired, bushy-tailed, yellowish-brown, and 
dark almost to black in colour. They stood about 18 inches high. 
He branded them as curs. They were evidently lazy, stupid brutes, 
which never became wild. 

Mr Elsdon Best writes to Mr Drummond (Lyttelton Times, nth 
January, 1913): 

Some old Maoris of the East Coast district assert that before Captain 
Cook's visit there were two distinct breeds of dogs in New Zealand. One 
was a large dog, with long hair, and lop ears; the other a small dog with 
erect ears. The first was brought, they say, from Raiatea. This variety was 


bred solely for food and clothing; it was useless for hunting. The long hair 
covered the body as low as its knees, and there was a natural parting along 
the top of the back. The small dog was also introduced from Polynesia, 
and was useful for hunting the kiwi, weka and parera (grey duck). 

The so-called "Maori" dogs seen in the fifties and sixties he be- 
lieves were crosses. As to the word "pero-pero,"he says that whether 
it was Spanish in origin, or not, it is not improbable that Spanish 
vessels reached these shores before Cook's visit. 

For centuries the Spaniards concealed the results of their voyages very 
carefully. In the short accounts of their early voyages, the positions of 
the islands discovered by them were vague and unsatisfactory. The voyage 
made by Juan Fernandez westward from Chili, and then southward to a 
land inhabited by white people who made "good woven cloth," may point 
to a visit to New Zealand's shores. The natives of the more northern 
islands, unlike the Maoris, did not wear woven material, but used bark 
cloth, and "white people" might refer to the Maoris, as the Spanish 
voyagers called all true Polynesians white. 

H. J. Fletcher in a late issue of the Journal of the Polynesian 
Society states that the Maori dog was known at the Matapihi Station, 
Taupo, as late as 1896. The shepherds employed on the station shot a 
number of dogs, long-haired, bushy-tailed, and of a dirty white colour. 

Elsdon Best (April, 1913) gives some statements about the Maori 
dog as follows: 

(1) Captain Mair says that in his youth he saw these dogs trained 
to hunt by themselves through the kumara plantations for the large 
caterpillars of the Sphinx convolvuli. They were trained to put their 
noses under the trailing shoots of the vines and to turn the shoots 
over, in order to expose any caterpillars that might be present. If 
they succeeded in finding any they devoured them. If the dogs were 
not watched they ate pieces out of the pumpkins. 

(2) Savage, in Some Account of New Zealand, published in 1807, 

as far as I can learn, the natives have no larger animal than the dog, which 
is a native here, usually black and white, with sharp, pricked-up ears, the 
hair rather long, and in figure resembling the animal we call a foxhound. 

(3) Shortland (in 1856) says: 

The natives wore cloaks made from the skins of dogs before Captain 
Cook's time, and their manner of fabricating such cloaks is particularly 
ingenious. Moreover, the native breed of dogs still exists in New Zealand, 
though, perhaps, seldom in its original purity, and is preserved in some 
places for the sake of its skin. In appearance it is very unlike the European 
breeds. Its body is long, legs short, head sharp, tail long, straight and 
bushy. The hair is thick, straight, and tolerably long, varying in colour 
from white to brown, but it is not spotted. 


In a paper written by Dr Hector in 1876 on the "Remains of 
a Dog found near White Cliffs, Taranaki," he says: "The remains 
of a dog were found in a hollow tree which was imbedded in a cliff 
(at a depth of 19 ft.) near the Urenui River." Captain Rowan, the 
discoverer, and Dr Hector both seem to think that the dog must have 
crept into the tree, at a comparatively recent date, for though the 
lignite which occurred in one of the layers above the remains is of 
great antiquity, the state of preservation of the bones, as compared 
with the thorough alteration that the vegetable matter of the lignite 
has undergone, inclines me to believe that the dog remains are of 
modern origin. But even in that case, the circumstances under which 
they have been found, and the decayed state of the dentine layer of 
the teeth tend to refer them to a period further back than any pre- 
viously obtained. 

Dr Hector states (1876) that a bitch and full grown pup were 
known for several years in the densely wooded country between 
Waikawa and the Mataura plains, and did great damage among the 
flocks of sheep, but exhibited such cunning and daring that it was 
not till after hunting them for two years that they were shot by Mr 
Anderson, who presented them to the Colonial Museum. Of the 
smaller specimen both skin and skeleton were taken to the British 
Museum by Sir Geo. Grey, and the skin of the mother was pre- 
served here, and has been recognised by many old Maoris as a genuine 
Kurt or ancient Maori dog. 

In general appearance it resembles a poodle, but it presents 
characters unlike any other of the many breeds of dogs which we 
are familiar with. It is a large bodied dog with slender limbs, large 
ears, and a straight half-bushed tail, wide head, and small pointed 
nose. Its colour is white, with a black spot on the loins, and a brown 
spot on the crown of the head, and a few faint spots on the ears. Its 
nose is black, and its claws are white. The back is covered with hair. 
The total length is 3 ft., and the height of the shoulder 17 inches. 

Taylor White writing in 1889, says: 

I consider these dogs entirely distinct from the European dog. For the 
wild dogs met with on the Waimakariri River in the Alpine ranges of 
Canterbury during the year 1856, were in colour and markings identical 
with those found in the Alpine region of the Lake Wakatipu, Otago, in 
1860, a distance of several hundred miles apart. There seems little room 
to doubt that they were an original Maori dog. The fact of their wanting 
the two tan spots over the eyes mostly seen in European dogs of approxi- 
mate colour, is a very strong evidence also in favour of this opinion. 

The Maori dog has totally disappeared. Mr S. Percy Smith tells 
me that the last one he heard of was about 1896. 



When settlement began European dogs must have crossed freely 
with the native animal, and many both of the introduced and crossed 
dogs became truly wild, especially as there were sheep and goats to 
worry and pigs to chase and kill. 

Dr Lyall, who was surgeon on H.M.S. 'Acheron* during the 
survey of the coast of New Zealand in 1844, in a paper read in 1852 
before the Zoological Society of London says of the Kakapo, that : 

at a very recent period it was common all over the west coast of the Middle 
Island ; but there is now a race of wild dogs said to have overrun all the 
northern part of this shore, and to have almost extirpated the Kakapo 
wherever they have reached. 

The same thing was practically said by Brunner (1846-1848), who 
was nearly starved in S.W. Nelson owing to the destruction of the 
ground birds. 

The early settlers could not distinguish between Maori dogs and 
these half-wild curs. Thus R. Gillies, who arrived in Otago at the 
beginning of the settlement in 1848, writing in later years says: 

For some years after the settlers arrived here, the wild dog was the 

terror of the flock-master and the object of his inveterate hostility They 

ran from any tame dogs, and tame dogs, as a rule, would follow and attack 
them with all their master's antipathy .... The bulk of the wild dogs 
were not domestic animals gone wild, but the true old Maori wild dog. 

W. D. Murison, formerly editor of the Otago Daily Times, writing 
at the same period (1877), tells how in 1858, he and his brother took 
up country in the Maniototo Plains, which they reached by the Shag 
Valley. The wild dogs were very troublesome. The first was caught 
by a kangaroo dog (apparently imported from Australia for the pur- 
pose of hunting them). 

This particular wild dog was yellow in colour, and so was the second 
tilled, but the bulk of those ultimately destroyed by us were black and 
white, showing a marked mixture of the collie. The yellow dogs looked 
like a distinct breed. They were low set, with short pricked ears, broad 
forehead, sharp snout, and bushy tail. Indeed those acquainted with the 
dingo professed to see little difference between that animal and the New 
Zealand yellow wild dog. It may be remarked, however, that most of 
the other dogs we killed, although variously coloured, possessed nearly 

all the other characteristics of the yellow dog The wild dogs were 

generally to be met with in twos and threes; they fed chiefly on quail, 
ground larks, young ducks, and occasionally on pigs. On one occasion, 
when riding through the Ida-burn valley, we came across four wild dogs 
baiting a sow and her litter of young ones in a dry tussock lagoon. To our 
annoyance, our own dogs joined in the attack upon the sow, and the wild 

dogs got away without our getting one of them In all, we destroyed 

52 dogs between September, 1859, an< ^ December, 1860. 


Tancred writing of Canterbury in 1856 says: "A few dogs have 
escaped and become wild in unfrequented parts, where they have 
become dangerous to the flocks." 

The following paragraph appeared in the Auckland Herald on 
i8th November, 1866: 

It is not generally known that about Otamatea and the Wairoa the bush 
is infested with packs of wild dogs, as ferocious, but more daring, than 
wolves. These dogs hunt in packs of from three to six or eight. They are 
strong, gaunt large animals, and dangerous when met by a man alone. 
Not long since a Maori, when travelling from one settlement to another 
through the forest, was attacked by three of these animals at dusk, and 
only saved himself by climbing into a tree, where he was kept prisoner 
until late the next day. The extensive district over which these packs 
roam was once well stocked with wild pigs, but most of these have fallen 
victims to the dogs, and since this supply of food has failed the dogs have 
ventured after dark to the neighbourhood of native settlements and the 
homesteads of European settlers, in quest of prey. 

G. M. Massing, writing from Feldwick, Otago (March, 1913), 
states that wild dogs infested the country about Lake Wanaka in 1860. 
They were exceptionally plentiful on the western ranges and in the 
country near the Matukituki River. They became so troublesome that 
the settlers found it necessary to keep packs of kangaroo dogs to 
hunt and destroy them. Mr Massing describes them as of no particular 
breed, but just coarse inbred mongrels, shy, cautious and cowardly. 
He adds: 

In 1865, when exploring the Clark and Landsborough Rivers, tribu- 
taries of the Haast, I observed numerous tracks of wild dogs, but saw only 
one of the animals which came out of the bush across the river one evening. 
It was a large, rough-looking animal like a wolf, and when it caught sight 
of us it set up a most dismal howl, and plunged into the forest again. 

Mr Andrew Wilson, a veteran surveyor, writing (February, 1913) 
from Hangatiki, about 120 miles south of Auckland, says that the wild 
dogs which lived in the North Island forests a few years ago had a 
strain of the original Maori dog in them. He describes two he saw 
as of a reddish-fawn colour, about the size of an ordinary cattle-dog. 
As far as his experience went, the wild dogs never barked, but only 

Mr J. Hall (May, 1913) says that on the Kaingaroa Plains he found 
wild dogs, red in colour, with pointed ears, and, when full grown, as 
large as a small collie. They were usually five or six in a pack. When 
a person approached they retired to a safe distance, and gave a kind 
of howl. He never heard them bark, nor did he hear that they ever 
attacked anyone. On one occasion, however, when the late Mr R. 


Mayer, of Otiamuri, was driving along the edge of the plains with his 
wife, a mob of five or six wild dogs rushed them and jumped at the 
horses' heads. On another occasion, a young Maori came from a 
neighbouring pa to see him. In a short time he returned with a 
terrified look on his face, and stated that a pack of wild dogs were 
attacking a large calf. Mr Hall, taking his gun, went to the scene, 
and was just in time to drive the dogs off and save the calf. When 
travelling over the plains with domestic dogs, Mr Hall noticed that 
the latter can scent the wild dogs miles off. As soon as they receive 
the scent, they stand and watch, and their hair becomes bristly 
almost at once. 

My son, G. Stuart Thomson, informs me that wild dogs were at 
one time so common in Marlborough, and did so much damage on 
the sheep runs, that packs of hunting dogs were kept and bred for 
the special purpose of running them down. ,5 per head used to be 
paid for wild dogs. 

Mr Elsdon Best wrote that in 1877, the Rev. W. Colenso said in 
regard to Maori dog-skin garments: "Many a dog-skin mat has he 
made within the past fifty years of the skins of dogs of the small 
mongrel breed, before European clothing became common among 
the Natives." 

As settlement proceeded and the country became opened up, 
wild dogs were gradually exterminated. The only ones which are 
now met with are curs which have managed to escape from their 
owners and have taken to rabbit- or to sheep-killing. 

Bellingshausen reported wild dogs on the Macquaries in 1820, but 
it is improbable that they long survived the sealers, who probably 
originally brought them. As soon as the killing of seals and sea- 
birds stopped, the dogs probably died out. Captain Musgrave, who 
was wrecked on the Auckland Island in 1864, discovered wild dogs 
like sheep dogs on the island. 


*Ferret ; Polecat (Putorius foetidus) . * Stoat ; Ermine (Putorius erminea) . 
*Weasel (Putorius vulgaris) 

Nothing in connection with the naturalisation of wild animals into 
New Zealand has caused so much heart-burning and controversy as 
the introduction of these bloodthirsty creatures. 

The Canterbury Society introduced five ferrets in 1867, and an 
additional one in 1868. They were apparently not liberated, though 
the progeny was probably sold to private individuals. In 1873 the 


Society had six in Christchurch Gardens. Probably private individuals 
(dealers) introduced them at all the chief centres, but there is no record. 

As rabbits began to increase to an alarming extent, various sugges- 
tions were made as to importing what was called "the natural enemy." 
One authority actually proposed to introduce Arctic foxes, because 
their fur would be so valuable. When it was pointed out to him that 
they would probably prefer lamb to rabbit, he replied that as they 
did not know anything about lambs in their native haunts it was 
improbable that they would take to eating them in New Zealand. 
Fortunately his proposal was not given effect to. Meanwhile sheep 
farmers brought pressure to bear on the Government, and as a result 
steps were taken to obtain ferrets. Numbers of these were introduced 
in 1882, and in the following year, Mr Bailey, Chief Rabbit Inspector, 
recommended the introduction of stoats and weasels. To show the 
scale on which these recommendations were carried out, I summarise 
from Mr Bailey's reports for four years as follows : 

(a) In July, 1883, it is stated that since March, 1882 (15 months), 
the Agent-General had made 32 shipments of ferrets from London, 
numbering altogether 1217 animals. Of these only 178 were landed, 
at a cost of 953. Of 241 purchased in Melbourne, 198 were landed 
at a cost of 224. Thus the total number landed was 376, and the 
cost 1177, or 3. 2.s. jd. per head. The natural increase was 122, 
but 157 died of distemper. At this period it would seem as if the 
Government kept a perfect menagerie of these animals. In the same 
year a substantial bonus was offered to any one who would introduce 
a certain number of stoats and weasels in a healthy condition. 

(6) In 1884 he reports: "nearly 4000 ferrets were turned out; 
3041 in Marlborough alone, and about 400 on crown lands in Otago." 
The rest appear to have been sold to private individuals. He also 
states that "an agent has been sent home to procure stoats and 
weasels." Mr Rich of Palmerston imported some of these latter in 
a sailing vessel, but how many I cannot learn. 

(c) In 1885 two lots of stoats and weasels were received from 
London, viz. 183 weasels (out of 202 shipped), and 55 stoats (out 
of 60). Of these, 67 weasels were released on a peninsula on Lake 
Wanaka of 8000 acres, on which they reduced the rabbits, but by 
no means exterminated them ; 28 weasels and 6 stoats were liberated 
at Lake Wakatipu; 15 weasels near the Waiau River, Southland; and 
8 stoats at Ashburton. The rest were sold at Wellington, Christchurch, 
and Dunedin. 

(d) In 1886 the Government introduced two lots, viz. 82 stoats 
and 126 weasels, which were distributed in about equal lots to the 
Wilkin River, the Makarora, at the head of Lake Ohau, and on the 


Waitaki; and 32 stoats and 116 weasels distributed between Marl- 
borough and West Wairarapa. A private shipment of 55 stoats and 167 
weasels was also received for Riddiford's station in West Wairarapa. 
The localities selected for these animals were those in which rabbits 
were most abundant. Mr Bailey also reported that "ferrets were 
turned out by thousands," but the success was only partial. 

In this same year a meeting was held at Masterton to consider 
the administration of the Rabbit Act, and the best means of dealing 
with the pest. One of the resolutions carried was : 

that the introduction of ferrets, stoats and weasels in large numbers is, in 
the opinion of this meeting, the only means by which the rabbit pest can 
be successfully put an end to, and that every owner of land infested with 
rabbits should either turn out ferrets in proportion to his acreage, or contri- 
bute to a fund for the breeding and purchase of ferrets, stoats and weasels 
to be turned out in the district. That the land-owners present form them- 
selves into an association for the purpose of providing the natural enemies. 

An Association for the purpose was accordingly formed with this 
object in view, large sums of money were subscribed and hundreds 
of stoats and weasels were introduced into the district. Several of 
the acclimatisation societies took strong exception to the action of the 
Government and of the sheep owners directly concerned, but as the 
societies were themselves directly responsible for the rabbits, their 
protests were ineffective. 

However much the introduction of the Mustelidae is to be deplored, 
the mischief has been done. Stoats and weasels are common in nearly 
every part of New Zealand and in some parts are enormously abundant. 
Ferrets (or the wild form, the polecats) are also met with. The latter 
do not thrive to any extent in the South Island; it may be that the 
winters are too severe for them. Probably most of the ferrets originally 
turned out were white or yellowish ; but some shot in the neighbour- 
hood of Dunedin seem to have reverted nearly to the original colour 
of the polecat. 

These animals have not exterminated the rabbit, they do not even 
seem able in most parts to keep them in check. There is, however, 
great difference of opinion on the subject. Mr Chas. J. Peters, of 
Mount Somers, writes about these animals (August, 1916): 

Since the stoats and weasels become fairly numerous the rabbits have 
increased a hundred per cent, and more. I have found weasels' nests both 
in heaps of fencing material, and also in rabbit burrows. These nests have 
always been made out of skvlarks' feathers. I have also found parts of young 
hares at weasels' camps, but never a sign of a rabbit. 

Against this we can place the evidence of an old settler like 
Mr H. B. Flett of Table Hill, Otago, who states most definitely that 


he used formerly to keep as many as 16 dogs on his place, and also 
employed ferrets, phosphorised oats and pollard, and in spite of most 
strenuous efforts he was only able to hold the rabbits in check. 
Since the introduction of stoats and weasels the rabbits have become 
fewer and fewer in number, and now, on his property of 7000 acres, 
the pest has practically disappeared, except in one corner where 
trapping is carried on. Where trappers are allowed to work, rabbits 
increase, for numbers of stoats and weasels are thus destroyed. 
Mr Flett's experience and opinions are those of many large land- 
holders throughout New Zealand. 

My son, G. Stuart Thomson, has given me this note on the 
destructive action of the stoat. He says : 

At Lee Stream, in the Taieri district I saw a rabbit paralysed with 
fright and uttering squeals of terror, and on looking round for the cause 
observed a stoat fully ten feet away walking deliberately towards the victim. 
The rabbit was killed by one bite on the neck. A few weeks ago a lady 
informed me that she had seen a somewhat similar occurrence at Brighton, 
but in this case the rabbit struggled to the lady for protection, and fell 
trembling at her feet, while the stoat disappeared. 

In regard to any natural enemy it is, of course, absolutely certain 
that it cannot exterminate, but can only keep in check, the animal 
it is intended to cope with. If it does more, then its own means of 
livelihood are imperilled, or it has to find other victims 1 . Thus one 
direct benefit which stoats and weasels confer is the wholesale de- 
struction of rats and mice which they cause. Indirectly this may explain 
why certain birds, such as wekas among native species, and Calif ornian 
quail among introduced forms, have increased of late years in districts 
where both stoats and weasels abound. It may be that rats are more 
destructive to eggs and to young birds than even stoats and weasels. 
The latter certainly will not touch birds if they can get rats. Mr Flett, 
whom I have referred to above, tells me that 20 years ago rats were 
a perfect curse about the homesteads, destroying harness, sheep-skins, 
grain and food, but that since the weasels appeared the rats have 
absolutely gone. He states he has not seen one about his place for 
i 6 years. 

The evidence regarding the destruction of the native avifauna by 
stoats and weasels is very inconclusive. Imported to destroy rabbits, 
they have penetrated into regions where rabbits are unknown, and 
where their food must have consisted exclusively of birds and bush 
rats (Mus rattus). Yet even in such districts there is evidence that 
native birds still survive in abundance, and there are also cases where 
birds like wekas, etc. have re-established themselves. 

1 In Taranaki, in March 1917, a litter of nine sucking-pigs was found destroyed 
one night, apparently either by stoats or weasels. 


Mr Richard Norman, Albertown, writes in the Otago Witness of 
2nd October, 1890: 

I think that Mr E. H. Wilmot's experience in the Hollyford Valley, as 
recorded in the Witness a year or two ago, conclusively proves that the 
imported vermin kill the native wingless birds. He encountered there a 
ferret warren, and the weka, kiwi, and kakapo were almost exterminated. 
In the Makarora Valley these used to be plentiful, but since the advent 
of the stoats and weasels they are very rare, and rabbiting tallies have not 

Mr Geo. Mueller, Chief Surveyor of Westland, in his report on 
the "Reconnaissance Survey of the Head- waters of the Okuru, Actor 
and Burke Rivers" (Rept. N.Z. Survey Dept., for 1889-90, p. 50), 

Several weasels and ferrets were caught and killed at the Okuru and 

Waiatoto settlements, within about a mile from the sea-coast No rabbits 

were met with until near the Actor, 19 miles from the coast; and they were 
only seen in numbers at the very head- waters of the Okuru .... Meanwhile 
the Kakapos,Kiwis, and Blue Ducks have nearly disappeared from the district. 

Mr Richard Henry, writing from Lake Te Anau in September, 
1890, says: 

I have known the ferrets to take seven young paradise ducks out of a 
clutch of ten in 1888, and last year the same pair of ducks only reared two 
young ones, but away from the lake I have seen larger families. I found 
two black teal ducks killed by a ferret, though it is seldom any of their 
work is seen, for they always drag their prey under cover. The black teal 
are getting scarce. 

Mr Henry adds : 

I think very few ferrets at liberty survive the winter for want of food. 

Sir Thos. Mackenzie has recorded a case in which a weasel 
killed a black swan ; and another which he saw in the Catlins district 
where a weasel brought down two tuis (Prosthemadera) from a tree. 

The reverse of this tale is interesting. Mr H. Drummond has 
accumulated some evidence as to the killing of weasels by wekas 
(Ocydromus sp.). In 1909 Mr Murrell, junr., and Mr Harry Birley 
described how the wekas had been seen attacking and killing weasels. 
Mr Murrell witnessed a most interesting fight between them on a 
path. The weka circled round the weasel, watching a chance to spring 
in and strike it, which it did, always on the head, finally stretching 
its opponent out. They both note that native birds were beginning 
to increase again. In 1916 Mr A. T. G. Symons of Christchurch 
recorded the fact that wekas were killing weasels. 

In regard to the occurrence and distribution of these species at 
the present time in New Zealand, I have no record of the introduction 
of the true polecat (Putorius foatidus) into the country ; but some eight 


or nine years ago Mr Thomas Anderton, curator of the Portobello 
Marine Fish Hatchery, shot two animals, which were too large for 
stoats, being about eighteen inches long. They were not ferrets, for 
they were brown coloured. Unfortunately he did not realise the 
importance at the time of preserving the skin, their smell for one 
thing being so offensive, and so their specific character was not 
determined. It may be, of course, that they were stoats of unusually 
large size. 

Ferrets are fairly common throughout the country. I was formerly 
of opinion that this species, which does not in Northern Europe 
survive the winter unless carefully housed, could not stand the winter 
in Otago, or indeed in any of the inland parts of New Zealand where 
the winter is severe. I am informed, however, by trappers of ex- 
perience, that they survive the Otago winter quite easily. Apparently 
wet cold is their enemy; and where burrows are warm, they can 
stand the dry cold quite easily. 

Stoats are common from end to end of both islands. Mr Yar- 
borough of Kohu Kohu states that stoats and weasels do not seem 
to be so numerous now (1916) as they were some few years ago. At 
that time a great number of these intrepid little animals appeared on 
the eastern side of Hokianga estuary, and were occasionally observed 
swimming across the river, which is about a mile wide. For the last 
year or more they have neither been seen nor heard of. 

In the parts of New Zealand where the winter cold is severe, 
stoats retain their habit of changing their coat in the late autumn. 
According to Seebohm (Siberia in Asia, p. 41), the ermine in Scotland 
regularly assumes its winter dress in cold winters, and in England 
as far south as the Derbyshire moors. In New Zealand I have records 
of white stoats in winter from Burke 's Pass, the Mackenzie Country, 
from the Taieri district, and from Lake Wakatipu, and these not as 
single instances, but as a fairly common occurrence. Thus Drummond 
(June, 1913) records the occurrence of a stoat from West Oxford. 
It was 17 inches long, and pure white in colour, except for the tip 
of the tail, which is jet black. The stuffed specimen is in the Canterbury 

Museum 1 . 


Chipmunk; Californian Grey Squirrel (Tamias striatus) 

Brown Californian Squirrel (sp. ?) 

About 1906, Mr P. R. Sargood, of Dunedin, liberated two of the 
former (all that remained out of 12 shipped from San Francisco) 

1 The late Dr Giinther of the British Museum was not usually credited with 
a great sense of humour, but when discussing with Dr Chilton of Christchurch the 
introduction of stoats and weasels into New Zealand, he remarked: "Ach! why did 
they not send out males only?" 


and two of the latter species. They were seen about the Dunedin 
Town Belt and neighbourhood for two or three years but were not 
known to increase 1 . 

Family MURIDJE. 

Maori Rat ; Kiore (Mus exulans) 

A species of rat was one of the four land mammals found in these 
islands when Captain Cook first visited New Zealand, the others 
being a dog, and two species of bats. Sir Joseph Banks says in his 
Journal (p. 224) : 

On every occasion when we landed in this country, we have seen, I 
had almost said, no quadrupeds originally natives of it. Dogs and rats, 
indeed, there are, the former as in other countries companions of the 
men, and the latter probably brought hither by the men; especially as 
they are so scarce, that I myself have not had an opportunity of seeing 
even one. 

This was not Forster's experience, for in his account of the second 
voyage of Cook, he says (vol. I, p. 201): 

"Our fellow voyagers" (Furneaux in the 'Adventure') "found immense 
numbers of rats upon the Hippah rock (Queen Charlotte Sound), so that 
they were obliged to put some large jars in the ground, level with the sur- 
face, into which these vermin fell during the night, by running backwards 
and forwards, and great numbers of them were caught in this manner." 

Always in reading this account, and considering the facts, I think 
it highly probable that these rats, spoken of by Forster, were not 
Maori rats at all, but were black rats (Mus rattus). Both Cook and 
Banks considered the native rat to be rare. The ' Endeavour ' was in 
Queen Charlotte Sound for some days in January and February, 1770, 
and some of the rats on board were almost certain to find their way 
ashore. Furneaux arrived in Queen Charlotte Sound in April, 1773, 
Cook, in the ' Resolution ' reaching it in May. Over three years had 
elapsed between the two visits, and on the second occasion the rats 
were found to be extraordinarily abundant. The rate of increase of 

1 In Nature of 8th March, 1917, the following paragraph appeared: "Sir 
Frederick Treves, in the Observer of 25th Feb., directs attention to the grave results 
likely to follow from the introduction of the American Grey Squirrel into Richmond 
Park. Not only has it driven out our own native red squirrel, but it has also spread 
beyond the confines of the Park into adjoining gardens, working serious damage 
there. ' They eat everything that can be eaten, and destroy twenty times more than 
they eat.' ' The buds and shoots of young trees, apples, pears and stone fruits, peas 
and strawberries are all laid under a heavy contribution. Already it seems the 
Office of Works has given orders for the destruction of these pests. The order, how- 
ever, has come somewhat late, for they have already made their way into the open 
country of Surrey with a steady persistence and in good force. When it has reached 
the fruit gardens and young plantations of Surrey and Kent, we shall hear more.' 

We are evidently in grave danger of having another very practical lesson in the 
folly of 'acclimatisation,' of which the rabbit in Australia forms a familiar and 
awful example." 


rats is known to be very great, and it seems to me that the animals 
met with on the second voyage were the progeny of some which got 
ashore in ijjo 1 . 

The Rev. R. Taylor says that this animal, the Maori rat, was in 
general size about one-third that of the Norway rat. The Maoris used 
to make elaborate preparations to catch them, and hundreds would be 
caught at one hunting. Taylor says the animal is reported to run only 
in a straight line, and that the Maoris made special lines of roads in 
order to lead them into their traps, which were baited with miro and 
other berries; if these roads were crooked, they said the rats ran into 
the forest at the bends. They fed entirely on vegetable matter and 
were greatly prized as food by the natives, who also extracted much 
oil from them. The native rat quickly disappeared before other rats, 
and imported cats. It was extremely rare 30 or 40 years ago, and 
it is probably quite extinct now. As, however, the species is common 
in Polynesia, occasional immigrants may arrive in New Zealand from 
time to time. 

Tancred writing of Canterbury in 1856, says: "the native rat 
forms numerous burrows, rendering the soil unsafe for a horse." He 
also says "the rat is being exterminated by the formidable invader 
the Norway rat." 

W. T. L. Travers, writing in 1869, says: 

It has been the fashion to assume that before the arrival of Europeans in 
this Colony, this creature was common, and to attribute its destruction to 
the European rat, and, indeed, the natives have been credited with a 
proverb in relation to this point. It is not in effect impossible that the 

1 In Rats and Mice as Enemies of Mankind by M. A. C. Hinton (British Museum, 
Economic Series, No. 8), published in 1918, the following statement occurs : " There 
have been many attempts to calculate the reproductive potential of rats. For instance, 
F. von Fischer, in 1872, concluded that the progeny of a single pair might in ten 
years amount to no less than 48,319,698,843,030,334,720 individuals; Riicker, more 
recently, has computed the increase of a pair in five years at 940,369,969,152 rats. 

Lantz was not so ambitious ; for the purposes of his calculations he assumed the 
rats to breed only three times a year, and to have average litters of ten. Breeding 
at this rate uninterruptedly for three years, producing sexes in equal numbers, 
and with no deaths, the progeny of a single pair at the ninth generation would be 
20,155,392 rats. 

Zuschlag assumed a pair to have six litters of eight in a year; that the young 
would breed when three and a half months old, then with equal sexes and no deaths 
the progeny at the end of the first year would be 880 rats. 

Although such calculations are purely theoretical, and although their results, 
in ordinary circumstances, will never be approached in Nature, they are not 
extravagant, qua the power to reproduce, but are based upon moderate and con- 
servative estimates. In proof we may cite Kolazy's record that two females kept by 
him had twenty-six litters in a space of thirteen months, and produced 180 young 
almost double the number assumed by Zuschlag. We can, therefore, readily under- 
stand how the progeny of a few rats introduced to a new country by a ship may, in 
favourable circumstances, succeed in overrunning the whole country in the space of a 
few years." 


ultimate destruction of those which still existed when trade was first 
opened between Europeans and the natives, long after the Colonization of 
New South Wales, may have been hastened by the introduction of the 
European rat; but I am satisfied that before that time they had become 
very scarce, and indeed I have been told by gentlemen who have lived in 
the Northern part of this island for upwards of forty years, that they never 
saw a specimen. 

My son, G. Stuart Thomson, says: "that the Maori rat was once 
very abundant seems to be proved by the fact that the Maoris always 
erected their store houses for food of various kinds on piles, as a 
protection against the depredations of rats. (I think this was the 
custom before Europeans landed cf. Maning's Old New Zealand.)" 
I think, however, that it may have been protection against the black 
rat which was sought, and that they may have got the idea from 
early European settlers. 

It has been suggested that the disappearance of the Kiore Maori or 
native rat has led to the diminution, and almost to the extinction of the 
Laughing Ow\(Sceloglaux albifacies). Sir Walter Buller says : " The fact 
that the extinction of the native rat has been followed by the almost 
total disappearance of this singular bird appears to warrant the con- 
clusion that the one constituted the principal support of the other." 

Mr W. W. Smith, writing in the N. Z. Journal of Science, says : 

The suggestion of Dr Buller. . .is an important one; and my researches 
among the rocks at Albury, and experiments with the living birds in 
captivity, are greatly in support of this. In several of the crevices where I 
captured them, I found an ancient conglomerate of exuvia? ranging from 
three to twelve inches thick. From the under surface and through the 
mass to nearly the upper surface, this conglomerate is thickly studded 
with Owl's castings, composed entirely of light brown hair (which is un- 
questionably that of the Kiore Maori) and small bones. The castings more 
recently deposited among the rocks are composed of elytra and legs of 

* Black Rat (Mus rattus; Epimys rattus) 

It is impossible to say when the black rat first came to New 
Zealand, but it probably arrived with some of the first ships which 
came to the country. I have already suggested that Captain Cook's 
ships introduced them. Yates in 1835 savs: "The natives tell us that 
rats were introduced in the first ship, by Tasman." Oldfield Thomas 
(Proc. Zool. Soc., 1897, p. 857) states that "the rats normally inhabit- 
ing ships are not, as is commonly supposed, Mus decumanus, but Mus 
rattus, and in most cases are the grey variety of that animal, with 
white belly, though the black form may often be caught in the same 
ship as the grey." For a long time great confusion existed in the 
minds of most of those who observed and wrote of rats in this 


country, between the native or Maori rat (Mus exulans) and the 
black rat. For instance Buller in 1870 in a paper "On the New 
Zealand Rat," gives figures and descriptions of Mus rattus. 

The black rat became enormously abundant in the early days of 
settlement, and used to move about the country in vast armies. The 
settlers, bush fellers and saw-mill hands of fifty to seventy years 
ago, have recorded how invasions of them in countless swarms used 
to move through their district, climbing everywhere, and eating every- 
thing that was of a vegetable nature. Oldfield Thomas, in the article 
already quoted, says: "All the world over Mus rattus takes to roofs 
and trees on meeting its formidable rival Mus decumanus, to which 
it leaves the gutters and cellars 1 ." 

In 1840 Messrs Dodds and Davis of Sydney established a farming 
settlement at Riccarton, close to where Christchurch now stands, and 

sent down James Heriot (or Hariot), as manager, two farm hands, and two 
teams of bullocks. They ploughed and cultivated about thirty acres of land 
and secured their crops. But in less than a year they decided to abandon 
all further efforts. Numberless rats attacked the garnered stores, and the 
bar at the mouth of the river or estuary proved a sad obstacle to shipping 
whatever grain had been spared by the scourge of rats. 

1 In his presidential address to the Royal Society of New South Wales on ist 
May, 1918, Dr J. Burton Cleland gives some very interesting information on "the 
Rats that Travel by Sea." I think his remarks on the subject are worthy of quotation 
in full. "As the old English black rat (Epimys rattus), including the Alexandrine 
variety (E. rattus alexandrinus) , the Norway rat (Epimys norvegicus (decumanus)), and 
the common house mouse (Mus musculus), are all subject to plague, it is of consider- 
able interest to see which of these species is most prone to travel by sea. The most 
frequent traveller of the three would naturally be looked on, other factors being 
equal, as the most likely introducer of the plague bacillus into unaffected parts. 
For the purpose of putting this matter beyond dispute, I have had a list prepared 
of all the rats and mice submitted for examination to the Microbiological Laboratory 
under my charge, from vessels berthing in the cosmopolitan port of Sydney between 
April 1 6th, 1913, and April I4th, 1917. During the period rats or mice were found 
in fumigation by the Commonwealth Department of Quarantine on 189 vessels, 

after the accomplishment of 325 voyages The ships belonged to all nationalities, 

though naturally British vessels much predominated, whilst the voyages they made 
included coastal, interstate and overseas in all directions. On the 325 voyages made 
by the 189 vessels, 

Epimys rattus was present in 293. 

2968 individuals were found and submitted, an average per voyage of 9. 
Epimys norvegicus was present in 3. 

7 individuals were found, an average of -02 (of these vessels one came 

from Vancouver, and one from Noumea). 

Mus musculus was present in 53. 

487 individuals were found, an average of 1-5. 

The largest numbers of mice were found on vessels trading with the North Coast 
of New South Wales, and an undue proportion of such vessels yielded mice, 
probably as a result of the frequent carriage of fodder, mice were only occasionally 
found on vessels from overseas." 


So writes Dr Hocken in his interesting Early History of New Zealand. 

Taylor White states that on the west coast (of the South Island) 
they came in vast crowds, climbing trees, tent poles and ropes, and 
ate everything. On the shores of Lake Wakatipu they lived under 
the dead leaves of the Wild Spaniard. 

Rutland records how: 

in 1856 the district of Collingwood on the western side of Blind Bay was 
visited by a swarm, and, in 1863, 1 am informed of a swarm on the Shotover, 
Otago. Repeated swarms occurred in Picton, in 1872, 1878, 1880, 1884, 

and 1888 These rat-swarms invariably take place in spring A few 

of the animals appear in August ; they increase in numbers till November, 
when all disappear again gradually, as they came. While in a locality dead 
rats are seen lying about in all directions, on roads, in gardens, and else- 
where, very few have any marks of violence on their bodies; nor have 
they died of hunger, since on examination they are generally found fat. 
In 1884 in Picton, 47 dead rats were found lying together under the floor 
of the sitting-room (in one house). In another 37 were found dead under 
the kitchen. The whole town was pervaded with the odour of dead rats. 
The average weight of full grown specimens is about two ounces. The fur 
on the upper portion of the body is dark-brown, inclining to black; on 
the lower portion white or greyish- white. They run awkwardly and slowly 
on the ground, but run very quickly on the trees. When suddenly startled 
or pursued they cry out with fear. 

"The extremely few females that occur amongst the countless hordes is 
a fact that shows that if breeding does take place at all during these periods 
(of travel), it must be on a very limited scale." They do little damage, their 
food being green vegetable. . . . Though they enter dwelling-houses and 
barns, it is evidently not in quest of food, as shown by corn and other 
eatables being left untouched by them." (Rutland adds) "Among English 
country people, who have the best opportunity of observing them, it is 
commonly asserted that in litters of young rats" (? Mus decumanus), the 
males produced outnumbered the females by about seven to one. 

Meeson describes a plague of these rats in 1884: 

Nelson and Marlborough, in other words the whole of the extreme 
northern portion of the South Island of New Zealand, is enduring a perfect 
invasion. Living rats are sneaking in every corner, scuttling across every 
path ; their dead bodies in various stages of decay, and in many cases more 
or less mutilated, strew the roads, fields, and gardens, pollute the wells 
and streams in all directions. Whatever kills the animals does not succeed 
in materially diminishing their numbers. Young and succulent crops, as 
of wheat and peas, are so ravaged as to be unfit for and not worth the 
trouble of cutting and harvesting. A young farmer the other day killed 
with a stout stick two hundred in a couple of hours in his wheat field. 

Among reasons suggested for the visitation he suggests the pressure 
of famine: "last summer was very wet, and last winter very cold, 
the amount of snow lying on the high lands in the interior was very 


great." Another is the excessive increase in numbers producing an 
intense struggle for existence. (His conclusions are somewhat at 
variance with Rutland's who did not think that hunger was an 
impelling cause.) 

" I have examined many of these animals, and have not found a single 
female. One of my neighbours has examined two hundred of them ; and 
a Maori, at the pa beyond Wakapuaka, one hundred, with the same negative 
result. Some females have, however, been taken; and in one case they 
were found breeding." "He is more like a big field-mouse than a Norway 
rat, and besides being considerably smaller, he is slightly darker in colour, 
and less malodorous. He climbs trees and flax plants, and is phytophagous 
rather than carnivorous." 

Hutton in 1887 says: 

The rat appears to have invaded Picton at the end of March, and to 
have suddenly disappeared by the 2Oth April. Old Maoris recognized it 
as the rat they used to eat in former times, and said that swarming on the 

low lands periodically was always characteristic of it These rats were 

often noticed climbing trees. In the Pelorus, where they stopped longer, 
they built nests, like birds, in trees. 

Hutton at that time thought the Picton rat was a new species, and 
he named it Mus maorium. He says: "This rat is certainly different 
from Mus huegeli, Thomas, from Fiji; and I should think from Mus 
exulans, Peale, also, but I have seen no full description of that species." 
Kingsley in 1894 records it as nesting on the branches of small trees, 
four to five feet from the ground, near Totaranui, and gives examples 
from Motueka, Riwaka, Collingwood, Nelson and Taranaki. I have 
myself seen tall thorn hedges at Whangarei full of their nests, large 
shapeless structures, which at first I thought must be house-sparrows 
taken to hedge-building. 

Marriner reports that he met with grey rats at North West Bay, 
Campbell Island, which Waite thinks were probably Mus rattus. The 
black rat is at the present time (1916) extraordinarily common about 
Christchurch ; Mr Speight the curator informs me that Canterbury 
Museum is infested with these animals. A good deal of damage said 
to be done to orchards by opossums is almost certainly the work of 
the black rat. In some districts they destroy the native vegetation; 
and have been found to eat the roots of the larger Umbelliferae, as 
Ligusticum, Angelica and Aciphylla\ the tubers of Gastrodia Cunning- 
hamii; the inflorescence of the kie-kie (Freycinetia Banksit) and of the 
Nikau palm; and the fruit of the native passion-flower (Passiflora 


* Brown Rat; Norway Rat (Mus decumanus; Epimys norvegictis) 

This ubiquitous animal very early made its appearance in New 
Zealand, but there is no record of its arrival. Perhaps every vessel 
which came to the colony brought some immigrants. In the early 
days of last century Russell or Kororareka in the Bay of Islands was 
the chief port of the colony, and rats must have become very abundant 
there. But, as already pointed out, they were probably mostly black 
rats. Darwin, who visited the Bay of Islands in the ' Beagle' in 1835, 
says (p. 428): "It is said that the common Norway rat, in the short 
space of two years, annihilated in this north end of the island the 
New Zealand species." Dieffenbach states (vol. n, p. 185) that he 
never could obtain a native rat, owing to the extermination carried 
on against it by the European rat. 

A. R. Wallace in Darwinism says : 

This invading rat (M. decumanus) has now been carried by commerce 
all over the world, and in New Zealand has completely extirpated a native 
rat, which the Maoris allege they brought with them from their home in 
the Pacific; and in the same country a native fly is being supplanted by 
the European house-fly. 

The latter statement is quite erroneous. Native flies have been 
reduced by introduced birds; certainly not by any other insect. 
During visits to Stewart Island and the West Coast Sounds between 
1874 and 1880, I was struck by the abundance of these animals in 
regions uninhabited and almost unvisite.d by man. One day the late 
Mr R. Paulin and I emerged from the bush on the south side of Thule 
in Paterson Inlet when the tide was low, exposing a wide stretch of 
beach nearly a mile long. We were very much surprised to find 
the whole beach alive with rats which were feeding on the shell- 
fish and stranded animals which the tide had left and exposed. As 
soon as they saw us they immediately ran for the shelter of the bush. 
They were literally in hundreds. Rats are also very numerous round 
the homestead on Campbell Island (Bollons). In 1868 H. H. 
Travers reported them as very abundant in the Chatham Islands. 

A few years ago when a scare arose about the bubonic plague, a 
feeble and intermittent crusade against rats was inaugurated, but it 
was, as might have been expected, absolutely futile. While rats are 
still very abundant, especially about the towns, there is no doubt 
that the spread of weasels throughout the country has vastly 
diminished their numbers, especially in the open. 

Rats have had a great share in the destruction of the native avi- 
fauna, and are also responsible for much of the difficulty experienced 


by acclimatisation societies and private individuals in their attempts 
to establish game and other birds. But it is impossible to say which 
species is responsible, or whether both are equally so. It is clear in 
the preceding references that it has not always been possible to be 
sure which species of rat was referred to. I have therefore thought 
it advisable to add in a note some general facts on rats culled from 
recent sources. 

NOTE. In 1869-70 there occurred a great visitation of rats (apparently 
Epimys norvegicus) in the north and north-western plain country of Queens- 
land. The numbers were said to be incredible, and one writer stated that 
"one rat to every ten square yards in each mile would not represent any- 
thing like the numbers." H. E. Longman says that "in Australia, judging 
from available statistics, the black rat is quite as common as the brown, 
and is, of course, the species most frequently found in buildings, whereas 
E. norvegicus is characteristically a ground rat." In Mr Hinton's pamphlet 
already referred to he says, in regard to general habits of rats: "Rattus 
rattus is essentially an arboreal or climbing animal, and it rarely burrows; 
hence, where infesting buildings or huts, it is found usually in the walls, 
ceilings, or roof, not in cellars or drains. Although cautious, it does not 
shun mankind, and it enters into far closer relations with its unwilling 
host than does the Brown Rat. For this reason it is often the species 
principally concerned in the transmission of plague. It drinks little, and 
seldom, if at all, enters water voluntarily. As already mentioned, this is 
the common rat on ships. In most cases it reaches or leaves the ships by 
climbing their cables while they are in dock; sometimes it is introduced 
with grain and other merchandise. Its diet is of a most varied description, 
but, probably in consequence of its more salubrious station, it is a cleaner 
feeder than R. norvegicus. 

R. norvegicus is essentially a water loving and burrowing animal; 
although far less agile than R. rattus, it is a good climber. As compared 
with the last named species, it is far more voracious and cunning; its 
greater size and strength, and its much greater fecundity, render it, as far 
as material prosperity is concerned, a much more formidable enemy of 
mankind. On the other hand, although it spreads many serious or fatal 
diseases, it usually exhibits a certain shyness of man, so that, in normal 
conditions, it is probably slightly less important than R. rattus as a carrier 
of plague." 

Prof. P. Chavigny in articles in the Revue Gentrale des Sciences of July 
15-30, 1918, on "The Invasion of Trenches by Rats" (condensed in 
Nature, of igth September, 1918), gives certain interesting facts regarding 
these animals, viz. both brown and black rats: 

(a) Starvation kills a rat in about 48 hours. 

(b) The period of gestation is 21 days, and the minimum time between 
two litters is 62 days. The female rat may have five litters in a year, and a 
litter consists of about ten young. A female is capable of producing a 
litter at the age of 2| to 3 months. A simple calculation shows that a pair 



of rats is capable of producing 20,000,000 descendants in three years. In 
temperate climates reproduction is at a standstill during winter 1 . 

* The Mouse (Mus musculus) 

The first notice of the appearance of the mouse in the North 
Island is in Dieffenbach (vol. II, p. 185), but no doubt it was introduced 
early last century. When Wilkes visited the Auckland Islands in 
1840 the only living creature seen besides the birds was a small 
mouse. According to R. Gillies, who wrote in 1872: 

" it is quite certain that there were no mice in Otago in 1852 " (he arrived in 
1848), " but a year or perhaps two years after they were noticed in Dunedin 
first. As soon as the mice appeared, the Rats disappeared. . . .The Moly- 
neux stopped their southern migration for a time, and it was considerably 
later before Molyneaux Island (Inchclutha) was touched by them." 

Taylor White speaks of mice appearing in the Canterbury Plains in 
the early days of settlement (1855) onwards " suddenly in Thousands." 
Pastor Wohlers, long a missionary working among the natives on 
Ruapuke in Foveaux Straits, states that mice were first brought to the 
island in the 'Elizabeth Henrietta,' which was wrecked there in 
1824, and that even as late as 1873 they continued to be known as 
" Henriettas." Mr Philpott writing on 2nd January, 1918, said: 

There is a plague of mice in the district west of the Waiau. From 
Bluecliff to the Knife and Steel near the Big River, and beyond, each hut 
(the Government huts on the now abandoned telephone track to Puysegur 
Point) was overrun with them. And not only at the huts, but on the beach 
and in the dense bush, wherever we went, they were plentiful. At the 
Hump, near Lake Hauroto, they were as numerous as elsewhere. This 
prevalence of mice is certainly not usual ; I have been on the Hump four 
or five times since 1911, and last year tramped along the Knife and Steel, 
and apart from an odd one or two, no mice were in evidence on former 
trips. One noticeable thing about the mice was their boldness ; they were 
evidently very hungry. The wekas caught many of them, swallowing them 
whole, head first. 

1 In a letter written from Sydney, N.S. Wales, dated 28th April, 1919, which 
appeared in Nature of 3rd July (p. 345), Mr Thomas Steel states that: "under a 
creeper in my garden near Sydney, the common snail (Helix aspera) was very 
abundant, and Mus decumanus used to devour large quantities; the apex of the 
shell was always bitten off so that the mollusc could be readily extracted. On the 
Upper Waikato River, New Zealand, the same rat dives into the water and gathers 
the fresh -water Unio. On the river-banks the shells are gnawed open and the animal 
eaten. The shells are always bitten through at the same spot of one valve, but I 
forget now whether that was the right or left one." 

"In Australia at certain seasons a 'cutworm' moth, known as the 'bogong' or 
'bugong' (Agrotis infusa), swarms in myriads in many places, and is, after the 
wings have been singed in a charcoal fire, used as an article of food by the aboriginals. 
These moths sometimes invade the cities and crowd into houses and stores for the 
sake of darkness. At Melbourne, in a large sugar store, I have noticed Mus decu- 
manus collect the moths and eat the bodies, rejecting the wings." 


The mouse has never been found very far from the haunts of 
men in New Zealand. In 1866, during a discussion which arose at 
a meeting of the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society as to the reported 
destruction of small birds by hawks, W. T. L. Travers reported " that 
he had opened a large number of hawks, and in all cases found their 
food to consist entirely of Mice and grasshoppers." At present the 
mouse is abundant in all settled parts of New Zealand, and is also 
common on the Auckland, Antipodes and Campbell Islands. 

Guinea-pig (Cavia porcellus) 

The only record I have of the introduction of the guinea-pig is 
by the Auckland Society in 1869, but they have repeatedly been 
brought in by private individuals and dealers for the last 50 or 60 
years. Though they have been frequently liberated, they have never 
succeeded in establishing themselves anywhere, as the young are 
mercilessly preyed upon by cats. I had them running nearly wild in 
my garden in Dunedin for some time, and noticed that violets (Viola 
adorata) growing among grass increased remarkably all the time they 
were about. The guinea-pigs nibbled the grass very closely, but would 
not touch the violets. 

* Rabbit (Lepus cuniculus) 

The introduction of the rabbit into New Zealand has produced 
such far-reaching effects and wrought such changes throughout the 
country, that it requires more than the sober language of a naturalist 
to describe them. One thing is quite certain, namely, that it was 
deliberately introduced into the country. The first definite notice I 
have found as to the introduction of these animals is in du Petit- 
Thouars' voyage of the ' Venus' (1838), in which he says (p. 115): 
" There are still to be found some rabbits imported from New South 
Wales." The next is in Mr T. Tuckett's diary of his expedition to 
the South Island, which is printed as an appendix to Dr Hocken's 
Contributions to the Early History of New Zealand. Speaking of 
the country between the mouths of the Clutha and Mataura Rivers, 
he writes under date loth May, 1844: "Palmer has grown wheat 
and barley as well as potatoes, and has plenty of fine fowls and ducks 
and some goats ____ Returning from Tapuke (Taukupu) we landed on 
the island, and with the assistance of a capital beagle caught six rabbits 
alive and uninjured" He does not say whether any were liberated 


on the mainland, nor whether it was possible for them to get ashore. 
Mr H. Travers (February, 1919) says: 

From what I can recollect about the introduction into New Zealand 
of the black rabbit, or silver greys as they were then called, these were 
imported by a Captain Ruck Keene, R.N., who had a run, I think, at 
Kaikoura, as I knew him when he lived in Nelson in the late fifties and 
saw the rabbits. Other rabbits were imported into Nelson, and were kept 
as pets the "French rabbits" as we boys knew them; they were white 
and foxy coloured. Some of these were turned out at Taradale and 
increased enormously, but being in a district in which only cattle were 
run, did no damage. Some years afterwards, these were practically ex- 
terminated by a tremendous rainstorm and flood which pretty well destroyed 
the lot, as it was followed by a snowstorm and the rabbits were smothered 
in their burrows. 

According to Mr Huddlestone, silver-grey rabbits were first intro- 
duced into Nelson in or about 1865, but there is no record as to what 
came of this importation. 

Mr James Begg, of Mosgiel, has given me some very valuable 
information as to the earliest attempts to introduce these animals, 
and I quote him freely in the following pages. He says: "When 
Willsher and party settled at Port Molyneux in the early forties 
they sent to Sydney for rabbits, but whether they obtained them or 
not, I am unable to say." Perhaps these were the rabbits which 
Mr Tuckett saw. From early days there was at least one colony of 
rabbits on the Upper Waitaki. These remained quite local in their 
habits, and did not increase to any great extent. They were finally 
overwhelmed by the invasion of the grey rabbit from the south. 

Mr Thomas Walsh of Shag Point tells me that these rabbits 
were turned out by Messrs Julius Bros., on their run at the Rugged 
Ridges on the Waitaki River, but they never seemed to increase. He 
also states that the Rev. Mr Fenton, who came down to Dunedin 
shortly after the commencement of the Otago Settlement about 
1849 brought with him both black and grey rabbits. Some of these 
were handed over to Mr Geo. Crawford in whose care they increased, 
and they were distributed from there to various other centres. One 
lot were liberated on the sand-hills between Invercargill and Riverton ; 
and another lot at Queenstown, the price paid being 1 per pair. 
These rabbits do not seem to have increased to any extent. At a 
somewhat later date (1870) when Mr Walsh was at Palmerston he 
kept long-haired lop-eared rabbits, and turned out a good many of 
them. He states that the lop-ears quickly disappeared in succeeding 
generations, though occasionally long-haired ones were seen. They 
never increased to any extent, however, and only an odd one was 
afterwards seen. They also were swamped by the southern invasion. 


In 1857, Mr John Sutherland (now of Te Kiuti, Auckland provincial 
district), then a shepherd on the Greenfield Estate, saw some black 
and white long-eared rabbits between the Tokomairiro and Waitahuna 
Rivers. These also disappeared in later years. This country was quite 
uninhabited at the time, though sheep were running on it. Mr H. B. 
Flett states that a good many rabbits, which had escaped from 
captivity at Waitahuna, found their way to the open country, and 
increased to a slight extent, but eventually died out completely. He 
attributes their extermination to the weka or Maori hen (Ocydromus), 
"which were very plentiful at that time and for some years subsequent. 
They used to go into the holes and eat the young rabbits. I have 
seen a weka killing a half-grown rabbit." 

The late Mr Telford of Clifton introduced some rabbits, and bred 
them in hutches till they numbered about fifty. They were then 
liberated on Clifton, near the banks of the Molyneux, but died out 
in a short time. This was about the year 1864. Mr Clapcott also 
liberated some at the old homestead at Popotunoa Station, but they 
also failed to thrive, and disappeared. It is probable that there were 
other attempts to acclimatise rabbits, all more or less unsuccessful. 
Dr Menzies of Mataura also introduced rabbits, and he is usually 
credited with having been the successful introducer of them to the 
south, an achievement the credit of which has not been very eagerly 
sought after. They were liberated on the sand-hills somewhere near 
the Bluff. 

Sir Geo. Grey also appears to have introduced them at about 
the same date, for in the annual report of the Canterbury Society 
in 1866 it is said that " an enclosure has been set apart for the Silver- 
grey Rabbits presented by Sir G. Grey, which have thriven well and 
increased to a great extent, and have been distributed to members far 
and near" Later in the same year the Society passed this minute: 
"The suggestion of giving as a reward, for the destruction of hawks 
and wild cats, some silver-grey rabbits, was approved of." In 1866 
the Otago Society liberated 60 rabbits, 23 in 1867, and 18 in 1868, 
but I do not know whether these came from Britain or from Australia. 
These are the only records I have been able to secure so far as to 
the introduction of rabbits into the colony, and they would account 
for the presence of these animals in Southland, Otago, Canterbury 
and Auckland. There can be no doubt, I think, that what happened 
in the south, happened elsewhere at every port where settlement took 
place, and that private individuals at Nelson, Wellington, New Ply- 
mouth and Napier also imported rabbits. But when the animals 
became a pest, and their increase was recognised to be a calamity 
to the country, every one was desirous of repudiating the responsi- 


bility of their introduction. Thus the framer of the annual report 
of the Canterbury Society for 1889, not having read the statement 
in the report for 1866, says concerning "the rabbit, that great scourge 
to our large runholders, that the introduction of these cannot be 
laid to the charge of this society." Similarly Mr Bathgate of Dunedin, 
in 1897, writes : " It is to them " (the Provincial Government of South- 
land) "that we are indebted for the presence of the rabbit." Dr 
Menzies was in these early days Superintendent of the Province of 
Southland. From 1866 onwards the spread of the rabbits was phe- 
nomenal. I quote Mr Begg's account at length : 

About the year 1874 tne Y began to make their presence felt in an un- 
pleasant manner. By 1878 they had reached Lake Wakatipu, leaving a 
devastated country behind them. At the same time they had reached as 
far east as the Clutha River, and in a few years later had overrun the 
greater part of Otago as well as the whole of Southland. Those were evil 
days for farmers, especially for the squatters who occupied large areas of 
grazing country. The fine natural grasses on which sheep and cattle gra2ed 
were almost totally destroyed. Sheep perished from starvation by hundreds 
of thousands, and it is no exaggeration to say that the majority of the 
squatters were ruined. In the old Burwood Station the number of sheep 
fell in one year from 110,000 to about 30,000. This was partly due to heavy 
snow, but the rabbits prevented any recovery. It is doubtful if the same 
country to-day carries more than 40,000 sheep. From the year 1878 onwards 
immense areas of grazing land were abandoned, as the owners gave up the 
unequal struggle with the rabbits. At first no efforts seemed to have the 
slightest effect in stemming the invasion, or in reducing the numbers of 
the rabbits. The wet country in the South suffered equally with the dry 
lands of the interior, but the former is now showing a power of recovery 
from the damage done, while in much of the latter the damage appears to 
be almost irreparable. 

In the early days, hunting with dogs, shooting, digging out the warrens, 
poisoning with various baits, and trapping, were the methods by which 
farmers tried to rid themselves of the pest. Later, wire-netting fencing, 
the introduction of stoats, weasels and ferrets, fumigating the burrows with 
poisonous gases (such as Carbon disulphide and Hydrocyanic Acid) and the 
stimulus given to trapping by the export trade in frozen rabbits, have been 
relied upon to reduce their numbers. In the writer's experience, practically 
no progress was made in reducing the numbers of rabbits till about the 
year 1895. From that year there has been a steady diminution. For twenty 
years the rabbit had the upper hand, and though many millions were 
killed annually, no reduction in their abundance was noticeable. In the 
last twenty years there has been a steady decrease. Large areas of hill 
country in the wetter districts are now completely clear of rabbits, though 
they still persist in favourable situations. In the dry country in Central 
Otago they are still very troublesome and very vigorous, and their evil 
effects are there seen on hundreds of square miles of country, once the 
finest grazing land in New Zealand, now little better than a desert. 


Hardly two men will agree as to the cause of the decline in the numbers 
of rabbits, and I will just state my theory for what it is worth. The grey 
rabbit, when first introduced, found himself in very congenial surroundings. 
There was abundance of food and shelter, and the ground was absolutely 
clean, never having been grazed by rabbits previously. These favourable 
conditions gave a tremendous filip to the vitality of the rabbits and stimu- 
lated their powers of reproduction. They increased at a rate that I believe 
is not even approached in the worst infested parts of Otago to-day. No 
efforts at checking them had the slightest effect, and they passed over the 
country like a prairie fire. After a time the original conditions no longer 
existed. Food became scarce, the land was foul with rabbits, disease 
appeared among them, and their fertility decreased. No doubt improved 
methods of dealing with them hastened their reduction, but I firmly 
believe that the principal factor in their decrease was lessened fertility, 
due to the first great spurt to their vitality having spent itself. The decrease 
first became apparent in the colder and wetter parts of the country. The 
rabbits abandoned large areas and became concentrated in warm sunny 
spots. Even in these spots their numbers declined, and from many of 
them disappeared altogether. In the dry country which is more congenial 
to rabbits, fertility is still maintained, and may possibly be permanent. 
The rocky hills round Alexandra may be taken as ideal country for rabbits, 
and probably this area has suffered more from them than any other part 
of New Zealand. All known methods of rabbit destruction have had an 
exhaustive trial there, and have not succeeded. It would seem that in this 
favourable spot the vitality of the rabbit is not greatly impaired. It would 
be interesting to try if rabbits could be re-introduced into country where 
they once swarmed, but which they have subsequently abandoned. I believe 
that such an attempt would fail. 

Opinions different to mine are very widely held. Most men claim the 
credit of having themselves cleared their ground of rabbits, and the official 
Rabbit Department staff possibly take the credit to themselves. I should 
like to believe that to me belonged the credit of having cleared my own 
place, but my experience leads me to believe that my efforts had little to 
do with it. 

It must not be assumed that every one regards the rabbit as a nuisance. 
Many a successful farmer of to-day got a start as a rabbiter. The killing 
of rabbits actually became one of the principal industries of the province. 
Their presence directly led to the subdivision of large estates, and may have 
been quite as effective in this direction as all the legislation on the subject. 

The introduction of rabbits had a lasting effect on acclimatisation 
generally. Before their advent partridges and pheasants had become 
numerous, but they have entirely disappeared in Otago. In the effort 
to cope with the rabbits, the country was annually sown with poisoned 
grain. This had a disastrous effect both on native and imported game. 
Had rabbits not become a nuisance, it is unlikely that weasels and 
other vermin would have been introduced. These animals are largely 
responsible for the decrease in the numbers of native birds, and also 
make the successful introduction of new varieties more difficult. 


The initial difficulties in getting rabbits introduced, the terrific 
success that at last crowned the efforts made, the unexpected ruin 
and destruction which they caused, and the gradual return to normal 
conditions, makes the history of their introduction one of the most 
interesting in the annals of acclimatisation. 

Mr H. B. Martin in 1884 states that in various parts of the 
Auckland district the rabbits have become almost or quite extinct 
from natural causes ; tuberculosis was also believed to be present in 
the Wairau Valley, where the rabbits were beginning to decrease 
before the present Act was in force. 

In a discussion which took place in the Legislative Council on 
4th July, 1883, the Hon. Mr Chamberlain said that rabbits were 
formerly numerous on Motuihi and Motutapu, and on Flagstaff Hill, 
but they had now become extinct. 

Mr Edgar T. Stead, writing me as late as 25th July, 1919, informs 
me that: 

in the Wills Valley and the Upper Haast, to the north of Lake Wanaka, 
the rabbits were at one time, say ten or twelve years ago, absolutely 
swarming. When I was there six years ago I was told that the rabbits were 
completely gone from the Wills Valley, and I personally observed that they 
were leaving the Haast. On the flat below the Burke hut there was still 
a fair number, but above that on the open stretches of river flat there was 
not one, though there were deserted warrens in all suitable localities. There 
are many places in Canterbury where rabbits have become scarce in the 
last ten or fifteen years, more places still where the case is vice-versa, but, 
as you remarked in your paper, there were only some races of rabbits 
that spread badly, and we do not know that the above-mentioned places 
were inhabited by the virulent races. In the Haast River case we do, for 
the rabbits had spread over the range from the famous Central Otago 
stock. It is quite possible that the country going "rabbit-sick" is only 
part of a cycle, but the subject is well worth investigating. 

In the House of Representatives on ist August, 1883, Captain 
Mackenzie said that a competent authority assessed the actual loss 
to the Colony through the Rabbit Plague at 1,700,000 a year. 
Mr W. C. Buchanan said that the loss for the past ten years was 
assessed at ten millions sterling. The question of importing a 
disease from the Falkland Islands was discussed at the same time. 

I was at one time under the impression that in this new country, 
where the causes which kept them in check in their original home 
were wanting and there seemed to be nothing to arrest their develop- 
ment in any direction, there might arise new varieties of rabbits with 
modified habits. Particularly did it seem likely that colour variations 
would thrive unchecked, and the traveller passing through certain 
districts in Central Otago is certainly surprised at the number of 


conspicuously coloured animals to be seen. Mr W. H. Gates of 
Skippers writes me (April, 1916): "As for colour they are of all 
colours; grey and white; tan and white; grey, with a black ridge 
down the backbone; and buff." Other observers speak of the preva- 
lence of black, black and white, and yellow rabbits. But Mr R. S. 
Black of Dunedin, the largest exporter of rabbit-skins in the Dominion, 
informs me that while they are of all colours, 95 per cent, of the 
skins exported are grey. The other colours appeal more to the eye, 
but they are not so abundant after all. That the rabbits of aberrant 
colours should survive is not to be wondered at, seeing that in this 
country there are no foxes, and neither hawks nor owls large enough 
to tackle a full-grown rabbit. The common harrier-hawk takes a 
considerable toll of young rabbits, but it is quite unable to keep them 
in check. In many districts wild cats live mainly on rabbits. 

Mr Yarborough of Kohu Kohu tells me (August, 1916) that rabbits 
became quite common in a district near Kawa Kawa (at the head of 
the Bay of Islands) many years ago. Recently they have reached the 
eastern side of the Hokianga River, and it is not unusual to see them 
occasionally. Then he adds this interesting statement: 

/ have never heard of any rabbit burrows, as they appear to breed among 
the rocks and roots of trees. They do not seem to have crossed yet to the 
west side of the Hokianga River. No complaints have been heard of 
devastation done by them, and it seems to be doubtful if they would thrive 
in either our clay lands, or in volcanic areas. 

The comparatively heavy rainfall of Hokianga, amounting to some 
60 to 70 inches per annum, has no doubt a good deal to do with the 
comparative scarcity of the rabbit in this part of New Zealand. They 
are, however, not uncommon near Kaikohe, and do make small 
burrows 1 . 

Effect of Rabbits on the Country and Native Vegetation. 
The economic waste caused by the vast increase of rabbits in New 
Zealand is incalculable, and certainly represents a loss in the stock- 
carrying capacity of the country which probably runs every year into 
millions of pounds. It is not only that they eat up food which would 
support some millions more sheep than are at present reared, but they 
destroy large areas of country, and yield very little return for the 

1 One curious effect of the recent great war has been a phenomenal increase 
in the price of rabbit-skins. I have not been able to ascertain yet what effect this 
is having on the rabbit question in Otago, but by the end of 1919 it has become 
quite impossible to get rabbits for the table. At a sale held in Dunedin in December, 
1919, the prices received for skins of winter growth ranged from issd. to 274^. 
for six skins; that is to say, that the highest quality of super-does, as they are 
termed, brought 3$. lod. per skin! 

Since this was written prices have altered greatly. In June 1921 the best skins 
were fetching about 74^. per lb., or from 8d. to i/- per skin. 


damage they do. The annual export of approximately 3,000,000 rabbits 
valued at about 70,000 and of some 8,000,000 skins valued at about 
115,000 is all the return they give, but it only represents a small 
proportion of the dimensions of the pest. In all parts where rabbits 
abound, their destruction entails a heavy expense on the occupiers 
of the land. There are no data available anywhere to enable one to 
estimate how many rabbits are destroyed every year, but far more 
are killed by phosphorus than by trapping. The latter method alone 
furnishes any statistical data, the former is an unknown quantity, 
but it represents a very large figure. 

Probably the most ghastly exhibition of the work of rabbits is to 
be found in the grass-denuded districts of Central Otago, parts of 
which have been reduced to the condition of a desert. It is improbable 
that this state of affairs could have been brought about by rabbits 
alone. Before their advent, the runholders who had possession of 
the arid regions in which the rainfall probably averages 10 to 12 
inches annually, and certainly never exceeds 15 inches were doing 
their best to denude the surface of the ground by overstocking with 
sheep and frequent burning. The latter was resorted to because many 
of the large tussock-forming grasses especially such as the silver- 
tussock, Poa ccespitosa yielded coarse and rather unpalatable fodder, 
but after burning the tufts, a crop of tender green leaves sprung up, 
which were very readily eaten. Unfortunately the burning not only 
got rid of most of the coarse growth of the tussocks, but it also swept 
off the numerous bottom grasses which occupied the intervening 
spaces, such as Agropyrum scabrum, Danthonia Buchanani, Danthonia 
semiannularis, Triodia Thomsoni and Festuca ovina, which were the 
mainstay of the depasturing flocks. Even before the rabbits arrived 
the work of denudation of the grass-covering had been proceeding 
apace through the causes mentioned. Thus Buchanan, writing in 
1865, said: "it is no wonder that many of the runs require eight 
acres to feed one sheep, according to an official estimate." Mr Petrie 
thought this an unduly severe estimate, "as in the mid-seventies 
the sheep-runs of Central Otago were reputed to carry at least one 
sheep to four acres, and the majority of them carried one sheep to 
three acres or somewhat less." 

Mr Petrie, who reported to the Department of Agriculture on 
the grass-denuded lands of Central Otago, knows more about this 
subject than anyone else, and I quote him at some length : 

Before the rabbit-invasion began the hill-slopes carried a fairly rich 
and varied covering of tussock and other grasses, and, except on the steeper 
rock sun-baked faces, had not been very seriously depleted even in the 
early nineties. The earlier stages of this depletion may now be seen in 


several of the Central Otago ranges, as on the spurs of the Rough Ridge 
and the Morven Hills districts. The northern slopes of the spurs are almost, 
in many instances entirely, bare of grass, while the southern shaded slopes 
still carry a fair amount of pasture. The grass covering generally stops 
abruptly at the bottoms of the valleys, even when these are not worn into 
water-channels. The vastly greater depletion of the pasture on the northern 
slopes is easy enough to understand. They are more exposed to the sun 
and to the frequent violent parching north-west winds; they lose their 
covering of snow earlier in spring than the southern slopes, and are thus 
more closely grazed at a critical season for the pasture; and sheep at all 
times show a preference for feeding on the warmer sunny slopes. When 
the pasture on the exposed slopes fails, that on the shaded slopes has to 
feed all the stock that is about, and unless the stocking is reduced to meet 
the new conditions the remaining grasses are sooner or later eaten out. 
The desert, with all its problems, is then established. 

In this account of how the desert conditions have arisen, Mr Petrie 
refers only to sheep, because it is the loss in sheep-carrying capacity 
which is so serious, but later on, after describing a typical specimen 
of the country, and showing that in inaccessible situations a con- 
siderable variety of fairly vigorous grasses live on, he adds : 

" This is one of the facts that go to indicate that the extermination of the 
grasses in this desert country is mainly due to eating out by overstocking, 
rabbits as well as sheep being included among the stock carried." "The 
desert and the greatly denuded lands are not wholly destitute of vegetation. 
In most of their lower areas greyish, flattened, firm, nearly circular patches 
of scab- weed (Raoulia australis and R. lutescens) are thickly dotted about the 
bare ground. Though otherwise useless, these moss-like composite plants 
help to keep the soil from being blown or washed away, and when old 
supply, in the decayed centres of the patches, spots with some amount 
of humus where grass-seeds can more readily settle and grow." 

These plants are never eaten either by sheep or rabbits. 

In regard to their effect on other native species of plants Mr 
Petrie writes to me in a letter of ist May, 1916: 

I know that rabbits have done much to reduce the abundance of the 
Otago Spear-grasses (Adphylla squarrosa and A. Colensoi chiefly), probably 
during times when the ground was covered by snow. When I first visited 
inland Otago (1874) Adphylla Colensoi was most abundant. In riding about 
it was almost impossible to deviate from well beaten tracks or roads, because 
the spines pricked the horses' legs and feet. I know of no evidence that 
sheep would eat fairly full-grown Adphylla leaves, but young plants must 
be more or less eaten both by sheep and cattle (as well as by rabbits). 
Several species of Celmisia, notably C. densiflora, have been greatly checked, 
and C. densiflora almost exterminated. 

Dr Cockayne is now (1921) engaged on an exhaustive investigation. 
Captain F. W. Hutton writing me on 23rd March, 1892, said: 
As to the extermination of the Wild Spaniards (Adphylla} , I believe 


it to be due to rabbits. When I was in the Nelson district in 1872-3 there 
were no rabbits on the eastern side of the Upper Wairau near Tarndale, 
but they were abundant on the western side. Spaniards were abundant 
on the eastern side, but almost destroyed on the western. The rabbits 
seemed to burrow under the plant and then eat the root. 

Mr B. C. Aston, in ascending the highest point of the Kaimanawas 
(5700 feet) on 3ist December, 1914, found the physiognomy of the 
sub-alpine scrub, which begins above the beech forest at an elevation 
of 4200 feet, and consists of Senecio Bidwillii, Veronica buxifolia, 
Olearia nummularifolia, Coprosma cuneata and Phyllocladus alpinus, 
mottled with the brown leaves of a dead shrub. On close investigation 
this was found to be Panax Colensoi, and on still closer inspection 
with a view to determining the cause of death, we found every bush 
ring-barked. I have no doubt this was done by rabbits, which after 
a heavy fall of snow would be driven down from the tussock land to 
the scrub and forest zone. The scrub only occurs in the gullies, and 
the beech forest usually has a bare floor with a few Panax trees 
scattered through it. On examination of these we found the same 
fate had overtaken them. Trees 10-20 feet high of Panax Colensoi 
and P. Edgerleyi were found to be dead and ring-barked. 

A certain part of the destructive and exterminating work of rabbits 
on the vegetation in mountain districts is particularly wrought at the 
beginning of winter. In spring and early summer as the snows melt, 
the rabbits follow up the mountain side, and are found during the 
summer at all elevations. I saw them in abundance on the top of 
Mt Tyndall nearly 8000 feet among the snow-beds. When the first 
heavy snows come on about April, they are driven down in hordes 
to the lower country, and, as has been told me by more than one 
resident in the Wanaka district, "they are as thick as locusts, and 
they eat the ground just as bare as those insects do." 

In a good many rabbit-infested districts, particularly in the North 
Island, these animals have aided very materially in producing a certain 
amount of erosion and washing down of alluvium, by burrowing 
extensively in the banks of rivers and small streams. When floods 
came down these undermined portions were commonly swept away 
where the firmer banks resisted the impact of the water. Professor 
Cotton of Wellington considers that some importance can be attached 
to this agency as affecting the physiography of certain districts and 
river systems. Cattle, sheep and goats no doubt assist in breaking 
down such alluvial banks, but rabbits are probably the most active 
agents in the work. Rev. A. Don writing me in 1901 said: 

the rabbits, by so stripping the ground of vegetation and burrowing into 
the faces of the slopes are converting what were once nice green hill-sides 


into shingle slopes, because when once the face is so bared and its surface 
broken, it begins to slip. 

Mr Petrie also refers to this process in his report as follows : 

The soil on the grass-denuded slopes, which is by no means infertile, 
being no longer held together by the roots of plants, is being rapidly 
removed by wind and rain, and pebbles and angular stones are now closely 
dotted over great stretches of hillside that not many years ago were covered 
with soil. On the steeper slopes, indeed, the soil is being rapidly sluiced 
down into the gullies and thence into the river, and deep, narrow, chasm- 
like watercourses are being dug out. 

* Hare (Lepus europceus) 

The Otago Society liberated three in 1867, which they obtained 
from Geelong, Victoria; one in 1869, and three in 1875. 

The Canterbury Society got one from Dr Macdonald of the ' Blue 
Jacket,' and one from Captain Rose of the 'Mermaid' in 1868; and 
four in 1873 fr m Messrs Wood Bros. 

The Auckland Society introduced two in 1868, and five in 1871. 
The Nelson Society introduced some hares in 1872, and these in- 
creased so rapidly as to become a nuisance in the district. The 
Southland Society obtained some from the Victorian Society in 1869, 
liberated two in 1871, and two in 1874, an< ^ 4 m J 887. These are 
all the records I can find of importations from abroad, and considering 
the casual manner and the small numbers in which they were intro- 
duced, the subsequent increase is most remarkable. 

The first three introduced by the Otago Society were liberated 
at Waihola, where two years later they were reported to be plentiful. 
In Southland coursing was commenced in 1878. Hares soon spread 
over all the flatter parts of the South Island, mostly about cultivations, 
and in districts where rabbits were not abundant. They are common 
from Cook Strait to Foveaux Strait. In the North Island they 
spread south from Auckland, and the smaller acclimatisation societies 
assisted to distribute them far and wide. Wellington li berated two 
in 1874, *4 m 1875, and four in 1876, and in 1885 reported them 
as "numerous in the vicinity of Wellington and the lower end 
of the Wairarapa Valley." In more recent years they are reported 
as in large numbers about Marton; increasing about Pahiatua, and 
as seen in almost every part of the Eketahuna district. The Tara- 
naki Society introduced them in 1876, and they were reported as 
thriving in 1884. On Mount Egmont at the present time they 
are common above the bush line and up to 6000 feet in the summer 

In 1905 the Waimarino Society purchased and liberated a number, 


and protected them for two years. Later on they became so numerous 
that they were declared to be no longer game, and all restrictions 
about shooting them were removed. Mr E. P. Turner tells me 
(January, 1916) that they are found all through the volcanic plateau 
of the North Island from Rotorua to Waiouru. 

In no part of New Zealand have they increased to such an extent 
as in South Canterbury, where they became so abundant that a con- 
siderable export trade sprang up, mostly from the port of Timaru. 
Thus the total number of frozen hares exported from New Zealand 
in 1910 was declared at 10,744; m I 9 11 ^ was II >4 1 ^; and in 1912, 
7240. I have been told, and it is highly probable, that many more 
were exported as rabbits. 

I am informed that in New Zealand hares usually produce three 
or four young at once; whereas in England they seldom have more 
than two. It is also stated that the animals are considerably larger 
than in Britain. In both cases the statements require verification, 
but if correct, the superabundance of the food supply is the principal 
factor. It is probably only true of those districts where rabbits are 
almost unknown. 

In some parts of New Zealand hares tend to become white in 
the winter season, just as in parts of the old country, following the 
same seasonal variation as occurs in ferrets, stoats and some other 
sub-arctic animals. Mr Stead informs me that this is a familiar phe- 
nomenon in Canterbury; and Mr E. H. Burn states that they are not 
uncommon in the Mackenzie Country. My son, G. Stuart Thomson, 
considers that hares are much more abundant than rabbits in the 
North Auckland Peninsula. 


* Hedgehog (Erinaceus europceus) 

In 1870 the Canterbury Society received a pair of hedgehogs 
from Mr D. Robb, purser of the 'Hydaspes,' and in 1871 received 
one from Mr Nottidge. 

In 1885 a shipment of one hundred was made to the Otago Society, 
but only three survived. These were liberated in a suburban garden, 
but were very sluggish though the weather was warm. I attributed 
this to the fact that they had lost their usual season of hibernation. 
The female died a month or two after arrival, and the two males 
were allowed to go free. Other hedgehogs must have been imported, 
for they were found at Sawyer's Bay about 1890. 


In 1894 the late Mr Peter Cunningham of Merivale, Christchurch, 
sent a consignment of wekas home and got 12 hedgehogs out in 
exchange. They were placed in a pigeon-house, but got out under 
the wire-netting and escaped. For years nothing was heard of them, 
but they gradually increased, and are now extraordinarily abundant. 
Mr Edgar F. Stead of Riccarton says (March, 1916): 

If I hunted through my garden with my dog I could get a dozen now, 
and I frequently kill them .... They are extraordinarily destructive to 
chickens, their depredations being readily identified by the fact that they 
eat their victim's stomach first, whereas a cat eats the breast first, and rats 
and weasels go for the head and neck. Once a hedgehog starts eating 
chickens, he will go on until caught or the supply runs out. I know of 
many cases when a trap set and baited with the remains of a chicken has 
caught the marauding hedgehog. 

An informant at New Brighton tells me (February, 1916) that they are 
very abundant, and are a pest in the gardens, as they eat the vegetables 
and dig up the potatoes. They are now (1916) very abundant about 
Dunedin, and apparently everywhere between Dunedin and Christ- 
church they are to be found. Mr W. W. Smith introduced two pairs 
into the Public Park, New Plymouth, in 1913, and they are increasing 

Among my correspondents, one who hails (40 years ago) from 
Surrey, England, is a firm believer in the milk-sucking habit of 
hedgehogs, and warns me that the milking qualities of cows are 
frequently destroyed by them. 

Mr C. Hutchins of Omokoroa, Tauranga, states (April, 1913) 
that many years ago he found a hedgehog thickly infested with a 
large blue tick, about the size of a small pea. The hedgehog seemed 
to be more than half dead, but the ticks were apparently thriving. 

T. N, Z. 

Chapter IV 

The classification adopted for this class is that used by Dr A. H. EVANS, 
in the Cambridge Natural History, 1899. 

SOMEWHERE about 130 species of birds have been introduced into 
New Zealand since the date of Captain Cook's landing, but it is 
difficult in many cases to distinguish between mere aviary and cage 
species, and those which it was seriously attempted to naturalise. 
Besides, of those introduced it is impossible to identify quite a number, 
and their names may be synonyms of others already recognised. Thus 
when a society reports that it has introduced so many Indian doves 
or Indian pigeons, it is manifestly impossible to identify them. 

Excluding the common wax-eye, blight-bird or twinkie (Zosterops 
later alls), which apparently has come in from Australia within the 
last 60 years and has become extremely abundant, and birds like 
the Australian swallow (Hirundo neoxend), which is an occasional 
visitor and a migrant, all the species which have been introduced 
have been purposely brought in. 

The following are the only immigrants which have become truly 
wild: mallard, Canadian goose, black swan, common pheasant, 
Chinese pheasant, Australian swamp quail, Calif ornian quail, common 
pigeon, little brown owl, skylark, thrush, blackbird, hedge sparrow, 
Australian magpie, rook, starling, Indian minah, house sparrow, chaf- 
finch, redpole, goldfinch, greenfinch, cirl bunting and yellow-hammer, 
a total of 24 species. The record of failures is much greater than that 
of successes. 

Order RATIT^) 


Solomon Island Cassowary ; Mooruk (Casuarius Bennetti) 

Sir Geo. Grey imported some of these birds in 1868, and handed 
them over to the Auckland Society ; but there is no record as to what 
came of them 1 . 

1 Major Bunbury in his report on the proclamation of Stewart Island as Her 
Majesty's possession in 1840, says: "The cassiowary has also been seen in different 
parts of the island." The reference is no doubt to the large kiwi, Apteryx australis. 


Emu (Dromaius novcs-hollandice) 

The Canterbury Society received one from Mr E. Flood of Sydney 
in 1864; the Otago Society had several in their garden in 1867; the 
Auckland Society received one from Sir Charles C. Bowen in 1868, 
and two from Mr F. E. Drissenden in 1871. There is no further 
record of any of these birds. There are always Emus in the Wellington 
Zoological Gardens. 

The only serious attempt at naturalisation was that made by Sir 
Geo. Grey who introduced a number into Kawau in 1868, but they 
all died. 



No fewer than 25 species of this family have been introduced into 
New Zealand, but only one the Australian black swan has com- 
pletely established itself, while the mallard and the Canadian goose 
have been partially naturalised. Domestic ducks appear to have been 
first introduced by the missionaries, either at the time of Marsden's 
first visit in 1814 to the Bay of Islands, or very shortly afterwards. 

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschatd) 

In 1865 Captain Norman liberated six of these birds on Adam's 
Island, one of the Auckland Islands lying to the south of New 
Zealand. They failed to establish themselves. 

English Pochard Duck (<?), Dunbird (?) ( Nyroca ferina) 

The Wellington Society imported six in 1894, and three more in 
1895. Two years later, in conjunction with the Canterbury, Nelson, 
Taranaki, and other societies, a number more were imported. Private 
individuals and dealers apparently also brought in several. 

The only report of these is a negative one, the Taranaki Society 
stating in 1902 that " we have not seen anything of the pochard ducks 
which were liberated in 1898." 

Canvas-back Duck (Nyroca vallisneria) 

In 1905 the Government imported some of these birds, but only 
two appear to have arrived, and these were handed over to the 
Wellington Society. There is no further information obtainable about 

Pintail Duck (Dafila acuta) 

In 1885 the Canterbury Society received some from the Royal 
Zoological Society of London, and in 1896 the Otago Society imported 
some, but in neither case is any information obtainable as to how many 


ioo BIRDS 

were introduced, or what was done with them, and there is no further 

In 1905 the Government imported a number of birds. Four of 
these were sent to the Otago Society and were kept for breeding 
purposes at the Clinton hatchery, but did not increase. Six were 
handed over to the Wellington Society, and went to their game farm 
in the Wairarapa. Again there is no further record. 

The species is almost exclusively a migrant in Britain, which it 
visits only in winter. It breeds in the Arctic regions of both hemi- 
spheres, and winters in various parts of Europe and North America, 
India, China, Japan, and Central America. It occasionally breeds in 
Britain. It is no wonder therefore that it did not settle in New 

English Teal Duck (Nettion crecca) 

In 1897 an effort was made by the Wellington, Canterbury, Nelson 
and other societies to introduce this bird, and several were imported 
and distributed. But there is no record in any of the societies' 
reports as to what came of them afterwards. 

The teal is a palaearctic species, breeding chiefly in Northern 
Europe and Siberia, but occasionally in several other countries of 
Europe. It is a resident of the British Isles, though its numbers are 
largely increased during the winter season. It has been found as far 
south in winter as Abyssinia, and abundantly in India, China, Formosa 
and Japan 1 . 

Widgeon, Wigeon (Mareca penelope) 

In 1868 the Canterbury Society received eight young birds from 
Messrs Nairn and Crawford, who had apparently imported a number. 
In 1885 some more were received from the Royal Zoological Society 
of London. 

In 1896 the Otago Society received eight birds from London, 
and these were sent down to the Clinton establishment for breeding 
purposes. The following year another lot from London were handed 
over to Mr W. Telford of Clifton, who liberated them in his ponds. 

In 1904 the Government imported a number of these ducks. Of 
these four were handed over to the Wellington Society, and a dozen 

1 It is one of the remarkable facts of the attempts made to naturalise foreign 
animals in New Zealand that the country formerly possessed a native quail (Coturnix 
novee zealandite) which has been allowed to become extinct; and also that it still 
possesses a grey duck (Anas superciliosa) , a small brown duck (Anas chlorotis), and 
a shelldrake or paradise duck (Casarca variegata), all fine game birds, and that not 
one of the societies ever put forth any effort to preserve or protect these birds, 
except in the way of limiting the seasons for shooting them. In recent years bird 
sanctuaries have been set aside in many parts of the country, but very little else 
has been done to increase the supply of native game. Yet the little brown duck 
is quite as good a bird as the English teal, and well worthy of conservation. 


(six pairs) to the Westland Society, which liberated them at Lake 

It is very doubtful whether the species will establish itself in this 
country. It breeds in the northern portion of temperate Europe, 
extending northwards beyond the limit of forest growth, and occasion- 
ally in the British Isles. It winters in Southern Europe, India, South 
China, Formosa, and Japan ; it is only a partial resident in Britain. 

Gadwell's Duck, Gadwall (Chaulelasmus streperus) 

The Wellington Society introduced some in 1894 and 1895; but 
have kept no record of them. 

The species is only a partial resident in Britain, where it mostly 
winters; breeding in Iceland, North Russia and Central Europe. 

Korean Duck (Eunetta falcata) 

The Wellington Society received some (? date) from Sir F. Sargood, 
and since 1905 have reared a considerable number. They have ap- 
parently no later record of having turned them out. 

* Mallard, English Wild Duck (Anas boscas) 

In spite of the fact that the native wild duck of New Zealand 
(Anas superciliosa] is as fine a bird both for sport and table purposes 
as any species of the family that can be introduced, the various 
acclimatisation societies have for many years made continuous efforts 
to naturalise other species, and notably the mallard. 

The Otago Society got a pair in 1867 from the Melbourne Society, 
and later from London introduced five in 1869, four in 1870, three 
in 1876, and nine in 1881. Apparently none of these early introduc- 
tions throve, for there is no record of their increase or distribution, 
except that some were sent north to Kakanui, and others down to 
Riverton. In 1896 21 birds were received from London. Of these 
ten were forwarded to the Southland Society, and the rest were kept 
at Clinton for breeding purposes. In 1897 another lot was imported 
and these were handed over to Mr Telford of Clifton to be bred from. 
In more recent years numbers have been reared in different localities 
and have been liberated in such quantity that shooting was allowed 
in 1915. Between 1910 and 1918 the Southland Society have also 
liberated nearly 1350 birds in their district. They may, now, there- 
fore, be considered to be established in the southern portion of the 
South Island. 

The Auckland Society imported two in 1870, and four in 1886, 
and kept them in the Domain for breeding purposes. But there is 
no record of their further progress. 

102 BIRDS 

In 1873 tne Canterbury Society had 12 in their gardens kept 
for breeding purposes, but there is no record of any results achieved. 
In 1897 this society joined with some others in importing a number 
from London. 

In 1893 the Wellington Society imported 19, which they kept 
in their Masterton enclosures for breeding from; and they also 
distributed eggs. But stoats and weasels destroyed nearly the whole 
stock. Some placed in a reserve on Mr Martin's run, Wairarapa, 
increased rapidly however. In 1904 the Society received four pairs 
imported by the Government; and in more recent years they have 
reared and distributed several hundred birds. The species may there- 
fore be considered as established in the Wairarapa, but without careful 
protection it is not likely that it will increase to any great extent. 

In 1898 the Taranaki Society received a number from one of the 
other societies, but in four years all the birds had disappeared. 

Mr Dansey of Rotorua tells me that subsequently to 1906, Mr 
McBean liberated a number of mallard on Lake Okareka, and that 
they increased to a flock of about 200. Some of these were presented 
to the Tourist Department, but there is no information as to the 
disposal of the birds on Mr McBean's death a few years ago. 

In 1911 the Southland Society inaugurated an identification test. 
They liberated 100 mallards, which were numbered i to 100 on leg 
bands. I have not heard that any of these birds have since been 

In 1917 ducks were shot in South Canterbury which were believed 
to be hybrids between the native grey duck and the mallard. 

At Temuka in the Acclimatisation Reserve a pair of hybrids 
between the mallard and the paradise duck have been reared. 

Mr W. W. Smith states that the native grey duck hybridises 
readily with the domestic duck, and that the hybrids are fertile. 

The mallard is a partial resident in Britain, but in many cases is 
only a winter visitant, nesting in Southern Greenland, Iceland and 
in Northern Europe. Some of the introduced birds and their progeny 
may have inherited the migratory instinct. 

American Black Duck (Anas obscurd) 

The Government introduced a number of these birds in 1905, 
giving six to the Southland Society, and four to the Wellington 
Society. The latter body reared a number of young. They also reared 
a number of hybrids between this species and the mallard. Whether 
such hybrids are fertile or not is not stated. As an experiment in 
acclimatisation it may be interesting, but it is doubtful if it has any 
scientific value, especially if the results are not collected and published. 


I have not heard that the species has been liberated, or if so that 
the birds have been seen. 

American Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) 

The Auckland Society introduced two in 1867; the Canterbury 
Society one in 1871 ; the Wellington Society two in 1894 and four 
in 1899; and the Otago Society one in 1906. Probably others have 
been brought in since. 

They appear to have been kept as aviary birds in each locality, 
except in Wellington, where the last four received were liberated. 
There is no record of increase, except in Christchurch, where they 
were reported to be thriving in 1908. 

Mr Dansey of Rotorua informs me that in 1906, Mr McBean 
introduced and liberated some Canadian wood ducks (presumably 
this species) on Lake Okareka, which lies in a basin between Rotorua 
and Tarawera Lakes. They were seen there for some years, but no 
young were ever observed. 

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulatd) 

The Auckland Society received one in 1868; the Canterbury 
Society two in 1871, and a number in 1885 from the Royal Zoological 
Society of London; and the Otago Society four in 1907. Private 
dealers also frequently introduced this bird. There is no record of 
their increase, or of their liberation. 

Black Indian Duck 

I do not know what species is referred to, but it is probably the 
tufted duck (Fuligula cristata), known to Indian sportsmen as the 

In 1870 the Auckland Society received five from the Acclimatisa- 
tion Society of Victoria. 

Mr Dansey informs me that along with the Canadian wood ducks, 
Mr McBean in 1906 introduced some Indian ducks, which were also 
liberated on Lake Okareka, but they never increased. 

Probably most of the species of geese referred to in this list are 
more or less migratory species, breeding near or within the Arctic 
Circle, and wintering in temperate or warm temperate regions. 

Egyptian Goose ; Cape Goose (Chenalopex cegyptiacd) 

Sir Geo. Grey brought eight or ten of these birds from the Cape 
with him in 1860. They bred freely at the Kawau, and many of them 
crossed over to the mainland. They were not long in spreading through 

104 BIRDS 

the country, and were found from Te Aute in Hawke's Bay to the 
Kaipara. Apparently, however, all were destroyed in later years. 

The Auckland Society introduced some of these birds in 1869, 
and kept them in their aviaries for several years, but there is no 
record as to whether they increased or were liberated. 

Sandwich Island Goose (Nesochen sandvicensis) 

The Auckland Society introduced a pair in 1871, but the record 
is the same as that of the preceding species. 

Brent Goose ; Black Brant Goose (Branta nigricans) 

In 1871 the Canterbury Society received a pair from the Zoological 
Society of London, but there is no further record of them. 

In 1905 the Government imported some from America, and the 
Wellington Society got a pair, but there is no further record. 

* Canadian Goose; Maine Goose (Branta canadensis) 

The Wellington Society imported three in 1876, and 15 in 1879. 
These were liberated and were seen for some months afterwards, 
but ultimately disappeared. It was reported that some of them were 
killed by paradise ducks. 

In 1905 the Government imported a considerable number of these 
birds and distributed them widely, 1 1 going to the Southland Society, 
ten to Otago, a number (unspecified) to Canterbury, and six to 

The Southland Society liberated their birds at Lake Manapouri, 
and sent three more there in 1909. Others were sent up to Lake Te 
Anau, where they were reported to be thriving in 1918. 

The Otago Society lost two in the first few years, but after a time 
sent some to the poultry farm at Milton where young were reared. 
Ultimately in 1912 some were liberated on Mr Telford's lagoon at 
Waiwera; and in 1915, 12 were sent to the head of Lake Hawea. 
These are doing well. 

The Canterbury Society liberated a number at Glenmark in 
1907-8, and these increased; in 1912 some were sent to Lake Sumner 
and others to Mount White. Mr E. F. Stead (April. 1916) reports 
that "they are thriving." At Glenmark they breed freely every year. 
Those at Lake Sumner are doing well. 

Mr Ayson reports in 1915 that "they are doing well in several 
parts of the dominion." 

I am told this species is a migrant in its original habitat, in which 
case its establishment in New Zealand is rather interesting. 


Chinese Goose (Cycnopsis cycnoides) 

The Canterbury Society imported some of these birds about 1874, 
when there were eleven in their enclosures; but in 1877 there were 
only four, and there is no further record. 

Common Goose ; Grey-Lay Goose (Anser cinereus) 

The common goose is particularly interesting as the first species 
of bird which it was attempted to naturalise in New Zealand. When 
Captain Cook was at Dusky Sound in March-May, 1773, during his 
second voyage to New Zealand, he liberated some geese. In his 
Journal he says: 

Having 5 geese out of those we brought from the Cape of Good Hope, 
I went with them next morning to Goose Cove (named so on this account), 
where I left them. I chose this place for two reasons ; first, because, here 
are no inhabitants to disturb them ; and secondly, here being the most food. 
I make no doubt that they will breed, and may in time spread over the 
whole country, and fully answer my intention in leaving them. 

Dr McNab, commenting on this in "Murihiku," says: 

The non-success of the importation of geese was doubtless due to the 
depredations of the weka. To show how deadly the weka could be to the 
harmless goose, the author instances a case which came under his own 
notice in Dusky Sound. The party disturbed a swan (black swan?) sitting 
on her nest, and although less than one minute elapsed before they reached 
the spot, the solitary egg, which proved to be quite fresh, had in that short 
time been tapped by a weka, and the contents partially extracted. No 
imported geese could successfully contend with such an ever-present foe. 

The weka is no doubt responsible for the failure of many attempts 
to establish introduced birds, but it is only one of the agents. 

The next recorded attempt at naturalisation was made by the 
Southland Society in 1867, when seven geese were liberated on the 
banks of the Mataura River. They were duly advertised as protected, 
but evidently that did not protect them from pot-hunters, for they 

A more successful attempt was made by the Otago Society, which 
in 1892 placed a number of goose-eggs in black swans' nests on Lakes 
Kaitangata and Waihola, Lake Onslow near Roxburgh, and in the 
Upper Taieri. At first these half- wild geese were shot, but later on 
they were allowed to increase, till in 1905, permission to shoot them 
was granted, when they were nearly or quite exterminated. The 
average (so-called) sportsman is a man out to kill something, and he 
does not concern himself as to the amount of trouble and expense 
which has been gone to in order to provide him with the thing to 
be killed. 

io6 BIRDS 

Except where strictly preserved the goose has no chance of sur- 
viving, for it never becomes truly wild in New Zealand. 

In 1887 a flock of about 20 geese frequented the east lagoon 
on Ruapuke in Foveaux Straits ; they were very wild and after being 
shot at with rifles (though none were obtained) they appear to have 
shifted their quarters. Mr W. Traill, of Ulva, to whom I am indebted 
for this information, says that some years later a flock used to be seen 
about Bench Island, but when persons went to shoot them, they 
made off to the extensive swamps at the head of Lord's River. These 
were grey geese, probably belonging to the common species, but 
specimens have never been secured for identification. 

White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) 

In 1905 the Wellington Society received two of these birds, which 
were imported by the Government. There is no further record. The 
species is only a winter visitor in Britain; it breeds in the North, 
mostly within the Arctic Circle. 

Oregon Wild Goose ; Snow Goose (Chen hyperboreus) 

In 1877 the Auckland Society received ten from Mr T. Russell, 
and ultimately liberated them at Matamata. They failed however to 
establish themselves. 

Cape Barren Goose ; Australian Wild Goose 
(Cereopsis novce-hollandice) 

The Auckland Society liberated two -of these at Riverhead, some 
time before 1869, but they disappeared. 

In 1871 the Canterbury Society received two from Mr G. Gould, 
but no further record of them was kept. 

In 1912 the Otago Society received two, and sent them to the 
Government Poultry Farm at Milton, where several young were 
reared. From these, four were placed at the head of Lake Hawera 
in 1915, and others sent down to the Society's hatchery at Clinton. 
They appear to be doing well by latest reports. 

Adelaide Goose 

The Auckland Society introduced two birds in 1867, under this 
name. I do not know what species this is unless it is the maned goose, 
Chlamydocen jubata. 

* Australian Black Swan (Chenopsis atratus) 

This is one of the pronounced successes of naturalisation in New 


Some time previous to 1864 the Nelson Society introduced seven 
birds into that district. 

In 1864 the Canterbury Society received four birds from Sir Geo. 
Grey, and liberated them on the Avon; and later two more from 
Mr Wilkin. In 1866 the same society received one from Mr Mueller, 
and four more from Sir Geo. Grey. 

But the big effort came from the Otago Society, which liberated 
one in 1866, 42 in 1867, four in 1868, six in 1869, and eight 
in 1870. 

The Southland Society also liberated six in 1869. 

The birds quickly established themselves, spreading into all parts 
of the island from Stewart Island and the West Coast Sounds to 
Cook's Strait. Their whistling flight is a common sound at night. 

Sir W. L. Buller says "the first were introduced into the North 
Island in 1864." The Auckland Society liberated four in 1867. 
They were plentiful in the Kaipara district ten years ago. They 
were also reported to be abundant in the Chatham Islands a few 
years ago. 

Sir W. L. Buller states, and Mr Drummond repeats the statement, 
that wherever the black swan is found the wild duck (Anas superciliosa) 

Sir Thos. Mackenzie records a case of a black swan being killed 
by a weasel. 

White Swan (Cygnus olor) 

This bird has never gone wild in New Zealand, but is still, as in 
Britain, always associated with preserved ponds and streams. The 
Canterbury Society received two in 1866; the Otago Society three in 
1868, and one in 1869; the Auckland Society two in 1869 (from Sir 
Geo. Grey), and 12 in 1871 (from Captain Hutton). Several were also 
introduced by private individuals and by dealers. It is nowhere 

Scrub Turkey ; Brush Turkey (Catheturus lathami) 

The Auckland Society received two from New South Wales, from 
Sir Geo. Bowen before 1869, and liberated them at Kaipara, but they 
failed to establish themselves. 

Curassow (probably the Crested Curassow) (Crax alector) 

The Canterbury Society received two in 1873, and one in 1874; 
but there is no further record. 

io8 BIRDS 

Guinea-Fowl ; Pintado (Numida meleagris) 

The Rev. R. Taylor states that guinea-fowls were first introduced 
by the early missionaries, who brought them to the Bay of Islands. 

The Canterbury Society received a number of these birds from 
India in the early sixties, from Messrs Guise Brittain and Cracroft 
Wilson. They presented six to Mr H. Redwood of Nelson in 1864. 

The Otago Society introduced 23 in 1867, and distributed them 
to various private individuals. But they failed to reproduce them- 
selves, and are still extremely rare in Otago, even as poultry. Ap- 
parently the winter climate is too severe for them in most parts. 

In the North Island private individuals liberated them at several 
points, but they do not seem to have established themselves commonly 
as wild birds. I am informed, however, that in the Aberfeldy district, 
about 40 miles inland from Wanganui, they are not uncommon. 

Mr Holman, curator of the Whangarei Acclimatisation Society, 
tells me that guinea-fowls attack and drive away harrier hawks. 

Turkey (Meleagris gallipavo) 

Turkeys have apparently gone wild in various districts from time 
to time. Mr B. C. Aston informs me that on crossing the Kaimanawa 
Range, he came upon wild turkeys on the Erewhon Estate. There are 
also abundance of wild turkeys on the ranges behind Kaikoura in 
Marlborough, but they are never far from the homesteads from 
which they have strayed. Mr T. Hallett states that they were common 
in Hawke's Bay 30 years ago, but disappeared rapidly after that. 
Mr Lowe considers that the disappearance of this species from districts 
where it was formerly common in the North Island was due to the 
same causes as that of the pheasants. The starlings and other intro- 
duced birds ate out their food, especially the insect-life on which the 
young were chiefly feared. The poults were lost in their efforts to 
struggle after their parents for food. It was noticed that the young 
broods became smaller and smaller, until at last they failed to be 

An interesting record is that given by Dr Cockayne concerning a 
flock of turkeys kept by Mr Jas. O'Malley of the Glacier Hotel, 
Bealey, 20 or 30 years ago. The birds lived in the bed of the 
Waimakariri River, among the tussocks which covered the land, and 
harboured immense numbers of grasshoppers. They became absolutely 
wild and increased to a great extent. The area over which they spread 
was at an elevation of 2000 feet and over, and was just on the edge 
of the wet belt, having an annual rainfall of 120 inches or over, and 


experiencing very severe frosts in winter. Apparently when Mr 
O'Malley left (or died) the whole flock was destroyed. 
Mr H. T. Travers writes me in February, 1919: 

At Pakawau, not far from Collingwood in the Nelson district, a settler 
used to raise a large number of turkeys. I often have, when visiting 
Collingwood, taken back with me two or three fine young "gobblers," 
paying zs. 6d. each only for them. After a time I was unable to obtain 
any more, and was informed that in consequence of the great increase in 
introduced birds, destroying the grasshoppers on which the young turkeys 
lived, no more could be raised. 

They are still common in some localities inland from Wanganui, 
but it is stated that in these localities, while minahs and Australian 
magpies are common, starlings are scarcely ever seen. 

Pea-Fowl (Pavo cristatus) 

According to E. Jerningham Wakefield the first peacocks intro- 
duced into New Zealand were brought to Wellington in 1843, by 
Mr Petre, who imported a large assortment of stock and materials in 
a ship of his own chartering. 

The Otago Society introduced two in 1867, and handed them 
over to some private individual, but no further record was kept of 
them. In other districts private individuals and dealers introduced 
them, and, especially in the North Island, they occasionally got into 
the bush and became wild. Mr Thos. Hallett tells me that they 
were formerly wild in several places in Hawke's Bay, but disappeared 
probably from the same causes as the last species. They are still wild 
in bush districts inland from Wanganui. 

Mr W. W. Fulton states similarly that they were formerly numerous 
in the valleys of the Turakina and Wangahu Rivers. 

Common Fowl ; Jungle Cock (Gallus bankiva) 
Captain Cook in 1773 liberated fowls in West Bay, Queen Char- 
lotte Sound, but on visiting the spot on October, 1774, he could not 
observe any trace of them. But in the account of his third voyage 
(February, 1777) he says: 

All the natives whom I conversed with agreed that poultry are now 
to be met with wild in the woods behind the Ship Cove ; and I was after- 
wards informed by the two youths who went away with us, that Tiratou, 
a popular chief amongst them, had a great many cocks and hens in his 
separate possession. 

On 2nd November, 1778, Captain Cook anchored the ' Resolution ' 
at the mouth of Port Nicholson, and gave the natives who came off 
in their canoes "fowls to take home and domesticate." 


I cannot find that these birds established themselves anywhere as 
a wild species till much later, though it is quite possible that the 
natives got them from whaling vessels in later years. In 1814, when 
Marsden came to the Bay of Islands, fowls were brought over from 
Sydney, and from that date onwards the natives acquired birds and 
carried them throughout the country. Numbers became wild in 
the bush. Mr Thos. Hallett informs me that 30 or 40 years ago 
common fowls, the progeny of birds escaped from the Maoris, were 
found in many inland parts of the North Island, from Hawke's Bay 
to Lake Taupo. No doubt they were equally common in other parts, 
but in recent years these wild fowls have been exterminated. 

Mr Jas. Hay says: "there were in the early days many wild 
fowls in the bush in Pigeon Bay, but whether or not descended from 
Captain Cook's stock I cannot say." It is much more likely that they 
were introduced either by whalers or by the early settlers at Akaroa and 
Lyttelton, as they were not recorded from other parts of Canterbury. 

In 1840, during the Ross Expedition, some poultry were landed 
on the Auckland Islands. Again in 1865, Captain Norman liberated 
some on Campbell Island. In both cases they failed to establish 
themselves, though domesticated fowls thrive on the latter island at 
the present time. 

Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus) 

The Auckland Society received one from Mr R. Claude in 1867, 
and imported four more in 1868. 

In 1871 several were imported by the Canterbury Society, but 
there is no record as to what they did with them. 

The Wellington Society obtained three in 1891 from England. 

The Otago Society received a pair in 1906, which they kept in 
their Opoho grounds, Dunedin. In 1907 they had 12 birds; in 
1908 only five; in 1909 15 and in 1910 30. In the following year 
they had 35, and then their stock diminished till in 1913 they had 
only some half-a-dozen, but whether from death or by distribution 
is not stated. In 1912 a number of hybrids between golden and 
diamond pheasants were reared, but whether these crosses were fertile 
or not I cannot find out. 

I do not think these birds were liberated at any time; they have, 
apparently, only been kept as aviary specimens. 

Diamond Pheasant (probably Lady Amherst's Pheasant) 
{Chrysolophus amherstiee) 

The Otago Society had two of these birds at Opoho in 1907, but 
there is no record as to where they came from. They had increased 


to four in 1910, after which date there is no further mention of 

* Common Pheasant ; English Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) 
* Chinese Pheasant ; Ringed Pheasant (P. torquatus) 

These two species must be treated together, because, though 
separately introduced at several centres, they have apparently inter- 
bred to some extent. The first-named species has never established 
itself so readily as did Phasianus torquatus. 

The first pheasants introduced into New Zealand were brought 
from England to Wellington in 1842 by Mrs Wills, a passenger in 
the ' London,' who landed a cock and three hen birds. In the following 
year Mr Petre landed some more. I cannot, however, trace the 
subsequent history of these birds. 

In 1845 some English pheasants were liberated at Mongonui by 
Mr Walter Brodie. These birds, though multiplying round the spot 
where they were liberated, did not spread much. In later years, up 
to 1869, they were distributed and turned out at Tauranga, Tolago 
Bay, Raglan, Kawau, Bay of Islands and Napier. 

Mr James Hay states that English pheasants were first imported 
into Banks' Peninsula by Messrs Smith and C. H. Robinson in the 
'Monarch' in 1850. "Mr Robinson gave Mrs Sinclair one pair. She 
kept them in a wire-house, but one having escaped, the other was 
let out. Instead of remaining in Pigeon Bay, the birds went straight 
over the hill to Port Levy in the early spring of 1851." There they 
increased rapidly, but it was six years before they re-appeared in 
Pigeon Bay. 

In 1853 Sir Edwin Dashwood brought out some English pheasants 
to Nelson. These birds increased greatly and soon found their way 
to the Waimea Plains, and in other directions. Two unsuccessful 
attempts were made later by Mr Henry Redwood, but on each occasion 
only one bird arrived. 

The Otago Society liberated four English pheasants in 1865, 
36 in 1866, six in 1867, 12 in 1868, 100 in 1869, 13 in 
1870, ten in 1874, anc ^ I2 m ^77 There was no mistake as 
to their intention to establish them thoroughly. In 1871 they are 
reported as increasing rapidly in Otago; and in 1877 as "abundant 
from Oamaru to Invercargill ; many shooting licences have been 

Sir Frederick Weld brought out a number of birds from England 
to Christchurch in 1865. The Canterbury Society imported four 
in 1867, and 30 in 1868. In 1871 it was stated that they are 
"thoroughly established, and needing no further importations." 

ii2 BIRDS 

The Auckland Society introduced seven English pheasants in 
1867, and two in 1868. 

In 1869 Mr Wentworth liberated a number of English pheasants 
on the Hokonuis, but I do not know from whence he obtained them. 

These are all the introductions of English pheasants (Phasianus 
colchicus) which I have been able to trace. 

Turning now to the Chinese species (P. torquatus), Captain Hutton 
states that in 1851 Mr Thomas Henderson imported some direct 
from China in the barque ' Glencoe.' Two dozen were shipped, but 
only seven reached Auckland alive, five cocks and two hens. These 
were turned out at Waitakere. In 1856 Mr Henderson imported 
some more Chinese pheasants in the schooner ' Gazelle/ of which 
only six arrived alive. They were also turned out at Waitakere. These 
thirteen birds, mostly cocks, appear to have been the whole of the 
Chinese pheasants imported into the province of Auckland. They 
were lost sight of for several years, then they re-appeared and 
gradually became more and more abundant in the neighbourhood of 
Auckland, and were shot in considerable numbers in 1865. They first 
appeared in the Waikato in 1864-65. In 1869 they were extremely 
abundant from Auckland through the Waikato and Thames to near 
Taupo. In the same year they reached Whangarei, but were rather 
rare further north. In the Auckland Society's Report for 1874-75 
it is stated that the "Chinese pheasant is the common bird of this 

The Wellington Society imported 20 Chinese pheasants in 1874, 
and four in 1875. 

The above seem to be all the direct importations of this species 
into New Zealand. But in the early years of acclimatisation a very 
wide distribution of birds by the various societies was undertaken, 
and they were spread far and wide. The kind was not always specified ; 
some were Chinese, some were English, and very probably many 
were hybrids, if it is the case, as commonly believed, that the two 
species have crossed freely. Thus in 1864 the Otago Society obtained 
three Chinese pheasants from Auckland, and in 1877, 15 more; 
seven of these were sent to Oamaru, and five to Tapanui. 

The Canterbury Society received three Chinese pheasants in 1867, 
and in the report for 1871 it is stated that they consider them "to 
be thoroughly established and needing no further importations." This 
statement appears to apply, however, both to the Chinese and English 
species, for in 1869 it was stated that the pheasants were in thousands 
on the Cheviot Hills Station. 

The Southland Society got a large number of both species from 
other societies in 1869-70, and liberated them in various parts of 


the provincial district; and in 1874 tnev liberated four Chinese 
pheasants at Wallacetown. 

Mr T. F. Cheeseman writing to me in August, 1915, says: 

Our pheasant is certainly the Chinese pheasant (P. torquatus) with a 
slight admixture of the English pheasant (P. cokhicus) in the extreme 
north of the provincial district. Such enormous numbers of the Chinese 
pheasants were distributed from Auckland to other parts of the Colony 
that I am inclined to doubt the existence of the pure English pheasant 
in the wild state in New Zealand. 

There is no doubt that in 1871 pheasants of both species were 
abundant all over New Zealand, but soon after their numbers began 
to decrease. Many causes contributed to bring about this decrease, 
which has continued ever since. The vast increase of the rabbit led 
to the introduction of phosphorus poisoning, and the grain used 
was freely eaten by the ground birds. The small birds introduced in 
1867 and 1868 and subsequent years, soon increased to an extra- 
ordinary extent and ate out the food supply, and lastly, about 1882, 
the importation of stoats and weasels commenced. 

The Otago Society report in 1881 that pheasants are plentiful, 
but much scattered, and "believed to have suffered greatly from 
hawks and poisoned grain." In 1882 they " have become very scarce." 
Poaching was considered to be the principal cause of decrease. In 
1885 the "numbers are sadly reduced." In 1890 "pheasants are few 
and far between"; and in 1892 "pheasants are few and far between, 
it is very rare to see one." In the same report it is stated that there 
is no prospect of being able to establish a supply of game, while the 
present system of liberating stoats and weasels, and of rabbit poisoning 
is being carried on. 

In the Wellington Society's report for 1885 we read: "The 
number of these birds in this district has greatly decreased of late 
years." In the Wairarapa district they are nearly extinct, "due to 
poisoned grain, and the introduction of stoats, weasels and ferrets." 
In 1888 "they do not seem to be increasing as they should." This 
is attributed to vermin, poaching, wet weather during the nesting 
season, and rabbit poisoning. 

Captain F. W. Hutton, writing me in 1890, said: "the pheasants 
are dying off about Christchurch. This is probably due to failure of 
food; they have killed off nearly all the grasshoppers." The failure 
of food was the probable cause, but I think it was the starlings and 
sparrows which mainly decimated the grasshoppers. 

Mr J. L. Watson, writing from Invercargill the same year, re- 
marks : " the pheasants became pretty numerous "(in Southland), " but 
through poaching and poisoned grain, they are now exterminated." 

ii4 BIRDS 

Thus in the South Island, and in those parts of the North Island 
where rabbits abounded, the history of the naturalisation of the 
pheasant seemed to be that at first the birds increased rapidly and 
became very common, then their increase stopped, their numbers 
decreased and finally in 25 years they were all but exterminated. 

In the North Island, in those parts where there were no rabbits, 
pheasants still continued to be fairly common, but were not nearly 
so abundant as in the earlier years. For example in Taranaki the 
report of the local society for 1874 * s "pheasants plentiful in the 
Province." In succeeding years they were largely destroyed, and then 
breeding and liberating of young birds was resorted to. In 1908 the 
Chairman (Mr W. L. Newman) at the annual meeting said "he did 
not think they had a pheasant left." 

After a time, most of the societies, undeterred by past failures, 
and without any proper examination into the causes of the failures, 
renewed their efforts to stock the country with these birds. 

In 1895 the Otago Society obtained seven hens and two cocks 
from Auckland, and liberated them between Lake Waihola and the 
coast. Shortly after one was picked up dead, and its crop was found 
to be full of phosphorised oats. In 1897, 22 birds (out of 32 shipped) 
were received from London, and appear to have been kept for breed- 
ing purposes either at the Milton poultry farm or at the Clinton 
hatchery. The Society was led to recommence stocking with these 
birds because "it seems that the trapping of rabbits for export is 
now carried on to such an extent that much less poison will be laid in 
future, and if the hawks were reduced in numbers, game birds may 
increase in our district." It was also recommended that a bonus be 
offered for the rearing of young pheasants, and in this way "45 strong 
young birds were secured and liberated." In 1899 another lot of 21 
birds was received from England, and was kept for breeding pur- 
poses, while over 80 were bred locally and turned out. Yet in 1904 
the report is : "An odd old bird is to be seen at times, but no young." 
Still more recently the attempt is again being carried on, and in the 
report for 1914-15 we read "the birds liberated during the past two 
seasons have been seen occasionally and are apparently thriving." 
In the report for 1919 it is stated that "Pheasants liberated four years 
ago have not been reported about for some time." 

The Southland Society has made very strenuous efforts to stock 
Stewart Island, where the rabbits have died out, there is no poisoning 
done, and neither ferrets, stoats nor weasels occur. Five pheasants 
were liberated in 1869, 16 in 1895, 48 in 1901, 37 in 1902, 36 in 1904, 
16 in 1907, 105 in 1909 and 47 in 1910. No doubt some of these 
survived and may have bred, but Mr Walter Traill a skilled observer 


and resident writing in March, 1916, says "the pheasants did not 

The Canterbury Society began rearing pheasants in 1868, and 
continued the work for many years, also importing fresh birds from 
Britain from time to time. Mr Drummond writes as follows: 

In 1868 the Acclimatisation Society bred forty birds and sold them to 
members for 2 a pair. In the tussock-covered land of Canterbury they 
throve specially well, and the large Cheviot Estate, then held by the Hon. W. 
Robinson, was soon stocked with them. Mr Robinson spared no expense 
in preparing for their reception when he arranged for a consignment 
supplied by the Society. He erected commodious aviaries, ordered that 
all the cats on the estate should be killed, nearly extirpated the wekas, 
and had the hawks destroyed at the rate of six a day. The society continued 
to import pheasants for a considerable time. It bred about a hundred 
birds in a year, and obtained a fairly good income by selling them to the 
owners of large estates. It seemed as if pheasants would in a few years 
spread throughout both Islands and become thoroughly naturalised. After 
this had gone on for some time the birds received a decided check. Their 
numbers neither increased nor decreased. They then began to decrease 
rapidly, and apparently almost simultaneously in many districts. Their 
complete failure, taking the colony as a whole, is now beyond doubt. 
In Canterbury and other provinces where they were once exceedingly 
plentiful they are never seen at all. 

The Nelson Society re-introduced pheasants in 1912, and suc- 
ceeding years, and in 1915 reported them as thriving. 

The Wellington Society continued for years to raise broods through 
private individuals, but the birds did not increase, ferrets occasionally 
destroying all the birds in an enclosure. In 1897, in conjunction 
with other societies they introduced 40 from England. In 1905 they 
received four pairs from the Government. In 1907 they reared 430 
at the Game Farm; 347 (English and Chinese cross) in 1908; some 
230 in 1910; over 300 in 1912; and no doubt large numbers (not 
specified) in 1909, 1911 and 1913 ; and most of these were liberated. 
But the curator says they are unable to hold their own against stoats 
and ferrets. 

The Taranaki Society were still (1913) "buying pheasants' eggs 
(which hatched poorly), and rearing them at a game farm." In 1915 
the efforts of the Society to rear birds are referred to, but it is stated 
that these efforts had been unsuccessful. Mr W. W. Smith, one of 
the best observers and naturalists in New Zealand says, in February, 
1916: "they are still fairly plentiful in Taranaki, but formerly were 
much more abundant." 

Mr Peacock in 1913 states that pheasants were very plentiful 
formerly in the Bay of Plenty district, but are now rare ; while black- 



birds, thrushes, starlings, goldfinches, green-linnets and Calif ornian 
quail are now common. 

I have given the facts regarding the introduction, spread and 
subsequent disappearance of the pheasants at very considerable length, 
because they show what a complex problem the naturalisation of a 
species in a new country may be. In spite of all the efforts which have 
been put forth during the last half-century, pheasants are not very 
common anywhere in the North Island, and are extremely rare in 
the South. Poisoned grain, ferrets, stoats, weasels, wild cats, hawks, 
wekas and poachers have all been blamed for this failure, and no 
doubt all have borne a share in bringing about the present position. 
But I think Mr Cheeseman's explanation is probably the correct one, 
namely that the diminution of their food supplies caused by the vast 
increase of all kinds of small birds has been the chief agent. " These," 
he says, "have literally starved out the pheasants, which scarcely 
manage to keep themselves alive during the winter months, and, when 
the breeding season arrives, they are not in a fit state to reproduce 
their species." Mr Bell, of Hawera, who strongly endorses this theory, 
states also that " young pheasants cannot travel far for food, and that 
they are attacked and destroyed by Californian Quails." Mr J. Grant 
of Wanganui informs me (1918) that Australian magpies have been 
seen to attack and kill a hen-pheasant. 

What is true about pheasants is also true for all the larger game 
birds. It is not so much the hawks, ferrets, wekas and owls, as the 
smaller birds which are the real cause of the diminution and dis- 
appearance of the larger species. It is the eating out of the food 
supply, and chiefly of the insect life which is the main food supply 
of the young birds. 

Pheasants do much damage to crops; they destroy young grass; 
pull up sprouting maize, attack potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, barley, 
wheat, and many kinds of fruit. 

On the other hand they eat great quantities of insects, as many 
as 150 crickets having been taken from the crop of one bird. In the 
Auckland district, when the berries of the ink-weed (Phytolacca) are 
ripe, the pheasants feed largely on them, and their flesh becomes very 
dark-coloured at that season of the year 1 . 

1 The way in which incorrect statements get abroad and are quoted later as 
facts is illustrated by some remarks in Animals of To-day; their Life and Conservation, 
by C. J. Cornish. This author says: "In Australia, and still more noticeably in 
New Zealand, the new comers, the most vigorous representatives of the later types 
of animal, had a clear advantage over the ancient marsupial forms and the wingless 
birds. The pheasant, which can both run and fly, displaces the New Zealand 
Apteryx, and the rabbit gets the better of the wallaby and smaller kangaroos." The 
statement about the pheasants is absolutely wrong. 


Elliot's Pheasant (Phasianus ellioti) 

The Wellington Society received three birds in 1895, and sent 
them to Mr Knowlton of Grey town. In 1897 four more were im- 
ported, but there is no further record of them. 

Reeves 's Pheasant (Phasianus reevesii) 

In 1 897 the Wellington Society, in conjunction with other societies, 
introduced nine birds, but it is not stated what was done with them. 
About 1899 the Wanganui Society imported several specimens of 
this species (this may indeed be the same as the previous record), and 
all but two, which had broken wings, were liberated up the Wanganui 
River. Apparently they disappeared without being recorded again. 
Of the pair kept in confinement by Mr S. H. Drew of the Wanganui 
Museum, the male moped after a time and died. Dr Connolly, who 
examined the body, stated the death was due to tuberculosis. The 
bird was then sent to Dr J. A. Gilruth, Chief Government Veteri- 
narian, who reported : " the disease affecting this animal is tuberculosis 
in a most advanced stage, almost every organ being implicated. The 
nodules in the liver and lungs, when examined microscopically, are 
found to be filled with masses of the characteristic bacillus." 

Silver Pheasant (Gennceus nycthemerus) 

According to Taylor, 1868, silver pheasants were liberated by the 
Hon. Henry Walton in the neighbourhood of Whangarei. 

The Auckland Society received two from Mr D. B. Cruickshank 
in 1870, and they were reported as breeding well in 1874. 

The Otago Society had four shipped from Hongkong in 1871, 
but only one cock arrived in Dunedin. In 1905 there were two in 
the Society's aviary at Opoho. 

The Canterbury Society introduced some in 1871 and had four 
in their gardens in 1880. 

Like the golden pheasant, this species has only been treated as a 
bird for the aviary, and there is no record of their liberation. 

Jungle Pheasant (species ?) 

I do not know what bird is referred to under this name. The 
Otago Society had four at Opoho in 1907, with no record as to where 
they came from. In 1910 there was one at Opoho, and one at Clinton. 
They are not mentioned in any later reports. 

Temminck's Tragopan (Ceriornis temmincki) 
The Auckland Society received a pair from the Zoological Society 
of London in 1871. One poult was produced in 1874, and there the 
record ends. 


Chinese Quail (Excalphatoria sinensis) 

The Otago Society received ten of these birds from Mr Winton 
of North East Valley, Dunedin, whose daughter brought them from 
China in 1897. They were sent to the aviary at the Camp, Otago 
Peninsula, for breeding purposes. There is no further record of these 

* Australian Quail ; Swamp Quail; Brown Quail (Syncecus australis) 
(called Tasmanian Quail (Coturnix australis) by Hutton in 1871) 

The Canterbury Society received a pair from Lieut.-Colonel White 
in 1866; they imported five in 1868, and a number in 1871. 

The Auckland Society introduced four in 1867, and no fewer than 
510 birds in 1871. 

The Otago Society imported three in 1868, and nine in 1870. 
These were liberated at Green Island, south of Dunedin, and were 
never heard of again. 

The Southland Society imported four in 1872; these were 
liberated at Wallacetown. Of their progeny 25 were liberated on the 
Awarua Plains in 1911, and in the following year the remaining stock 
were taken to Mason Bay, Stewart Island. Regarding this last lot, 
Mr Traill tells me (in 1916) that they did not succeed. 

The Wellington Society introduced five in 1875, an< ^ 39 m J 876. 

The bird is almost unknown in the South Island, but is fairly 
common in many parts of the North Island. I have frequently been 
told in certain districts that "Native Quail" occur, and have always 
found that it is the Australian swamp quail that is referred to. 

The Wellington Society report in 1885 that they "are rapidly 
increasing on the West Coast between Waikanae and Manawatu, and 
on the East Coast of the Wairarapa." In 1889 it is stated that "they 
are spreading slowly, but owing to their keeping close on the ground 
are kept down very much by cats, hawks, and other vermin." 

In the 1890 report it is said: "they fall an easy prey to cats, rats, 
etc. They almost disappeared in some of the clearings in the Forty 
Mile Bush, where formerly there were large bevies." 

On the other hand the Waimarino Society in 1915 report these 
birds as coming into the district from round about and being protected 
till 1912. They are now increasing. 

Colonel Boscawen informs me that they are now (1916-17) very 
common in the Auckland district. Mr R. Kemp got four of them in 
1907 in the Hokianga district, and on comparing them with skins in 
the British Museum found that they were slightly different from the 
typical Australian form. I flushed two near Whangarei in April, 1919. 


Mr M. Makai of Paremarema, Auckland, says they are most active 
agents in the spread of blackberries and gorse in the district. 

Mr Peacock reported them as common in the Bay of Plenty in 1913. 

Tasmanian Swamp Quail (Syncecus diemenensis) 

The Auckland Society reported a few in 1869. There is no indica- 
tion in subsequent reports as to where the birds were liberated, or 
whether they were ever seen again. Singularly enough, in June, 1916, 
nearly half a century after the date of their introduction, a specimen, 
caught at Pirongia in the south of the Auckland provincial district, 
was brought to the Dominion Museum, Wellington. Evidently then, 
some examples of the species still exist in the wild state, and are 
probably mistaken for S. anstralis, though it is fully a third larger 
than the Australian species. 

Californian Mountain Quail ; Mountain Partridge 
(Oreortyx pictus) 

The Auckland Society introduced three (out of 29 shipped) in 
1876. They received nine from Mr T. Russell in 1877, and these were 
turned out at Matamata. In 1881 a large number was imported, of 
which 40 were liberated near Lake Omapere, 40 in the Upper 
Thames district, and about 120 were kept in the gardens. In 1882 
a further large number was introduced, and they were distributed all 
over the provincial district. They never appear to have established 
themselves, and Mr Cheeseman, writing in August, 1915, says: "it 
is now many years since they have been observed." 

The Otago Society introduced 122 in 1881, and liberated half of 
them at Gladbrook, Strath-Taieri, and the other half at Mataura 
Bridge and on Venlaw Station. In 1882 another lot of 64 was im- 
ported, and these were liberated at the foot of the Rock Pillar Range. 
Nothing was ever seen or heard of them afterwards. 

Stubble Quail of Tasmania ; Australian Quail ; Stubble Partridge 
(Coturnix pectoralis) 

According to Hutton (1871) this species was introduced into both 
Auckland and Canterbury. 

Robert Kemp says "that they were introduced into the Hokianga 
district in the seventies, but failed to establish themselves." 

Recently (1918) several acclimatisation societies have been desirous 
of re-introducing this bird, being unaware of the previous unsuccessful 
attempts, and have obtained permission from the Department of 

120 BIRDS 

Agriculture to do so. Reports of its feeding habits have been received 
from Australia, and are favourable 1 . 

Indian Quail (Coturnix coromandelica) 

The Otago Society had four of these birds at their Opoho hatchery 
in 1907, but there is no record of where they came from, or what was 
done with them. 

Little Australian Quail; New Holland Partridge (Turnix varid) 
According to Hutton (1871) this species was introduced into 
Auckland and Canterbury, but there is no other record of them. 

Egyptian Quail (species?) 

The Canterbury Society Report of 1883 states that: "the Egyptian 
Quail, which were turned out on the Kinloch Estate, have likewise 
been seen," but there is no previous reference to these birds. Colonel 
Boscawen informs me (December, 1916) that his boys bought some 
tiny Egyptian quail at 3^. a pair from a steamer at the wharf (Auck- 
land). They were marked like guinea-fowl. "They got out, and may 
have lived." This was before the war (1914). I do not know what 
species is referred to. 

Black-breasted Quail (species ?) 

The Otago Society had two at Opoho in 1909, but again there is 
no record of whence they came, and what happened to them. Again 
I do not know what species this is. 

Common Partridge (Perdix cinered) 

The history of the numerous attempts to naturalise this bird in 
New Zealand is almost pathetic. 

The Nelson Society introduced eight some time prior to September, 
1864, but there is no record of what happened to them. 

1 In New South Wales this species eats seeds of grass and weeds, and occasionally 
wheat; also occasionally seeds of Solatium nigrum, Phytolacca, buttercups and chick- 
weed. Its animal diet consists of army-worms, beetles and plant bugs. 

The acting Chief Inspector of Fisheries and Game in Victoria says: "Their 
food consists of weed-seeds and insects. One of their favourite foods in Southern 
Victoria is the black seed of the spear grass, but dock-seeds, crickets and a species 
of weevil have been found in them." The Superintendent of Experimental Work, 
Department of Agriculture, Adelaide, says: "The Stubble Quail is common here 
and is becoming increasingly so, but I have neither seen nor heard of damage being 
done by them. They certainly eat grain, but do not appear to do so unless it falls 
to the ground, and on the other hand they eat an enormous quantity of seeds of 
the weeds that accompany the cereals. For instance a rather bad weed with us 
some years is the rough poppy (Papaver hybridwri), and when this weed is bad in 
any district the quail are plentiful, and I have seen young quail raised successfully 
on the seed of this poppy alone." 


The Auckland Society liberated seventeen in 1867 (and a covey was 
seen at Mangere the following season), twenty at Howick in 1868, 
and nine in 1871. Three years later it is reported that "the birds do 
not seem to have multiplied." In 1875, 8 birds were shipped in 
London, but only 40 arrived, and these were mostly cocks. They 
were liberated near Lake Takapuna. The report for that year adds: 
"The failure of all previous attempts, both in this colony and in 
Australia, is by no means encouraging." 

The Canterbury Society received ten birds in 1867, and one in 
1868, the latter being the sole survivor of 45 which were shipped. 
In 1871 they imported 32 brace, and in 1880 a shipment on a 
large scale was attempted. No fewer than 240 birds were shipped from 
London, but only 19 arrived in Christchurch, and were liberated. I 
do not know if any others were imported by private individuals or 
not, but it was stated in February, 1869, that "partridges may be 
counted by the hundred at the Cheviot Hills Station." In 1875 
Mr R. Bills brought out a number of partridges to the Canterbury 
Society, and these appear to have been sold and distributed through- 
out the provincial district. In 1879 another shipment of 25 brace 
was made, but only a few survived, and these were liberated on the 

The Otago Society liberated 31 birds in 1869, and 130 in 1871, 
They commenced at once to multiply and in the country south 
and west of Dunedin coveys were frequently flushed. In 1877 
they were not uncommon from Oamaru to Invercargill. But the 
introduction of phosphorus poisoning seemed to arrest the pro- 

The Society's report for 1881 says they are "much scattered, but 
suffering from hawks and poisoned grain." In 1882 they "have 
become very scarce," and poaching is believed to be the principal 
cause. In 1885 the "numbers are sadly reduced"; in 1890 "the 
partridges have almost entirely disappeared"; and in the report for 
1892 occurs this passage: "Your Council regret that there is every 
reason to believe that these birds have become extinct." 

Another attempt was made in 1896, when the Society received 
20 birds from London, and liberated them on the property of 
Mr R. Charters on the Taieri Plain. They were reported as being 
seen very often, and doing as well as could be desired. In 1897 
23 were received from London (out of 24 shipped); nine of these 
were sent to Mr Charter's property, and the rest to Mr T. Telford 
of Otanomomo " (to be liberated after the poisoning season is over). " 
In 1898 the report states: "The partridges turned out on the Taieri 
do not seem to have increased in numbers." In 1899, "a few are 

122 BIRDS 

to be seen at times on the Taieri, but no young broods have been 

In 1900 a shipment of 44 (out of 48 shipped) arrived from 
England, and the birds were liberated in two lots in suitable 
localities (which were not specified publicly). In the following year 
we read: "An odd old bird is to be seen at times, but no young 

In 1909 still another attempt was made, and several birds (the 
number not specified) were liberated near Milton, for the report for 
1911 says "the partridges liberated in the Milton district two years 
ago are seen at times by the settlers." In 1912, "no recent reports 
have been received in connection with those liberated near Milton 
last year." In 1913 we read: "Those liberated near Milton in 1911 
have not been seen for a long time, and have probably all been killed 
by the obnoxious stoat or weasel." 

The Southland Society imported 48 partridges in 1899-1900, and 
liberated them on Stewart Island. Mr W. Traill, writing in March, 
1916, says the experiment failed. 

In connection with the Southland Society's proposal to introduce 
these birds, Mr F. Sutton wrote (iyth April, 1899): 

My brother and myself brought from England 19 partridges: 12 of 
them were let go on my farm, and seven on Mr G. Button's farm near 
Winton. This is about twenty years ago, before poison was used to destroy 
rabbits. They had a few young ones, but soon died out. In (say) five years 
not one was to be seen. The hawks and cats were supposed to be the 
cause of their extermination. 

In 1889 a private attempt was made in Wellington to introduce 
partridges, but it was not successful. In 1890 the Society received 
two cocks and a hen, but the latter died. In 1891 the Society received 
15 birds from Lord Onslow, and imported two from England. 
Unfortunately ten of these birds died suddenly in the following year, 
and the remaining seven were liberated at the Upper Hutt, but were 
not seen again. In 1897, with Mr Stuckey, the Society introduced 
32, and liberated them near Masterton ; and in conjunction with the 
Canterbury, Nelson and other societies, an additional 16. But there 
is no record of what came of these. The report for 1900 says: "The 
partridges liberated at Rangitumau seemed to do well for a time, but 
have now disappeared." Evidently the Society got some more birds, 
for the report in 1904 says: "Out of some 35 " at the Game Farm 
"only seven remain 1 ." 

1 It is characteristic of the careless way in which acclimatisation society records 
were often kept, that there is no record of the importation of partridges into Otago 
in 1909 or 1911, nor of their being liberated near Milton, except the statements 
quoted above, which were made in later years. 


The Taranaki Society in 1894 procured four pairs from some other 
society, and liberated them in four different localities. In 1902 it 
was stated that nothing had been seen of them. But in 1904: "it 
is reported from the Koru district that during the latter part of 
November or early in December, a covey of partridges had been 
seen, and indeed one had been killed by a mowing machine passing 
over a nest." 

Mr J. Glessing of Thames stated in 1913 that partridges would 
have been a success in the Waikato district, but for the abundance 
of harrier hawks (Circus gouldi). 

I am not aware of any district in New Zealand where partridges 
have survived. The causes of their total disappearance are probably 
the same as in the case of the pheasant, viz. poison, wekas, stoats 
and weasels, and the great abundance of insect-eating birds 1 . 

French Partridge ; Red-legged Partridge (Caccabis rufa) 

These birds have been introduced from time to time, but the 
records of the acclimatisation societies are so hazy with regard to 
various species, that it is almost impossible to speak with certainty 
on the subject. 

In the Wellington Society's annual report for 1897, we read: 
" It is reported from the Rangitikei district that red-legged partridges 
are increasing, and a few are working north into the bush-country." 
Yet there is no previous record of the introduction of these birds. 

The Canterbury Society imported two in 1867, but lost one of 
them. They also imported 25 brace of "partridges" in 1897, and these 
are referred to as "Common Partridges"; it is not clear from the 
reports to which species they belonged. 

Mr Ayson writing in 1915 says : " They took a hold well in several 
parts of the Dominion until rabbit-poisoning commenced, and vermin 
was introduced to destroy rabbits." 

In 1899 1 8 birds were received from London (out of 20 shipped) 
and were liberated on Stewart Island. According to Mr Traill, these 
did not succeed in establishing themselves. 

In 1913 the Auckland Society obtained a considerable number in 
London, but they all died before they could be shipped. 

1 At a meeting of the Tauranga Society (held in 1915) Mr Macmillan suggested 
that partridge eggs could be brought out to New Zealand (frozen?) and might be 
successfully hatched out here. "A gentleman residing in Derby had informed him 
that he had frequently bought New Zealand eggs, which had gone to London and 
been sold there as fresh-laid Derby eggs. Out of curiosity he had frequently set 
New Zealand eggs, and from the preserved variety had secured a fair percentage 
of chicks." It certainly sounds improbable. 

124 BIRDS 

Barbary Partridge ; Teneriffe Partridge (Caccabis petrosd] 
The Auckland Society introduced two in 1868, but there is no 

further record of them. 

The Wellington Society in 1892 received 19 of these birds from 

Mr Hamilton of Teneriffe. Six of them died soon after arrival, and 

the rest were at once liberated on Kapiti Island. In 1894 a covey of 

two old and seven young birds was seen. 

Hungarian Partridge (Caccabis saxatihs ?) 

The Wellington Society, in conjunction with the Canterbury, 
Nelson and other societies, introduced 20 of these birds in 1897; 
but no record is obtainable as to what was done with them except 
that the Hawera Society obtained three brace in February, 1898, and 
liberated them. 

The Auckland Society in 1912 imported 39, and kept them for 
breeding, but 20 of them died, and the remainder were liberated, 
15 at Kaipara, and four in the Waikato. No report was received 
of these, and in the annual report for 1914 it is stated: "it begins 
to be apparent that they are not satisfactory birds to import, there 
being no perceptible increase." 

*Californian Quail (Lophortyx calif ornicus, Cattipepla californica) 

This is one of the few species of game birds which have succeeded 
in establishing themselves in New Zealand. 

Mr Huddlestone informs me that they were first brought to 
Nelson in 1865, but it is not clear where they came from. 

The Auckland Society introduced 113 in 1867; of these, ten 
were sent to the Waikato, and 42 to Nelson in the following year. 
Fourteen more were received from Mr D. B. Cruickshank in 1870. 
Sir George Grey also introduced these birds into Kawau, and they 
increased to such an extent that in later years the Auckland Society 
was permitted to net hundreds of them for liberation in the provincial 

The Canterbury Society introduced two in 1867, four in 1868, 
and a large number (unspecified) in 1871. Later on they purchased 
520 birds from Nelson (where they had increased enormously), and 
turned them out in various localities. In 1883 they introduced 122 
more; in 1885 they are reported as being very numerous at Little 
River. But in 1906 "the Quail seem to be steadily decreasing in 
most places." 

The Otago Society introduced 18 in 1868, and liberated them 
at Inch Clutha, where they increased, and three years later were 
reported to be plentiful. In 1871 120 were imported, one half of 


them being liberated at Waikouaiti, and the other half at Popotunoa 
(Clinton). The following is the record of the Society in regard to 
this bird in the years succeeding its introduction: (1881) "they are 
numerous about Queenstown, also seen in the Clutha district and in 
the Upper Clutha Valley ; numerous about Palmerston "5(1882)" doing 
well at Queenstown, Goodwood," etc.; (1885) "their numbers sadly 
reduced"; (1892) "these birds are in considerable numbers in some 
localities, principally along the coast, where little poisoned grain is 
used"; (1896) "reported as being on the increase in places where 
they were not exterminated by the poisoned grain laid for the rabbits, 
and it is known that the poisoned pollard, which is largely used now 
for the destruction of rabbits, is less injurious to game birds than 
poisoned grain"; (1897) "numbers to be seen in the lower parts of 
the Otago Peninsula, and on the ridges in the neighbourhood of 
Clyde." They gradually disappeared from the neighbourhood of 
Dunedin and from both shores of Otago Harbour, and this certainly 
was not due to poisoned grain. It was more probably caused by 
the great increase in stoats and weasels. The birds always held their 
own more or less in Central Otago, and they are reported from 1912 
to 1920 as common and increasing in numbers. 

The Southland Society liberated two at Wallacetown in 1873, 
and 29 in 1874, an( * up to 1890, they increased and were to be 
seen in considerable numbers; but they have become rarer in later 
years, and Mr Philpott tells me have completely disappeared from 
Southland for many years. 

The Wellington Society liberated 266 in 1874, and 118 in 1875, 
but their subsequent reports are very contradictory. In 1885 the 
statement is made that "the number of these birds in this district 
has greatly decreased of late years. In the Wairarapa they are nearly 
extinct, owing to poisoned grain, and the introduction of stoats, 
weasels and ferrets." In 1886 they are said to be fairly numerous ; and 
in 1889: "they are increasing fast and have taken such a hold, that 
there is little danger of their extermination by any fair means." In 
1904 the Marton sub-committee report that " The Californian Quails, 
which used to be so plentiful, are disappearing fast, as every succeeding 
season they seem to be less; even in parts where they were thick, 
now very few are to be found." In the same season the Masterton 
sub-committee, writing from a rabbit-infested country, report that 
"Quail are showing a marked increase." In 1910 they are said " to 
hold their own fairly against stoats and ferrets. The birds are so 
numerous in some districts as to be a nuisance. They came into the 
Waimarina district from outside, and were protected till 1912, they 
are still increasing (1915)." 

126 BIRDS 

In Taranaki they were spreading in some districts in 1874 having 
apparently worked their way down from Auckland. Then in 1880 
the local society imported 60 birds, presumably from Nelson, and 
they steadily increased, and were reported in 1904 plentiful in all 
parts. In 1913 they are reported as having become "very numerous 
in various parts of the district, and farmers complained of the damage 
done by these birds." 

It is, however, in the Nelson provincial district that this species 
has increased and thriven to the greatest extent. The only record 
I can find of their introduction into Nelson is the isolated one of 
42 birds received from the Auckland Society in 1868. (I may 
remark that the early records of the Nelson Society are unobtainable.) 
But there is no doubt that in about ten or a dozen years they became 
a considerable article of export at one time. At a meeting of the 
Southland Society in 1897, Mr Whitcombe stated that in Nelson, 
quails were formerly so numerous that they were tinned by thousands ; 
and Mr Ellis mentioned that when he was at home, a shipment of 
20,000 arrived in London in the frozen state from Wellington. 

I wrote to Mr John Pollock, President of the Nelson Society, on 
the subject, and in his reply, dated i3th December, 1915, he says: 

With regard to your enquiry re Quail, I have interviewed Mr Kirk- 
patrick, and he informs me that he started tinning these birds about 
twenty-five years ago, and from my own recollection that is about the time 
they were most numerous in this district. Mr Kirkpatrick informs me that 
the year he started the industry he was paying as low as 3^. per brace for 
the birds which were, of course, trapped, the price rising each successive 
year until lod. was reached. At this price it did not pay him to continue, 
and he accordingly closed down this line of goods. At the same time that 
tinning was being carried on, large quantities of quail were shipped to 
the Wellington and West Coast markets. I have myself seen ten or twelve 
4-bushel sacks full of birds on the Nelson wharf awaiting shipment. This 
state of things, however, did not last long. Stoats and weasels made their 
appearance in the district, having been liberated in the Marlborough 
district adjoining, and I think there is little doubt that the gradual diminu- 
tion of the quail ever since may be chiefly ascribed to these pests, assisted 
by the countless numbers of starlings which now scour the country in 
search of food. 

The Nelson Society report them as quite common in recent years, 

Californian quail are regarded by most farmers as somewhat of 
a nuisance. Mr Drummond states that "At Te Puke, in the Maketu 
district, quail live largely on clover, taking both seed and the young 
plants in the bush-clearings." Mr D. Petrie states that in the 
Waikato they are a nuisance, as they pick up the newly-sown and 
germinating turnip seed; "one bird was found to have about 130 


seeds of gorse in its crop. On being sown, every one of these seeds 
germinated." This is interesting, as showing the food on which they 
live, but these birds do not pass seeds ; they are ground up before 
reaching the stomach. Reports from north of Auckland, from Rotorua 
and from the Bay of Plenty all tell the same tale ; the birds are most 
destructive to young grass and clover seedlings, and in many parts 
farmers sow poisoned grain with the seed in the hope of checking the 
nuisance. They are also accused of spreading the blackberry. 

At the present time (1916-19) Calif ornian quail are very abundant 
in the Taranaki district, and are met with on Mt Egmont in summer 
time up to 6000 feet. 

Virginian Quail; Colin; "Bob-White" (Ortyx virginiana) 

The Wellington Society in 1898 introduced about 400 birds, which 
were distributed as follows : 80 went to Otago, 40 to Canterbury, 20 to 
Stratford, 20 to New Plymouth, and the rest were liberated in the 
Wellington district. In 1899 another large lot was introduced and 
distributed: 22 to Southland, 46 to Otago, 90 to Canterbury, 70 to 
Blenheim, 100 to Wellington, 60 to Wanganui, 44 to Stratford, 32 
to New Plymouth, 30 to Napier, 56 to Waikaremoana, 6 to Gisborne, 
and 200 to Auckland. 

In 1900 the Otago Society reported that "they were still to be 
seen in the neighbourhood of where they were liberated, but no young 
birds have been seen." There is no further record of them. 

In 1902 the Wellington Society report: "These birds have so far 
been a disappointment; reliable information as to their having been 
seen during the past year is difficult to obtain." The Pahiatua sub- 
committee report says : "they seem to have disappeared." The Marton 
sub-committee report them as "doing well, and that they have been 
seen with young broods." 

In the same year the Taranaki Society report: "Virginian Quail 
are steadily increasing and will, in a year or two, afford good sport." 
In the 1904 report we read: "Virginian Quail seem to have dis- 

In 1909 the Auckland Society report "the Virginian Quail have 
almost disappeared." 

Prairie Hen (Tympanuchus americanus) 

The Canterbury Society imported 17 (out of 28 captured) in 
1879 fr m Topeka, Kansas, and turned them out near Mount 
Thomas. In 1880 it was reported that "the prairie chickens which 
were obtained from Nebraska (?) last year, have not been seen 

i 2 8 BIRDS 

or heard of for some time." But in 1885 we read: "About a dozen 
of the prairie hens, imported about four years ago, have been seen 
on a farm at North Loburn, in fine plumage and apparently good 
Condition." This is the last record of them. 

The Auckland Society introduced 20 of the birds in 1881. 
In the following year, out of a very large number shipped at San 
Francisco, about 40 more were received. Half of these were sent 
to Otago, and (it is said) the remainder were stolen. I cannot find 
any report of their liberation in Otago. But neither in the north nor 
the south did the species succeed in establishing itself. 

Common Grouse (Lagopus scoticus) 

The history of the attempts to introduce grouse into New Zealand 
is nearly exclusively a record of failure to carry the species over the 
sea. Only two societies appear to have tried to introduce it. 

In 1870 five were shipped in London by Mr Larkworthy for the 
Auckland Society; one survived the voyage, then pined and died. 
In 1872 he shipped 33 birds; two pairs were landed, but one pair 
died soon after landing. The other pair, a cock and a hen, were 
liberated at Matamata. In 1873 Mr Larkworthy shipped another 
lot (the number is not recorded in the Society's reports), of which 
one pair arrived. These also were liberated at Matamata, and were 
heard of for some time afterwards. 

In 1871 the Otago Society got Mr R. Bills to attempt to bring 
some out, and eight brace were shipped in London. When eight days 
out they all died in the course of a single night. Mr Bills reported 
that "their legs became suddenly paralysed, immediately after which 
they drooped away." 

Black Grouse ; Black Game (Lyrurus tetrix) 

The Auckland Society in 1873 made an attempt to obtain these 
birds through Mr Larkworthy, but they all died before they reached 
the docks in London. 

The Otago Society in 1879 through Mr Bills, obtained 80 birds in 
Scotland, but only 20 reached the ship. " It was found very difficult 
to take the black cock at all from proprietors' lands in Scotland." 
Ten survived the voyage and were liberated. In 1882 one was 
seen near Tuapeka Mouth ; and a cock and a hen up the Waitahuna 
River. There is no further record. 

In 1900, 26 were shipped in London, but only a cock and 
two hens arrived and reached Dunedin. These were liberated in the 
reserve at the junction of the Leithan and Pomahaka runs ; they were 


seen the following year, but with no young ones, and there the 
record ceases 1 . 

Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) 

The only attempt to introduce this species was made in 1897, 
when the Wellington Society, in conjunction with the Canterbury, 
Nelson and other societies, had a shipment made in London; but 
all died on the way out. 

Pointed-tailed Grouse (Pedicecetus columbianus) 

The Auckland Society introduced 22 from Utah in 1876, and 
they were liberated at Piako. There is no further record concerning 

Family RALLID;E 

Australian Coot ; Murray Coot (Fulica australis) 

The Auckland Society introduced two in 1869, but it is not stated 
what was done with them. 

Sir Walter Buller in the Supplement to The Birds of New Zealand 
(p. 75), describes this as an addition to the fauna, as follows: 

I have to add to the list of New Zealand birds the Australian Coot, a 
specimen of which was killed in July, 1889, at Lake Waihoia in Otago. 
There is no record of this species having been brought alive from Australia, 
and, even if it had been, it is difficult to see how it could have reached 
that remote district. 

The species is evidently an occasional visitant from Australia. A 
second specimen was taken at Kaitangata in May, 1919, and a third 
at Mataura Island in July, 1919. 

1 In a book of newspaper cuttings belonging to the late Mr A. M. Johnson of 
Opawa, I found a paragraph taken probably from some Christchurch paper. It is 
without date, but from the date of some of the adjoining paragraphs, it was probably 
about 1 87 1 . I reproduce the paragraph, as it is interesting in this connection : " In 
a recent issue we republished from the Argus a paragraph stating that some grouse 
had been successfully brought out from Norway by a Mr Graff, who purposes 
bringing them on to Otago. A correspondent of the Hobart Town Mercury writes 
on the subject as follows : ' Mr Jalmar Graff, a young engineer, who has arrived by 
the emigrant ship ' Eugine,' has brought with him from his native place, Frederick- 
shald, in Norway, two pairs of black grouse, a game bird better known to Englishmen 
as the black cock or moorfowl of the Highlands of Scotland. Because of this bird's 
peculiar and solitary habits of life, and the fact that it feeds almost entirely on 
heather, berries and such like food, no attempt had hitherto been made to remove 
them alive to any distance from their mountain home, much less across the ocean. 
The grouse were taken as eggs in the wood, and hatched by a common hen. After- 
wards they were brought into a cage without a bottom, and every day this was moved 
on the grass. At first they were fed on ants' eggs, bilberries and red whortleberries, 
latterly or barley, herbage and birchen-nobs. On the voyage (5 months) they had 
barley, peas, maize and cabbage. No one else has, to my knowledge, succeeded 
in hatching and rearing grouse in Norway, and I believe this is the first successful 
experiment."' I may add that these birds never came to Otago. 

130 BIRDS 

Australian Land Rail (Hypottenidia philippinensis) 
The Otago Society introduced a pair of them in 1867; but there 
is no further record of them. 


Golden Plover (Charadrius pluvialis) 

In 1875 R. Bills brought out some of these birds for the Canterbury 
Society, and they were apparently among the birds sold and dis- 
tributed. There is no further mention of them. 

The Wellington Society introduced four in 1877, Dut there is no 
further record of them. 

The Otago Society made an attempt to introduce the species in 
1897. Out of 22 birds originally caught, only five reached the ship's 
side at London. Two were landed at Dunedin and were liberated 
at Clifton, but at once disappeared. 
Seebohm says of this species that 

it breeds in the north temperate and Arctic regions, including the British 
Islands. Some remain in South Europe to winter, but the majority appear 
to pass on to North Africa, a few migrating during the winter season as 
far as South Africa. The Asiatic birds winter in Beloochistan, some of them 
probably crossing Arabia into Africa. 

Lapwing ; Green Plover ; Peewit ( Vanellus cristatus) 

The Auckland Society in 1872 liberated 36, but nothing more 
was ever heard of them. Another attempt was made in 1875, when 
36 more were shipped for Auckland; only four were landed and 
three of them died soon after. 

The Canterbury Society obtained nine (imported by Mr C. Bills) 
in 1873, an d liberated them, but they were not seen again. 

The Otago Society purchased 36 birds in 1897, managed to ship 
22, and only landed five in Dunedin. These were liberated at 
Clifton, and were seen flying about the fields for some time; then 
they disappeared. 

In 1900, 50 birds were purchased, only 14 were shipped in 
London, and eight arrived in Dunedin. In the following year it is 
reported that "no young birds have been seen. Those liberated on 
Goodwood Estate did not survive many days, and some of their 
skeletons were picked up soon after they were liberated, the birds 
having been killed either by weasels or by hawks." 

The Government introduced a lot in 1904. Of these 35 were 
handed over to the Wellington Society, and were liberated, but 
nothing more was heard of them. The Westland Society received 


30, which " were liberated on the Upper Kohatahi. They all took 
wing and landed on the opposite side of Doctor's Creek." Apparently 
that was the last seen of them. 

Apparently also a number were liberated in the Auckland district, 
for Mr Drummond, writing in the Lyttelton Times of 4th January, 
1913, states that 

a few lapwings were liberated in the Auckland district in 1870, and informa- 
tion supplied to me in 1907 shows that the effort was successful in several 
northern districts. The experiment has given great satisfaction to the 
settlers. The birds are credited with killing large numbers of wireworms 
and grubs in the spring. 

I think Mr Drummond was misinformed by his correspondents, 
who were probably writing about some other bird, for on 2nd October, 
1915, he asks: "has anybody seen a lapwing in New Zealand during 
the past ten years ? " 

The Auckland Society reported in 1909, that "the Green Plover 
has disappeared." 

This species is a partial migrant in Britain; some nesting there, 
others only wintering there, and spending their nesting season in 
Northern Continental and Central Europe. 

Grey Plover ; Australian Plover (Squatarola helvetica) 

The Otago Society liberated two in 1867, which were not seen 
again. In 1881 they obtained eight more, which were liberated on 
the Lauder Station, Manuherikia. They were observed for some 
time afterwards, and one was shot by mistake. Then they disappeared 

The grey plover is only a spring and autumn migrant in the 
British Islands ; it breeds within the Arctic Circle, and passes through 
Central and Southern Europe on migration, wintering in South 
Africa, India, South China, the islands of the Malay Archipelago, and 
Australia. In the western hemisphere it is known to winter in Cuba 
and some parts of South America. 

Australian Curlew (Numenius cyanopus) 

The Canterbury Society received two of these birds from Australia 
in 1868, but there is no record of what was done with them. 

Sand Grouse (Pterocles bicinctus) 

The Wellington Society received two from Mr Hamilton (of 
Teneriffe) in 1892, but there is no other record. 


132 BIRDS 

Pintail Sand Grouse (probably Pterochlurus alchatus) 

The Otago Society in 1882 liberated eight at the foot of the Rock 
and Pillar Range; they were not seen again. 

Crested Bronze-wing Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes) 

The Wellington Society introduced four of these birds in 1876, 
and eight more in 1877. They were seen for some months afterwards, 
and then disappeared. 

The Canterbury Society in 1883 received six from the Melbourne 
Zoological Gardens ; but there is no further record of them. 

The Auckland Society introduced ten in 1887, of which five were 
liberated, one died, and four were retained for breeding purposes. 

Bronze-wing Pigeon (Phaps chakoptera) 

The Canterbury Society received two pairs from Mr Wilkin in 
1864, and introduced four more in 1867. They appear to have bred 
and increased in the Gardens (there were six in the aviary in 1880), 
for in 1882 it is reported that "the Murrumbidgee pigeons turned 
out by the Society have been seen, and are apparently doing well." 
Again in 1883: "the bronze-wing pigeons from the Murrumbidgee 
Mountains have been seen lately in one of the numerous patches 
of bush on the Peninsula, at a considerable distance from where 
they were liberated." In 1884 the Society received 20 birds from the 
Melbourne Zoological Society. I can find no further record after 
this date; they seem to have been exterminated. 

The Otago Society introduced six in 1867. Mr F. Deans says: 
"they were liberated about the Gardens (Dunedin) and probably got 
killed by cats." 

The Nelson Society introduced some in 1867, but there is no 
further record of them. 

The Auckland Society received six from Mr Jas. Williamson in 
1867; these were liberated at Kaipara. Some more were introduced 
in 1869, but none of them was ever heard of again. 

The Wellington Society received two Tasmanian birds from Mr 
Meredith, but the date is not given. There were two reared at the 
Game Farm in the Wairarapa in 1907 ; but there is no further record. 

Harlequin Bronze-wing Pigeon (Phaps histrionica) 

The Auckland Society introduced two of these birds from Ade- 
laide in 1869. There is no further record. 


Wonga-Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia picata) 

The Canterbury Society received two pairs from Mr Wilkin in 
1864, and four more in 1871, from Mr R. B. Johnstone. These were 
apparently kept for breeding in the aviaries, for in 1872 they had 
still eight birds. In 1883 seven more were received. There is no 
record as to whether they were liberated or not, and no further men- 
tion of them. 

Mr E. F. Stead writes me (April, 1916): 

In the early go's Mr Peter Cunningham introduced some from 
Australia to Rockwood, his station near Whitecliffs. I can remember three 
or four pairs running about the garden there; they rarely flew. But they 
have all gone. The presence of the weasels would preclude the possibility 
of establishing them here. 

Some were introduced into Nelson in 1867, but I cannot learn 
what came of them. 

The Auckland Society received two pairs in 1868 from Mr Dacre, 
and in 1870 two more pairs from Sir Julius Vogel. There is no record 
of what was done with them. 

The Otago Society introduced 12 in 1869, but they were kept 
too long in the aviaries, where many died. The remainder were 
liberated in the upper part of the Gardens, but were apparently too 
tame, and were killed by cats. 

The Wellington Society imported 12 in 1875, and 22 in 1876. It 
is not stated where they were liberated, but they were seen for 
some considerable time afterwards, and some were reported from 
Wainuiomata. They were not reported again, and apparently 
completely disappeared. 

Ring Dove (Turtur risorius) 

These birds have been commonly imported by dealers at all the 
chief ports for the last 40 or 50 years, and passing into the hands 
of private individuals, were in many cases liberated round home- 
steads and dwellings. The Canterbury Society kept them for years in 
their aviaries. The first pair were imported about 1866. In some 
reports they are called "Ring-doves," in others, "Turtle-doves." 

The Nelson Society introduced some of these birds in 1867. 

The Auckland Society received five "doves" from Mr Jas. 
Williamson in 1867; probably this bird. 

Mr E. F. Stead writes: "there is a fairly large number of ring- 
doves in the (Christchurch) domain. People have turned them out 
in their gardens in various parts of the city, and they stop about and 
do fairly well, but do not seem to increase." The same is true of 
suburban gardens about Dunedin. 

i 3 4 BIRDS 

Turtle Dove (Turtur turtur) 

According to Hutton (1871) these birds were imported into Auck- 
land and Nelson. They have been confused with the preceding species. 

* Common Pigeon ; Rock Dove (Columba livid) 
Pigeons have gone wild in many parts of New Zealand, and I have 
accumulated a good deal of information in regard to them, especially 
in connection with reversion to the wild rock-dove type. Mr W. H. 
Gates of Skippers, near Lake Wakatipu, informs me (April, 1916): 

Fifteen miles down stream from here there are a lot of wild pigeons 
inhabiting the gorges in all sorts of inaccessible sheltered places. They have 
a strain of nearly every pigeon tribe. Some make an attempt to "tumble." 
Some are nearly white with small heads ; some biscuit-colour ; slate ; dark- 
brown, white breast, with bronze neck and shoulders; and others with 
many colours mixed. 

In Strath-Taieri, wild pigeons occur in thousands along the rocky 
faces of the Rock and Pillar Range from Middlemarch to Waipiata. 
Mr W. Sainsbury (April, 1916) says they are of all colours, and 
apparently of all breeds, and several of them have the "tumbling" 
habit. One which he brought me was slaty-blue in colour, with the 
black bars on the wings, but not well denned; black bar at the 
extremity of the tail, and the outer tail feathers edged with white. 
The majority of the wing pinions were tinged with red on the inner 
web. The abdomen and leg feathers were pale slaty-grey. The crop 
of this bird was quite full of wheat; but I am informed that the 
sharp winter of Central Otago when the hills are covered with 
snow, and the ground is frozen hard for weeks at a time is most 
severe upon the pigeons, which fall into very poor condition before 
the advent of each spring. 

In the Galloway Station, Central Otago, where they have gone 
wild in numbers, they live both in the rocks and in holes in clay 
banks in the wilder districts. 

Forty years ago wild pigeons in thousands occupied the rocks in 
the Duntroon district, inland from Oamaru, finding shelter in the 
numerous holes which occur in this limestone region. But shooting 
in season and out of season, and the eating of poisoned grain, have 
reduced their numbers to such an extent that they are now only 
found in hundreds. Mr Alfred Labes of Duntroon, who has looked 
into this question for me, states that they are now (1916) very timid 
and most difficult to shoot, and if their nests are disturbed they do 
not build again in the same locality. It is evident that from time to 
time tame pigeons join the wild ones, for a tumbler was observed 
among the latter, and a carrier, with a ring on its leg, was shot 
among them. In regard to colour, Mr Labes states that most of the 


birds are of a dark slaty colour, as seen on the wing, but some of 
lighter hue are occasionally seen. One specimen which was secured 
showed all the characteristic markings of the wild rock pigeon. 
Another was nearly black, tinged with slaty-grey on the neck, black 
tinged with brown on the wings, one distinct black bar on the wings, 
and a black bar on the tail; underneath the wings the feathers were 
pure white. 

Mr A. Warburton, Teacher, of Cromwell wrote me as follows on 
5th March, 1892: 

I have found out rather a strange thing since I came here, viz. that 
among the rocky mounds of the mountains, which are extremely bare and 
arid, are growing Kowhai trees (Sophora tetraptera), stunted of course, 
which were unknown in this district until a few years ago. I have noticed 
that the trees are only found among the loose and disjointed rocky masses. 
The seeds are evidently bird-carried, the nearest place where Kowhai trees 
abound being Lake Wanaka, some forty miles distant. The transportation 
is not the work of a native bird as the trees would have been planted before ; 
consequently some introduced bird must carry the seed. I am inclined 
to think it is the common domestic pigeon, many of which are living in 
a wild state among the cliffs and rocks of the Dunstan Range. Of course 
these birds have not been inhabitants of the district for many years, and 
I dare say further enquiries will connect their advent pretty closely with 
the appearance of the Kowhai. 

Mr R. D.Dansey informs me that wild pigeons were numerous on 
the cliffs between Napier and the breakwater; but Mr H. Hill states 
that they have mostly been driven away, he thinks by harrier hawks. 

I have no doubt that these birds occur wild in many other parts 
of New Zealand, but I have not received reports from any other 
localities than those referred to. 

New Caledonia Green Doves 

The Auckland Society received two from Mr Martin of Noumea in 
1 867, and later four from Captain Stuckey. There is no further record. 
I do not know what species of bird is here referred to. 

Solomon Island Pigeon 

The Auckland Society received a pair from Captain Jacobs in 
1870; and another from Mr E. Perkins in 1872. I have no idea of 
the specific name. 

Indian Dove ( ? Turtur f err ago) 
The Otago Society had two in their aviary in Dunedin in 1907. 

Queensland Doves 

The Auckland Society introduced some of these about 1868 
Hutton suggests (1871) that they were the little turtle dove or grey- 

136 BIRDS 

necked pigeon of Australia (Geopelia cuneata). They evidently did 
not establish themselves. 

Indian Pigeon 

The Otago Society had five in their Dunedin aviary in 1907; but 
only two in 1908. No one seems to know what species they belonged 
to, or where they came from. 

Java Dove 

The Otago Society introduced five in 1867, and after being kept 
for a considerable time, they were given to the late Mr Fred Jones, 
and liberated at Green Island. They soon were lost sight of, 

The Nelson Society introduced some the same year; but the 
record is lost. 

The Wellington Society introduced eight in 1875, and bred them 
in the Gardens; but there is no further record. 

Again I have no idea what species is referred to. 

Moreton Bay Dove 

The Canterbury Society introduced four in 1867, and liberated 
them. But, as usual, no further notice of them is obtainable, nor do 
I know what bird is intended, though quite probably it is one of the 
commoner Australian species. 

Cape Dove ; Harlequin Dove (Oena capensis) 
Sir George Grey introduced these "into Kawau in the early 
sixties, and according to the Hon. S. T. George, they became very 
numerous. But it is many years since any were seen. 

Squatter Pigeon ; Partridge Bronze-wing Pigeon 

(Geophaps scriptd) 

The Canterbury Society received two pairs in 1866 from Mr R. 
Wilkin. I do not know what came of them. 


Shell Parroquet ; Warbling Grass Parakeet ; Long- tailed Grass 

Parakeet ; Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) 
According to Hutton this species was introduced at an early date 
into Canterbury, and was liberated, but failed to established itself. 

The Auckland Society introduced and liberated either two or four 
in 1871, and every bird-dealer has brought numbers into the country 
for sale. 


Mr Holman, Curator of the Whangarei Acclimatisation Society, 
tells me that Australian Parakeets are abundant at Waitakerei ; but I 
have not been able to find out whether it is this species, or the next 1 . 

Rose-hill Parroquet ; Roselle Parroquet ; Rosella (Platycercus eximius) 
Colonel Boscawen informs me that this species is to be seen 
occasionally in the neighbourhood of Auckland. It is frequently 
introduced by bird-dealers, and has evidently escaped or been liberated 
by private individuals. 

The rosella is considered to be a pest in the apple orchards in 
parts of New South Wales. On the other hand it has been found to 
feed on the larvae of blow-flies, which are a much worse pest. 

Cockatoo Parroquet (Calopsitta novce-hollandice) 
The Auckland Society introduced two in 1871 from Adelaide. It 
is frequently to be found in hands of dealers and private fanciers. 

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galeritd) 
Colonel Boscawen informs me that this species is frequently to 
be seen on the Waitakerei Ranges, where it appears to have established 
itself. This species was also reported from Nelson, but Mr F. G. Gibbs 
informs me that the report arose from one tame bird which frequently 
flew over the town screeching. 


Laughing Jackass (Dacelo gigas) 

The Canterbury Society got two pairs of these birds from Mr 
Wilkin in 1864, but there is no record of their being liberated. 
However, in Lady Barker's Station Life in New Zealand (p. 16) it 
is stated that on her voyage from Melbourne to New Zealand in the 
'Albion' in 1865 one of her fellow-passengers had a number of birds 
on board chiefly laughing jackasses. 

The Otago Society introduced four in 1866, and two in 1869, and 
liberated them near the Silverstream. They were seen for some time 
there, but ultimately disappeared. 

Sir George Grey introduced a number into Kawau in the early 
sixties, but they all died. 

1 In the Report of the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society for 1868 it is stated 
that a large number of the pretty little Australian love-parrots has been received, 
which the curator is desirous of disposing of, or exchanging. I do not know what 
species is referred to. 

138 BIRDS 

The Nelson Society introduced some in 1867, but there is no 
record as to what came of them. 

The Auckland Society received one from Dr Stratford in 1868. 

The Wellington Society liberated 14 in 1876, and one in 1879. 
One was seen as late as 1885, but that is the last record. 

Colonel Boscawen tells me (December, 1916) that a few laughing 
jackasses are to be found wild on the east coast of the Auckland 

This bird in Australia has been found to feed mostly on insects 
(beetles, grasshoppers, etc.), centipedes and spiders. 


Many of the species of small birds introduced by the acclimatisa- 
tion societies to cope with insects, increased themselves to such an 
extent as to become a serious pest to the farmers, and steps were 
taken in some of the districts to introduce a natural enemy in the 
shape of owls. The following species have been introduced already. 

Barn Owl (Strix flammed) 

The Annual Report of the Otago Society for 1900 contains the 
following statement: 

Seven barn owls received from London in December (1899) were 
liberated at West Taieri, Mr Fulton of Ravenscliff supplying them with 
food at the homestead until they finally left their cages. Some of them 
returned to their cages for over two weeks. They are now to be seen of an 
evening flying about the straw stacks at West Taieri, and as they live almost 
entirely on rats and mice, we feel sure the public will protect them. 

The italics are mine. The birds were introduced to keep down 
the small bird nuisance. They do not appear to have established 
themselves, for they have not been heard of since 1900. 

* Small Brown Owl (Athene noctud) 

The Otago Society in 1906 imported 28 birds from Germany, 
liberating 14 at Ashley Downs, Waiwera, and 14 at Alexandra; in 
1907 39 were introduced and liberated at Alexandra; and in 1908 a 
third shipment of 80 was received and these were distributed in 
various parts. In this year also it was reported that several of those 
introduced in 1906 had reared young broods. In 1909 several fruit 
growers in Central Otago reported them as having proved already a 
great boon to their orchards. In 1910 72 birds were received, of which 
14 were liberated, and the remainder sold to farmers and orchardists. 
In 1916 they are reported as multiplying about Wendon in an 
old quarry, from which they have displaced a colony of starlings. 


At Pyramid Hill they live in rabbit burrows in inaccessible places, 
and come out freely in the daytime to catch lizards and beetles. It 
is stated that they do not shun the daylight, but may often be seen 
sitting at the entrance to their burrows enjoying the sun. Mr W. H. 
Gates also reports them (April, 1916) as heard occasionally at Skippers. 
Mr Henry Warden (May, 1916) states that since their appearance in 
the Wyndham district, the moreporks (native owls) are no longer heard. 

Mr A. J. lies liberated a pair at Rotorua in 1908 (?) and for some 
time dead sparrows with their heads eaten off were found. After a 
while the birds disappeared. 

Mr A. Gunn of Galloway Station, Central Otago, tells me they 
are common there in rocks, clay banks, and deserted rabbit holes. 
They are also reported from the Taieri Plain, and from Kaitangata. 

Mr A. Philpott sends me (August, 1916) the following note on 
this species: 

The little owl (Carine noctua) made its appearance near Invercargill 
in the autumn of 1915. I frequently heard its call, but did not see the 
bird till September 2ist, when I discovered a pair perched in a hole in 
a dead Kamahi (Wrinmannia racemosa). The hole was about 25 feet from 
the ground and faced north, so that the sun (it was 2 p.m.) shone almost 
directly in. When I approached within about a dozen yards one of the 
birds flew out, seeming to find no difficulty in guiding its flight in the 
daylight. After some time the other bird also flew out and perched on a 
branch overhead. Then it took a long flight to another dead tree and 
selected a place, not at all in the shade, where it seemed to settle itself to 
sleep. The trees referred to were on the edge of a bush, and subsequent 
observations have shown that the little owl does not enter the bush, but 
keeps on the outskirts or about isolated trees. For this reason I do not 
anticipate that our native bush birds stand in much danger from this owl. 
The little owl is much more difficult to approach than the morepork; 
it evidently sees much better in daylight ; but apart from this, it seems to 
be a more wary bird. Unlike the morepork, the little owl hoots vigorously 
in the middle of the day, at least, in the spring. It is now pretty common 
in this district ; a few evenings ago I heard four or five calling in different 

Writing in 1918 he adds: 

There can be no doubt that such introduced birds as the sparrow and 
others which roost about hedges, plantations, and buildings will pay a 
heavy toll ; indeed, I have reason to think that the thrush, the sparrow, and 
the starling are already diminishing in numbers near Invercargill. Where 
a pair of owls have established themselves, the evensong of the thrushes 
and blackbirds gives place to an incessant chorus of terrified alarm-notes. 

At Hawera they are also found, according to my son, Dr W. 
Malcolm Thomson, but there they have not displaced the morepork, 
which is still to be heard in the neighbourhood (1916). 

140 BIRDS 

According to Mr Drummond, some of these owls were liberated 
in North Canterbury in 1910. 

It is evident that these birds have become firmly established in 
the south portion of the South Island ; they are now quite common 
round Dunedin. 

Wood Owl (Smyrnium aluco) 

Sir Walter Buller says : 

In 1873 I sent out from England a pair of Wood-owls (Smyrnium aluco). 
They arrived safely at Napier, and after recruiting their strength were 
turned out loose in a distant part of the province. They were protected 
under the Act, but notwithstanding all these precautions, the unfortunate 
immigrants fell victims to popular prejudice. 

Australian Owl, probably the Boobook Owl (Ninox boobook) 

The Otago Society introduced two in 1866, and liberated them in 
the bush at Waikouaiti. They were not seen again. 


* Skylark (Alauda arvensis) 

The introduction of this bird was general throughout New 

The Nelson Society, sometime before September, 1864, imported 
20 larks into the district. 

The Otago Society liberated four in 1867, 35 in 1868, and 61 in 
1869. Private dealers brought in others. 

The Canterbury Society introduced 13 in 1867, and 1 8 in 1871. 

The Auckland Society introduced ten in 1867, and 52 in 1868. 
By 1873 tne y wei> e considered to be thoroughly established in the 
provincial district. 

The Wellington Society introduced 52 in 1874, an ^ 5 6 in 1875. 

In 1879 7 were liberated on Stewart Island, and were seen 
for a time at the head of Paterson Inlet; but Mr Traill informs me 
(March, 1916) that "none have been reported for years." 

In every part of New Zealand they increased rapidly, and spread 
throughout the whole country, but they confine themselves to cul- 
tivated districts, and are not found in the bush or on open mountain 
country, though Dr Hilgendorfs statement on the following page 
modifies the last paragraph. 

Next to the sparrow, the skylark is considered by farmers to be 
the most destructive of the small birds which have been introduced 


into New Zealand. They are particularly destructive in spring, when 
they pull wheat and other grains out of the ground just as they are 
springing. They also uproot seedling cabbage, turnip, and other farm 
plants. In the Foxton district pea-growing is quite impossible, owing 
to their depredations. 

Several observers note that skylarks sing from a perch. Potts, 
writing in Canterbury in 1884, says: 

In the old country I never observed a Skylark in full song when 
perched. This habit is not very infrequent here. Taking up a position on 
a post or rail, gently turning from side to side, now and then with a slight 
movement of the wings, it indulges in song as joyous and powerful as when 
ascending in spiral circles skyward. At Sumner it has been observed 
singing whilst on the ground. 

He also records great variation in the coloration of the eggs : 

whitish or grey-yellow, profusely speckled with brown of various shades ; 
dull greyish with a green tinge, freckled or mottled with an ashen-brown ; 
rich brown, abundantly marked with darker shades highly varnished ; pale 
dull pink, profusely speckled with reddish brown. 

Mr H. Watts, of Maungatua, Otago, states that the skylark has 
mated freely with the native pipit (Anthus novee-zealandite), and he 
considers that the hybrid is the mischievous bird. He states that the 
hybrid bird rarely rises to any height when singing, and that when 
on the wing he only utters a few expressionless notes ; then he makes 
a horizontal flight to some distance, or alights upon a post and con- 
tinues his song. Mr Watts is a good observer and keen student of 
nature, but I cannot obtain any corroboration of his views, and am 
doubtful whether the two species are able to hybridise. 

Mr Drummond (July, 1916) climbed Mt Leadhill, south of 
Collingwood, and notes in his diary: 

It is surprising to see so many larks in this desolate misty region, 
amongst rocks and boulders, where the food supplies must be poor. On 
all sides below us there are valleys throbbing with life, and further on 
are plains and meadows, yet these birds are spending their time here. 
With the exception of a few small but beautiful sub-alpine flowers, such 
as Celmisias and Sundews, they afford the only relief to the dreariness 
of this frowning mountain side. 

The presence of the lark is, of course, proof that the food they are 
dependent on, viz. seeds and insects, was not poor. Hilgendorf found 
the nest of the skylark with eggs among rocks at an elevation of 
5000 feet in the Canterbury Mountains. He says of larks : " Skylarks 
in this district are almost purely insectivorous ; in agricultural districts, 

142 BIRDS 

poisoned grain scattered over a field of sprouting wheat kills more 
larks than sparrows 1 ." 

Wood Lark (Lullula arbored) 

The Auckland Society introduced five in 1872. There is no record 
as to what came of them. 

*Song Thrush (Turdus musicus) 

Somewhere about 1872, the Nelson Society introduced five of 
these birds. They disappeared for many years, and then reappeared 
later. The probability is that the earlier lot failed to establish them- 
selves, and that later the district became stocked by an immigration 
from some other part. 

The Otago Society introduced two in 1865, four in 1867, 49 in 
1868, 48 in 1869, and 42 in 1871. There was no mistake as to the 
determination of the Otago settlers to have their favourite song- 
bird the "Mavis" established in New Zealand. It shows, too, the 
hardiness of this bird in confinement, that Mr J. A. Ewen shipped 
the above 48 in London, in 1869, in charge of Mr R. Bills, and 

1 The skylark is a resident in the temperate regions, but the Arctic birds migrate 
in autumn to South Europe, North Africa, North-west India, and North China. 
Seebohm (Siberia in Europe, p . 257) gives a most interesting account of this migration, 
as observed by him in Heligoland: " In the afternoon it was a calm, with a rising 
barometer; in the evening a breeze was already springing up from the south-east. 
I called upon Gatke, who advised me to go to bed, and be up before sunrise in 
the morning, as in all probability I should find the island swarming with birds. 
Accordingly I turned in soon after ten. At half-past twelve I was awoke with the 
news that the migration had already begun. Hastily dressing myself, I at once 
made for the lighthouse. The night was almost pitch dark, but the town was all 
astir. In every street men with large lanterns and a sort of angler's landing-net 
were making for the lighthouse. As I crossed the potato-fields birds were continually 
getting up at my feet. Arrived at the lighthouse, an intensely interesting sight 
presented itself. The whole of the zone of light within range of the mirrors was 
alive with birds coming and going. Nothing else was visible in the darkness of 
the night but the lantern of the lighthouse vignetted in a drifting sea of birds. 
From the darkness in the east, clouds of birds were continually emerging in an 
uninterrupted stream; a few swerved from their course, fluttered for a moment 
as if dazzled by the light, and then gradually vanished with the rest in the western 
gloom. Occasionally a bird wheeled round the lighthouse and then passed on, and 
occasionally one fluttered against the glass like a moth against a lamp, tried to perch 
on the wire netting and was caught by the lighthouse men. I should be afraid to 
hazard a guess as to the hundreds of thousands that must have passed in a couple 
of hours; but the stray birds which the lighthouse men succeeded in securing 
amounted to nearly three hundred. The scene from the balcony of the lighthouse 
was equally interesting; in every direction birds were flying like a swarm of bees, 
and every few seconds one flew against the glass. All the birds seemed to be flying 
up wind, and it was only on the lee side of the light that any were caught. They 
were nearly all skylarks. About three o'clock a.m. the migration came to an end 
or continued above the range of our vision." The date was the i2th of October. I 
am not aware of any migratory tendency in the skylarks which are now naturalised 
in New Zealand. 


that every one was landed alive in Dunedin. They established them- 
selves at once. 

The Canterbury Society landed 36 in 1867, 24 in 1868, and a 
third lot in 1871 The Society's Report for the latter year states that 
"they have not increased so well as expected, and it is much to be 
feared have been killed by cats." The large amount of native bush 
in the neighbourhood of Dunedin was, no doubt, more favourable 
for their protection and increase than the comparatively open country 
of North Canterbury. 

In 1875 a further lot was brought in by Mr Bills, some of which 
were sold, and others liberated in the Christchurch Gardens. It 
was, however, more than 20 years before thrushes were thoroughly 
established there. 

The Auckland Society introduced 30 in 1867, and 95 in 1868. 
They established themselves at once. 

The Wellington Society introduced eight in 1878. 

In the Otago Society's Report for 1881, it is stated that "thrushes, 
we are glad to find, are becoming more plentiful in the neighbourhood ; 
they are blamed for destroying fruit." Apparently this was thought by 
the writer to be a habit specially acquired in its new habitant. At 
the present day thrushes are found from one end of New Zealand to 
the other in enormous abundance. They are responsible, along with 
blackbirds, for continual and serious depredations in orchards. Before 
their introduction fruit of all kinds could be grown in the open, but 
as they began to increase it became impossible to grow small fruit, 
especially, without protection. Netting has had to be resorted to by 
all small growers, while in large orchards, guns, supplemented by 
owls, cats, crippled hawks and gulls, have to be employed to keep 
the depredators at a distance. 

Against this must be placed the fact that they eat a great quantity 
of insect life, and of land mollusca (snails especially). The latter they 
destroy in the orthodox manner by dropping them on to rocks, stones 
and hard roads ; and on the sea-coast they also eat periwinkles, leaving 
heaps of broken shells at the spots where they drop their victims. 
In New Zealand, as in Europe, earth-worms are their favourite food, 
but these all belong to introduced species. Mr Drummond quotes 
a Hawke's Bay correspondent as follows: 

For about 130 days in the year, until well into January, a thrush has 
come to my farm morning after morning. Over an area of about 300 square 
yards he collects worms and takes them to his mate, sometimes carrying 
two or three at a time. I have watched him frequently, and from 7.30 a.m. 
to 8 a.m. he takes about fifty worms. I think I underestimate it in putting 
it at two hundred worms a day. 



Philpott writes (1918): 

The song- thrush does not appear to penetrate far into the big forests, 
nor to spread into unsettled areas. In the coastal forest of Fiord County 
they are seldom to be heard, though plentiful enough about the settlements 
of Tuatapere and Papatotara. Nor does the bird favour the mountains ; 
I do not think I have ever heard one above the bush-line (about 3,000 feet). 
They are certainly absent along the upper limit of the Titiroa Forest 
(Hunter Mountains), and I have no record of meeting with them on the 
Longwood tops or the Hump. 

The effects produced on the native and introduced vegetation of 
New Zealand by the introduction of thrushes and blackbirds have 
been very marked in at least one respect. The indigenous flora of 
New Zealand contains an exceptionally high proportion of plants with 
succulent fruit, amounting to approximately 16-55 P er cent. 

In Britain about 5 per cent., and in Australia 9 per cent, of 
the whole flora have succulent fruits. The introduction of fruit- 
eating birds such as thrushes and blackbirds, which in the case of 
small fruits swallow them whole and so distribute the seeds, and in 
the case of large ones like plums and apricots, carry them off to some 
distance where they can pick off the flesh and leave the stone, has 
led to a considerable increase in succulent-fruited plants. A con- 
siderable proportion of the indigenous birds of New Zealand are 
frugivorous, and it is their prevalence which, no doubt, accounts for 
the abundance of indigenous succulent-fruited plants. But the advent 
of the thrush and blackbird has increased this feature, though the 
former does not penetrate far into undisturbed forest. For example, 
in the Town Belt of Dunedin, a wooded area in which the vegetation 
is protected from all grazing animals, there has been a marked increase 
in the numbers of individual plants of Fuchsia, Coprosma, Melicytus, 
Muhlenbeckia and other berry- and drupe-bearing genera. Along 
with this, certain introduced plants, such as gooseberries, currants, 
brambles, raspberries, cape fuchsia (Leycesterta), but above all the 
elderberry (Sambucus) have spread through the native vegetation. The 
last-named plant in particular threatens to crowd out everything else, 
and a considerable sum of money is spent each year in eradicating it. 

In great parts of New Zealand, the Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) 
and the sweetbriar rose are most obnoxious pests, and thrushes and 
blackbirds are to some extent responsible for their spread. This 
question of the distribution of succulent-fruited plants by thrushes 
and similar birds is of especial interest to naturalists in New Zealand, 
and I have summarised a good deal of the evidence which Kerner 
has given on the subject, especially that relating to plants which are 
now found in these islands. Thus Kerner in Flowers and their Unbidden 


Guests (p. 29) states that thrushes "are made ill by the Phytolacca 
berries, which many other birds feed on without injury." Apparently 
the statement was based on the case of one individual bird which 
was unwell after eating some of the fruit, for it is repeated again in 
his larger work on the Natural History of Plants, where he says: 
"a song-thrush sickened after eating berries of Phytolacca" Now 
this plant, the common ink-weed or poke-weed, is very common in 
the warmer parts of New Zealand, and Mr Cheeseman informs me 
that thrushes eat the fruit freely. 

Kerner also states that when the fleshy fruits ofBerberis (Barberry), 
Ligustrum (privet), Opuntia (prickly pear) and Viburnum (Laurustinus, 
etc.), all of which have seeds exceeding 5 mm. in diameter, were 
introduced into the crop of thrushes, along with other food, the pulp 
passed into the gizzard, but all the seeds were thrown up. "The 
seeds of fleshy fruits which were greedily devoured were thrown out 
of the crop if the stones which they inclosed measured as much as 
3 mm." Now barberry is certainly spreading in the bush reserves 
near Dunedin, and is distributed either by thrushes or blackbirds. 

He also found that of the fruits and seeds which passed the 
intestines of the thrush, no less than 85 per cent, germinated. In 
most cases the germination was retarded in comparison with seeds 
not so treated. But in the case of a few berries, e.g. Berberis and Ribes 
(currants and gooseberries), it was hastened. The seeds of such 
plants as grow on richly-manured soil (e.g. Amaranthus, Polygonum 
and Urtica) after passing uninjured through a bird's intestine, pro- 
duced stronger seedlings than did those which were cultivated without 
such advantages. The time taken by seeds to pass through the ali- 
mentary canal of a thrush was very short, half an hour in the case 
of the elderberry (Sambucus), and three-quarters of an hour with 
seeds of Ribes. The majority of seeds took from one and a half to 
three hours to perform the journey. Small smooth fruits of Myosotis 
sylvatica (forget-me-not), and Panicum diffusum (a grass) were retained 
for the longest period. 

The habits of thrushes have not altered appreciably in their new 
country. Their nests are of similar construction to those found in 
Britain, and they are lined with mud or cowdung. They breed in 
September and October, and I have seen the fledgelings in the end 
of the latter month, and the beginning of November. They usually 
breed again later in the season. 

They commence to sing, in the South Island at least, in the month 
of May, that is at the commencement of winter. The earliest date I 
have noted is a record from Dr Brittin of Papanui, who heard one 
in Christchurch on 24th April. 

T.N.Z. 10 

146 BIRDS 

At one time I thought, with Sir Walter Duller, that albinism was 
on the increase among thrushes in New Zealand, but as the result 
of long observation I am compelled to think this is not the case. Any 
thrush showing a tendency to develop white feathers seems to be a 
marked bird, not only by man, but by other birds, and even by other 
thrushes, and they do not appear to have a happy time. 

Thrushes have found their way to the Chatham Islands, a distance 
of 450 miles east-south-east of Cape Palliser. 

* Blackbird (Turdus merula) 

The Nelson Society introduced 26 blackbirds about 1862, but 
there is no record as to their success at the time. 

The Otago Society liberated two in 1865, six in 1867, 39 in 1868, 
21 in 1869, and 70 in 1871. Ten years later we read they "are now 
exceedingly numerous and we regret to say are found to be rather 
partial to cherries and other garden fruits." 

In Station Life in New Zealand, p. 16, Lady Barker, writing of 
her voyage from Melbourne to New Zealand in 1865, says: 

111 as I was, I remember being roused to something like a flicker of 
animation, when I was shown an exceedingly seedy and shabby-looking 
blackbird with a broken leg in splints, which its master assured me he 
had bought in Melbourne as a great bargain for only 2. los. od. 

The Canterbury Society received two in 1865 from Captain Rose 
of the 'Mermaid' who also sold "a number of songbirds" to the 
Society for 18. I regret to say there is no record of these "song- 
birds," to enable us to identify them. In 1867 the Society introduced 
46, and in 1868, 152 blackbirds. In 1871 the Report states of 
them, as of the thrushes, that "they have not increased as well as 
expected, and it is much to be feared have been killed by cats." 
In 1871 Mr R. Bills brought a further consignment of 62 to the 
Society, and many more were introduced in 1875. 

The Auckland Society introduced eight birds in 1865; about 30 
in 1867, and 132 in the following year, when they were "considered 
to be thoroughly acclimatized." In 1869 a further large consignment 
was liberated. It is rather singular that in the far north, Whangarei 
and further north, blackbirds are rare or altogether wanting, while 
thrushes are common. 

They were liberated on Stewart Island in 1879, and are seen every 
breeding season near settlements. 

This is now one of the commonest of our introduced birds in 
very many parts of New Zealand. 

Mr Philpott (1918) says that: 
unlike the thrush the blackbird is to be found in the heart of the big 


bushes. I have met with the bird wherever I have gone, and found it as 
common on the Hunter Mountains at 3000 feet elevation, as in the bush 
near Invercargill. I have no records of the thrush occurring in Alpine 
forests. The spread of succulent-fruited plants is probably accomplished 
to a greater extent by blackbirds than by any other species. 

They can evidently hold their own very well among the native 
avifauna, for Mr L. J. Phillips of Kaitoke states that on several occa- 
sions he has seen two or three blackbirds set on and kill a tui 
(Prosthemaderd) . 

Kerner states that the blackbird is much less fastidious in regard 
to its food than the thrush. When fed in confinement, it swallowed 
even poisonous fruits like those of the yew, and never rejected a single 
fruit that was mixed with its food. Of the fruits and seeds which 
passed through the intestines, 75 per cent, germinated. 

The blackbird has found its way to the Chatham Islands, which 
are distant 450 miles from the nearest point of New Zealand, and 
are increasing there, and scattering seeds of such noxious weeds as 
the blackberry. 

Mr Drummond also is responsible for the statement (in 1907) that 
they " have taken up their residence on the lonely Auckland Islands." 
They are about 290 miles south of the Bluff, but only 230 miles from 
the south end of Stewart Island. The prevalent winds, however, would 
sadly impede the passage of a bird bound southwards. 

In Europe there are migratory races both of thrushes and black- 
birds, and it is quite possible that some of the birds introduced into 
New Zealand may have belonged to such races. 

Robin Redbreast (Erithacus rubecula) 

The Nelson Society attempted to introduce robins in or about 
1862, but only one bird arrived. 

The Auckland Society introduced three in 1868, three in 1871, 
and three in 1872. 

The Canterbury Society introduced a number (not specified) in 
1879, an d the report for that year states that "the old familiar 
shrill note may be heard in the Society's grounds morning and 

The Wellington Society liberated ten in 1883, and three years 
later one was reported to have been seen in Happy Valley. 

The Otago Society liberated 40 in 1885 at Fulton's Bush, West 
Taieri; and R. Bills, who brought them out, sold another 40 to 
private individuals. In 1886 some 20 more were imported and 
liberated at the same spot. They were scarcely ever seen again, but 
in 1891, Mr A. C. Begg reported one in a Dunedin suburban garden. 

148 BIRDS 

The cause of failure was never understood by the Society, but 
Mr A. Binnie, who was Mr Bills' assistant at the time, assures me that 
all the birds which were imported were cocks which is a possible 
explanation, seeing that Mr Bills brought them out to sell. In 1879 
the Otago Society received two (out of ten shipped from London) 
and in 1900, one (out of eight shipped); these were liberated on 
Otago Peninsula, but were not seen again. 

In explanation of the failure of these birds to establish themselves, 
I am more inclined to favour the idea that birds of migratory races 
were brought out, for bird-catchers frequently make their best catches 
of birds which are gathering preparatory to starting on their journeys. 

Nightingale (Daulias luscinia) 

An attempt was made by the Otago Society in 1871 to introduce 
these birds, and a number of them were shipped from London, but 
they all died when a few days out. 

The Auckland Society had exactly the same experience in 1875, 
none of those shipped surviving the passage. 

The Canterbury Society repeated the experiment in 1879, wnen 
one was landed in Christchurch, and died soon after. 

The nightingale is purely a migratory species in Britain, and any 
attempt to naturalise them in New Zealand was foredoomed to fail. 

* Hedge-Sparrow (Accentor modularis} 

In Dr Arthur Thomson's Story of New Zealand published in 
London in 1859, it is stated that "Mr Brodie, the settler who intro- 
duced pheasants, sent out, in 1859, 3 sparrows, for the purpose 
of keeping the caterpillars in check." I cannot verify the statement; 
Mr Brodie lived at Mongonui, and there have never been hedge- 
sparrows in North Auckland. 

The Auckland Society introduced one in 1867, two in 1868, seven 
in 1872, 19 (out of 80 shipped) in 1874, anc ^ l % m ^75- The nests 
were first observed in 1873, and the bird soon established itself. 

The Otago Society liberated 18 in 1868, and 80 in 1871. 

The Canterbury Society liberated nine in 1868, and 41 in 1871. 
Mr Drummond says (1907): 

It was Captain Stevens who brought the first hedge-sparrow to the 
colony, and it is claimed to the Southern Hemisphere. It came in the 
' Matoaka ' together with the first house-sparrows. It was the only survivor 
of a consignment. For a long time it was an object of interest in the 
Society's grounds in Christchurch, many people journeying to the gardens 
to see the stranger. 


I do not know where Mr Drummond got his information, certainly 
not from the annual reports of the Canterbury Society. Nor does 
the pretty story tally with those told of the introduction of the house- 
sparrow (q.v.}. The fact is that a number of those who were concerned 
with the introduction of the small birds in the early days of acclimatisa- 
tion activity did not know a hedge-sparrow from a common sparrow, 
and while in later years it was quite creditable to have been concerned 
with the introduction of the former bird, no one is inclined to claim 
any credit for the latter. 

A number of hedge-sparrows were brought to Christchurch in 
1875, some f which were sold, and the remainder liberated in the 

A number were liberated in Hawke's Bay in 1876 by Mr Walter 
Shrimpton, but Mr Guthrie Smith says they are not known at Tutira. 

The Wellington Society introduced four in 1880; 26 in 1881; 
and 20 in 1882. This species has now become very widely spread 
throughout New Zealand. It is the one bird against which no word 
of complaint has ever been raised. It is not met with in undisturbed 
bush country, but, according to Philpott (1918), is equally at home 
in the smaller areas of bush, in the suburban garden, and in the 
shrubby groves at 3000 feet on the mountains. The majority of nests 
are built quite low down, often practically on the ground, so that 
the prevalence of stoats or cats is probably a controlling factor in the 
increase of the species. On the other hand it is extremely common 
in suburban areas near Dunedin, where cats also abound. 

The value of the bird was demonstrated to orchardists in 
Central Otago at the beginning of 1919. In February, very heavy 
rain caused an extraordinary outburst of vegetation in the gardens, 
and this was followed by an invasion of the green fly (Aphis). The 
outlook for some crops was very serious, till a great number of hedge- 
sparrows appeared in the orchards, and in a very short time cleared 
off the whole of the pest in the most perfect manner. 

In Otago the note of this bird is occasionally heard in winter, 
but it begins to sing regularly in August, and nests are found from 
September onwards. Some County Councils rather foolishly pay for 
the eggs of hedge-sparrows. There is no excuse for this, for every 
boy knows the eggs, and would not take them at all unless a price 
was offered for them. 

Whitethroat Warbler (Sylvia cinered) 

The Auckland Society introduced two in 1868, but they were not 
heard of after liberation. In 1874 another attempt was made to 

150 BIRDS 

introduce them to the colony , and a considerable number were shipped , 
but all died on the voyage out. 

Black-cap Warbler (Sylvia atricapilld) 

The Auckland Society introduced five in 1872. 
Both of the above-named species are summer visitants in Britain, 
and it was folly to attempt to naturalise them in New Zealand. 

Australian Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) 

This species is an occasional visitant to New Zealand. Sir Walter 
Buller, in his introduction to his History of the Birds of New Zealand, 

In March, 1851, a flight of the Australian Tree-Swallow appeared at 
Taupata, near Cape Farewell; ten years later they were observed again 
at Wakapuaka, near Nelson, and a specimen obtained ; and after a further 
lapse of fully twenty years another flight, from which a specimen is now 
in my possession, appeared for several days in succession in the outskirts 
of Blenheim. 

In 1888 Mr W. W. Smith observed and recorded them from the 
neighbourhood of Timaru. In 1901 numbers of them appeared at 
New Brighton near Christchurch. I have been told of their occurrence 
since at Whangarei and in the neighbourhood of Auckland, but have 
no authentic information on the subject. 

I would not mention the species among introduced birds, were it 
not for the action of various acclimatisation societies in regard to 
them. In 1874 tne Auckland Society made the futile experiment of 
obtaining some eggs and placing them in two nests, of a sparrow and a 
chaffinch respectively. Needless to say the attempt failed. Even had 
the foster-parents succeeded in hatching out the young, they would 
not have supplied them with the right kind of food. 

About 1915 several of the acclimatisation societies proposed to 
subscribe 5 each for the introduction of this migratory species; 
fortunately for them the project was not carried out. 

Australian Shrike 

I do not know what bird this is, for there are many species of 
Australian shrikes. The Wellington Society liberated 14 in 1877, and 
15 in 1878; but there is no further record of them. 


Australian Magpie-lark ; Mud-lark ; Pee-wee ; Pied Grallina 
(Grallina australis) 

The Agricultural Department introduced a number of these birds 
from Sydney, and liberated them on the west coast on the North 
Island, where they promptly took to building nests. I do not know 
the date of this attempt, but apparently it did not succeed, for no on 
seems to know anything about the birds since. 

Dr Cleland says that in Australia "this bird occasionally feeds on 
maize and wheat obtained near fowl-yards, etc., but it is doubtful 
whether it touches crops. It is also found to eat plague-locusts, 
grasshoppers, cockchafer larvae, etc. It is one of our foremost useful 
birds." In their stomachs, in addition, there have been found moth 
larvae, mole crickets, ants, small flies, and occasionally grass-seeds. 

* Australian Magpie; White-backed Crow-Shrike 
(Gymnorhina leuconota) 

The Canterbury Society liberated eight birds in 1864; four in 
1866, and 32 in 1867, all from Victoria. They also received some 18 
from Tasmania. In 1870 Mr E. Dowling imported a large number 
from Tasmania, and these were liberated on Mr Moore's station at 
Glenmark. The Society liberated 24 more in 1871. The birds soon 
established themselves in the provincial district, and are now fairly 
common. Of late years they have spread south of the Waitaki and as 
far south as the Horse Ranges. 

The Otago Society introduced three in 1865; 20 in 1866; 32 
in 1867; 20 in 1868; and six in 1869. At first it seemed as if they 
were doing well, for they began to build nests at Inch-Clutha, and 
in the vicinity of Dunedin. But from some unexplained reason 
(Mr Deans thought they were shot or taken by boys) they entirely 
disappeared, though now coming in again from the north. 

The Auckland Society introduced ten in 1867, and one in 1870. 
But Sir George Grey introduced a number into Kawau probably at 
an earlier date; they very quickly became numerous, and spread to 
the mainland. 

The Wellington Society introduced 260 in 1874. 

These birds are fairly common in many parts of the North Island, 
from Wellington to north of Whangarei, but their numbers vary a 
good deal. Mr W. W. Smith tells me that they are not so abundant 
in Taranaki now (1916) as they were some years ago. Inland from 
Wanganui, on the edges of the unbroken forest, they are very common. 
T. H. Potts records (in 1873) how this bird defends itself successfully 
against the native quail-hawk (Falco novce-zealandice) by throwing 

i 5 2 BIRDS 

itself on its back, striking out with beak and claws and shrieking 
most wildly. Mr J. Grant of Wanganui informs me (1918) that the 
Magpie has been seen to kill a fantail by a direct blow on the body, 
then it stuck its bill into the little victim and carried it away. This 
bird has a wonderfully fine flute-like song; both the male and the 
female sing, and they begin their concert even before sunrise. They 
are readily tamed and are very sociable in confinement ; but they are 
apt to drop their beautiful song, and take to imitate all sorts of 
domestic sounds. I knew of one in Dunedin which could bark like 
the dog, and mew like the cat ;. but its favourite amusement was to 
sit on the fence and call the fowls together. 

During the mouse-plague in Victoria in 1905, in some districts, 
crowds of magpies were seen to follow the plough, and catch and 
swallow every mouse that was unearthed. In one case 150 to 200 
magpies were seen following one plough and no mice got away. 

Titmouse ; Blue Tit ; Tom-Tit (Parus cceruleus) 

The Canterbury Society in their report for 1874 state tnat "these 
have been imported in considerable numbers." There is no previous 
record of these birds unless they are included in the unspecified 
birds introduced in 1871 in the 'Charlotte Gladstone.' They must 
have died out, for there is no further record. 

*Rook (Corvus frugilegus) 

In 1862 three rooks were introduced into Nelson, and stayed 
about there for a few years, when they disappeared. The popular 
belief was that they left for Canterbury, when others were introduced 

It would appear that rooks were introduced about the same time 
into Canterbury, for in a press cutting dated April, 1870, recording 
the presentation of a single specimen to the Acclimatisation Society, 
it is added : " The rooks first imported into the province by Mr Watts 
Russell, some years ago, were all killed by cats." 

The Auckland Society introduced two in 1869, and 64 in 1870. 
At first it seemed as if these birds would not succeed in establishing 
themselves, for the Society's report for 1872 states that: 

eight nests were built in the Gardens, but unhappily a night review of 
the volunteers took place just as incubation commenced, when the firing 
caused the majority of the rooks to forsake their nests, so that only three 
small broods were hatched. In January a severe epidemic broke out 


amongst them which destroyed several. Dr Wright, who examined two 
of the dead birds, stated that the disease was identical with the epidemic 
then prevalent amongst domestic poultry. The dead birds were unusually 
fat, and the survivors refused the food placed for them on the outbreak 
of the disease. 

In 1873 several pairs built and nested; but in the following year's 
report we read: "they are not doing so well. The young have died," 
and it is suggested that the climate is too hot for them. 

The increase of these birds has been slow in the North Island ; 
they spread to Hick's Bay, Hawke's Bay and Lake Taupo. Mr H. 
Guthrie reports : " A colony of rooks has for long existed in Puketapu. 
In favourable years colonies start one, for instance, in Petane, but 
the rook does not do well in this part." 

The rook seems to have a bad time in Hawke's Bay, and pastoralists 
and fruit-growers alike blame it for many evil things it is supposed 
to do. They conveniently ignore the good. In 1917, at a meeting of 
the Fruit-growers' Association at Hastings, a member stated that the 
rooks "were doing considerable damage to walnuts, amounting to 
some hundreds of pounds." Later on, farmers complained that 

the rooks have acquired the habit of attacking lambs and full-grown sheep, 
and the losses in some parts of the district are becoming serious. The birds 
not only attack flocks in the daytime, but also during moonlight nights, 
and one farmer near Farndon has lost scores nightly. The rooks attack the 
throats of the sheep, and wethers can be seen in paddocks with open wounds. 
One was seen with the head completely severed, with the exception of 
the spinal column. The birds also eat the flesh right down the middle of 
the back, rendering the skin quite useless. 

This is the sort of newspaper paragraph that gains credence in the 
country, but is absolutely incorrect. One farmer states that he had 
30 acres of sprouting oats completely uprooted by rooks. Against 
this unvouched-for evidence I have information from several well- 
known men in Hawke's Bay, who certify that the birds are at no time 
a nuisance. One gentleman, connected with the Tomoana Freezing 
Works, suggests that several hoggets were dying or dead, and the 
crows seeing them with ticks on them, picked the latter away. He 
ridicules the idea that they could hurt sheep. Mr H. Hill, lately 
Mayor of Napier, and formerly Senior Inspector under the Education 
Board, sums up the case as follows: 

Rooks may pull up wheat now and then, but only to discover a worm, 
and the question is whether the balance is not in favour of the rook under 
the circumstances. Surely a bird cannot be expected to live and benefit 
man without obtaining a part of his maintenance from what it helps to 
preserve. The fact is, the farmer expects his crops to be protected from 
all insect pests without cost or responsibility on his own part. 

The Canterbury Society got a large number (36) shipped from 
London in 1871, but only five survived the voyage, and these 
were liberated in the Gardens at Christchurch. In March, 1873, 
35 more were liberated in the Gardens. Writing me in 1890, 
Captain Hutton said: "these birds are well naturalised about Christ- 
church, but do not now increase much; possibly owing to poisoned 
grain." They are fairly common now (1916) south of Christchurch, 
but are strictly localised, and have hardly spread from the spot where 
they were originally liberated. They are very destructive to the grass- 
grub (Odontria striata) in Canterbury. 

Mr A. H. Cockayne (April, 1919) says that they used to be most 
abundant in Dean's Bush at Riccarton, Christchurch, but are now 
rare. Also that two years ago there was a large rookery near Hastings, 
Hawke's Bay, which has since been abandoned. Mr Graham, Manager 
of Weraroa Government Farm, informs me, however, that Rooks are 
very common in Hawke's Bay. 

Jackdaw (Corvus moneduld) 

The Otago Society had some of these birds (the number not 
specified) in their depot in 1867; but there is no further record of 

The Canterbury Society received one from Mr McQuade of the 
'Mermaid' in 1868. But they evidently obtained some more, for in 
the Report for 1872 it is stated that "three of the jackdaws have 
remained about the Society's Gardens since they were liberated." In 
a newspaper cutting of 1871, received from the late Mr A. M. 
Johnston, it is stated that two jackdaws are at Prebbleton, and two 
at Kaiapoi. Mr E. F. Stead, writing in April, 1916, says: "there are 
certainly no jackdaws wild in Canterbury at present." 

* Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 

The Nelson Society introduced 17 starlings about 1862, but have 
lost their record. 

The Otago Society imported and liberated three in 1867, 81 in 
1868, and 85 in 1869. 

The Canterbury Society introduced 20 in 1867, and 40 in 

The Auckland Society introduced 12 in 1865; 15 in 1867, and 
82 in 1868; while the Wellington Society's record was 60 in 1877; 
90 in 1878; I4ini88i; 100 in 1882; and 34 in 1883. 

Besides all these, great numbers were introduced by private enter- 


prise. The increase of this species was phenomenal. Mr C. Hutchins 
writes (November, 1913): 

when I arrived in Napier from England in 1875, there were only four 
starlings in the town. They increased rapidly and took possession of the 
limestone bluff that looks out over the bay, boring into the softer veins 
of limestone. After eleven years they were there in hundreds of thousands. 
The bird has few, if any natural enemies. 

Mr H. Hill (of Napier) considers that the comparative disappear- 
ance of the bird from the cliffs about Napier, where it and the wild 
pigeon (Columba livia, i.e. tame pigeons gone wild) used to be extra- 
ordinarily abundant, is due to their being driven away by the harrier 
hawks. If Mr Hill's view is correct, it is probably due to the fact 
that the hawks were after the pigeons, and the starlings suffered 
through association with them. In open country I don't think hawks 
are a serious enemy to the starlings. 

These birds are abundant in most parts of the country, and in 
favourite spots, where they congregate in numbers, the noise they 
make when roosting can be heard, literally for miles. Mr W. W. 
Smith of New Plymouth writes me : 

Every evening tens of thousands of starlings perform their cloudlike 
gyrations around and above the island of Moturoa which is clearly seen 
from this hill. Every person who sees them compares them to rapidly 
moving clouds. It is truly magnificent to see them; they form densely 
black cloud-like masses. 

Mr W. Best of Otaki reports (April, 1912): "that the starlings in 
that district make long daily flights (of 30 miles ?) to and from their 
roosting place to their food." These only occur in the summer and 
autumn, after the breeding season, and the birds fly at sunset and 
before sunrise. Mr Mahoney of Tuparoa describes how they come 
in thousands from some feeding ground near the coast to roost on 
the trees behind the house. Mr Johannes Anderen says they roost 
on Kapiti and fly to the mainland daily for food. 

Mr H. J. Fowler of Marton writes (June, 1912): "The daily 
evening migrations began about seven or eight years ago. At first 
the flocks were small and infrequent, now they pass in battalions. 
On calm evenings the air is filled with the rushing sound of their 
wings." He has seen flocks a mile long, all the birds flying in line, 
like soldiers marching in ranks. These appear to be made up of 
flocks rising at intervals across the country and uniting in the air. 
He estimated the numbers at hundreds of thousands. In Marton 
the birds fly south-west, and it is stated that they go to the Manuka 
scrub on the coast. At one place a piece of native bush, about four 
or five acres in area, was used as a roosting place by the birds, and so 

156 . BIRDS 

great were their numbers that they were killing the bush with their 
droppings. They had to be driven away by firing guns at roosting 
time. Another roosting place was at Martinborough, where they 
occupied an avenue of bluegums : 

In going to those places they seemed to converge from all parts of the 
compass, and their cries made a great roar as they settled themselves for 
the night. With regard to their returning, they seem to go back soon after 
daylight, and in twos and threes flying low. It seems that they work up 
country from field to field during the day, until the time for making 
homeward arrives, when they rise and fly straight for their roosting place, 
the flocks gradually increasing, as they draw nearer home by the addition 
of other flocks. As a rule, when once in full flight, nothing in the shape 
of a ploughed field will tempt them down, and any stragglers that may 
stop, seem to be uneasy and soon rise and follow the others. Starlings 
follow the binders in clouds for the caterpillars, but they are not observed 
on the ploughed fields to any great extent. 

This last statement may be correct for Rangitikei, but is not so for 
Otago and Southland, where they may be seen following the plough 
in considerable numbers. Mr A. Philpott, writing me in April, 1892, 

The Rev. J. G. Wood states that "when a flock of starlings begin to 
settle for the night they wheel round the place selected with great accuracy. 
Suddenly, as if by word of command, the whole flock turn their sides to 
the spectator and with great whirring of wings the whole front and shape 
of the flock is altered. No body of soldiers could be better wheeled or 
countermarched than are these flocks of starlings, except an unfortunate 
few who are usually thrown out at each change." I have watched flocks 
of starlings arriving at their roosting-places very often, and in one case 
only have I seen anything resembling the company evolutions referred to 
by Mr J. G. Wood. They appear to arrive in flocks of large and small 
numbers, and immediately on arriving drop down wherever they can find 
a perch. Perhaps this is an instance of an altered habit. It is also possible 
that only the first flock to arrive wheels and circles in the manner described. 

Soames' Island in Wellington Harbour in pre-war days was a 
night retreat for starlings, which used to resort to it in immense 
flocks. Since it became a place for interned German prisoners the 
birds have largely abandoned it, on account of the number of people 

The effects produced on the insect-life of the country by starlings, 
and through that on the vegetable and other animal life, is incalculable. 
They have nearly destroyed the grasshoppers which used formerly 
to be so abundant, and many other groups of insects must have 
suffered equally. They also remove great quantities of ticks from 
sheep, and cattle, and help to keep insect pests from them. 

Indirectly they are credited by many observers with having exter- 


minated pheasants, partridges, introduced quail, wild turkeys, wild 
fowls, etc., from many districts, by having so eaten out the insect 
food, that these larger birds are now unable to rear their young 
broods. They have driven the Indian Minah out of all the southern 
towns where formerly they were established. 

In many places they are accused of being fruit-stealers, attacking 
not only small fruits, but also pears, plums, and peaches, and some 
of my correspondents have thought this was a new trait developed 
in their new surroundings. But it is familiar enough in the northern 
countries from which the starlings came. There is a well-known 
passage in Rabelais' Gargantua in which it is stated that "at this 
season the shepherds were withdrawn from the hills in order to 
keep the starlings off the grapes." I have frequently seen them in 
this country feeding on the rather hard white berries of the cabbage 
tree (Cor dy line australis). 

In the Otago Witness of 2nd October, 1890, J. H. E. of Anderson's 
Bay, Dunedin, writes: "Last season my jargonelle pears were alive 
with starlings, the pears eaten by scores, and the leaves and fruit in a 
disgusting state from their droppings." 

Mr Philpott several times found their gizzards full of the berries 
of the broadleaf (Griselinia lucidd). 

Mr J. Drummond states that Mr D. L. Smart of Napier, who 
formerly lived at Tuakau, on the banks of the Waikato, found that 
great flocks of starlings in the late autumn visited a large kahikatea 
(Podocarpus dacrydioides) forest in order to feed on the berries. 

It may be noted here that in many parts of New South Wales, 
cherry-growing has become an impossibility, owing to the persistent 
attacks of starlings. 

Mr P. J. O'Regan considers that starlings (as well as blackbirds 
and thrushes) are responsible for the diminution in the number of 
native pigeons, as they eat the berries of pine trees, Fuchsia and 
Aristotelia, which form part of their food. (This may be partially true, 
but pigeons subsist on other materials, and in summer their crops will 
be found quite full of the leaves of the kowhai Sophora tetraptera.) 

On i8th August, 1890, 1 wrote to the Otago Witness asking certain 
questions on acclimatisation matters, among others as to whether 
starlings were eating poisoned grain, as was stated to be the case in 
Southland. Mr Richard Henry, writing from Lake Te Anau, was 
inclined to think they did, but his opinion was based on the fact 
that he found three dead starlings in the first week of rabbit-poisoning, 
and none before or since. Mr Richard Norman, Alberton, replied: 

In this district the starlings roost in thousands in the blue-gum trees 
in winter time, and are fighting, scratching, and screeching for positions 

158 BIRDS 

all night long, and if they are disturbed, the rustling of their wings as they 
rise sounds like distant thunder. Frequently some are found dead on the 
ground, and it is generally concluded that they have perished from the 
cold, and not through the effects of phosphorised grain. The cats eat their 
bodies without harm. 

Mr George Green, Broad Bay, wrote: "The only poisoning done 
here is intended for the sparrows, and I have never heard of starlings 
taking the grain ; but they have developed a taste for the elder-berries." 

Mr H. Watts of Maungatua stated that the starlings do not touch 
poisoned grain, though they had developed a strong predilection for 
red currants. They were commonly found among the bushes, and 
one which was shot contained a large number of berries in the crop. 

Mr Thomas M'Latchie, Owaka, wrote: "Poisoned grain has been 
laid for rabbits for two or three months in my paddocks. Flocks of 
starlings have been busy amongst the grass, but I have never seen 
one of them touch an oat." 

Mr A. Philpott writing to me in July, 1916, says: 

This bird is certainly less plentiful than it was twenty-five or thirty 
years ago. Possibly the want of suitable nesting-places may have something 
to do with it. So much bush has been cleared away since the starlings' 
greatest abundance, that it must be somewhat difficult now to find suitable 
hollow trees, for the bird does not appear to penetrate deeply into the 
bush. In 1914 I found it building in a mass of ivy on a cabbage tree 
(Cordyline) in the centre of Invercargill, and last year at Wyndham I found 
several broods in masses of Muhlenbeckia. The bush tree there is chiefly 
matai (Podocarpus spicatus), a tree that does not provide many holes suitable 
for nests. 

Two years later he states that the bird is not nearly so plentiful 
as it used to be, and attributes the change to the decrease in the 
number of suitable nesting places, on account of the disappearance 
of old forest trees. A North Canterbury farmer writing to Mr Jas. 
Drummond in August, 1910, states that starlings are very destructive 
to humble bees, and he has repeatedly seen them catching these 
insects and taking them to their nests. 

Mr B. C. Aston tells me that starlings frequently imitate other 
birds, which are new to them. He has noticed them in the neigh- 
bourhood of Wellington imitating both the Californian quail and 
Australian magpies. 

Hilgendorf says that in the Cass district they leave the houses to 
the sparrows, and build among the rocks and tussocks 1 . 

1 In connection with the blow-fly pest in sheep, in Australia, Dr Cleland says 
of the starling (and sparrow): "Though useful to a slight extent, they do much 
more harm than good. Neither apparently plays any definite part in controlling 
the blow-fly pest." "The stomachs of seventy-three of the introduced birds were 
examined. As regards the vegetable food, wheat grains were found in a few and 



* Indian Minah or Myna; House Myna (Acridotheres tristis) 

This species appears to have been introduced in the first instance 
in all centres by private individuals, and by a few of the societies in 
the early seventies. One of the most remarkable things about them 
is their increase after their first introduction, and then their subsequent 
diminution, and in some districts their ultimate disappearance. The 
latter appears to have been due, either directly or indirectly, to the 
starlings, the increase of the latter coinciding with the decrease of the 

In 1870 Mr F. Banks introduced 18 of these birds, which he 
termed Indian Minaul birds, from Melbourne, where they had been 
acclimatised for some time, and presented them to the Canterbury 
Society. Writing in 1890, Captain F. W. Hutton said: "A few 
used to be about Christchurch, but they have disappeared before the 
starlings." Mr Stead, writing in 1916, says: "In the early nineties 
there were a few minahs nesting in some houses on the North Belt 
(Christchurch), but there are now none left, and there have not been 
any for fifteen years at least." 

Some were imported into Dunedin in the early seventies by Mr 
Thomas Brown. They used to build in the First Church Steeple and 
on one or two houses in the neighbourhood, but they had all died 
out or were driven away before (1890). 

Mr F. G. Gibbs of Nelson says (July, 1916): 

Minahs were imported in the seventies. I remember that they were 
very plentiful in the streets when I arrived in 1877, but a few years later 

fruit in one. This result, however, does not by any means indicate clearly the 
destructive tendencies in the direction of vegetable food, as the accessibility of 
such food must be considered at the time the bird was shot. Unquestionably 
starlings feed greatly on cultivated fruits and on cultivated grains during the season 
when these are available." "As regards the insect food of these seventy- three birds, 
we found that locusts or grasshoppers were present in five, wireworms in two, 
cutworms in thirty-four, flies in four, psyllids in one, and scale (?) in one. The 
cutworms were found in most of the starlings obtained in the Wagga district, these 
having been shot while this pest was present." " Flies were found in four. These 
could not be identified as blow-flies. It is, however, likely, though not proved as 
yet, that the starling does destroy a few of these insects. As indicated by the list 
of insect foods, the starling can unquestionably play a useful purpose in the direction 
of destroying insect pests. 

Summed up, it may be stated that the starling does marked harm to fruit 
gardens and that it does some harm to crops, but that it does some good in destroy- 
ing certain insect pests, such as cutworms, when these are present in abundance and 
perhaps other food is scarce. The starling has spread very extensively over Australia, 
and it is a prolific breeder. Moreover, it interferes with the breeding-places of 
many of our useful insectivorous birds. It is also so wily and so hard to approach 
that it will never be possible to eliminate it from Australia, or even to diminish 
materially its numbers, whatever human means are adopted to attempt this. Its 
virtues are unquestionably less than its defects, and no encouragement whatever 
should be given to its appearance in any part of the country. On the other hand, 
any discouragement offered is likely to have little effect." 

160 BIRDS 

they disappeared. As they were very tame, they were shot down by boys 
in large numbers, and may have been exterminated in this way. 

The Wellington Society introduced 30 birds in 1875; ant * 4 
in 1876; they are not now common about Wellington, but are to 
be found up the coast to Wanganui and throughout Taranaki, where 
they are fairly common; also at Wairarapa. In and about Napier 
they are in thousands. Mr W. W. Smith says (1916): "though now 
common in Taranaki, it is said to be less numerous than it was 
twenty years ago." The Agricultural Inspector for New Plymouth 
in 1903 blamed this species as the chief cause of the spread of the 
blackberry. This is a manifest error, for riot only is the bird mainly 
insectivorous, and not to any great extent a fruit-eater, but it is also 
almost confined to towns, and builds mostly on houses. On the other 
hand Mr Drummond (May, 1910) says "they are very destructive 
to apricots, apples, pears, strawberries and gooseberries." 

Mr Mahoney of Tuparoa (May, 1912) says they are quite common 
in the neighbourhood of buildings, and are very destructive to fruit 
and to grass-seed, quite as much so as yellow-hammers and sparrows. 
In April they attacked and cleared off most of the late peaches. He 
also describes how starlings dispossessed a pair of minahs from the 
ventilator of the school, where they had built their nest for many 
years. The minahs took themselves off to a willow-tree. Mr F. P. 
Corkill of New Plymouth also reports how starlings have displaced 
minahs in the town. Mr H. J. Fowler of Marton states (June, 1912) 
that minahs follow the plough, as many as a dozen or more together, 
all day unweariedly, and pick up abundance of grubs. 

Australian Minah (Myzantha garrula) 

In Hutton's Catalogue of the Birds of New Zealand, published in 
1871, it is stated that this species was introduced into Canterbury 
and Nelson from Victoria. The early records of the Canterbury 
Society do not mention them, and those of Nelson are lost. This is 
the Australian bird known as the noisy minah or miner. 

The Otago Society liberated 80 in the neighbourhood of 
Palmerston in 1880, and they were occasionally seen for two years, 
and then disappeared. The late Mr Deans, curator of the Society, 
said these birds were quite different from Acridotheres tristis, the 
Indian minah. 

Mr Huddlestone states that Australian minahs were introduced 
into Nelson in the seventies, that they flourished for a time, but 
have now (1916) disappeared. I think he is referring to the same 
species as Mr F. G. Gibbs describes as plentiful in Nelson, and that 
they were Indian minahs obtained from Australia, in many parts of 


which they are very common. The Wellington Society liberated 
184 birds in 1874; eight in 1876; 12 in 1877, and 20 in 1878. 
A colony was seen for a time at Taita. The Canterbury Society 
purchased 200 pairs from Mr Bills in 1879, anc ^ liberated them in 
various localities. I have a very strong suspicion that these two lots 
also were Indian minahs, caught in Australia where they are now 
very common and brought over to New Zealand by Mr Bills. 
Unfortunately those who knew the facts are all gone, and it is now 
impossible to verify my suspicions. But there are no Australian 
minahs now in New Zealand, whereas there are great numbers 
of the Indian species in certain districts. 


Wax-eye ; White-eye ; Gold-eye ; Blight Bird ; Silver-eye ; Twinkie 
(Zosterops ccerulescens) 

If this bird is truly indigenous in New Zealand, then it is a southern 
form which has recently increased and migrated northwards, but it 
is more likely to be a comparatively modern natural introduction 
from Australia. Buller considers it is an indigenous species, but it 
seems to me the record he gives is against this hypothesis. Captain 
Howell states that he first noticed the birds at Milford Sound in 1832. 
In the fifties they were recorded by I. N. Watt, then Resident 
Magistrate at the Bluif, as coming apparently from Stewart Island, 
and all migrating northwards. 

They did not appear north of Cook Straits till 1856, when they 
were suddenly abundant, and were called "blight-birds," because 
they destroyed quantities of the "American blight" (Schizoneura 
lanigera). They only remained for about three months, from June 
to August, and then disappeared completely. They appeared again 
in Wellington in 1858, and after that became permanent residents. 
They were recorded from Nelson in 1859. In 1861 they were first 
observed by the natives in Hawke's Bay, when the name given to 
the bird by the Maoris was Tau-hou or the Stranger. They were 
recorded by Colenso in Napier in 1862, and by the natives on the 
Upper Wanganui in 1863. In 1865 they were observed at Auckland, 
and by 1868 they had penetrated to the most northerly part of the 
North Island. 

They are stated by Mr A. Shand to have appeared in the Chatham 
Islands about 1856 and 1857. 

They are extremely abundant now, and come right into the very 
heart of the towns in winter, but in the early summer months they 
move away out into the country for the breeding season. 

162 BIRDS 

At their first appearance in settled districts, their visits were made 
in the winter months, and they were hailed as valuable insectivorous 
birds by orchardists and gardeners. When they became permanent 
residents they discovered the potentialities of fruit, especially plums 
and pears, and now they are looked upon as great robbers in the 
fruit season. The good they do for ten months of the year probably 
far outweighs the toll they exact during the remaining two. 

In 1913 large flocks of them visited Akaroa in the autumn and 
punished the orchards. In 1914 very few were to be seen. 

In July, 1910, Mr H. Boscawen reported finding seven white-eyes 
caught on the sticky seeds of Pisonia Brunoniana. 

Mr B. E. Collins of Takapou, Hawke's Bay, reported them (1914) 
as visiting flowering currants and tritomas when in flower. 

These little birds are more mercilessly attacked and destroyed 
by larger predatory birds than any other species, perhaps because 
they seem less suspicious of enemies than introduced finches, and 
even the small indigenous birds. They are frequently found killed 
by hawks, kingfishers, long- tailed cuckoos and shining cuckoos, as 
also occasionally by others 1 . 

Australian Bell-bird (Manorhina melanophrys) 

The Wellington Society introduced two in 1874, but have no 
further record of them. 

Scarlet Tanager ; Cape Cardinal (Pyrangra rubra) 

The Auckland Society introduced two in 1868. They immediately 
commenced to breed, and in 1869 it was stated that they were not 
rare in the vicinity of the Gardens. They did not, however, succeed 
in establishing themselves. 

1 Dr Cleland says of this species in Australia : " The stomach contents of fifty- five 
Silver-eyes have been examined. Forty-five of these contained vegetable food, 
chiefly fruits of various kinds. Thirty-two contained insect food. Amongst the 
insects occasionally eaten were cabbage-moths, froghoppers, psyllids, thrips, 
aphids, black scale, and plant bug. During the fruit season there is not the slightest 
question that the Silver-eye does a very considerable amount of damage to orchards. 
By feeding on the fruits of such pests as blackberries and lantana, and passing the 
seeds in their droppings, Silver-eyes act as potent disseminators of these and other 
plants. However, during the season when fruit is not ripe they apparently serve a 
definitely usetul purpose in destroying certain insect pests. As energetic measures 
adopted for the destruction of Silver-eyes have never yet been successful in materially 
reducing their number in any locality, there is little likelihood, whatever action be 
taken, of eliminating this bird from any particular part." 



Australian Wax-bill ; Sydney Wax-bill ; Red-browed Finch 

(JEgintha temporalis) 

The Otago Society introduced four in 1867, and the Auckland 
Society four in 1871 ; in neither case is there any further record. 

Java Sparrow; Rice-bird; Paddy-bird (Munia oryzivord) 

The Nelson Society introduced a number in 1862, but they are 
not mentioned again. 

The Auckland Society obtained six from Captain Forsyth in 1867, 
but there is no report as to what came of them. 

Nutmeg Sparrow; Cowry Bird (Munia punctulatd) 
The Auckland Society received eight from Queensland from Miss 

Wright in 1868; but there is no further record of them. 

(Captain Hutton in 1871 referred this species to Gould's Estrelda 

temporalis (= JEginiha temporalis), which is the red-eyebrowed finch; 

the temporal finch, or red-bill of the Australian colonists.) 

Chestnut Sparrow ; Rockhampton Sparrow ; Chestnut-breasted Finch 
(Munia castaneithorax) 

In Judge Broad's Jubilee History of Nelson (published in 1892) 
in a list of birds imported and liberated up to September, 1864, are 
included six Australian sparrows, which are most probably this species. 

The Auckland Society liberated 25 of these birds in 1867, 
and state in the report of the following year that the "Australian 
sparrows are considered to be thoroughly acclimatized." Two more 
were liberated in 1871. Then they disappeared. 

The Canterbury Society obtained 12 from Mr Wilkin from 
Sydney in 1864. Nothing more was recorded of them. 

Diamond Sparrow ; White-headed Finch ; Spotted-sided Finch 
(Steganopleura guttatd) 

The Canterbury Society introduced a number, apparently in 
1864, for the report for 1866 says: "the greatest success has been 
attained by the little Australian diamond sparrow, which may now 
be seen in flocks." They have never been heard of since. 

The Wellington Society introduced 12 in 1874, but there is no 
further report. The Nelson Society also introduced them. 

(According to Hutton (1871) this was the diamond bird of Australia 
(Pardalotus punctatus).) 

Sir George Grey told Sir Walter Buller that out of nearly a 
hundred diamond sparrows which he liberated on Kawau, very few 

164 BIRDS 

survived the ravages of the morepork (the small native owl Ninox 
novce-zealandite) . 


Califbrnian Starling ; Red-winged Starling (Agelaius phoeniceus) 

The Auckland Society introduced two in 1869. They did not 

Meadow Lark (Sturnella neglecta) 

The Auckland Society introduced two from California in 1869; 
but they did not increase. (This species in Hutton's 1871 catalogue 
is called Sturnula ludoviciana.) 

Firetail Finch (Zonceginthus bellus) 

The Auckland Society received two from Captain Coppin in 1870. 
The Wellington Society introduced eight some time before 1885, but 
there is no further report concerning any of them. 

Zebra Finch; Chestnut-eared Finch (Tceniopygia castanotis) 

The Wellington Society introduced 12 some time before 1885, 
but again there is no report about them. 

Numbers of ornamental finches and small cage birds of many 
species have been introduced from time to time for private aviaries, 
and have been bred in confinement. Mr F. L. Hunt of Ravensbourne, 
Dunedin, has been a particularly successful rearer of these beautiful 
species, but when liberated they never succeed in establishing them- 
selves. Apart from climatic reasons, they readily fall a prey to cats 
and other enemies. 

* House-Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 

The responsibility for the introduction of the common sparrow 
is very generally shared by the men who were so active in acclimatisa- 
tion work 50 years ago, as the following record shows. They 
introduced it in all good faith, and congratulated themselves on their 
success. But it is amusing to observe how averse the implicated 
societies are to-day to accept this responsibility. There has grown up, 
too, by way of explanation, a certain amount of myth about the busi- 
ness ; but the facts are incontrovertible. For example, Mr Drummond 
in 1907 writes: 

The story is that the (Canterbury) Acclimatisation Society ordered 
twelve dozen hedge-sparrows from England. The order was placed with 
Captain Stevens of the 'Matoaka,' who submitted it to a bird-fancier at 
Knightsbridge. Either the fancier or the Captain blundered, and the latter 


took on board thirteen dozen house-sparrows, which are generally known 
by the common name of " Sparrow." He was very attentive to them on 
the voyage out, believing that they were the valuable hedge-sparrows which 
the colonists were anxious to secure. Most of them died, however, and 
when he reached Lyttelton in February, 1867, only five were left. The 
officers of the Society, realising that a mistake had been made, refused to 
accept the strangers. The Captain then took them out of their cage, and, 
remarking that the poor little beggars had had a bad time, set them at 
liberty. They flew up into the rigging and remained twittering there for 
some time. The members of the Society went below to look at other birds. 
When they reached the deck again the sparrows had flown. The birds 
stayed about Lyttelton for three weeks. Then they disappeared, and when 
next heard of they were at Kaiapoi, about twenty miles distant, where, at 
the end of 1869, they were reported as being "particularly numerous." 

This story was evidently current in Canterbury, for at the annual 
meeting of the Society in Christchurch in 1885, the Chairman, the 
Hon. J. T. Peacock, said: "The Society used to give bonuses to 
captains of ships for bringing out small birds. One captain brought 
five sparrows, which the Society refused to purchase, and which 
that captain let go himself. From those five, the whole of the sparrows 
in the Province had, he believed, sprung." 

In the report for 1889, under the heading "The Sparrow," the 
same Society are responsible for this statement : " we most deliberately 
deny ordering or introducing this questionable bird, but we well 
remember the devastations made by the caterpillars and grubs previous 
to their advent." 

In 1895 Mr A. Bathgate of Dunedin wrote : " I believe our (Otago) 
Society turned out one or two, but the sparrows came to us from 

Now for the actual facts. 

According to Sir Walter Buller the Wanganui Society introduced 
sparrows in 1866, and these were therefore the first brought into the 
country. But the Nelson Society forestalled Wanganui, for they suc- 
ceeded in bringing in one sparrow in 1862. 

The Canterbury Society in 1864 printed a list of prices which 
they offered to immigrants for each pair (cock and hen) of birds, viz. : 

*.".. * 

Black Cock or Grouse ... 10 10 Robins i 10 

English Partridges ... 5 o Wrens i 10 

Common Thrushes ... 2 o Grey Linnets ... 15 

Blackbirds 2 o Green Linnets ... 15 

Skylarks 2 o House- Sparrows ... 15 

Rooks 2 o Hedge-Sparrows ... 15 

The same Society liberated forty sparrows in 1867, and the annual 


166 BIRDS 

report for 1871 states that they are "thoroughly established and 
need no further importations 1 ." 

The Auckland Society in 1864 also gave a list of the prices offered 
by the Auckland Provincial Government to immigrants bringing out 
various birds, per pair, cock and hen. 

s- *. 

Black Cock or Grouse ... 5 o Blackbirds 

(Hares) (5) o Robins 

English Partridges ... 3 o Wrens 

Rooks 3 o Wheatears 

Nightingales 3 o House-Sparrows 

Song Thrushes i 10 Hedge- Sparrows 

This Society liberated 47 sparrows in 1867, and in the annual report 
for 1868, "consider them thoroughly acclimatised." 

I am indebted to Mr E. D'Esterre, Editor of the Auckland Weekly 
News, for unravelling some ancient history regarding the introduction 
of the sparrow into Auckland. In reply to a representative of the 
Auckland Star, Mr T. F. Cheeseman is reported to have said: 

Sparrows were not introduced by the Acclimatisation Society, although 
that body is credited with having brought them here. I can speak with 
certainty on that point, because I was here before the small birds were 
introduced. It was the late Mr S. Morrin and Mr T. B. Hill who introduced 
the first lot of sparrows and distributed them. 

Mr D'Esterre saw Mr Cheeseman later (June, 1916) and was informed 
that Mr T. B. Hill, who came out in the 'Morning Star' in 1861, 
resided at Auckland, and that he brought out the sparrows either for 
or in conjunction with Mr Sam Morrin. He then wrote to a corre- 
spondent of his, a Mr P. T. Hill, also resident at Raglan, to find out 
his namesake if possible. This gentleman, who disapproves very 
strongly of the sparrow, sent a cutting from the Raglan County 
Chronicle of 8th July, 1915, with a report of a Farmers' Union 
Meeting at which the question of poisoning small birds came up. 
"Mr Taylor said by getting rid of the small birds insect pests would 
be increased, and would probably be a far worse trouble than the birds. 
The President thought it was an unwise thing to disturb the balance 
of Nature. Mr T. B. Hill agreed that it was best to leave the birds 
alone. He had introduced sparrows and sold them at IQS. each in 
Auckland." Eventually Mr D'Esterre got into communication with 

1 The late Mr Bills used to narrate how he trapped the sparrows for the Canter- 
bury Society with large folding nets in the streets of London in the early mornings, 
and how the Londoners were surprised that any country should want such birds. 
He explained that the caterpillars in New Zealand were so numerous and large, 
that the farmers had to dig trenches round their houses to trap and bury the voracious 
creatures, lest after eating up all the crops, they should turn to and eat up the 
farmers themselves. Mr Bills' statement can be taken cum grano salts. 


Mr T. B. Hill himself and received a letter dated ist July, 1916, in 
which he says: 

As I see it is going the round of the papers that I and the late Mr 
Morrin introduced the sparrows I shall be glad if you will contradict this. 
I don't think for a moment my friend Mr Cheeseman made the statements 
intentionally, but as I believe he was Secretary of the Auckland Acclimatisa- 
tion Society at the time, of which Council I was an individual member, 
I think if he refers back he will see it was the Auckland Society that intro- 
duced them. With many other birds they were sold by auction by Mr S. 
Jones at his Auction Mart, and the House-sparrow was the favourite. 
I was, I think, the largest purchaser at One pound per pair ; and I successfully 
acclimatised them to my building, with Mr Soppet's Flour Mill adjoining, 
in Freeman's Bay, and soon had all the sparrows others had brought down 
in my yard and flying in and out of the window of my room, where I 
kept several confined. I had people come to me for birds to replace what 
they had lost at the price I paid for mine. The first breeding season they 
proved a great nuisance in filling the spouting and other places in the Bay 
with their nests. So many of us then were not yet acclimatised ourselves 
that when we woke in the morning hearing the little " cheer-up, cheer-up," 
it made us fancy we were back in the old country again. I certainly sent 
them to friends in the country who were anxious to get them. There now 
you have the whole history as far as I am concerned. 

In 1865 the ship 'Viola' from Glasgow arrived at Auckland, and 
landed two sparrows out of six dozen which were shipped. 

In 1864 the Nelson Society imported a number of Sparrows, 
but only one was landed alive. In 1871 six were introduced, and were 
liberated at Stoke, where they soon increased. 

The Otago Society liberated three in 1868, and n in 1869. 

The sparrows very quickly increased in all parts of New Zealand 
until they became a very serious pest. But while farmers rail at them 
to-day, it has to be remembered that at the time of their introduction 
crops of grain and grass were threatened with absolute destruction 
by the hordes of grubs and pigeons. Mr Drummond in his very able 
pamphlet on "our feathered immigrants" (1907) has summarised the 
case for and against the sparrow, as far as New Zealand is concerned, 
with the balance very much against. Nearly every county council and 
agricultural association in the country wages war on him, by selling 
poisoned grain to the farmers, and offering bonuses for eggs. Yet 
he continues to thrive and flourish. 

Mr R. E. Clouston writing (July, 1916) of the Gouland Downs 
in the Nelson district, which is noted for the abundance of its native 
bird life, and where thrushes, blackbirds, skylarks, and particularly 
redpolls are common, says that in all the years he was there he only 
saw about two sparrows. Mr Philpott observes that while the sparrow 
is abundant in cultivated country it does not penetrate far into the 

168 BIRDS 

bush. Sparrows are found and are increasing in the Chatham Islands, 
which are distant 450 miles from the nearest point of New Zealand, 
and where they are self-introduced. 

Mr T. W. Kirk gives much important information as to its rate 
of increase in his note on the breeding habits of the sparrow in New 
Zealand. The following is a summary of his facts: 

The breeding season begins in spring, the first brood appearing 
in September, and the last in April. There are never less than five 
eggs in a nest, but usually six or seven. Incubation lasts 13 days. 
The young are fed in the nest for eight or nine days, then return to it 
for two or three nights and afterwards shift for themselves. In five 
instances fresh eggs were found in the nest along with young birds, 
and the author thinks that the young birds do the chief work of 
incubation of succeeding broods. In at least one instance, marked 
birds reared in September were themselves breeding at the end of 

Calculating from nests which were watched, the author thinks that 
the average annual increase is five broods of six each, and this is a 
low estimate. Allowing for deaths at the rate of one-third of the 
whole annual increase, then one pair will produce n pairs at 
the end of the first year; 121 pairs at the end of the second year; 
1131 pairs at the end of the third ; 14,641 pairs at the end of the fourth ; 
and 161,051 pairs, or an actual increase of 322,100 birds in five years, 
without taking into account : (i) the early broods which are themselves 
breeding ; (2) the fact that more than five broods are probably hatched 
in a year; and (3) that often more than six eggs are hatched at a 
time 1 . 

Food of the Sparrow. The average farmer's opinion on this 
subject is valueless ; he only sees the harm that is done at sowing time 
and in harvest, and concludes on very imperfect evidence that 
the bird is only a grain-feeder. Mr T. W. Kirk says: " I have myself 
dissected fifty-three birds, taken at all seasons of the year, and am 
forced to admit that the remains of insects found in them constituted 
but a very small portion of the total food." Unfortunately Mr Kirk 
does not say where he took the birds which he examined. He himself 
dwells in or near a large town, and the chances are that a considerable 
amount of the food of the sparrows would be from households, grain 
from horsedroppings, etc. Mr Kirk's communication was made to 

1 Some idea of the abundance of small birds in the farming districts of New 
Zealand may be gathered from such facts as the following. One trapper in the 
Rakaia district received a cheque for 54. gs. -^d. for the month of July, 1918, 
which represented 17,429 heads. The Ashburton County Council commenced 
buying birds' heads on iyth June, 1918, and by the middle of August had paid away 
495- I 7*- 8rf., representing 158,681 small birds, chiefly sparrows and skylarks. 


the Wellington Philosophical Institute in 1878. In the discussion 
which followed, Mr W. T. L. Travers said that "His experience led 
him to believe that their principal food was insects. The cicadae 
especially are caught in hundreds by them " Sir Walter Buller 

If the sparrow is fond of ripe grain it is still fonder of the ripe seeds of 
the variegated Scotch Thistle. This formidable weed threatened at one time 
to overrun the whole colony. Where it had once fairly established itself 
it seemed well nigh impossible to eradicate it, and it was spreading with 
alarming rapidity, forming a dense growth which nothing could face. In 
this state of affairs the sparrows took to eating the ripe seeds. In tens of 
thousands they lived on the thistle, always giving it the preference to wheat 
or barley. They have succeeded in conquering the weed. In all directions 
it is dying out. 

I have myself watched sparrows hawking for moths and crickets, and 
have observed them feeding on the fruits of meadow plantain 
(Plantago major) and of dandelion (Taraxacum densleonis). 

Dr Hilgendorf points out that "so purely a grain-eating bird as 
the sparrow feeds its nestlings for about six weeks on nothing but 

During the Farmers' Union Conference in May, 1918, one delegate 
stated that during the preceding season his grain crop of 40 acres 
was black with caterpillars, as many as three or four being on each 
head. Then sparrows attacked them, and in a short time not a cater- 
pillar was to be seen. 

Sparrows are often very destructive to flowers in gardens, picking 
them to pieces for no ostensible cause. Primroses, violets, crocuses 
are the most commonly attacked, and these are all spring-flowering. 
The habit is recorded from several parts of New Zealand. 

The native hawk (Circus gouldi), kingfisher (Halcyon vagans), long- 
tailed cuckoo (Urodynamis taitensis) and shining cuckoo (Chalco- 
coccyx lucidus) are all credited with catching and destroying sparrows 1 . 

1 Dr Cleland, writing of the food of the sparrow in New South Wales, says : 
"One hundred and twenty-seven sparrows were examined, the majority of them 
coming from Richmond, New South Wales. Sixty-four were found to feed on 
wheat and maize. Various grass seeds were found in others. Occasionally they have 
been found to feed on white ants, cabbagemoth larvae, cutworms, locust, blow- 
flies and aphids. The large amount of grain eaten far outweighs any value that the 
sparrow may have as an insectivorous bird during the period when such grain is 
available, but during other seasons of the year it probably plays a mildly useful 
part." (It is to be noted that the 127 birds referred to by Dr Cleland were shot in 
May. Had sparrows been examined in September to November, the results would 
almost certainly have been different.) One of the birds examined contained 400 
millet seeds, besides maize and other grasses. It is due very largely to sparrows 
about Sydney, that several species of Cicadas are almost extinct. 

170 BIRDS 

Mountain Sparrow ; Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 

The Otago Society liberated two in 1868. The Auckland Society 
also liberated three in 1868, and nine in 1871. None of these was 
heard of again. 

* Chaffinch (Fringilla ccelebs) 

The Nelson Society introduced 23 of these birds between 1862 and 
1864, but kept no record of them afterwards. 

The Canterbury Society liberated n in 1867, and five in 
1868; and three years later reported that they are considered to be 
"thoroughly established and to need no further importations." In 
1871 a further lot were introduced. 

The Auckland Society liberated several in 1864, 45 in 1867, 
and stated the following year that they were thoroughly acclimatised. 
But they introduced 68 more in 1868, and a considerable number 
in 1869. 

The Otago Society liberated 27 in 1868, six in 1869, and 66 in 

The Wellington Society liberated 70 in 1874, 36 in 1876, 20 in 
1877, and a few more in subsequent years. 

Private individuals and dealers introduced them also at all the 
principal centres. 

This bird is common throughout both the islands, and very 
abundant in some parts, especially from .Taupo northwards. Even 
up to the present time, some county councils in grain-growing 
districts (e.g. South Canterbury) are giving bonuses for their des- 

Their occurrence in Otago has been rather curious, and has 
puzzled observers a good deal. For example, about Dunedin they 
became fairly common a few years after their introduction, and then 
nearly altogether disappeared . I attributed this to their eating poisoned 
grain, for their scarcity dated from the time that this method of des- 
troying rabbits came into use. But since this method was abandoned 
in favour of pollard-poisoning, and poisoning generally was substituted 
for trapping, other small birds have increased very considerably, but 
the chaffinch is still a comparatively rare bird. 

Mr A. Philpott states that while the species is not common near 
Invercargill, where it began to appear in 1910, it is abundant at 
Queenstown, and common in the Longwood, Waiau and Titiroa 
(Hunter Mountains) forests. It is especially abundant in these 
localities on the upper limit of the bush (about 3000 feet). 

An attempt was made in 1879 to establish them in Stewart Island, 
when 70 were liberated. They were seen for a time at the head 



of Paterson Inlet, but Mr Traill tells me (1916) that " none have been 
reported for years." 

Mr T. H. Potts states that where lichens are scarce, chaffinches 
frequently used fragments of paper in nest-building. 

Bramble Finch ; Brambling (Fringilla montifringilld) 

The Canterbury Society liberated two in 1868, and six (?) in 1871. 
But the annual report for 1873 speaks of them as having been im- 
ported in considerable numbers. 

The Wellington Society liberated three in 1874, an ^ one m I ^77, 
and reported them in 1885 as having been seen. 

Seebohm (Siberia in Europe, p. 120) describes this as a migratory 
species, which winters in the British Isles but mostly in Central and 
Southern Europe, occasionally crossing the Mediterranean. It breeds 
throughout the northern portions of the palaearctic region, at or near 
the limit of forest growth. 

Linnet (Linota cannabind) 

The Nelson Society introduced seven linnets in 1862, but have 
lost all record of them. 

The Otago Society liberated two in 1867, and 18 in 1868. 

The Canterbury Society liberated 20 in 1867, three in 1868, 
and a number (not specified) in 1869. In 1875 another consignment 
was introduced by Mr R. Bills, and these were either sold and dis- 
tributed, or liberated in the Christchurch Gardens. 

The Auckland Society liberated eight in 1865, 14 in 1867, 
20 in 1868, and a number (not specified) in 1869. Five years 
later the annual report states that "they are thoroughly established 
in Auckland Province." I cannot understand this statement, unless 
the report refers to the greenfinch, a bird which is sometimes called 
the green linnet. 

The Wellington Society liberated 22 birds some time before 
1882, for it was reported in that year that two were seen in the 
Porirua district. 

The failure of this species to establish itself in New Zealand is 
one of the most inexplicable problems in animal naturalisation. Some 
allied species have become very common, but the linnet disappeared 
soon after liberation. 

The bird is a partial migrant in Britain, and I have suggested 
that this may be one explanation. This, however, is discounted by 
the fact that those .introduced were brought to the country at so 
many different times, and were probably obtained from very different 

172 BIRDS 

Mr Edgar F. Stead, writing me in April, 1915, says : " It is possible 
that the birds imported were all, or nearly all of one sex. If they 
were caught during certain seasons of the year, nesting, and perhaps 
migratory, they may have been nearly all cockbirds." 

Twite ; Mountain Linnet (Linota flavirostris) 
The Nelson Society imported some of these birds in 1862, but 
only two reached the colony. 

The Otago Society liberated 38 in the Dunedin Botanical 
Gardens in 1871. Mr F. Deans, the curator, informed me in 1890 
that he "never saw or heard of them again." This species is a partial 
migrant in Britain, and I have little doubt that the birds once set 
free started on a voyage of discovery. 

* Red Pole ; Redpoll (Linota rufescens) 

The Nelson Society were the first to attempt the introduction of 
this species, but only two arrived of those shipped in 1862. 

The Otago Society introduced ten in 1868, and 71 in 1871. 
Mr F. Deans reported in 1890 that "some of these were seen, 
but I do not think they increased." The fact is they migrated from 
the immediate neighbourhood of Dunedin to the high open ground 
a few miles away. 

The Canterbury Society liberated 14 in 1868, which, according 
to their report, migrated in a body and settled at Timaru. In 1871 
they liberated 120 more. In 1875 Mr R. Bills brought out a number, 
some of which were sold and distributed, and the rest were liberated 
in the Christchurch Gardens. 

The Auckland Society introduced one in 1871, and 209 in 1872, 
and these were liberated in various districts south of Auckland. 

The Wellington Society introduced two in 1875. 

This species is not commonly seen about the towns or in thickly 
settled districts, but is abundant in both islands, especially in open 
upland country at moderate elevations. It is common in the back 
country near Dunedin. 

Mr A. Philpott says: " I first saw this bird in Invercargill in 1909. 
Since then it has become very common, but it appears to leave this 
locality during the winter. I have noticed it in numbers, feeding on 
the seed of the Toe-toe (Arunda conspicua) and resorting to the coastal 
sandhills, where flocks may always be found feeding on the seeds of 
Juncus and other plants. It occurs commonly about the upper edge 
of mountain forests," that is at an elevation of about 3000 feet. 

The abundance of redpolls is shown from the following : 

In March, 1911, Mr T. H. Jones of Christchurch caught 70 


in one pull of the net near New Brighton ; Mr C. Bills of Dunedin 
said he could complete an order for a thousand of them within a 
fortnight ; while in Southland as many as 500 were taken in a day. 

During the summer these birds eat quantities of the green fly 
(Aphis) ; while during grass-seed harvest they subsist mostly on seeds 
of grasses. 

* Goldfinch (Carduelis elegant) 

The Nelson Society introduced ten goldfinches in 1862. 

The Otago Society liberated three in 1867, 30 in 1868, 54 in 
1869, and 31 in 1871. 

The Auckland Society liberated n in 1867, an ^ 44 in 1871. 

The Canterbury Society liberated 95 in 1871, and a number 
in 1875. 

The Wellington Society liberated one in 1877, 52 in 1880, 
22 in 1 88 1, and 103 in 1883. The birds appear to have at once 
established themselves at all the centres, and to have quickly 

They are now extraordinarily abundant in all parts of New 
Zealand. They occasionally eat grain and seeds of other cultivated 
plants, but chiefly confine themselves to seeds of thistles and small 
seeds. Mr W. W. Smith records them from Ashburton as assisting 
to spread throughout the district such plants as knapweed (Centaurea 
nigrd) and Scotch thistle (?) (Onopordon acanthium). 

Mr A. Philpott (1918) says these birds are never found far from 
settlement. Yet it is interesting to note that they have found their 
way to the Auckland Islands, 230 miles to the south, and the Chatham 
Islands, 470 miles to the east, and are now established in both these 
outlying regions. 

The goldfinch is a bird with a good reputation, and I have heard 
few complaints of any harm it does, either to farmers, orchardists, 
or gardeners. But in the Otago Witness of 3ist October, 1892, one 
strawberry grower complained bitterly that this species committed 
great ravages on the growing fruit by picking out the seeds, and thus 
completely destroying the berries. I do not know whether other 
growers suffered in the same way. 

Young goldfinches are not unfrequently killed and eaten by the 
long-tailed cuckoo and the native kingfisher. 

Siskin (Carduelis spinus) 

The Wellington Society introduced two in 1876. The Canterbury 
Society report that several were liberated in 1879, "and they have 
taken up their quarters in the plantations around Hagley Park." 

i 7 4 BIRDS 

Mr Edgar Stead (1916) says: " I have never seen a Siskin in Canter- 

On the other hand Mr W. W. Smith informed me in April, 1919, 
that these birds are wild about New Plymouth. Mr Smith is one of 
the most careful and observant naturalists in New Zealand, and it is 
most unlikely that he has made any mistake about this. These birds 
may be the progeny of those already referred to, or they may be 
descended from other introduced birds, for dealers in all the centres 
continually import siskins, along with canaries. 

The species occasionally nests in Britain, but is mostly a winter 
visitor, usually nesting in Norway, Mid-Sweden and Russia. 

* Greenfinch (Ligurinus Moris) 

The Nelson Society introduced five greenfinches in 1862, but 
kept no further record of them. 
Mr J. Drummond (1907) says: 

the first greenfinches about which I have been able to secure any informa- 
tion, were liberated in Christchurch in 1863, where a pair were purchased 
at auction for five guineas. They soon nested, but the only occupant at 
first was one little greenfinch. Before the warm summer days had passed, 
however, a second family of five was reared, and in the following winter 
a flock of eight was seen daily. In the next year, late in the autumn, more 
than twenty were flushed from a little patch of chickweed, and it was not 
long before the birds had spread so widely that their note became a well- 
known sound in Canterbury. 

In another paper he gives the date of the introduction into Canterbury 
as 1866, but there is no record in the Society's reports. 

The Auckland Society liberated several in 1865; 18 in 1867, and 
33 in 1868, and in that year "considered them to be thoroughly 

The Otago Society liberated eight in 1868. 

The bird is now particularly abundant in all the settled parts of 
the country, and is most destructive to the ripening grain crops. It 
is also most destructive to fruit in certain fruit-growing districts, 
especially in Central Otago. Mr G. Howes in a note on "Fruit 
Destruction by small Birds in Central Otago" (Trans. N.Z. Inst. 
vol. xxxvui, p. 604) says that green linnets attacked the apricots when 
the fruit was forming, the cherries while in flower,, and later in the 
season the peaches and plums. It was to combat the serious pest to 
orchards which these and other small birds had become, that the 
small brown owl (Athene noctua) was introduced, and the result has 
been a great diminution in the numbers of fruit-eating birds. 

The late Mr T. H. Potts recorded that in winter it feeds largely 



on the seeds of pine-trees (Pinus pinaster), which it picks out of the 
fir-cones. It certainly also feeds on the seeds of many weeds, and 
probably spreads some of these. 

Mr T. A. Philpott states that the species is much less common in 
Southland now (1918) than it was 25 years ago. He attributes this as 
probably due to the wide adoption of dairy-farming and stock-raising 
in preference to grain growing. 

This species has found its way to the Chatham Islands. 

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula europced) 

According to Captain Hutton six bullfinches were introduced into 
Nelson. But Mr F. G. Gibbs says: "Bullfinches have never been 
acclimatised in Nelson." 

In 1875 Mr R. Bills presented the Canterbury Society with a 
pair of these birds. 

Mr H. Guthrie- Smith also, as quoted by Mr J. Drummond, says: 
" I saw a pair of bullfinches on one occasion in manuka country. Two 
friends on whom I can rely have seen bullfinches." This was in 
Hawke's Bay. While there is no record of any of the societies having 
introduced them, there is no doubt they have been frequently brought 
in by dealers. 

Mr H. Hill (1916) speaks of it as a regular visitant to Napier and 
says it attacks the birds and flowers of the peach, nectarine and 
apricot, sometimes disappearing altogether. It has also been doubt- 
fully reported from Taranaki. 

In many of the recorded cases of bullfinches being seen, the birds 
when sent to experts proved to be chaffinches. There should be no 
possibility of mistaking such a conspicuous bird. 

Reed Sparrow ; Reed Bunting (Emberiza schceniclus) 

The Otago Society liberated four in 1871, but there is no further 
record of them. 

* Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus) 

The Otago Society liberated seven in 1871. They seem at once 
to have increased and spread, and Mr W. W. Smith in 1916 reports 
them as common in Taranaki. They occur in flocks along the coast, 
at Hawera, etc. I have noticed that some dealers and bird-catchers 
do not know the difference between these and yellow-hammers. In 
October, 1915, 1 saw a large cage of so-called yellow-hammers which 
had been taken in the neighbourhood of Dunedin ; several were cirl 
buntings. It is difficult to distinguish between the young of the two 
species. In 1879 18 were liberated in Stewart Island, but they 

176 BIRDS 

failed to establish themselves. Their occurrence is very erratic. At 
one time they increased to a very considerable extent in Otago ; then 
they seemed to become quite rare. Now they are more common 
again. Mr Drummond reports something of the same kind as occur- 
ring near Christchurch. 

If all the cirl buntings now in New Zealand are descended from 
the seven originally liberated in Otago, the case is certainly a very 
interesting one. 

* Yellow-hammer (Emberiza citrinelld) 

The Nelson Society introduced three of these birds in 1862, but 
kept no further record. 

The Auckland Society introduced eight in 1865, four in 1867, 
five in 1868, a number (unspecified) in 1869, 16 (out of 148 shipped) 
in 1870, and 312 in 1871. 

The Canterbury Society introduced one in 1867, and 34 in 

The Otago Society introduced eight in 1 868 , and 3 1 in 1 87 1 . 

They quickly spread all over New Zealand, and to day are common 
from Foveaux Straits to the extreme north of the North Island. In 
1879, 32 were liberated in Stewart Island, but they have not been 
seen there for years. 

They are destroyed wholesale as noxious pests in all grain-growing 
districts, a price being put on their heads, and their eggs being 
purchased by thousands by the county councils. Mr W. W. Smith, 
writing from Taranaki, where they are very numerous, in February, 
1916, says : "When at Rangiotu Camp on August 2nd, last, I observed 
these birds there in hundreds, quite tame, subsisting on bread, etc., 
thrown out from the soldiers' mess." Mr Philpott states (August, 
1916) that they were not uncommon in Southland 30 years ago, 
but are now very rarely met with. Within the last few years (1918) 
it has become rather more plentiful. Lieut. Cox in 1910, recorded 
yellow-hammers as occurring in the Chatham Islands, to which they 
had found their own way across 470 miles of ocean. 

Ortolan ; Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana) 
The Wellington Society imported three pairs in 1885, and they 
were liberated near Otaki. They bred in the following year, and the 
report says "there is now a small flock." That is, however, the last 
that has been heard of them. 

Canary (Serinus canarius) 

No serious attempt has ever been made to naturalise this species, 
but I have heard of several private efforts in this direction. Several 


bird-fanciers have bred canaries in their aviaries, and have given the 
birds freedom to come and go as soon as the eggs were hatched. 
Apparently, however, the domestic cat is an insuperable obstacle to 
their establishment. The canary is such an artificial, domesticated 
and closely-inbred species, that it would apparently take some genera- 
tions of birds to acquire habits tending to its self-preservation. 

In concluding this list of birds, it may be mentioned that the 
Otago Society many years ago introduced and liberated what were 
termed diamond-eared finches and jager birds. The former may 
have been the diamond sparrow (Steganopleura guttatd) referred to 
previously. But I have not the slightest idea what the last named 
bird is. Neither species was heard of again. 

Chapter V 




English Scaly Lizard (Lacerta vivipara) 

Mr T. W. Kirk (in 1886) reports the occurrence of several speci- 
mens on the Tinakori Hills, Wellington, probably introduced with 
some cases of plants for the Botanical Gardens. I am not aware that 
they increased, or were seen again after the first year. 


Family CHELYDID^; 

Australian Fresh-water Turtle (Chelodina longicollis) 
Representatives of this species popularly known as Australian 
tortoises have been frequently imported into New Zealand by dealers 
and private individuals. In 1889 a large number were brought to 
Dunedin for the Fisheries Court of the "South Seas Exhibition, and 
at the close of the Exhibition were sold and distributed. Two of these 
were given to Mr A. M. Johnson in October 1890, and he had them 
for some years. 

None of these animals at the Dunedin Exhibition was ever seen 
to eat, though they were offered all kinds of food. 

Mr G. Howes states that one or more fresh- water turtles were 
seen about the Waihopai River in North Invercargill about 1903. 

Japanese Tortoise 

Mr Cheeseman informs me that " a number of these small tortoises 
were procured from Japan for the Auckland Exhibition in 1913, and 
at its close about ten remained. These were placed in one of the 
greenhouses in the Auckland Domain Gardens to be kept there 
through the winter, but when spring arrived none of them could be 
found. They had evidently escaped through some unknown opening." 
I have not seen them at all, and do not know what species they 
belonged to, though possibly it was either Clemmys japonica or 
Damonica reevesii. 


One or more turtles or tortoises were seen about Hawera in 
Taranaki in 1915. 

Order ANURA 

Family HYLID;E 
* Australian Green Frog (Hyla aurea) 

The Auckland Society introduced two in 1867, and in the following 
year received several small lots from Sydney. They increased quickly 
and are now abundant all over the North Island. 

The Canterbury Society received some frogs in 1867 from the 
Hobart Acclimatisation Society, and some tadpoles in 1868 from 
Mr Alport of Hobart and from Mr W. L. Hawkins. 

The Southland Society received some spawn (from Hobart?) in 
1868, which was hatched out at the Wallacetown Ponds. Frogs soon 
were carried to various places on the Southland Plains, but they did 
not thrive and had all disappeared by 1890. 

A similar experience was met with in Otago. About 60 frogs 
and tadpoles were obtained from Napier in 1888, and were liberated 
in a marsh. They were seen about for a few days, and then all dis- 
appeared. It is possible that in both cases wild ducks of some kind 
or other accounted for them all. Later on others were brought down 
from the north and liberated in Otago and Southland. 

Green frogs are now common throughout the South Island. In 
Westland, where they were introduced from Nelson about 1896, they 
have largely displaced the small brown frog (H, ezvingii), which was 
established on the west coast some 20 years previously. Marriner 
says: "From what I have seen of the Hyla aurea, it would find the 
small brown frog very eatable, and if it does not stop at eating its 
own kind, there is very little chance of it sparing the small strangers." 

Mr Dansey informs me that frogs were introduced into Rotorua 
by Captain Gilbert Mair about 1878, and that now (1916) they are 
numerous everywhere in the district. 

I well remember the uneasiness and consternation in the native village, 
upon some native excitedly reporting his having seen a peculiar ngarara 
(reptile) in a pond near the lake, and describing that it had fingers and 
toes and swam like a human being. Dread was expressed at the idea of 
swallowing young ones while drinking water, that they might grow inside 
to gnaw away at their stomachs. Others ascribed the bringing into the 
district of such reptiles, as the doing of some evil-minded European to 
wipe out the natives and secure their lands. 

Mr A. C. Yarborough of Kohu-Kohu states that frogs were 
abundant in 1884 on the east side of the Hokianga, and appeared on 


the Kohu-Kohu side in the following year. They are not very 
numerous in the district at the present time (1916), but at Kaikohe 
they are extremely common. 

The remarkable power of vitality possessed by the green frog 
Hyla aurea is shown by the following. In December, 1884, my 
wife and I left Dunedin for a tour in the North Island, our house 
being in charge of a housekeeper during our absence. In the front 
hall there stood a large ornamental fern-case, filled with local ferns 
(Asplenium, Hymenophyllum, Trichomanes, etc.), and in this case lived 
a full-grown green frog, which, however, seldom showed itself. We 
were absent about six weeks, returning at the end of January, 1885. 
The ferns had not been watered in our absence, with the result that 
all the filmy and more delicate ones were dead. My wife was too 
disappointed to start re-filling the case, and it was carried out to a 
lumber room in an outside shed, and left there for over a year. In 
March, 1886, Mrs Thomson thought she would like the case re- 
stocked with ferns, so I personally set to work to empty out the old, 
perfectly dry material, and incidentally said that I would search for 
the skeleton of the frog. I could not find it anywhere, but in the 
bottom of the case, under one of the largest dead ferns, was a lump 
of clayey soil about four inches in diameter, quite dry externally. On 
breaking this up I was intensely surprised to find the frog, looking 
very much as it was when we last saw it 15 months before and 
perfectly cool and moist. I at once put jt into a glass vessel, shut a 
common house-fly in, when the frog immediately came to attention, 
and caught and ate the fly. It fed quite freely afterwards and lived 
for some months, when it perished by a singular accident. Its little 
glass-house was left standing on my microscope table in a window 
facing the midday sun. A large bull's eye condenser stood on the 
table near the window, and this unfortunately focussed the sun's rays 
on to the glass-case, and when discovered half an hour after the 
unfortunate frog was dead. The ball of clay in which the frog was 
found after its 15 months' imprisonment was not, as far as either 
of us could remember, in the case originally. We both thought that 
the animal had in some way or other gathered it together as a protec- 
tion, but how it managed to get inside the ball and apparently leave 
no external aperture, I cannot explain. It seems to me that the 
incident throws some light on the stories which one occasionally reads 
in newspapers about frogs being found inside of rocks and stones. 
Our frog was not in a rock, but it was inside a remarkably hard piece 
of clay, and yet it managed to breathe and retain its moisture for 
that long period of time. 

ANURA 181 

Australian Brown Frog ; Whistling Frog 
(Hyla ewingii, var. calliscelis) 

This little frog was introduced into New Zealand in a curious 
manner. A Mr W. Perkins brought some over from Tasmania in a 
bottle in 1875, an( * liberated them in a drain in Alexandra Street, 
Grey mouth. From there they spread up the Grey River to Ahura 
(24 miles) on the south bank, but do not seem to have got to the 
north side. They also spread south for a few miles. 

In 1878 Mr F. E. Clarke read a paper before the Westland 
Institute on "Notice of a Tadpole found in a Drain in Hokitika." 
He says: "No frogs or frogs' spawn having been introduced 
nearer to the West Coast of New Zealand than Nelson and Christ- 
church, it is puzzling to conjecture in what manner the little stranger 
arrived." He was evidently unaware that about three years before 
he wrote his paper Hyla ewingii had been introduced into Greymouth. 
But the frog was probably introduced into Hokitika by some person 
who carried the spawn or the tadpoles ; as it is scarcely or not at all 
found between the two centres. About 1900 Mr James King, of 
Hokitika, brought some of the frogs from Greymouth to Hokitika, 
and they increased for a time. But Mr King informs me that they 
are now very rare, if not extinct, at Hokitika, being apparently dis- 
placed by the larger Hyla aurea. 

The little whistling frog is one of the commonest frogs of Eastern 
Australia and Tasmania. Mr J. J. Fletcher of Sydney says that though 
a true climbing frog it has, at least in Australia, altogether or nearly 
lost the arboreal habit. Mr A. P. Harper of Greymouth, however, 
informed Mr Marriner that he had "personally seen these frogs 
climbing over blackberry bushes at a height of from six to eight 
feet above the ground." 

Australian Climbing Frog (Hyla ccerulea ?) 

In 1897 a consignment of six dozen climbing frogs was obtained 
by the Agricultural Department from Mr J. Stein of Sydney, and 
71 arrived alive. Mr T. W. Kirk said of them in his report in 1898 : 

this frog is similar to the ordinary common frog, so common in many 
parts of New Zealand, except that it has a very considerable advantage 
over that species in that its toes are provided with suckers, which enable 
the animal to climb trees and houses in search of insects. In Sydney I 
have seen these frogs at the top of a wall four stories high. 

Neither Mr Kirk nor Mr Stein can identify the species, but Mr 
McCulloch of the Australian Museum thinks it was probably Hyla 
ccerulea, from the above account of it. 


Mr Kirk informs me that some of these frogs were liberated in 
Hawke's Bay: 

at Greenmeadow Vineyard and Orchards, some on the Frimley Estate, 
and a few at the Hastings Racecourse. In the Wellington district a portion 
of both this and a subsequent consignment (imported in 1899) was released 
in the Wellington Botanical Gardens and in the orchard of Mr G. A. 
Grapes, Paraparaumu. At Auckland, the Island of Motuihi was chosen. 
Some were also released in Queen's Gardens, Nelson, by Mr Kingsley, 
who liberated them on my behalf. Both attempts to establish these frogs 
proved failures, for neither the liberators nor myself have ever seen them 
since, although I personally have carefully searched each locality several 
times since. In addition to the localities already mentioned, some were 
liberated on the Government Experimental Station at Moumahaki; the 
result was exactly the same as in the other places, total disappearance. 

It seems possible, however, that some of them have survived, and 
may yet turn up in unexpected localities. Mr J. Killen of Whangarei, 
when at Kaikohe about 1913 or 1914, saw and held in his hand a 
small green frog which was quite different from the common Hyla 
aurea. Unfortunately the specimen was not preserved, and so cannot 
be identified 1 . 

Family RANID.S: 

European Brown Frog; Grass Frog (Rana temporaria) 

In 1864 Mr A. M. Johnson imported 30 frogs to Canterbury 
from Great Britain, presumably of this species. He kept, however, 
no record of them, and it may be that" they were lost soon after 
arrival 2 . 

In the report of the Canterbury Society for 1868 the following 
paragraph appears: 

The old original frog which was imported into the colony by Mr Murray- 
Aynsley, and which at one time drew a concourse of 300 visitors to the 
Acclimatisation Gardens in one day, is supposed to have been swallowed 
by a stray swan. 

Common Toad (Bufo vulgaris) 

The Canterbury Society received 12 toads from the Hobart 
Acclimatisation Society in 1867. There is no record whatever of their 
success or failure. 

1 Mr Huddlestone of Nelson states that tree frogs were introduced there in a 
warden case in 1856. It is, of course, impossible to say what species they belonged 
to, and there is no record of the survival and increase of the animals. 

2 Mr Huddlestone states that large edible frogs were introduced into Nelson 
in 1867, with the idea of providing food for wild ducks. Probably the common 
water- frog (Rana esculenta) was the species experimented upon. They do not appear 
to have been seen again after liberation. 

ANURA 183 

In 1893 toads were introduced into Gisborne. Mr W. Chambers 
writing to the Poverty Bay Herald says: 

On the ist March thirty-nine toads were shipped by the Kaikoura, and 
when the boxes were opened here on 23rd April thirty-four were found 
in first-rate order. The five that died were most probably hurt before 
shipment. The plan adopted was to put the torpid toads in boxes filled 
with wet moss, which were put in the cool chamber and kept at a tempera- 
ture of about 35 F. on the voyage. 

Mr Chambers has since supplied the following information to me 
(i7th June, 1918): 

To allow them to recuperate before turning them out, I placed them on 
the lawn under a large wire-netted cage, and fed them with worms, etc., 
for a few days. This ended in disaster, as one night the rats got in and killed 
half of them. I then turned the survivors out near an old tunnel on the 
edge of a swamp. We saw one occasionally for a year or two after, when 
they disappeared completely. I don't think they bred, as I kept a good 
look-out for tadpoles and young toads. Two of them, a male and a female, 
I kept in a glass cage for about two years, and when I judged the breeding 
season had arrived (from their behaviour), I gave them access to a large 
pan of water, but without result. These also came to an untimely end, 
both dying on the same day from a surfeit of crickets. 

Mr Chambers was under the impression that these toads were 
natterjacks (Bufo calamita), but Mr H. N. Watson of Horowhitu, 
Palmerston North, who was with Mr Chambers at the time of their 
arrival, has given me some further information on this interesting 
importation. Writing to me in February, 1919, he says: 

The Toads were sent out by Mr Ralph Arthur, a brother of the late 
Mrs W. Chambers, who lived, so far as I remember, near Newton Abbot in 
Devonshire. They were collected by the boys of the neighbourhood, and 
I think twopence each was given for them. They were the common English 
Toad and not the Natterjack. They were packed in damp moss in tin boxes 
with some perforations in the lids, and were kept in the cool chamber 
of the steamer. There were about one hundred, and only three were dead 
on arrival; their death was probably caused by rough handling when 
captured. On arrival they had all paired and were spawning. It was 
impossible to separate the males from the females ; there were a few more 
of the former than of the latter. The females were all large and reddish ; 
the males were much smaller and greenish. There were masses of spawn 
in the boxes, and this we collected and put into a basin, but I think it 
had not been fertilised, for none of it ever showed any signs of germination. 
We changed the water at intervals and kept it in the sun, but as the month 
was about April, we should not have been able to rear the tadpoles if any 
had hatched. We selected five (three females and two males), and the rest 
of the consignment (about ninety), so far as I remember, were liberated 
in a swamp at Repongaere Station near Gisborne. They swam away and 
that was the last seen of them. There were a great many moreporks there, 


and lots of rats at the station buildings not far away, and I think that these 
were probably the cause of the disappearance of the Toads, especially as 
the land surrounding the swamp was eaten bare by horses, so that the 
toads would find very little cover when they were travelling hi search 
of food at night. 

I got a couple of glass-cases made, and in one of these I put a male 
and a female, which I kept for a couple of years, while Mrs Chambers 
had the remaining three in the other. They were fed on flies, which were 
eaten in great numbers. On one occasion we gave a "Maori bug" to one 
of them, and its disgust after swallowing it was very amusing. Being well 
fed they frequently changed their skins. Also being kept in the house, 
they never became torpid, but fed freely all the winter. But they never 
showed any signs of breeding. Ultimately Mrs Chambers turned her 
specimens out in the same place as the others ; while my pair were allowed 
to escape during my absence for a short time in 1895. 

The discrepancy in numbers between these two accounts is due 
to the fact that both gentlemen were writing from memory, more 
than 25 years after the events narrated, and that apparently neither 
of them noted these events at the time. 

Considering the ease with which these animals were carried, and 
their hardiness in confinement, it is rather remarkable that no other 
attempts have been made to introduce them into New Zealand. 

Chapter VI 

The classification adopted for the fishes which have been introduced into 
New Zealand is that of Professor G. A. Boulenger in the Cambridge 
Natural History. 


Herring (Clupea harengus) 

1 o the popular mind the introduction of the herring into New 
Zealand waters is the most desirable form of acclimatisation work 
which could be undertaken, as it is considered that its commercial 
value to this country would be so great. The success which has 
attended the introduction of certain species of Salmonidae has led 
unthinking persons into the belief that it should be quite easy 
to introduce other species of desirable fish, and as the majority 
of people are unthinking, even if they do not come under Carlyle's 
famous dictum, it is not to be wondered at that the introduction 
of the herring has been frequently urged. A fairly full report 
of the efforts which have been made, and of the difficulties which 
have to be overcome has recently been, or is about to be, published 
in a Bulletin of the New Zealand Science and Art Board on "The 
History of the Portobello Marine Fish Hatchery and Biological 

It is therefore only necessary here to state the facts and summarise 
the history of the attempts as briefly as possible. Herring and other 
soft-scaled fishes cannot be transported alive at any stage of their 
existence. Handling is generally fatal to them. Therefore the only 
plan left open is to convey the ova. The eggs are adhesive, and under 
normal conditions are deposited on stones, gravel and other objects 
at the bottom of the sea in comparatively shallow water. The eggs 
hatch in about 16 days, the time being shortened or lengthened 
according to the temperature of the water; cooling causing retarda- 
tion. The problem then was in the first place to retard development 
for a period of at least 50 days. If this difficulty can be satisfactorily 
overcome, there are several others which have to be met. 

The first attempt was made in March, 1886, and was an ill- 
considered experiment, for no provision whatever existed for dealing 

1 86 FISHES 

with the ova had they arrived at the Colony. The obtaining and 
shipping of the ova was entrusted to Professor Cossar Ewart of 
Edinburgh, who obtained between two and three million eggs from 
the Ballantrae beds off the coast of Ayrshire, Scotland, where the 
famous Loch Fyne herrings spawn. The ova were placed in large 
carboys and in wooden boxes with glass slides, which were fixed 
in stoutly made barrels filled with sea-water, and in this way were 
conveyed to Plymouth and placed on board the ' Ruapehu.' Professor 
Ewart had designed a special apparatus so constructed as to preserve 
through the entire voyage a steady quiet flow of pure sea-water over 
the eggs at an equable temperture of 33 Fahr. So far the experiment 
succeeded admirably, but owing to lack of foresight in the cooling 
apparatus, the pipes which were to supply the chilled water, instead 
of being surrounded with ice, were led directly through the re- 
frigerating chamber. The result was that the water froze in them, 
none reached the ova, and by the time Madeira was sighted, all were 

The second experiment, also unsuccessful, was made by the 
Government in 1912. The Portobello (Dunedin) Marine Fish 
Hatchery was opened in 1904, and early in its history I had looked 
into the question of the introduction of the herring. The question 
of the retardation of the hatching of the ova again appeared to be the 
principal difficulty, and I entered into communication with Dr Fulton, 
Scientific Superintendent of the Scotch Fishery Board, with the object 
of getting experiments conducted at the Dunbar Hatchery to test 
this. Owing to the change from Dunbar to the Bay of Nigg, Aberdeen, 
and to pressure of other work, the matter was allowed to lapse, and 
it was not till 1908, this time at the instance of the New Zealand 
Government, that a series of experiments was commenced by Dr H. C. 
Williamson. The outcome of these experiments was that retardation 
of hatching of the ova for a period of 50 days, which we considered 
was the time required, was only successful to the extent of a small 
fraction of one per cent. Less than one in ten thousand survived 
such a long chilling. Both Mr Anderton, Curator of the Portobello 
Hatchery, and I considered that under the circumstances it would 
be a waste of public money to proceed further with the attempt to 
introduce the herring by this means. However the Government 
decided to make the attempt, and Mr Anderton was sent to the Old 
Country in 1912, to carry it out, while at the same time he took 
charge of a large shipment of turbot, lobsters and crabs. An ingenious 
apparatus for the conveyance of the eggs, and for the cooling and 
aeration of the water, was placed on board the Shaw, Savill & Albion 
Co.'s S.S. 'Waimana,' and was thoroughly tested beforehand. The 


vessel called in at Plymouth, where Dr Williamson had secured about 
60,000 ova adhering to glass plates. These were duly placed in the 
apparatus, and the voyage was commenced on i2th January. A fairly 
uniform temperature of 35'5 Fahr. was maintained. On 24th January 
when the equator was crossed the ova were fairly clean, and the 
outline of the embryo could be easily distinguished. Some dirty 
water got into the boxes at Cape Town, and the sediment was removed 
from the eggs by means of a camel hair brush. By this time the chord 
and eyes were visible in all the live eggs. On the 6th February the plates 
were still in very fair condition, and then a mass of rust and sediment 
was forced through the pipes, and the eggs were thickly coated with 
sediment. The experiment was abandoned on i4th February when all 
the ova were dead owing to the state of the water. The ova were 
fertilised on loth January. The majority contained live embryos on 
6th February, 27 days after fertilisation, and some still contained 
live embryos on i2th February, 33 days after being fertilised. None 
of the ova hatched out. 

The full report is worth studying, and it conveys a good idea of 
some of the difficulties encountered in this department of acclimatisa- 
tion work. 


The rivers and lakes of New Zealand contained originally a poor 
and rather sparse fish-fauna. It consisted of the grayling (Prototroctes 
oxyrhynchus), found mostly in clear rapid rivers, and a fine sporting 
fish ; the smelt (Reptropinna richardsoni), common in rivers and lakes; 
several species of Galaxias, a mud-fish (Neochanna apoda), only found 
in the west coast rivers of both islands, two species of eel (Anguilld) 
and a lamprey (Geotria chilensis). 

The kokopu, a name corrupted in the south of the South Island 
to cock-a-bully (Galaxias kokopu), was sometimes popularly called 
trout; it is a fat, sluggish fish which lurks under logs and stones, 
furnishes no sport, and is not particularly good to eat. The fish known 
as the minnow (Galaxias attenuates) is, as its name implies, a small 
fish. According to the late Professor Powell, "White-bait is the fry 
of this species," but the facts want working out 1 . 

The common eel (Anguilla aucklandii) is always with us, and is a 
very valuable food-fish, if people only knew it. The lamprey makes 
an annual visitation up the rivers in the spring months, usually about 

1 In an interesting article on "Some Trout Fishing in New Zealand," which 
appeared in Blackwood's Magazine for March, 1918, pp. 365-77, Mr A. R. Chaytor 
states that New Zealand white-bait is the larval stage of the common eel. Anyone 
who has looked into the question of the development of the Anguillida; knows that 
this is a quite mistaken idea. 


Though there are altogether about a dozen species of indigenous 
fresh-water fish, yet to the early settlers of the colony, the rivers and 
streams seemed singularly empty. There was no sport for the angler, 
unless he happened to live near a stream where the grayling abounded, 
and except eels which were abundant there was practically nothing 
of an edible character to be found. It is not to be wondered at, 
therefore, that the minds of the colonists early turned to the idea of 
importing such fish as they knew would provide both sport and food. 
The success of attempts to introduce species of Salmonidae into 
Tasmania and Victoria encouraged the hope that it would be possible 
to do the same in this colony, and in the sixties and seventies a 
systematic importation was commenced, not only by the Government, 
but by all the principal acclimatisation societies. Over a dozen species, 
or, counting varieties, about 17 kinds of Salmonidae have been 
introduced into this country. The success of several of these has been 
phenomenal, but the failure of others to establish themselves has 
been inexplicable. The majority of the streams and lakes of both 
islands are now stocked with species of Salmonidae, and an interesting 
problem has arisen, namely, are the species remaining distinct, or is 
there a tendency among the allied forms to hybridise and produce 
a generalised type ? Another interesting problem faces both the angler 
and the naturalist. In a number of streams which are now heavily 
stocked with trout, the native aquatic fauna has been nearly ex- 
terminated, and the question of future food supply has been raised. 
Are new species of animals to be introduced, or can any method of 
renewing the indigenous fauna be devised ? 

I have dealt with the particulars of the introduction of the various 
species in some detail, but here I propose first to give some facts 
regarding the general question, and the early attempts to bring 
Salmonidae into Australia and New Zealand. These show the diffi- 
culties which had to be faced in the early days, when transport was 
by sailing ships, and refrigeration was unknown. Mr J. Murdoch 
contributed an article, I think to The Field, but I have failed to find 
the date, on "The Introduction of Trout into Australia and New 
Zealand," from which the following facts are gleaned: 

The first attempt to introduce ova into Australia was made in 1852 
by Mr Borcius, who however failed, and lost 300 in the experiment. 

In 1854 Mr Youl began to study the subject, and made many 
experiments. No hope of success was held out by the most experienced 
pisciculturists, and Mr Youl was told that he might as well try to 
fetch England to Australia as to carry spawn to it in moss. Mr Edward 
Wilson, President of the Victorian Acclimatisation Society, associated 
with Mr Youl and some influential colonists in obtaining 600 by 


subscription. Thirty thousand ova were shipped in the ' Sarah Curling ' 
on 25th February, 1860. The ice-house consisted of two rooms, one 
within the other, lined with lead ; the space between was filled with 
powdered charcoal ; a filled water-tank over the ice-house with a pipe 
leading into it allowed a gentle and continuous stream of water to 
pass over the ova as they lay in swing trays. The passage was long, 
the 15 tons of ice gave out, and the last of the ova was found to be 
dead when the ship was 68 days out. 

Mr Youl then visited the fish-breeding establishments of Scotland 
and Ireland. He also made a series of experiments to test the vitality 
of ova at a low temperature. The experiments proved three, hereto- 
fore, unknown facts. First, that a continuous stream of water is not 
essential to the preservation of vitality ; secondly, that partial depriva- 
tion of air is not fatal ; and thirdly, that light is not essential. After 
these experiments he felt assured of success if a sufficient supply of 
ice could be preserved throughout the voyage. 

In January, 1864, he again tried. Boxes were made (of inch pine) 
measuring twelve inches by eight inches by five inches, with per- 
forated top, bottom and sides. At the bottom was first spread a layer 
of charcoal, next a layer of ice, then a nest of carefully washed moss, 
and on this spring cushion were deposited the ova. Over them was 
laid a covering of moss, then a double handful of broken ice, and 
the whole was saturated with iced water and screwed down. One 
hundred and eighty-nine boxes, containing 100,000 salmon and 3000 
trout ova, were packed closely on the floor of the ice-house, and upon 
them were piled blocks of ice to the height of nine feet. The ' Norfolk ' 
sailed on 2ist January, 1864, and arrived in Melbourne on i5th April. 
The State of Victoria retained 4000 salmon ova, of which it is said 
400 were hatched. The remainder were sent to Tasmania by a 
Government steamer. They were taken to the Derwent River, and 
placed in the hatchery provided. Mr Ramsbottom estimated that 
there were 30,000 salmon and 500 trout ova living. On 4th May 
the first trout was hatched, on the next day the first salmon, and 
by 25th May there were 300 trout and 700 salmon. At the end of 1865 
the surviving salmon were allowed to enter the sea. 

Of the 300 trout many died; about 30 were liberated in the 
River Plenty, while only six pairs reached maturity and spawned in 
the ponds. Their progeny have been liberated in many rivers and 
streams of Tasmania, Victoria, and New Zealand. 

In 1866 Mr Youl brought out 87,000 salmon, 15,000 salmon- 
trout, and 500 brown-trout ova. The result of this shipment was 6000 
salmon and 900 salmon-trout being hatched from the 30,000 living 
ova which arrived. Other shipments followed, including brook-trout. 


These early Australian experiments are interesting as showing the 
difficulties encountered, and, in the case of brown-trout, the remark- 
able success which ultimately attended the first introduction into 

The question of the probable merging of various species into one 
generalised form is an interesting one. Those who have discussed it in 
the colonies have not perhaps very clear ideas as to what constitute 
specific distinctions. Indeed one might go further and say that very 
few biologists have yet attained to clear views on this subject. Most 
species are founded on structural characters, some of which appear 
to be very mobile, while physiological characters which may be and 
often are the dominant factors in differentiation are extremely 
difficult to estimate. Thus Salmo solar may be considered to be a 
distinct species, structurally and physiologically, and though healthy 
hybrids are readily produced with S. trutta and S. fario, there is no 
proof that these hybrids are fertile. Indeed the question does not 
seem to have been tested. On the other hand it seems to me doubtful 
whether S. trutta and S. fario are distinct species or only varieties 
of one somewhat variable species. They cross freely, and it is only 
in reference to this crossing that there has arisen the question of a 
generalised type occurring in New Zealand. There is no question of 
the probable crossing of species of Salmo with those of Salvelinus or 
Onchorhynchus, these latter genera belonging to totally distinct types ; 
and while their species may be fertile within generic limits, they are 
not likely to hybridise at any time with species of Salmo. 

Mr A. J. Rutherford considers that the commingling of so many 
species and varieties of the genus Salmo in our streams will result 
in the establishment of one generalised type, which, with some dis- 
regard of the laws of scientific nomenclature and publication, he 
calls Salmo trutta novee-zealandice. I quote the following passages 
from a Memorandum (undated) which he furnished to the Otago 

Though these islands lie in the latitude of the Levant, Italy and 
Switzerland, with widely different ocean surroundings, we introduced 
various forms of Salmonidae from higher latitudes in the Northern Hemi- 
sphere, such as the Loch Leven Trout, Scotch Burn Trout, Sea Trout, etc., 
and fondly imagined that these varieties would retain their characteristics 
in their altered environment. The fallacy of this idea has been abundantly 
proved, and after making some slight study of the forms of trout found 
in the North Italian Lakes, such as Como and Maggiore, I came to the 
conclusion that they are almost identical with the form of S. trutta novee- 
zealandies found in Wakatipu, Wanaka and in South Alpine New Zealand 
Lakes. The trout in our rivers are also much more akin to the Italian and 
Swiss varieties than to the British types, and in my opinion it matters little 



whether you liberate a Loch Leven trout, a Scotch burn trout, or an Italian 
trout. He soon loses his identity and becomes a distinctive type (novce- 
zealandice), a quasi-Italian-antipodean variety. I think there is inherent 
in most of the forms of Salmonidae a wandering habit, and that in search 
of a wider range, health and better food, they soon learn the advantages 
of sea-going habits, some varieties more readily than other. The border 
line between sea trout and brown trout is very fine in this country and 
depends really on environment. 

In several hatcheries in this country hybridising various forms of 
Salmonidae has been purposely carried out, and the fry seem just as 
healthy as those of pure-bred varieties. For example, at the Opoho 
hatchery (Dunedin) some 700 hybrids, produced by fertilising brown- 
trout ova with milt from a male salmon (S. salar), were reared, of 
which 650 were placed in the Waitati, a small stream a few miles 
to the north of Dunedin, and 50 were retained in the ponds. The 
former disappeared, the latter which were strong and lively fish 
were watched for a few months, and then their identity apparently 
was lost. There was no further record of them. This sort of experi- 
ment is futile, unless carried out with the definite object of finding 
out whether such fish grow to maturity, and are able to perpetuate 
their hybrid characters, or whether naturally reared fish taken in our 
streams resemble them. No systematic experiments, such as have 
been carried out at the Howietown (Scotland) fish hatchery, have 
ever been conducted in New Zealand. Until careful and exhaustive 
work in this direction has been undertaken, it is impossible to speak 
with certainty as to the natural crossing of all the imported varieties 
in this country, and the emergence of a generalised type. 

Fish have been repeatedly taken in our streams which have 
puzzled all parties in the colony, and they have been submitted in 
many cases to expert opinion in the Old Country. I give a few 
examples to show how difficult the question is. Regarding a fish 
which was taken in Nelson Harbour in 1881, Sir James (then Dr) 
Hector said : 

a careful examination shows that it must be classed as a true sea- or salmon- 
trout, although, as has been found invariably to be the case in Otago 
specimens, it presents a certain admixture of the characters of the many 
species into which the sea-trouts from the various rivers in Europe have 
been subdivided. 

In 1889 the Canterbury Society forwarded a fish to Dr A. Giinther, 
who reported on it as follows: 

(i) The fish is most decidedly not a salmon. You can always distinguish 
a salmon by the large scales on the tail; this is an invariable characteristic. 
Your specimen has thirteen to fourteen scales between the adipose fin and 
the lateral line; a salmon has eleven, very rarely twelve. The maxillary 

i 9 2 FISHES 

is much too long for a salmon of this age. (2) Your specimen is a migratory 
trout. If it had been caught in England or Scotland, I should not have 
hesitated to call it a Salmo trutta, a sea-trout. (3) Your specimen is not a 
common trout (Salmo fario), not having the vomerine teeth in a double 
row, and differing from it in usual minor points. (4) There is one other 
probability, that it is a cross between a salmon parr and S. fario. You, 
knowing the history of the introduction of the salmonoids into the Selwyn 
River as you do, will be able to judge whether such an assumption is possible . 
I am unable to distinguish between these crosses and the migratory trout ; 
I have seen some bred in captivity. Whatever the fish may be, one thing 
you may rely upon, that it is not a young salmon. Also recollect that 
sometimes the common Salmo fario wanders into salt water, and then 
assumes a silvery and very deciduous coat. 

In 1891 Mr Tanner, Hon. Secretary of the Southland Society, 
sent home three fish from the Aparima River, which were supposed 
to be from the salmon fry liberated in that stream in February-March 
of 1890. They were from one and a half to two pounds in weight. 
They were submitted to Dr Gunther, who reported on them as 
follows : 

These specimens are most assuredly not salmon (Salmo salar), neither 
are they the brook trout (S. fario). They are a kind of sea-trout (S. trutta), 
looking extremely like the Irish White trout. But the different kinds of 
migratory sea-trout are so closely allied to each other, that it is almost a 
matter of impossibility to give an opinion on artificially reared fish, or 
their offspring. 

The Field of gth January, 1892, commenting on this statement says: 
" This leaves the question precisely where it was, and will confirm the 
opinion of those who insist that the acclimatised trout in Tasmanian 
and New Zealand waters acquire a distinct character of their own." 
On 1 2th August, 1893, The Field published a letter from Mr Tanner 
in which he says : 

It is remarkable how the trout in New Zealand assume the habits and 
aspects of sea-trout, whenever they are found towards the mouths of rivers 
near the sea. They first make for the estuaries, then for the open sea, and 
have been traced for more than twenty miles along the coast. Our trout 
ova were obtained from Tasmania, which, we believe, was supplied from 
the tributaries of the Thames in England. Is the explanation possibly that 
the Thames trout was originally a migratory fish, but, being prevented 
from going to sea, lost its migratory instinct, which has been recovered 
in this country by the descendants under new and favourable conditions ? 
If this is so, it is a very interesting fact. Generally the trout in the Oreti 
resemble most the white trout of Ireland. 

Sir James Hector made the same suggestion at a meeting of the 
"Wellington Society held in 1896, when he said: 

From enquiries he had made, he had satisfied himself that these fish 


were descendants of sea-going trout which had once been in the habit of 
issuing out of the mouth of the Thames, but which were prevented, by 
the state of that river of late years, from doing so. 

The problem is very interesting from the point of view of the 
naturalist. All that I can do in the way of elucidating it is to give as 
full details as I have been able to obtain of the various species and 
varieties which have been introduced into the country, and of the 
dates and amounts of these introductions, so that any future investi- 
gators may be furnished with a record of facts. 

Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) 

For nearly half a century attempts have been made to naturalise 
this fish in New Zealand waters, and untold sums of money have been 
expended in the undertakings, as the following record shows, indirectly. 
Fish have been hatched by the million, and liberated in a great 
number of the rivers both of the South and North Islands. Glacial 
streams, rivers from the great lakes, rivers from the Canterbury 
mountains, rapid streams, sluggish streams all have been tried. In 
several cases the same river has been stocked with young fish for 
many years in succession. In many cases salmon have been reared 
from the egg, have been kept in confinement till they spawned, and 
their fry have been liberated always in the same stream for a 
succession of years, by the hundred thousand. The fish have grown 
well to a certain age in our waters and have then gone to sea in a 
normal manner, just as they do in European streams, but from that 
point they are lost. With the exception of two identifications recorded 
below, not a single authentic instance has been recorded of their 
return from the sea to the rivers. The fish has absolutely failed to 
establish itself. Our record is the same as that of Tasmania. As 
W. Saville Kent, the Queensland Commissioner of Fisheries, said 
in 1872: 

the attempts to stock Tasmanian streams with the true salmon have utterly 
failed. The young fish have thriven magnificently until their departure for 
the sea as smolts, at which stage they have simply vanished from human 
sight, the warm seas of the South being too enervating for them. 

It is extremely difficult to suggest any explanation of the facts. 
Mr Kent's explanation is almost certainly wrong. It does not apply at 
all to the south and east coast of the South Island of New Zealand, 
the region where most of the salmon have been liberated. A southerly 
current sets up this coast to the east of Stewart Island and Otago, 
and the temperature of the sea at all seasons of the year is lower than 
that of the seas round Britain and Ireland, or on the west coast of 

T. N. Z. 13 

i 9 4 FISHES 

It is almost inconceivable that they have perished at sea. Other 
species of Salmonidae thrive in the sea and grow to a great size, 
periodically returning to the rivers to spawn. It has been suggested 
that the fish has changed its habits and that it spawns at sea, but there 
is not a trace of evidence in favour of such an improbable theory. 
It has also been suggested that the fish migrate to other shores, but 
if so where ? 

What has been wanted all along in this work of acclimatisation 
of new species in New Zealand has been some sort of scientific 
supervision and co-operation. Every centre and society went on its 
own way, independent, as a rule, of every other. There never has 
been in the country an organised fishery department. The result has 
been waste of money and effort right along the line. Had experiments 
in fish-marking been carried out systematically from the commence- 
ment of operations, it is probable that ere this we would have been 
in possession of information as to our missing salmon. Until some 
such regular work is undertaken the subject will remain a mystery. 
It may not be solved even after fish-marking has been undertaken 
for years, but the strong probabilities are that light would be thrown 
on the problem. Up to the present nothing has been done to trace 
the fish when they go to sea. 

The following extract from a letter written by Mr Youl to the 
Superintendent of Otago before any salmon were introduced, is not 
only very interesting, but it may be in, part the explanation of the 
problem. Unfortunately I cannot find the exact date: 

May I beg of you on no account to permit the Brown Trout to be intro- 
duced into the Molyneux or any of its tributaries, until you have got the 
salmon fairly established in them. They are the greatest enemies the Salmon 
can have. I can compare them to nothing, but wolves in a flock of sheep. 
Again and again I have warned Dr Officer, of Tasmania, of the danger of 
admitting these voracious fish into any stream suitable for Salmon before 
the Salmon are established therein. I am sorry to observe that so many 
of the Provinces of New Zealand have introduced these Brown Trout before 
they have got the salmon. Depend upon it, for every 10 spent by these 
Provinces in this way, they will, in those rivers where they have placed 
them, have to spend 100 to successfully introduce the king of fishes. 

Introduction. The first attempt at the acclimatisation of the 
salmon in New Zealand was made by Mr A. M. Johnson, who put 
600 young fish on board the ' British Empire ' bound from London 
to Canterbury in 1864. Snails, water-lilies and weeds of various 
kinds were placed in the tanks; contrivances for aerating the water 
were provided ; the tanks were provided with a frame- work case, with 
double cane matting, which was kept constantly wet throughout the 
tropics in order to keep up evaporation and lower the temperature. 


In spite of all the care exercised, however, the experiment was 

The next attempt was made by the Provincial Government of 
Otago which took action in 1867, with the result that 100,000 ova 
were placed on board the 'Celestial Queen' in January, 1868. Most 
of these were from the River Tay, but some came from the Severn. 
The ship reached Port Chalmers on 4th May, and the 300 boxes of 
eggs were at once sent down to the Waiwera Ponds at Kaihiku, which 
had been specially prepared for them. The Waiwera is a tributary 
of the Clutha. In 77 of the boxes all the eggs were dead, but out of 
the remaining 223 boxes about 8000 healthy eggs were taken. On 
2Oth May a flood filled the boxes with mud covering the eggs just 
as hatching seemed about to begin. On 28th May some began to hatch 
out, and in a few days, Mr Dawbin, the curator, had between 500 and 
600 young fish. In his report he says: 

" In about ten or twelve weeks all of the fish had made their way into the 
tank at the end of the shed and thence dropped into the feeding pond. 
It was some time before they began to show again, and although I supplied 
them with plenty of food I am inclined to believe that they mostly lived 
on the natural food in the water. It was not very long before two or three 
began to appear round the edge of the pond, grown wonderfully ; and after 
a time, by regular feeding, I could collect little mobs of them at every 
corner of the pond. I have now fish five, six, and, I believe, one or two 
seven or eight inches long, and thick in proportion, which in a few months 
will^be ready to go to sea" (this was written on 3ist May, 1869), "and if 
they return safely it might be possible to get ova from them and hatch 
fish enough to stock a river well. I have only seen three dead since they 
went into the ponds, which, however, are so large and deep, that I am not 
able to keep so accurate an account of them as I should like. The size and 
depth of the ponds, however, is advantageous in this respect, that the 
fish are kept supplied with abundance of natural food. The water of the 
Waiwera, like, I have no doubt, that of all the New Zealand rivers, seems 
to be admirably adapted for salmon, but the river itself I do not consider 
good for breeding. The bottom is rocky, and although there are said to be 
gravel banks high up, I should be afraid of the floods, which here occur 
in the winter and spring. The supply of food in the river is most abundant." 

A small lot of these ova (ten boxes) were hatched out in Mr 
Duncan's ponds on the Leith, just about the mill, but I can find 
no record of what was done with the fry. They probably escaped into 
the Otago Harbour 1 . 

1 " In an article in the Field of Jan. 26, 1878, we are told that there were 500 
young salmon fry in the ponds out of the ' Celestial Queen ' shipment. When they 
were fifteen months old, and ranged from 12 to 15 in. long, the services of Mr 
Dawbin were dispensed with by the commissioners, they having appointed a gentle- 
man who seems to have had some influence with the Government, and on whose 
land the ponds were situated, but who was totally ignorant of the treatment the 



The second shipment came to Port Chalmers in April, 1869, in 
the * Mindora.' (In the Southland Society's pamphlet, Acclimatisation 
in Southland, published in 1915, this vessel is called the 'Minerva.') 
The passage occupied 133 days, and the ova never hatched out. 
Canterbury received 700 ova, Southland 7000, while 100,000 were 
retained in Otago. There was some hope of them at first, for Mr 
Dawbin in the letter just quoted from stated that he had about 2000 
good eggs on 3ist May, but nothing came of them. 

In 1871 the Southland Society obtained about 3000 ova from 
Mr Frank Buckland in furtherance of an experiment. The eggs were 
packed in bottles surrounded by saw-dust and presumably by ice, 
and were despatched by sailing ship to Melbourne ; they were delayed 
in transit to Southland, and none hatched out. 

In 1871 the Auckland Society made an attempt to introduce 
salmon from England via San Francisco. The experiment failed in 
consequence of the long detention on the Pacific Railway, and from 
lack of attention to the ova. The transit occupied 100 days, instead 
of less than 50, as was anticipated. The ova were presented by the 
Duke of Northumberland. 

In 1873 tne 'Oberon' brought 120,000 salmon ova to Port 
Chalmers, of which 95,000 were sent down to the Makarewa ponds, 
Southland, and the remaining 25,000 went to Canterbury. Between 
the packing of the ova and the unpacking at the Southland ponds, 
114 days elapsed, and 85,000 were dead.. The remainder were placed 
in the hatching boxes, but only 300 fry hatched out. Most of these 
died, and the remaining 96 were removed when one year old to a pond 
near the Aparima River. In April, 1875, t nev were about seven inches 
long and healthy; in June they were carried by a flood into the river. 

fish would need. Mr Dawbin 's offer to continue his services gratuitously for a 
term of six months was refused, and he was instructed to hand over his charge 
to the new-comer. This was too much for one who had devoted his time day and 
night for fifteen months to the care of the fish. The new-comer's incapacity would 
almost inevitably have resulted in their destruction; or, if this had not happened, 
he would have claimed whatever success might accrue. Impressed with the con- 
conviction that he was doing the best thing possible in the circumstances for the 
colony, Mr Dawbin chose a night when a slight fresh was coming down, opened 
the gratings, and allowed the prisoners to escape into the river. It is not our 
province to defend Mr Dawbin, but we would ask the commissioners why the 
circumstances which led up to this are suppressed in their reports, and the colonists 
whether they approve of the arbitrary substitution of an inexperienced manager for 
one who had abundantly proved his ability and deserved public confidence ? Since 
the above events the magnificent breeding ponds on the Waiwera have gone to 
ruin, as we are informed." (Arthur Nicols, Acclimatisation of the Salmomdee at 
the Antipodes, p. 49.) 

At p. 87 of the same work, Mr Nicols states: "About the middle of 1874 a 
salmon grilse weighing more than three pounds, was taken in the river Molyneux, 
no doubt the offspring of a pair of the 500 smolts liberated in that river in 1869 
by Mr Dawbin." 


Of those which went to Canterbury, only 38 fish were obtained. 
Some were kept in the ponds and appear to have been lost. With 
others an experiment was tried. 

A large cage was made, which was anchored in the River Avon a little 
below Victoria Bridge; in the cage were placed on 3rd Nov. eleven of the 
largest salmon. They remained there sixteen days, during which time they 
throve well. On igth Nov. the cage was raised and floated down to a 
spot in the Avon below New Brighton, where at high tide the water is 
brackish. The Garden Committee have three times visited the spot. On 
the last occasion (24th Dec.) the cage was raised and the eleven fish 
examined ; they were in good health and had increased in size considerably. 
It was calculated that one of them was a foot in length. 

The reports of the Society do not contain another word about 
this experiment, and this is characteristic of the isolated and dis- 
continuous manner in which most of the societies work. Lack of 
continuity of effort has nullified many of their experiments. In 1875 
the 'Timaru' brought 300,000 ova to the Bluff, after a passage of 
105 days, but many of the ova had been collected 30 days before 
the vessel sailed. No fish hatched out. According to the report of 
the Otago Society, Mr Howard of the Wallacetown Ponds liberated 
(on their behalf?) 1400 young fish in the Aparima River, but I cannot 
find a definite record of this, nor is it quite clear what lot of eggs they 
came from. 

In 1876 the 'City of Durham' brought to Melbourne 90,000 
salmon ova, which were transhipped, mostly to the Bluff, a few boxes 
going to Canterbury. The Southland ova were placed in the hatching 
boxes 69 days after sailing, and about 87 days after having been 
taken from the parent fish. From 25,000 to 30,000 were apparently 
healthy, but of those it appeared that about two-thirds were not 
fecundated. In October about 1500 fry were liberated in the Aparima 
River. It is quite possible that this is the lot referred to in the 
preceding paragraph. 

The Canterbury Society state that only 175 fry hatched out of 
the boxes which went to Christchurch, but in the following year 
they placed 181 fish in the Ashley River; and in 1878, 240 were 
placed in the Heathcote River. These were seen afterwards, and were 
from 12 to 14 inches in length. There is no record as to where these 
fish came from. 

In 1878 the 'Chimborazo' brought 45,000 ova to Melbourne. 
These were transhipped and reached Invercargill on igth March, 
commencing to hatch out on 4th April. Altogether about 2500 fry 
hatched out, of which 1700 were placed in the Aparima. Again the 
Otago Society report that 2500 fry were placed in the Aparima 


River in 1878; the Southland figure is 1700; the one reports the total 
number hatched, the other the number liberated. 

Regarding these shipments Mr W. Arthur, then Hon. Sec. of the 
Otago Society, wrote in 1880: 

Mr Howard has informed me that the ova of the salmon turned out in 
the Aparima in 1874, 1876 and 1878, came originally from the Tweed, 
Tyne, Kibble, Hodder, Lune, Avon and Dart Rivers. Yet who can say 
from which of these rivers the ova were taken which eventually hatched 
at the Wallacetown ponds? 

In 1 88 1 Mr C. C. Capel of Footscray, Kent, sent out 100,000 
ova to the joint order of the Otago and Marlborough Societies ; but 
all the eggs were dead on arrival. 

In 1883-84 Sir F. D. Bell, the Agent-General for New Zealand, 
and Sir James Maitland, the eminent pisciculturist, were working 
together to send out salmon ova to the colony, and a shipment, of 
which I cannot find particulars, was forwarded in 1884. Sir Francis 
writing to the Colonial Secretary on 3oth October, 1885, says: 

I had taken the greatest pains all through 1883 and 1884 to interest many 
people in this country, eminent for skill and experience in pisciculture, 
about sending ova to the colony on the supposition that the spasmodic 
experiments which had been going on for so many years were to be super- 
seded at last by a systematic and persistent action on the part of the 
Government itself, extending over some seasons at any rate. The first 
experiment of sending out ova in a " moist- air chamber " and at a regulated 
temperature was made in the steamship 'Ionic' in January, 1884; and it 
is hardly open to doubt that this method was not only in itself a right one, 
but, in fact, the best that had till then been devised. Further experience, 
however, had shown that the first expense of that method would not have 
to be repeated. A shipment of trout ova privately made by Sir James 
Maitland had brought out most valuable information, showing how cheaply 
as well as safely ova could be got out under certain conditions; and when 
the reports came home of our shipment by the ' Ionic,' Sir James Maitland 
wrote to me that he had no doubt whatever of" perfect success next season, 
as we had now the key to the whole problem, namely, the period which 
ought to lapse between spawning and packing, and could insure the success 
of every egg we sent." 

Unfortunately neither the Government of New Zealand nor those 
interested in the subject in the colony were informed of the exertions 
which Sir F. D. Bell and Sir James Maitland were making in Britain. 

Meanwhile there was a good deal of dissatisfaction felt at the 
poor results of all the attempts hitherto made to introduce salmon, 
and at the request of several societies, Mr S. C. Farr, Hon. Sec. of 
the North Canterbury Society, went to Britain in December, 1884, and 
succeeded in getting 198,000 from the Tweed. Mr Farr had previously 
complained that not ten per cent, of the eggs hitherto received had 


been fertilised, so he took care to see that this lot was fully fecundated. 
Forty-four days after sailing, and 90 days after being taken from 
the parent fish, the ova were landed at Lyttelton, when 117,000 eggs 
were found to be alive. 

Two cases went to the Napier and Wellington Societies, one each 
to Otago and Waitaki, and two to Canterbury. I have failed to find 
what results were achieved by the Napier and Waitaki Societies. The 
Wellington Society liberated 4600 fry in the Hutt River; the Otago 
Society liberated 3900, presumably in the Waiwera; while in the 
Canterbury Society's ponds about 21,000 fry were hatched out. Of 
this number, more than 3000 were born with curved spines, and 
about 6000 more were sickly and attenuated ; these soon died. Owing 
to the long drought and the high temperature of the water during 
the season the number was reduced to about 7000. Of these, 1000 
were liberated on 23rd December, 1885, in the Temuka River; and on 
3Oth December 1000 in the Opihi. They varied in length from three to 
five inches. On 6th January Mr Farr started with 1000 parr for the 
Clarence River, about 105 miles from Christchurch, but owing to 
the excessive heat in the carriage (96 F.), 178 died en route and others 
sickened. So on arrival at the Perceval River, the sickly ones were 
picked out and put in there, where they soon revived and went into 
a deep pool. The remaining 725 were turned into the Clarence River. 
On 25th January 500 were liberated in the Ashburton River; on 
2nd February 1000 in the Rangitata; on 23rd February 1000 in the 
Hurunui ; and on 7th May 200 into the Selwyn. The Society evidently 
were under the impression that by scattering the fry over so many 
streams the chance of survival in one or more of these was increased. 

It was claimed that between 1868 and 1878 no less than 824,000 
(I think the correct number is 772,000) ova were shipped from Britain 
and that only 3996 fry survived to be turned out; while of Mr Farr's 
shipment of 198,000 nearly 120,000 arrived, and about one-half of 
that number were liberated. It is interesting to note at this point 
that Mr Farr also tried to bring live fish out to the colony. He 
brought 50 parr in a tank of fresh-water, and these were carried 
safely till near the Cape, when some one tampered with the water- 
supply, and all the fish perished. Up to this date, as was stated in a 
letter addressed by the Waitaki County Society (Dr H. A. de Lautour, 
President) to Sir Julius Vogel, the Commissioner of Trade and 
Customs, the efforts at acclimatisation were running in at least four 
different channels, viz.: (i) efforts by Government, conjointly with 
the societies; (2) efforts by the Government independent of the 
societies; (3) efforts by the societies themselves, conjointly and inde- 
pendently ; (4) efforts by the Agent- General independent alike of the 


societies or the Government. The Government now took the matter 
in hand themselves as far as importation was concerned, and prepared 
for shipments on a larger scale, utilising the societies for the hatching 
of the ova and the distribution with the colony. In January, 1886, 
the Agent-General shipped over 200,000 ova (most of which came 
from the River Tay) by the ' Ionic,' which arrived in Wellington on 
2ist March, and they were distributed to the various societies on 
the following day. I have been able to follow up those sent to the 
Wellington, Nelson, North Canterbury, Otago, Southland, and Lakes 
Societies. The Wellington Society received one box, from which 
about 8000 fry hatched out. These were liberated in the Hutt and 
Manawatu Rivers, and a small lot in the Ruamahanga. The Nelson 
Society hatched out approximately 12,000 fry, but I do not know 
the subsequent history of this lot. The Canterbury Society received 
four boxes with approximately 22,000 eggs in each. In one box 
which was outside the cold chamber, all the eggs were dead. From 
the others about 41,000 fry, many of them rather small, were hatched 
out. At the end of the first month there were 37,000, but at the end 
of the second only 11,000 were left alive. Of these 4000 were sent 
to the Waitaki Society, 1500 to South Canterbury, 1500 to Geraldine, 
1000 to the Taranaki Society, 1000 to the Hawera Society, and 300 
were placed in the Selwyn River. 

During this year reliable reports were received of young salmon 
having been repeatedly seen in the Opihi, and some that had been 
accidently taken measured from 9 to 12 inches in length. The 
Society kept a considerable number in their ponds, but in May a 
flood washed 400 parr into the Avon, where they appeared to be doing 

The Otago Society got 12,000 fry from their consignment, of 
which number they liberated 9000, presumably in the Waiwera. 

The Southland Society hatched out over 12,600 fry, of which a 
little over 9000 were alive in June. In July 5500 were turned into 
the Aparima, while owing to a sudden melting of snow over 3000 
more escaped into the river. 

The Lakes Society hatched out about 14,000 fry which were 
liberated in Lake Wakatipu. 

In 1887 three large shipments of ova arrived in Wellington. The 
'Kaikoura' with 160,000 from the Tay, Forth and Tweed, and the 
'Doric* with 330,000 from the same rivers arrived in January, and 
the 'Tongariro' in February with 120,000 ova from the Tweed, and 
100,000 from the Rhine. 

(a) Of the 'Kaikoura' shipment, 120,000 went to the Clinton 
Hatchery (Otago), and 40,000 to Southland. Of the six boxes which 


went to Clinton, one contained "Forth" ova, and the others "Tay" 
ova; they averaged about 50 per cent, good eggs, and hatched 
splendidly. The Southland lot hatched out well and yielded nearly 
15,000 fry. 

(b) Of the ' Doric ' shipment, ten boxes were handed over to 
the Otago Society for the Clinton Hatchery, and about 70 per 
cent, of the eggs were good. Five boxes went to Southland, containing 
nearly 66,000 good eggs, and from them nearly 52,000 fry were 
hatched. One box went to Oamaru and from it between 4000 and 
5000 fry were hatched out. 

(c) The ' Tongariro ' shipment did not turn out so well. Five 
and a half boxes went to Opoho (Dunedin) and yielded about 65 
per cent, of good eggs. One box with 9000 ova went to Oamaru, 
and yielded between 3000 and 4000 fry. The Canterbury Society 
received nominally 50,000 Rhine salmon, but only 3620 good eggs 
were found, from which 3250 fry were hatched out. The Wellington 
Society also received the same quantity of Rhine salmon ova, and 
about 5000 fry were hatched out. Some of these were sent down later 
to the Opoho ponds. 

Out of the 430,000 eggs received by the Otago Society, Mr Deans, 
the curator, calculated that 270,000 fry were hatched out, but the 
Society's report for 1888 states that only 270,000 eggs were good on 

They hatched out about the beginning of April. During September, 
October and November, 98,000 young fry were liberated in the upper 
waters of the Aparima. As the Southland Society have turned out about 
60,000 in the same neighbourhood, we trust that at last the acclimatisation 
of the salmon may prove to have been accomplished. 

Faith was still strong in the minds of all interested in this work 
that acclimatisation of salmon would soon be accomplished. 
The Canterbury Society report of 1887 states: 

250 fish of the 1886 hatching were liberated in the Lower Selwyn in 
February, and in September 1000 parr. These have been turned into that 
river with a view of establishing what are termed in America " land-locked " 
salmon ; and having the advantage of this river flowing into Lake Ellesmere, 
the water of which is brackish, we have great hopes of success. It is two 
and a half years since the first Salmon was turned into the Lower Selwyn by 
your secretary, and that they have bred there is verified by Dr Anderson 
of Sydenham, capturing two when netting for live bait. They were returned 
to the water, and the doctor reported the fact to your secretary. Now, 
as none of these fish when liberated were less than three inches in length, 
and those taken by the doctor were less than two inches, this is, we think, 
sufficient proof that they have been hatched in that river. This evidence 
is matter for congratulation; and the desire of your council is that the 


Government should next session bring in a bill to prevent the wholesale 
netting in that lake for a few years in order that this noble fish may be 
thoroughly established. In three years the fish will not only be fully 
developed, but established in such numbers as to remove all doubts about 
the experiment. 

This paragraph is worth reproducing, because it shows the readi- 
ness with which enthusiasts jumped to conclusions on very meagre 
evidence, and also advocated a course of action which would deprive 
the public of a plentiful supply of flounders for some years, and cut 
off several fishermen from their means of livelihood. 

In this same year (1887) the Taranaki Society received 810 salmon 
fry from Christchurch, and liberated them in three streams in the 
Mt Egmont district. 

In the following year the Waitaki Society liberated 150 smolts, 
and between 4000 and 5000 (Tay) fry in the Ferry Creek, a tributary 
of the Waitaki ; and 200 (Tweed) smolts in the Kakanui River. 

In January, 1889, the 'Arawa' left London with 150,000 ova 
from the River Forth, and reached Wellington early in March. Three 
boxes with (nominally) 53,300 ova went to Southland, and yielded 
38,000 good ova. Presumably the fry were liberated in the Aparima, 
but there is no record. Five boxes with 97,000 ova went to the Clinton 
Hatchery, and contained about 95 per cent, of good eggs, which 
hatched out very well. 

In February, 1889, the 'Aorangi' left with 483,000 ova, and 
reached Wellington on 24th March and Port Chalmers on the 29th. 
These were taken from Tweed salmon. Ten boxes with 170,000 ova 
went to the Opoho Hatchery, ten with 182,000 to Clinton, and seven 
with 128,000 to Invercargill. Mr Deans estimated that from the 
two Otago lots about 320,000 young fry were hatched out. Of this 
number some 250,000 were liberated in the Aparima. 

In January of this same year, Mr J. B. Basstian of Dunrobin 
reported having seen young salmon in the Aparima. On ist March 
Ranger Burt saw a number in the same river both in the smolt and 
parr stage, evidently waiting for the first fresh in the river to go down 
to the sea. Two good specimens were obtained, and the prohibition 
of netting in the Riverton estuary, which had been enforced when 
fry were first put into the river, was renewed. 

In 1891 the Otago Society report that "nothing has been seen of 
these fish after their return from the sea. The estuary of the Aparima 
has been netted several times, but without success." 

In 1892 it is stated that: 

periodical trials with the seine-net have been made in the estuary of the 
Aparima to ascertain whether the salmon liberated in 1887 and 1889 were 


preparing to ascend the river for spawning. Numbers of small fish ranging 
from one-half to two pounds were caught. Some were sent to Dr Giinther, 
who pronounced them to be Sea Trout. 

In an article on the Aparima experiment in the Southland News 
of 2Oth January, 1891, it is stated: "The first lot of Salmon was put 
into the Aparima in 1873, an< ^ the last in March, 1890, the total being 
494,000." It was pointed out to the Marine Department that the 
people in the district wanted the river made available for anglers. 
The reply received was that "the Government were determined to 
keep the river closed, until it had been definitely ascertained that the 
salmon experiment was a failure." 

From time to time reports of salmon being met with were received. 
Thus in TheField of i9th December, 1896^ letter appeared regarding a 
fish which was caught near Oamaru Harbour and was sent to the editor 
by the Waitaki Acclimatisation Society. In this he says: "This was 
submitted to Mr A. Boulenger of the Natural History Museum, and 
stated by him to be a true Salmo salar. It was between 8 Ibs. and 
9 Ibs. in weight." The angling editor of The Field commenting on 
the fish said: 

I have examined dozens and scores of frozen fish sent from New Zealand 
as Salmon, which, in spite of their size and appearance, were trout of some 
kind. This is the first of these forwarded specimens which has been to 
my mind thoroughly satisfactory, and which, from a superficial inspection, 
would lead me to say with confidence, "This is a salmon." 

Somewhat later in date is the following statement from the report 
of the Otago Society in 1900-1 : 

We have assurance of an old experienced salmon fisher, Baron Bultzings- 
lowens, who visited our shores during the last fishing season, that he caught 
a true grilse in the Waiau last February. He says: "The main object of 
these lines is to tell you that one of the 4 Ib. fish was a true grilse, and not 
a trout. I am too old a salmon fisherman, and have landed too many 
hundreds of grilse and salmon, not to know the difference between a grilse 
and any kind of trout. There is to me not a shadow of doubt about that 
fish being a true grilse. Had it been possible to send you the fish I should 
have done so. 

To resume the record of introduction. In 1895 t^ 6 Wellington 
Society received 200,000 ova from the Government ex 'Kaikoura.' 
These were in bad condition and only about 20,000 hatched out, of 
which 3000 were weakly. Of these 500 fry were retained in the ponds, 
but did not grow well. Apparently a lot more arrived, but it is most 
difficult to trace them. The only record I can find is that 10,000 ova 
were sent to the Southland Society, 1500 to Westport, 1500 to Grey- 
mouth, 1500 to Hokitika, 1000 to Buller, and 1000 to Marlborough; 


but I can find no report as to their success or failure. In 1901-2 
two lots of ova arrived from Great Britain, 150,000 by the 'Gothic,' 
and 50,000 by the ' Paparoa.' The numbers of fry hatched out from 
these were respectively 51,200 and 25,500, but amongst them was a 
considerable proportion of deformed fish. There must have been 
very considerable loss among these, for in the following year, only 
42,806 one-and-a-half-year-old fish were liberated in the Hakataramea 
River, and 4200 were retained in the ponds. Whether the latter were 
allowed to escape or whether they died in the ponds is not stated, 
but in 1904 there were only 230 two-year-old fish left. The report 
of the Marine Department for 1904-5 states that: 

Several fish, believed to be salmon, have been caught at the mouth of the 
Waitaki River. A gentleman, recently from Scotland, states that he caught 
one of the fish, which weighed 4^ Ibs. and that it was undoubtedly a salmon 
in appearance and taste. Although the taste was not so pronounced as 
that of Scotch salmon, still the flavour was fine and quite different from 
that of trout. 

This, of course, is not very convincing evidence. 

In the following year (1905) 55 three-year-old fish were liberated, 
and 131 retained in the ponds. In 1906 seven four-year-old fish were 
liberated, and 50 retained ; and in 1907 1 1 five-year-old were liberated, 
and 43 retained in the ponds. 

In this same year the Canterbury Society obtained 50,000 ova 
from the Canadian Government, and these hatched out well, some 
47,000 fry being found in the boxes. In the Society's report for 
1908 it is stated that there are 20,000 yearlings in the races; and in 
the following year, 11,500 fish were liberated in the Selwyn, but 
nothing more was ever heard of them. 

It is noteworthy in this, and indeed in most of the reports, how 
the numbers of fish in the ponds dwindled year by year. None of the 
societies offers any explanation of the fact. The losses were probably 
due to eels and the kingfishers, and in a less degree to shags. The 
latter birds are most destructive in rivers and lakes, but are always 
somewhat shy of coming too near human dwellings, and the ponds 
were nearly always placed in proximity to the latter. 

At the beginning of 1908, Mr C. L. Ayson went to Canada for 
ova, and returned with 150,000 eggs. They were scarcely "eyed" 
when packed, and a heavy loss was anticipated. They reached 
Wellington on ist April and were at once sent to Lake Anau, which was 
reached on the 5th, when it was found that 140,000 eggs were in 
good condition. This attempt was a new departure on the part of 
the Marine Department, which determined to select the Waiau River 
as a suitable spot to hatch out salmon ova for several successive years. 


The small stream flowing into the Upokororo River was selected as 
the best place in which to liberate the young fry. At the end of 1908 
Mr L. F. Ay son, Chief Inspector of Fisheries, was sent to England 
for more ova, and shipped 500,000 by the ' Turakina.' Of these about 
400,000 came from the Tay, and the rest from Irish rivers. This lot 
arrived early in 1909, and was at once despatched to Te Anau, where 
447,000 fry hatched out, which were placed in the Upokororo River. 
Mr Ayson followed in the 'Rakaia' with another 500,000, made up 
of 55,000 from the River Test in Hampshire, 120,000 from the Dee 
in Wales, and about 340,000 from the Rhine, near Trier. The last 
lot were rather too far advanced when shipped. Seven cases of ova 
(approximately 350,000 eggs) were taken to Lake Te Anau, and the 
fry liberated in the Upokororo, and three cases (150,000 eggs) to 
Hakataramea. From this last lot, 103,440 Rhine salmon and 6900 
English salmon fry were liberated into the Hakataramea River. 

In 1910-11 another shipment of ova came out in the 'Ruahine' 
in charge of Mr C. L. Ayson, 400,000 eggs being obtained from the 
River Wye, and 600,000 from the Rhine. These were all taken up to 
Lake Te Anau, where over 930,000 good eggs were unpacked, the 
Rhine ova again showing much the heavier loss. As the young fry 
hatched out, they were liberated in the lake. During this year also 
10,274 one-and-a-half-y ear-old fish were liberated in the Hakataramea. 
In 191 1-12, only 181 three-year-old Rhine salmon, and 49 three-year- 
old Atlantic (English ?) salmon were liberated in the same river. 

Pond-bred Salmon. Various attempts have been made to retain 
salmon in the ponds and to rear fry from them, in the hope that even 
if the fry from imported ova would not return in due time to the 
rivers into which they were originally turned, those from locally 
reared fish would do so. This expectation has not, however, been 
realised in a single instance. I have collected a good deal of the avail- 
able information on the subject. In 1887 Mr A. J. Rutherford stated 
that from each shipment received by the Wellington Society, a few 
young salmon had been retained in the ponds, so as to test the 
possibility of rearing in our waters a land-locked variety. Unfortunately 
the Society does not seem to have kept a separate record of the fish 
in the ponds, the number of ova taken, or of fry reared from them. 
In 1888 the Canterbury Society obtained 5240 eggs from some of the 
fish imported by Mr Farr in 1885, and from these 5000 fry were 
hatched out. It was claimed for them that they were the first ova 
taken from imported salmon in the Southern Hemisphere. Unfor- 
tunately the whole lot were subsequently lost by disease or accident. 
About the same time the Otago Society commenced to rear fry from 
pond-bred salmon, and continued the experiment for some years. In 


1889 there were some 116 four-year-old fish at the Clinton ponds, 
and from these some ova were obtained, from which 300 fry were 
hatched. These were ultimately liberated in the Waiwera. In 1890 
some 14,000 eggs, hatching out about 10,000 fry, were produced, 
and of these 8000 were placed in the Upper Mataura, and 2000 in 
Lake Ada, Milford Sound. In 1891 over 20,000 ova were produced, 
of which 1000 were sent to the Wellington Society, and the remainder 
were hatched at the ponds. Of the resulting fry 7000 were liberated 
in the Waiwera, 7000 in the Owaka, while 3000 were sent to Milford 
Sound, and were liberated in Lake Ada. About 800 were retained 
in the ponds. The Society's report says: "Those in the Waiwera 
have done well, and have been seen in large numbers up to ten inches 
long." They disappeared during a fresh in the river in the beginning 
of November. In 1892 it is noted that the fish continue healthy 
in their confinement, although they do not grow to a large size. Some 
20,000 ova were got from them, about 17,000 of which were hatched 
and liberated in the Waiwera. The report for 1895 says: 

The last of the stock of Salmon which had been kept in the Society's 
ponds for the last nine years were liberated early in the Spring, as they were 
attacked with a fungus disease. These fish for the last five years produced 
over 20,000 ova annually, from which 15,000 to 20,000 fry have been 
liberated every year, which did well in our streams, and could be observed 
going down to the sea in the smolt stage ; but it cannot be said that a real 
salmon has been got after its return from the sea. 

In succeeding years some fish were always retained in the ponds. 
Thus we read in the report for 1900: 

There are 176, fish, six to eight years old; and 260 three-year fish (from 
imported ova) in the ponds. The old stock fish are not doing well with us. 
They were reared from pond-reared salmon got from imported ova, and do 
not seem to have the same vitality as those reared from imported ova. 

Some doubt has been expressed as to whether the fish in the 
Clinton ponds were salmon at all. This would tend to throw suspicion 
on some of those who were concerned in sending out the original ova, 
or on those who were in charge of the Otago Society's ponds an 
utterly unworthy suggestion. The following statement is, therefore, 
of interest. The London correspondent of the Dunedin Evening Star, 
writing in November, 1892, of this suggestion, that by some blunder 
the ova sent out to the Otago Acclimatisation Society were not salmon 
eggs at all, but those of trout, says: 

Fortunately the fish which resulted from these eggs were not all liberated. 
Some were kept in ponds, and in consequence, have degenerated until 
they have certainly become not unlike trout. To settle the question finally, 
some of these pond fish were sent home from Otago to Mr Tegetmeier, 


of the Field, who promptly forwarded them to the British Museum. Here 
they were carefully examined and declared to be undoubted salmon, though 

A summary of the attempts to introduce this species of fish into 
New Zealand waters is here given to show the continuous nature of 
the effort. The total number of ova introduced during the last half- 
century, beginning in 1868, was 4,813,000 or close on 5,000,000. In 
addition, some 120,000 eggs were obtained from pond-reared fish. 

The total number of fry li berated, at various stages of growth, 
including those obtained from pond-reared fish, is approximately 
2,620,000. These have been turned out into the following rivers or 
their tributary lakes and rivers : 

South Island 

Waiau 1,767,000 Selwyn 13,250 

Aparima 494,000 Heathcote 240 

Mataura 8,000 Avon 50 (?) 

Owaka 7,000 Ashley 180 

Clutha 146,900 Perceval 200 

Leith 500 Clarence 725 

Kakanui 200 Hurunui 1,000 

Waitaki 162,000 Nelson, Maryborough, Grey, \ 

Opihi 1,500 Buller and Hokitika Rivers j I5 ' OO< 

Temuka 1,500 Lake Ada, Milford Sound 5,200 

Rangitata ... 1,000 

North Island 

Ruamahanga 400 Streams in Taranaki ... 2,800 

Hutt ... 8,400 Hawke's Bay ? 

Manawatu ... 3, 800 

Salmon Trout ; Sea Trout (Salmo truttd) 

In 1868 the 'Celestial Queen' brought 1500 ova of sea trout to 
Port Chalmers (on 2nd May), but I cannot trace what came of them, 
as to whether they went to the Society's ponds at Opoho, or to 
Mr Duncan's ponds, which were on the Leith just above the mill. 
If they were hatched it is probable that the fry got into Otago Harbour. 

In 1870 the Otago Society received some ova of this species from 
Tasmania, and from it obtained 140 fry. These were liberated in a 
pond communicating with the Shag River, except 20 which were 
liberated in the Water of Leith. 

The early reports of the Southland Society are not obtainable, 
but in a history of the Society recently (1916) compiled by Mr A. H. 
Stock, it is stated that in 1870, " 154 ova were received from Tasmania 
and hatched out well." These fry were retained in the ponds for 


breeding purposes, and in September, 1874, noo ova were obtained 
from them : 

The resultant fry were turned out into the New River. Of the 50 fish 
retained at the ponds (probably adults), nothing further is recorded, but 
probably they were included amongst "the old fish to be turned out into 
the Makarewa" in June, 1875. 

Mr W. Arthur the Hon. Secretary of the Otago Society, writing 
in 1881, says: 

I have tried to find from what river in England the original ova sent to 
Tasmania came, but the Secretary of the Salmon Commissioners there 
assures me that he cannot possibly find any record of this fact. 

In 1871 the following appears in the annual report of the Otago 

Sea trout have been many times caught in fishermen's nets on the coast, 
particularly within Otago Harbour, but no reliable instance has been 
established of the capture of this fish in any stream or river. 

If these fish were the progeny of those brought over from Tasmania 
in 1870, they must have been very small and few in number. The first 
record of trout in Otago was in 1868, but no sea trout were included. 
In those early days there was no doubt expressed, such as arose later 
in regard to fish caught in sea-water, as to the difference between 
sea trout and brown trout. 

In 1873 the Canterbury Society obtained 300 ova from the 
Tasmanian Society, from which several fry were hatched out. Writing 
of this shipment (1895) Mr A. M. Johnson said: 

On opening the box at the Christchurch Gardens a large portion were 
found to have hatched and died in the moss during transit by small steamer. 
The remaining good eggs, a few hundred, were hatched by myself as then 
Curator of the Society. The young fish were longer, thinner and more active, 
but appeared much more delicate than the common trout. A pond with 
spawning race through which the whole of the water in the Gardens flowed 
was especially prepared for their reception, and into which about 50, all 
that were reared were liberated. These, at about four years old, made some 
nests and deposited their eggs. 

In 1874 Captain Hutton exhibited at a meeting of the Otago 
Institute a sea trout caught in Otago Harbour, and stated that another 
capture had been recently made. I was myself dredging a good deal 
in Otago Harbour then and in subsequent years, and the fishermen 
at that period always distinguished between two kinds of trout, which 
were not unfrequently taken with the seine-nets and which they 
distinguished as "Salmon" and "Trout." The former were almost 
certainly sea trout, and the latter brown trout. 

In 1 88 1 the Otago Society report says: "The Council has been 


made aware of the capture of many Sea Trout in Otago Harbour by 
fishermen during the year." And again in 1885, it is stated: " Salmon 
trout have not been found during the past year in any river, and their 
occurrence in salt-water is not so common as in former years. It is 
to be feared, therefore, it has been netted out, as a species" (a very 
improbable suggestion it seems to me). 

In 1 88 1 a trout was taken in Nelson Harbour, and was submitted 
to Dr Hector, who identified it as a true salmon trout (S. truttd). 
This fish was taken near the mouth of the Maitai River, and proved 
to be a female, 25 inches in length, which had just spawned. 

In 1884 the Wairarapa Society received three trays of ova from 
the Government, and from these they obtained 2300 fry. Of these 
500 were put in the Ruamahanga, and 700 into tributary streams, 
500 in the Hutt River, and 350 in the Makakahi at Eketahuna. The 
remainder were retained in the ponds. I do not know where these 
ova came from, or whether any other ova were imported at the same 

In the same year the Wellington Society received 900 ova, which 
were imported from Scotland for the Otago Society, and placed 750 
fry in the Makora River. In 1888 there is a statement in the annual 
report as follows: "Our young Salmon trout have yielded us 2500 
fine healthy fry, and these are, we believe, the first taken from the 
fish and hatched out artificially" If this means the first salmon trout 
reared in New Zealand from imported fish, then it only emphasises 
the want of knowledge and co-operation which existed between the 
different societies, for the Southland Society claimed to have done 
this 14 years earlier. 

A very sharp correspondence took place in Canterbury in 1895 
as to whether there were any sea trout in New Zealand. I mention it 
here, because many people still claim that there are none and never 
have been any, and consider that the question was settled in the 
negative by this controversy. It was initiated by a Mr W. H. Spack- 
man who wrote to the Christchurch Press on 22nd June, as follows : 

I find it stated that 7000 salmon trout were liberated in the Waimakariri, 
and 1000 sold. Can the Garden Committee tell me whence these were 
obtained ? Are they from ova direct from England, or were they from fish 
in the Gardens ; and if so, had these so-called Salmon trout ever been to 
sea before spawning? I think this matter should be cleared, as I was not 
aware there were any real salmon trout in the colony. 

This drew forth a letter from Mr S. C. Farr on ist July: 

Salmon trout were brought here by me from Dunedin, as a gift from the 
Otago to the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society, about thirteen years 
since (? 1882), and they bred in the Society's Gardens for several seasons 

T. N.Z. 14 


under my own notice, the stock always being kept in one pond, without 
the slightest sign of degeneration. 

Mr Spackman thereupon wrote to the Otago Society, and Mr Deans, 
the curator, replied from Clinton, 24th July, 1895: 

The only salmon or sea-trout that this Society has ever had were brought 
from Tasmania by Mr Clifford in 1870. The ova numbered about 140. 
They were hatched at Opoho, and subsequently in the fry stage were 
removed to a pond on the bank of the Shag River. Some years ago, 
probably ten or twelve, the Government were getting out some ova from 
Sir Jas. Maitland, and it was reported that they were salmon trout, but Sir 
Jas. contradicted that and said that he was not aware of ever having sent 
salmon-trout ova. 

This produced another strong letter from Mr Farr who stated (Aug. 
2nd) that he attented a meeting of the Otago Council when a resolu- 
tion was agreed to that a certain number of " Salmon Trout "fry should 
be delivered by Deans to him at the railway station : 

I brought them without loss (to Christchurch), and delivered them at the 
Society's Gardens. They were put into a small race, and were subsequently 
transferred to a pond, kept as a distinct fish, and from them ova were taken 
for some years previous to my removal from the office of Secretary. 

Mr Farr then quotes from the Otago Society's reports, and also the 
statements of Captain Hutton and Dr Hector already given, and then 
from the reports of the Canterbury Society as follows : 

" In 1888 there were 580 salmon trout in the ponds." "In 1889 there 
were nine boxes of Salmon trout in the fish house." "In 1890, 8000 salmon 
trout were distributed." "In 1891, 9200 salmon trout distributed." "In 
1892, 6000 distributed." " In 1894, 8000 sold and distributed." " During 
the years mentioned Mr Spackman was a continuous member of the 
Council, and I believe took part in the distribution of the young fry on 
more than one occasion, as Salmon trout, without once raising the question 
as to their species." 

This shrewd thrust at Mr Spackman did not, of course, affect the 
question, and that gentleman again wrote to Mr Deans and drew 
from him another letter in which he expressed his opinion that we 
have no salmon or sea trout. It also brought Mr A. M. Johnson into 
the fray, who concluded his letter by saying: "it appears, however, 
we are all misled by mistakes about the identity of these fish." The 
outcome of all the discussion was only to show that the fish which 
the Canterbury Society had been keeping and distributing as salmon 
trout were probably brown trout. It did not affect the facts that the 
Otago, Southland and Canterbury Societies all imported salmon 
trout ova from Tasmania in 1871 and 1873, that mature trout were 
taken in the coastal waters and identified in 1874 and 1881, and that 


two further importations of ova were received from the home country 
in 1884. 

In 1895 Mr A. P. O'Calloghan of Timaru caught a fish in the 
Opihi, which was sent to Dr Giinther, who stated in a letter of 2nd 
April to Mr H. A. Bruce: 

The fish mentioned in your letter of Jan. 23rd reached me to-day. It is 
without question a genuine Sea-trout. It is a great beauty and fatter than I 
have ever seen a Sea-trout or Salmon, showing it must have had abundance 
of food, and grown up under the most favourable conditions. It has been 
stated (erroneously in my opinion) that Salmonoids change their specific 
characteristics when transplanted from the Northern to the Southern 
Hemisphere. The specimen sent by you is strong evidence that no such 
change has taken place in your New Zealand Salmonoids. 

In my opinion it is only evidence that the fish was derived from 
the egg of a pure salmon trout. 

Carp Trout (Great Lake Trout ?) (Salmo trutta, 
var. lacustris carpione) 

In 1887 the 'Tongariro' brought to Wellington for the New 
Zealand Government, a large shipment of salmon ova, and along 
with it 25,000 Rhine brook-trout ova, 25,000 alpine-char ova, and 
25,000 carpione-trout ova. "The latter is said only to be found in 
the Lago di Garda." Unfortunately the boxes arrived in very bad 
order, and no marks were placed on the trays to indicate to which 
particular kind the ova belonged, and there was nothing to indicate 
which was which. The societies to which this lot of eggs were given 
were asked to keep each tray apart, in order that the various kinds 
of fish might not be mixed. 

The Canterbury Society received 12,000 ova supposed to be of 
this variety. Only 23 hatched out and all died. 

The Wellington Society received the larger portion of the ship- 
ment but the eggs were in a very bad condition, and only about 550 
fry were hatched out. Fifty of these were sent to the Auckland 
Society for use as a parent stock, but there is no record as to what 
was done with them. 

About 30 were received by the Otago Society, and were placed 
in a pond at Opoho. The report for 1892 says: 

These fish are growing, but they produced no ova this year. They do not 
appear to have settled down to a proper spawning season, as some of them 
are found to be ripe during the whole year. Some were stripped, but the 
ova were found to be in a very bad state, and only survived a few minutes. 
The report for 1893 states that thirteen fish, six years old, and 105, one 
to two years old, are in the ponds at Opoho. It is not stated where these 
last came from, and there is no further record. 



The Wellington Society kept a number of the fry, and in 1889 
they spawned, and about a thousand fry were obtained. I do not 
know what came of them, but Mr A. J. Rutherford, the Hon. Sec. 
of the Society, stated that " Unfortunately, owing to a want of know- 
ledge of its habits, we have lost the breed." 

* Brown Trout (Salmo fario) 

The naturalisation of this species of trout in New Zealand waters 
is the most successful piece of acclimatisation work undertaken in 
this colony. It has exceeded all expectations. It has not only stocked 
the streams and rivers with the finest of sporting and edible fishes, 
a reputation which it shares with the rainbow trout, but it has 
brought numerous sportsmen to the country, and made it known 
far and wide as a paradise for anglers. It has also given to the coastal 
waters of the dominion the finest of food-fishes. It is true that the 
restrictive laws passed in the interests of the acclimatisation societies, 
and which are still in force, prevent the trout in the sea from becoming 
available, as they ought to be, as a food supply for the people. But 
it is quite possible to safeguard the trout in the streams, and yet 
enable those in the sea to be taken like other free-swimming fish, 
and then the public will get the benefit. 

The first attempt to introduce brown trout into New Zealand was 
made by the late Mr A. M. Johnson of Opawa, Christchurch, who 
did actually ship 600 young trout in London in 1864 by the 'British 
Empire,' but a careless deck-hand dropped a lump of white-lead 
putty into the tank (this was afterwards found at the bottom) and 
killed all the fish. 

In 1868 and the following year, Mr Huddlestone, on behalf of 
the Nelson Society, introduced trout ova from Tasmania, but the 
record of this work has been lost. 

Mr Johnson claims that he was the first introducer of this fish 
into the country. In a letter written by him to the Minister 
of Public Works on 6th February, 1878, he says: "I may also 
add that the English brown trout was first introduced into New 
Zealand at my expense." This shipment was one of 800 ova from 
Tasmania, and it appears from the reports that they were brought 
out for the Canterbury Society in 1867. Mr Johnson brought them 
across from Hobart, but unfortunately there was so much friction 
existing for years between him and Mr Farr, the Hon. Sec. of the 
Society, that it is difficult to get at the facts. Of these 800 ova, only 
three hatched out. The report states that "it was not long before 
one of them was lost (escaped into the Avon). The two remaining 
proved to be male and female, so we concluded that even from 


these our rivers would in a few years be stocked." The faith of the 
pioneers was charming, and in this instance was justified. The fol- 
lowing is Mr Johnson's own account of this incident. 

A tremendous flood, the highest ever known in Canterbury, submerged 
the Gardens, and although most of the stock was saved, the three Trout 
were washed out into a swamp leading to the river, and appeared hopelessly 
lost. With a faint hope of their recapture, a spawning race was prepared 
near their rearing home, and at the season two of the lost trout were seen 
and secured. They proved to be male and female, and from these a supply 
of ova was obtained annually. By 1876, the Society had received about 
100 from the sale of young trout, and many thousands had been liberated 
in Canterbury Rivers; all the progeny of those two fish. 

In September, 1868, Mr G. P. Clifford brought over to Dunedin 
from Tasmania about 800 brown trout ova. They were packed thinly 
in well-washed moss in four boxes, which were kept cool with frozen 
snow. The voyage lasted nine days. Forty-nine dead ova were re- 
moved on arrival, and the rest were placed in covered boxes on a bed 
of small gravel, over which ran a small stream of filtered water about 
an inch and a half deep. During the time the fish were hatching the 
temperature varied from 40 to 55 Fahr., averaging 46. The first fish 
hatched out on a8th September and the last on 29th October. The total 
number hatched was 729. The ova were not artificially impregnated, 
because the spawning was nearly over in Tasmania, but were obtained 
from the ridds made by the fish in the race at the Plenty ponds. The 
pond accommodation consisted of an oval pond 12 by 8 feet, and 
from a few inches to about 2 feet deep. The fry were liberated in 
various streams in the provincial district. 

In distributing the young fish they were carried in an ordinary 
fish-kettle, 15 by 9 inches, and 9 inches deep, and they were mostly 
carried by hand. 

Our last attempt to take trout from Dunedin to Queenstown a distance 
of 208 miles, over rough bush roads, with at times a bad supply of water 
proved a failure. The time occupied was four days. Out of 55, the number 
that left Dunedin, 25 were carried successfully a distance of 170 miles. 

The Southland Society received a small lot of ova, and liberated 
about 200 fry. The Canterbury Society also received a lot from the 
same source, and 545 fry were hatched out and distributed in various 
streams. In the report written at the close of 1869 it is stated: 
" Trout may now be considered as established in the Province." 

In 1869 Mr Clifford brought another lot of ova from Tasmania, 
from which 1000 fry were obtained and mostly distributed; and in 
1870 a third lot yielding 1084 fry. 

From these three shipments most of the trout of this species now 
found in New Zealand have come, for they not only throve in every 


stream into which they were placed, but quickly came to maturity 
and spawned so freely, that it became easy to distribute them 

As to the origin of these fish, Mr W. Arthur, who investigated 
the subject more carefully than anyone who has written on it, states 
that the brown trout in Tasmania were descended from three lots 
from England. "Of these, Mr Francis Francis sent one from the 
Weycombe, Bucks, and another from the Wey at Alton, Hants, and 
Mr Buckland sent one lot from Arlesford on the Itchen, Hants." 

These appear to be the only shipments made to the South Island 

In 1870 the Auckland Society received 1000 ova from Tasmania, 
but only 60 fry hatched out. In 1872 a large quantity was brought 
over from which many were hatched and were sold for distribution 
throughout the district. Again, in 1873 and in 1874, further lots were 
introduced, all from Tasmania, and all hatched out well, but the 
reports give no record either of the number of eggs or of fry. 

The northern streams are apparently too warm for brown trout, 
for Mr Cheeseman writing in May, 1880, says : " I am sorry to say that 
we have no evidence to prove that trout exist in any of our streams 
at the present time." Mr W. Arthur in 1881 says : "The acclimatisa- 
tion of Trout does not seem as yet to be a success in the province of 
Auckland." Evidently he thought the summer temperature too high 
for this species, for he adds : " A gentleman just arrived from Victoria 
has assured me that the trout in that colony are fat, sluggish and give 
no sport when caught with rod and line.". No other society appears 
to have got eggs or fry from outside the colony ; the others got their 
stocks from the south. 

Thus in 1874 trout were liberated by the Wellington Society in 
the Kaiwarrawarra Creek, the Hutt River and the Wainui-o-mata. 
From the first they disappeared, and in the latter they keep to the 
higher waters. The reason assigned at the time for this was that they 
got more congenial food higher up, but I am inclined to think that 
it was the cooler water in summer which they preferred. 

Probably all the Hawke's Bay brown trout with the exception 
of 300 which were imported from Christchurch were originally 
brought from Otago in 1876. 

In 1877 the Wanganui Society received their first consignment of 
fry, 300, from Mr A. M. Johnson of Opawa. 

In 1878 Nelson received 200 young trout from Christchurch, and 
the Marlborough Society reared 700 fry from ova obtained from 

In 1878, 1879 an d 1880 the Grey Society received trout from 

Since 1880 there has been a constant interchange of ova and fry 


going on throughout both islands, and enormous quantities of both 
have been sent out, especially from the hatcheries of the Otago, 
Southland, Canterbury, Westland and Wellington Societies. It is 
impossible to estimate the numbers which have been dealt with, but 
it is safe to affirm that the various hatcheries throughout the dominion 
have handled over 50,000,000 young fish. This was up to the end of 
1916 only. The Southland Society are responsible for about 8, 000,000, 
Otago 24,000,000, Canterbury between 3 and 4,000,000, Westland 
over 4,000,000, and Wellington nearly 7,000,000. But there are 
altogether 28 societies in the country, and all, or nearly all, have 
hatcheries in operation, and have been distributing trout for many 
years past. In addition to these, several million ova have been collected 
at the Hakataramea Hatchery for distribution, some thousands 
going as far as the Transvaal. Between 1916 and 1921 another 
14,000,000 ova and fry have been distributed. 

An experiment in the carriage of frozen ova was made in 1886. 
A box of ova was placed in the freezing-chamber at the Victoria 
Docks, London, and kept at a temperature of 18 Fahr. At the end of 
a month it was found that, although most of the eggs had been killed, 
a large proportion were alive apparently uninjured. To test this matter 
further a box of ova was placed on the 'Ionic' which arrived in 
Wellington in March, 1886. The following is Mr A. J. Rutherford's 
report on it: 

The extremely interesting experiment of sending a box of trout ova in 
the refrigerator is, I regret, a total failure. The sawdust round the inside 
box was dry, and the box exceptionally well packed. Within, the moss was 
frozen into a solid mass, the trays all being stuck together ; and on opening 
a layer it was evident that the ova had been frozen to death. There was no 
sign of life, and the appearance presented was like layers of light-yellow 
transparent unfertilized ova, with one side of each egg slightly fallen in. 
A coating of hoar-frost surrounded each egg. The animal matter was in 
good condition, and what looked like traces of yellow dead fish could be 
seen in many of the ova. 

I tried several experiments, such as thawing very slowly in iced water, 
thawing in the air, i.e., but could detect no sign of vitality with a glass. 
The ova turned opaque at once on being placed in water, but the indenta- 
tion in the side swelled out and each egg resumed its proper shape. There 
are about a dozen ova that have not turned opaque, and I have left them 
in a hatching-box to see if there is any possibility of vitality. 

I think that this experiment has demonstrated plainly that the intense 
cold evolved in the freezing chamber is fatal to life in ova, even when 
well insulated and protected, as in the case of the box I received. 

Rate of Growth and Food Supply. When brown trout were 
first liberated, the rate of growth was phenomenal, and this, according 
to Mr W. Arthur, was " due entirely to new and abundant food, and it 


may to some extent be to new water, also to the constitution or stock 
of trout." I think it most probable that the food-supply was the most 
important factor. The streams originally abounded with insects and 
insect larvas (including various flies, as ephemerids, gnats, caddis-flies, 
etc., grasshoppers and beetles), mollusca, crayfish and other Crustacea. 
In many streams, and these are the streams which have lasted out 
best as fishing streams, there were also countless shoals of minnows, 
smelts and other fish. At first the growth was enormously fast, then 
after a time the food supply gave out, and the big fish began to eat 
the smaller ones, and gradually the lakes and streams became more 
or less depleted. 

The extraordinary increase of imported birds which dates from 
their first importation about 1868, and which was synchronous with 
the increase of the trout, has also made a very great difference in 
the food supply of the imported fishes. Grasshoppers, which were 
remarkably abundant in 1868, are now comparatively rare, and this 
is chiefly due, no doubt, to the increase of the starling; but smaller 
insects, not so conspicuous to the ordinary observer, have suffered 
equally. In this way it is certain that the insect-life of the streams 
has been greatly reduced; while the trout ate the larvae, the birds fed 
largely on the mature insects. In 1870 crayfish (Paranephrops) 
abounded in nearly every stream; and I could collect quantities of 
shrimps (Xiphocaris curvirostris) and amphiphods (Paracalliope fluvia- 
tilis). The crayfish are now rare, and the other Crustacea are scarcely 
to be found in any stream into which trout have been placed. One 
of the problems which now faces those interested in keeping the 
lakes and streams stocked with well-grown trout is that of finding and 
maintaining a suitable food supply. The cultivation of suitable aquatic 
plants (Potamogeton, Myriophyllum, etc.), and of insects, mollusca 
and Crustacea, will be as much the work of a hatchery as the hatching 
and rearing of the fish themselves. 

Mottram states that in New Zealand, on one occasion, the stomach 
of a fish (Salmo fario) was filled with Spirogyra, Link; subsequently 
it was proved that the fish took the weed in order at the same time 
to capture a small Trichopterous larva. The yellow bloom of the 
furze, Ulex europeetis. Linn., was also taken on account of a small 
grub, probably one of the Tineina. 

On March 30, 1911, on Lake Okeraka, New Zealand, the stomach 
contents of a trout were four grasshoppers, two cicadas, and three short 
pieces of stick of about the same length and thickness as the grass- 

This is stated to show that the fish mistakes these things for the insects 
on which it is feeding at the time. 


In the appendix to his work on New Zealand Neuroptera (pub- 
lished in 1904), Mr G. V. Hudson gives several tables showing the 
contents of the stomachs of trout. Their principal food appears to 
be caddis- worms. 

Another interesting fact he brings out is that the larvae of the 
larger species of dragon-flies destroy considerable numbers of very 
young trout-fry. 

Mr W. Arthur has investigated the rate of growth more fully 
and carefully than any other New Zealand writer on the brown trout. 
He states that the average growth in all Otago streams between 1878 
and 1883 was 1-53 Ib. per annum. The lowest recorded was in the 
Otaria 0-751 Ib., and the highest is Lake Hayes, 3-5 Ib. 

The first fish in the Shag River were liberated in 1868, and the first taken 
were in 1874; a male weighed 14 Ibs., and a female i6| Ibs., representing 
an average annual growth of 2^ and 2 Ibs. respectively. In the Leith the 
average increase at first was i| Ibs. per annum; in the Lee Stream i Ib.; 
in Deep Stream i| Ibs.; and in the Upper Taieri i Ib. These were not marked 
fish, and the average is based on the assumption that they were among 
the first fish liberated. In the Shag and the Leith there were great numbers 
of smelts found in addition to what occurred in the other streams. 

The other three are inland streams, mostly running in rocky gorges. 

In the Avon and Cust Rivers in Canterbury the average yearly 
growth at first was if Ib. 

Apparently in the large lakes of both islands the growth was much 
more rapid, but the records were not carefully enough kept to be 
quite trustworthy. Thus Mr A. J. lies states that the largest brown 
trout taken out of Lake Rotorua weighed 27^ Ib., "and was netted 
about eighteen years ago, some four or five years after the brown 
trout were first liberated." There is good reason to believe that the 
rate of growth in the early years of stocking was phenomenal, but 
the record is not definite enough to be accepted. 

Mr W. Arthur points out, however, that similar rapid growths 
have been recorded elsewhere, and gives this example : 

Mr J. V. Harvie-Brown, of Dunipace, stocked a loch in the north of 
Scotland, which had no trout in it at all. In two years they multiplied and 
attained a weight of 4! Ibs. So soon, however, as the number exceeded the 
food supply, or in two years, they fell off in condition, colour, etc., and 
latterly were not worth catching. Like cases have occurred elsewhere at 

Size of Brown Trout. Anglers are notorious for the extent to 
which their scales and yard measures stretch when they are recording 
their catches. But acclimatisation societies and anglers' clubs usually 
keep pretty accurate records. It is therefore surprising and amusing 


to read the following paragraph from the i8th Annual Report (1883) 
of the Otago Society, where certain fish are reported (the italics are 
mine) : 

One taken at Lake Hayes, said to have been 60 Ibs. in weight ; two seen in 
the Clutha River, below the mouth of the Lindis, estimated at 80 Ibs. each 
by Sergeant McLeod; and one from the Mararoa, which weighed 42 Ibs. 
As no Salmo fario over 30 Ibs. seems ever to have been taken in English 
waters, the above weights must be received with caution. 

As one friend suggests, apparently fish grow much faster out of 
water than in it. 

The biggest trout are found in the lakes and in the sea; Lakes 
Wakatipu, Wanaka and Hawea have yielded many fish up to 25 Ib. 
in weight, and trout of 20 Ib. weight and upwards are abundant in 
the sea, but are very difficult to catch. They are, however, occasionally 
taken in moki nets. The prohibition against taking, having in posses- 
sion, or selling trout without a special licence, prevents any accurate 
record from being kept of these big sea-fish. It does not pay fishermen 
to take out a licence, because the catch is too erratic, but the fish 
are constantly taken both in set nets and seines, and they are nearly 
always so injured about the gills that if thrown back into the sea, 
as the law demands, they are almost certain to perish. Therefore a 
great number of them are taken, hidden, and sold surreptitiously, 
not as trout, however, but as "canaries." I do not know how this 
popular term has arisen, but it is in common use. A law which 
tempts men to do illegal actions is a bad law, and should be swept out 
of existence. Other means must be devised to protect the streams 
from being depleted of fish, such, for instance, as prohibiting seining 
altogether in certain areas. 

The following records of actual catches of brown trout are taken 
from the lists annually published by the Otago Society. 

Waipahi River 

J. P. Maitland 

9 fish 



Nov. nth 


W. Carlton 
Geo. Steel 

17 > 
6 , 

t ...- 


" I 

Nov. 8th, 


D. A. Purvis 
J. Nelson 

17 , 

17 , 





Many fine baskets got up 





These were nearly all got with bare fly. The reports for 1890-92 
state that : 

The Waipahi still holds the premier position as a fly stream. It is now 
yearly attracting the attention of tourists from England, Victoria and the 
North Island. 


Pomahaka River 

C. Williams on five trips took 139^ Ib. | 
Wm. Fraser one day (18 fish) 53 } 1890 
T. E. Brown 6 hrs (12 fish) 52 j 

The Pomahaka gives, perhaps, a better day's sport with the minnow 
than any other river in our district, baskets of 50 to 60 Ibs. have been taken 
in one day by Dunedin anglers. 

Records for 1890-91 

Clutha River (above Cromwell) : one rod took 90 Ibs. in one evening. 

Mimihau and Otaria Rivers: baskets from 30 to 40 Ibs. frequently. 

M. Lowriethis season in the Mimihau took 241 fish averaging 3 Ibs. each. 

The Upper Mataura is now splendidly stocked, and baskets of 30 to 
40 Ibs. can easily be obtained on a good day, fishing with the natural cricket 
and grasshopper as a lure. 

H. Schluter, fishing at the mouth of the Waitaki, in Oct., 1888, took 
three fish weighing 69! Ibs. 

The Waitaki Society reported in 1890 that at Waitaki North (in 
one day?) 169 fish were taken weighing 1123 Ib. or 6f Ib. each; the 
heaviest were, one of 14 Ib., one of 13 Ib., two of 12 Ib., four of 1 1 Ib., 
and eight of 10 Ib. The smallest fish taken weighed 3 Ib. The best 
baskets were two of eight fish weighing 60 Ib. and one of six fish 
weighing 50 Ib. 

These records only apply to Otago rivers, but similar records are 
available for other streams all over the areas stocked with brown 
trout. Thus the largest brown trout taken from Rotorua Lake, ac- 
cording to Mr A. J. lies, was 27! Ib. ; the largest from Lake Taupo was 
25! Ib.; but Mr C. P. M. Butterworth states that fish of 29 Ib. have 
been taken from Lake Taupo. Mr W. P. Cotter tells me (July, 1916) 
that in Lake Hawea specimens weighing 26 Ib. have been taken, and 
that though the fish have been in the lake for 25 years, there is no 
sign of deterioration. 

Mr W. Arthur gives the following interesting facts about this 
species in New Zealand. The trout spawn (in Otago) from 2Oth June 
to 4th August, a half-pound fish giving about 400 ova; a seven pound 
fish about 6000. The eggs hatched out in 78 days. At Opoho during 
the winter the temperature of the water averaged 42 F.; and in 
the hatchery from 42 F. to 52 F. The best temperature for 
hatching is 48 F. The young fry average i| inches long in six 
weeks, and 3 inches in a hundred days. They carry best when 
from i to i J inches long. The only variations which he considers 
the brown trout to have developed in the new country is that the 
spawning season is about two months later (relatively) than in 
England, and the duration of hatching about 14 days longer. 


Mr Dansey tells me that brown trout fry obtained from the 
Tauranga Society were liberated in Lake Rotorua in 1889, where 
they multiplied and throve wonderfully in spite of the huge flocks of 
shags that then infested the Lake, and which were quite capable of 
swallowing with ease a J-lb. trout, and of the immense numbers 
caught by the natives in nets at the mouths of streams ; specimens up 
to 22 Ib. were not at all uncommon. Those caught in the Lake had 
a muddy flavour ; their principal food appeared to be young cray- 

The shags soon learned how to catch them. From Kawaha Point, on 
a calm sunny morning, I have watched a mob of over 200 shags away out 
on the lake, suddenly take wing, light again on the water near the western 
shore where it is shallow for a considerable distance out. They would 
spread themselves out in a long line at apparently correct intervals apart 
and all swim quietly towards the shore, the ends of the line gradually 
bending inwards. Suddenly, as if by some given signal, the whole line 
would dive, and every shag reappear with a trout in its beak. These 
tactics were only undertaken when the sun was at a certain altitude to, 
I suppose, cast the shadow of the birds at a certain angle on the sandy 
bottom, and thus drive the fish towards the shore into shallower water. 
The sight impressed me very much at the time. 

Mr Dansey states that brown trout afford little sport to anglers 
except in unpleasant weather. He further adds that : 

Brown trout are now only occasionally seen or caught in the Rotorua 
Lake. They commenced to disappear after the introduction of the Rainbow. 
Some ascribe this disappearance to the fact that the two species spawn at a 
different time; for the Rainbow, being a much stronger and more active 
fish, disturbed the Brown when thus engaged, and the ova failed to be 
fertilised. I have never seen a cross between a Brown and a Rainbow 
Trout ; but I have between a Brown and a Fontinalis, with the red spots 
enlarged to the size of a threepenny piece 1 . 

1 The relative merits of different kinds of trout for inland waters are thus 
recorded by Ernest Phillips in Trout in Lakes and Reservoirs (p. 36). " I have a 
record of a reservoir in which 6000 fish were put down, all two years old. There 
were 2000 brown, 2000 Levens, and 2000 rainbows. The next season we started 
fishing, knowing there were 6000 trout to go at. The season's catch was 450 brown 
trout, 301 Loch Levens, and only 85 rainbows. The brown trout and the Levens 
were much alike, many of them up to r Ib. each, and a few over, but all the rainbows 
were i Ib., several reached 2 Ibs., and a few were actually z\ Ibs. It will be seen, 
therefore, that the brown trout provided the best and the most consistent sport. 
Rainbows gave the heaviest fish, but they were erratic and disappointing. They 
would be on the feed for a day or two and then vanish from view, and it was no 
uncommon experience for a whole week to elapse and not a single rainbow be 
returned to the keeper's list, though fifty or more of the other two varieties were 
caught in the same length of time. As for Loch Levens, I believe it is a fact that 
they do not grow to as great a weight as brown trout or rainbows, and that a fish 
of 4 to 5 Ibs. is a monster. At any rate, searching through another keeper's book 
and taking a period of five years to allow for good and bad seasons, I find that only 
60 Levens were killed over 2 Ibs. as against 225 brown trout, and 74 rainbows." 


*Lochleven Trout (Salmo fario, var. levenensis) 

It is perhaps owing to its isolation, and consequent in-breeding 
in a small Scotch lake, that this variety of Salmo fario is a more 
delicate fish, and more difficult to transport than the common and 
dominant variety. This characteristic seems in some respects to have 
been overcome in fish reared in New Zealand, but it was apparently 
in evidence in the case of ova brought from Scotland. 

In 1882 a shipment of ova was made by Sir James Maitland on 
behalf of the Otago Society, but they were all dead on arrival in 
Melbourne. A second shipment in the following year from the same 
source shared the same fate. A third attempt made in December, 
1883, was more successful, and the ova were divided between the 
Otago and Wellington Societies, 1700 fry being hatched out at Opoho 
Ponds, and about 800 at Masterton. Both societies distributed a 
portion of their stock, and kept a portion in their ponds for breeding. 
From these, great numbers of fry have been distributed right 
throughout the South Island, and in the North Island from Wel- 
lington to Mt Egmont. 

In 1887 the 'Tongariro' brought 40,000 ova, half of which went 
to the Wellington Society and the rest to Canterbury. The former lot 
hatched out about 15,000 fry, and the latter less than 10,000. In 1889 
a further lot of 27,000 ova arrived by the 'Aorangi' in Wellington. 

Altogether nearly 700,000 fry of this species have been distributed 
throughout New Zealand, of which over 470,000 came from the 
Otago Society. 

* Scotch Burn Trout (Salmo fario, var. samardit) 

In 1885 the Otago Society received 15,000 ova from Scotland, 
from which only 1700 fry were hatched out. The mortality among 
these was so great that there were only 490 survivors at the end of 
the year. Fifty of these were sent to Mr Pillans of the Lower Clutha, 
and 40 to A. M. Johnson of Opawa. The rest were retained in the 
ponds. Fifty more were distributed in 1886, and the balance were 
kept for breeding purposes; 700 fry being liberated in 1887, and 
14,300 in 1888-89. The number annually distributed rose to 154,000 
in 1897-98, but has varied from 50,000 to 120,000 in subsequent 
years. The total number of fish distributed from the Otago Ponds 
to the end of season 1919 Qist March) has been over 2,000,000. The 
Southland and Canterbury Societies have reared and liberated a few 
thousand; as did the Wellington Society till about 1898, since when 
they seem to have devoted all their attention to rainbow and brown 


*Lake Blagdon Trout (Salmo fario, var.) 

This fish is only a brown trout, and it is questionable even if 
it is varietally different from the common form of Salmo fario. Lake 
Blagdon is an artificial reservoir in the heart of Somersetshire, 
England, which supplies Bristol with water. It was stocked originally 
with brown, Lochleven and rainbow trout, and more of the latter 
have been taken in the lake than any of the others. The fish grew 
at a phenomenal rate, and in 1904 the reservoir sprung into celebrity 
among trout fishers in Britain owing to the size of the fish which were 
taken, the average weight for that year being 5 Ib. 6 ozs. each. 
Individual fish were taken up to 8 and 9 Ib. each. (Though not stated, 
it is probable that the great average weight was raised by the rainbows, 
which grew more rapidly than the others.) The reputation of these 
fish drew anglers to the lake from all parts of the kingdom, so that 
the waters were very heavily fished, and the average weight fell. 
But the record still remains unbeaten by any other water in Britain. 
The Otago Society introduced ova of the brown trout from Lake 
Blagdon some years ago, and began to liberate fry and yearlings in 
1908. Since then up to 1920 they have liberated altogether some 
950,000 fish in Otago waters. 

Alpine Char (Salmo (Salvelinus) alpinus) 

Among the many kinds of fish which Mr A.M. Johnson of Opawa 
attempted to bring out to New Zealand in 1864, were a number of 
char. He does not indicate the species," except that the fish were 
European, and not the American Salmo fontinalis. They therefore 
almost certainly were alpine char, which were obtainable at various 
ponds in England at the time of shipment. Mr Johnson lost nearly 
all his fish from lead-poisoning, due to the carelessness of one of the 

In 1887 a shipment of 25,000 ova was brought to Wellington by 
the 'Tongariro,' but (as is stated at p. 211) it was mixed up with two 
other lots of ova, and none of the trays was labelled. The shipment 
was also in very bad condition, smelling offensively, and with a 
large number of the ova dead. All the eggs supposed to be of this 
species were handed over to the Wellington Society. Rutherford 
wrote on 3ist May, 1887: "the small white ova, supposed to be 
Alpine Char, were in a very bad condition, and only about twenty 
sickly fish hatched out, three of which are still alive." Mr Ayson, 
Inspector of Fisheries, who was then in charge of the Wellington 
Society's ponds, says: "The few fish which were hatched at the 
Masterton Hatchery were put into one of the deepest, coldest ponds, 
but they did not thrive well and died off within twelve months." 


German Lake Trout (Salmo (Salvelinus) umbld) 
In 1868 the Otago Society received 6000 eggs of this species by 
the ' Celestial Queen.' These were taken to the ponds at Opoho and 
hatched out there, but I cannot trace their subsequent history. This 
is the "Ombre chevalier" of the Swiss lakes. 

* American Brook Trout or Char (Salmo (Salvelinus) fontinalis) 

Mr A. M. Johnson of Opawa, who came out to Christchurch 
in 1864, claimed that the first Salmo fontinalis were brought out at 
his expense. I have no means of verifying the accuracy of this state- 
ment, but he certainly received a considerable stock of eggs from 
New York (via San Francisco) in March, 1877. From these a large 
stock of fish was obtained, and they were sold to many parts of the 
colony. Thus, in 1883, the Canterbury Society purchased 100 fry 
from him. In 1884 the Auckland Society obtained a small lot from 
him, and liberated them at Western Springs; and in 1885 the Otago 
Society got 50 fry, which were kept in their ponds and were reported 
to be doing well. 

In 1877 the Auckland Society received 5000 ova from Mr T. 
Russell of San Francisco. From these 400 fry were hatched out, of 
which half were liberated in a tributary of the Waikato near 
Cambridge ; and half in the Kaukapakapa stream, Kaipara. 

In 1880 the Wellington Society placed 250 fry in a tributary of 
the Hutt River, but there is no record as to where they came from. 
In 1 88 1 they liberated a further lot of 220 in the same stream and these 
were obtained from Christchurch presumably from Mr Johnson. In 
the same year they placed 900 fry in the Makara and Ohariu streams. 

In 1883 the Canterbury Society received 25,000 ova in January 
from Mr R. J. Creighton of San Francisco, and in February a second 
lot of 10,000. Unfortunately all the eggs in both shipments were dead. 

In 1884 the Auckland Society received 30,000 ova from San 
Francisco, but again all were dead. 

In 1887 the 'Kaikoura' brought 30,000 ova from the Solway 
Fisheries to Wellington, but only about 4000 arrived in good con- 
dition, for they travelled in the cool chamber and not in one of the 
insulated cases. About 2500 healthy fry resulted, of which between 
500 and 600 were retained at the hatchery at Masterton, and the rest 
were distributed in various streams. 

These appear to be all the direct shipments received from home 
or America; the other societies obtained their supplies from Christ- 
church chiefly. 

Thus in 1885 the Otago Society received 400 young fry from the 
Canterbury Society. These were placed in the boxes at Opoho, but 


serious mortality set in, and at the end of two days only 20 
survived. The stock in the ponds increased however and spawned, 
for in 1886 1400 fry were turned out, in 1887 over 18,000, and the 
numbers went on increasing. The Society still liberate several 
thousand each year, and from the date of their first introduction till 
3ist March, 1915, have sent out to many streams in Otago about 
800,000 fish. In the Otago Daily Times of loth June, 1891, the fol- 
lowing statement appeared : 

The fish at Opoho and Clinton are attacked by a disease, which Dr Scott 
(Professor of Anatomy in Otago University) considered closely corresponded 
with cancer in mammals. Mr Deans stated that while confined to Salmo 
fontinalis in the Otago Society's ponds, it was similar to one which attacked 
the Rhine trout in the Wairarapa ponds. Dr Scott said it was a fatal 
and malignant spreading tumour in the throat. 

In 1887 the Southland Society received ova or fry, presumably 
from Christchurch, and for a few years turned out a few thousand 
in the Oreti and various tributary streams. Altogether only some 
33,000 fry have been liberated in Southland. 

The Taranaki Society also got ova from Canterbury in 1887 and 
liberated 600 young fish in one or two streams. 

The Canterbury Society up to 1915 had liberated about 175,000 
young fish. The Wellington Society up to 1899 had liberated about 

Salmo fontinalis has not thriven as was expected by those who 
introduced it, for it is a smaller species than most of the others and is 
not able to compete against them. 

Mr Stevens of the Clinton Hatchery tells me that there are a 
number of small streams in Central Otago in which this species 
thrives, but there are no brown trout among them. He says: 

I have liberated thousands of these fish both fry and yearlings but 
seldom hear of any being caught by anglers. I have no hesitation in saying 
the tendency is for these fish to disappear from streams already stocked 
with Brown Trout. 

In the upper waters of the Hedgehope stream which rises in Bushy 
Park Station in Southland this species is found in abundance, but 
it is in sole possession. It is also found in a small stream called the 
Back Creek on the east side of the Blue Mountains in Otago. 

The Hawera Society liberated 5000 fish in their district in 1890, 
but resolved in the following year to get no more, but to devote 
their attention to brown and rainbow trout. 

A small number were liberated in the Rotorua district in 1890. 
In the Horohoro stream, a small tributary of the Waikato, they did 
so well that in about five years they afforded capital sport, many 


fish of 4 Ib. and even 5 Ib. in weight being secured with the minnow. 
Unfortunately some years later a flood of exceptional severity swept 
everything before it down the valley of the Horohoro, including nearly 
all the trout, and so few were subsequently caught or seen, that in 
1899 the stream was restocked with rainbow trout by Mr Dansey. 
Mr Wilfred Howell of Cave, near Timaru, sends me the following 
interesting facts about S.fontinalis in South Canterbury (Aug. 1916). 

This fish was turned out in the Pareora a good many years ago. In this 
river there is a dam for the Timaru water-works, which it is impossible 
for fish to climb, as there is no fish-ladder. Fontinalis were, as far as I 
know, turned in both above and below this dam. Below the dam, with 
the exception of three holes just above the falls, there is no sign of these 
fish. The habit of the fish is apparently to go up stream as far as they can 
go. At the head waters, up the hills, all the bush creeks are full of them. 
In fact all streams running into the Pareora have them after they reach 
the bush. I have caught them up to 3 Ibs. weight, but they mostly run 
about 8 or 9 inches. They also occur in the Hinds river about thirty 
or forty miles above Ashburton, but also only in the head-water creeks, 
and only when there is plenty of cover. In my opinion these fish will not 
spread on account of their habit of always climbing up stream. 

I am of opinion that they occasionally cross with the Brown Trout; 
I have caught fish that gave me the impression that they were certainly 

As far as sport is concerned I think that Fontinalis are a failure; they 
are too easily caught. They will take almost anything from a red leaf 
pulled through the water to a minnow. They will take meat, part of 
another fish's gill, and any fly with much red hackle on it. When hooked 
they have only one good run in them, and then you can pull them wherever 
you want them. 

1 In the Bulletin of the U.S. Fish Commission for 1887 (vol. vn), in a paper 
on "American Fish cultivated by the National Fish Culture Association of England," 
by W. Oldham Chambers, the following statement is made regarding this species: 
" It is with reluctance that we omit from this list the American brook trout, Salmo 
Jontinalis, which has had an excellent chance of asserting its qualifications for 
introduction into our group of Salmonidce, but has failed to do so, except in confined 
waters. Its first appearance in this country was heralded with jubilant anticipations ; 
its capacities for rapid growth were hailed as a good omen, and its gorgeous dress 
and graceful form won golden opinions from all piscatorial classes, who willingly 
paid large sums of money for what was then considered the coming trout. Gradually, 
however, its true character appeared, and now it is universally regarded as a fish 
not to be depended upon. No authority rebuts the evidence forthcoming as to 
its suitability to British waters, if inclosed, nor as to its value as an addition to our 
fresh-water fish. The sole cause, and a very grave cause it is, for its denunciation 
is that it escapes from those places where it is turned in. Before finally discarding 
this unique char it behoves us to question more closely than we have yet done its 
habits, instincts, and the nature of its native home, in order to render it full justice. 
Probably the waters in which it has been placed have not been suitable, and this 
assumption certainly seems justified by the fact of the fish wandering as it does. 
The question naturally arises as to where it goes. Does it find suitable places in 
its wanderings ? Does it descend to the sea, or does it pine and perish for lack of 
natural conditions ? If death explains the mystery, which is hardly likely, we have 
at once a solution ; but if not, it is difficult to say what has become of the thousands 


Mr C. J. Peters also states that this species was liberated in streams 
in the Mount Somers district about 1880, where they throve remark- 
ably, and all the creeks are at the present time well stocked with them. 

* Rainbow Trout (Salmo (Salvelinus) irideus) 

In 1883 the Auckland Society introduced a quantity of ova from 
which about 4000 fry were hatched out. These were distributed in 
four streams in the neighbourhood of Auckland. 

In 1884 another and larger importation was made. According to 
Mr Cheeseman this shipment was referred to as American brook 
trout, and the name was kept up in the two subsequent reports. It 
was not till 1886-87 that it received its proper name. Mr Cheeseman 
states (Aug. 1915) "I believe that the whole of the wild stock of 
Rainbow Trout in New Zealand has been derived from the Auckland 
Society's introductions." 

The Auckland Society have liberated many millions of fish but 
their annual reports do not enable one to ascertain with any approxima- 
tion to accuracy the total number. It probably exceeds 10,000,000. 

The Canterbury Society received ova from Auckland in 1 885 , and of 
the fry reared, distributed some and retained others as breeding stock. 
Up to 1915 they had liberated in various streams about i ,200,000 fish. 

The Wellington Society got a number of young fish from Auckland 
in 1891 ; many of these were deformed. Some 900 of them were 
placed in a rearing-box into which a large eel managed to find its 
way, and only left 12 alive when it was discovered. In the following 
year a number more were obtained, and distribution of the fish 
throughout the provincial district was commenced, and carried on 
vigorously for nearly 12 years, rearing in the ponds being discon- 
tinued in 1905. This was owing to a disease 1 of the gills which 
attacked the breeding stock in 1903, and increased to such an extent 
as to discourage the authorities from breeding any more. Mean- 
while the Society had liberated nearly 2,800,000 fish. 

In 1895 tne Otego Society received from the Wellington Society 
5000 ova which hatched out only moderately well on account of being 
obtained from immature fish. Ultimately 1500 were liberated in the 
Waipahi, and 400 retained for breeding purposes. During the last 
20 years they have liberated over 500,000 fish. Among other localities 
Lake Hawea is particularly well stocked with them. 

turned out into our English streams. In America the brook trout is regarded as 
a home-loving species therefore it seems somewhat likely that we have not yet 
provided the domestic comforts to which it is habituated. The suggestion, at least, 
is worth studying, and the Association still has these fish under culture, not being 
convinced of their unsuitability for inclosed waters." 

1 Mr Deans of the Opoho Hatchery, Dunedin, considered that this was similar 
to the cancer which attacked Salmo fontinalis in the Otago Society's ponds. 


The Southland Society began to liberate fry in 1900, but appear 
to have discontinued in 1904, after some 40,000 fish had been liberated, 
mostly in the Makarewa. 

The Hawke's Bay Society began distributing fry in 1900, and 
liberated up to 1915 about 750,000 fish. 

The Westland Society, which liberated altogether over 500,000 
fish, in 1907 declined an offer of eggs from the Tourist Department 
" on account of rainbow trout failing to do well in this district." 

Some of my informants have stated that this species cannot hold 
its own against the brown trout, for A. J. Rutherford who knows the 
North Island trout streams very well, says (in 1901): "the only 
stream I know which is well-stocked is the Tahuna-atara stream 
between Rotorua and Taupo, which is full of them, and contains 
no brown trout." 

The President of the Southland Society states : 

there is only one authenticated case of a rainbow trout having been found 
(in Southland), and that was in a poor starved condition. Fishermen 
attribute the destruction of these fish to the brown trout. 

Mr A. C. Henderson, Hon. Sec. of the Waimarino Society, reports 
(1915) that about 1900, two settlers, Messrs Nathan and Robertson, 
turned out a number of brown trout in the Makotuku stream but 
reported them as all dead. In 1903, however, some fairly large fish 
were found to be in the stream, and they have increased steadily since : 

At first this increase of brown trout was viewed with satisfaction and the 
Society went on liberating both rainbow and brown trout until 1908, 
when it became evident that in the streams thus stocked, the rainbow 
trout gradually disappeared and the brown trout increased. Profiting by 
this experience the Society does not now liberate rainbows in the same 
stream where there are brown trout. The southern streams of the district, 
with one exception, have been given over to brown trout. 

The opposite opinion is held by Mr Bell of Hawera, who informs 
me that rainbow trout dominate and are too strong for brown trout. 
The former go up the streams and occupy the head waters, while 
at the river mouths, brown trout chiefly are found. 

Mr C. P. M. Butterworth states that in the Tongariro River which 
runs into Lake Taupo, he has caught only brown trout in a certain 
pool, when the river was in flood and muddy, and the very next 
day in the same pool, when the water was clear, has taken only rain- 
bows. He is of opinion that the rainbow prefer the lake and only 
move up stream on the approach of the spawning season. They give 
very much better sport than the brown trout. 

In many Otago streams both brown and rainbow trout will be 
taken in the same stream in the same day. In Lake Hawea the same 



thing happens. This is the evidence of Mr Mclntosh, President of 
the Otago Society (in 1916); but against this Mr Steven, Curator of 
the Clinton Hatchery, states (i 2th June, 1916) : " I know of no stream in 
the South Island in which brown and rainbow Trout thrive together." 

On the other hand Mr W. P. Cotter informs me that in Lake 
Hawea both brown and rainbow trout have been taken in the same 
net and are known to favour the same creeks and spawning grounds. 

In netting for trout in Lake Hawea in July (1916) only brown trout 
were taken in the lake itself, 150 fish in one haul. But in a trap set 
in Timaru Creekwhich runs into the lake, ten rainbowswere captured. 

Mr J. King of Hokitika says that rainbows are difficult to keep in 
confinement after two years of age, as they are exceptionally liable 
to gill-disease. 

Mr Dansey, who was largely responsible for stocking Lake Rotorua 
with this species, distributed most of the fry as soon as they were 
free of the yolk sac, as they carried better and stood more knocking 
about and in greater numbers at that stage than at any other. 

Size of fish and rate of growth. Mr lies states that the largest 
fish taken out of Lake Taupo weighed 21 Ib. and that they are 
frequently netted up to 20 Ib. 

Mr W. P. Cotter informs me that in Lake Hawea, fry were first 
liberated about November, 1911, and that in less than two years 
later rainbow trout of 10 Ib. weight were taken in nets set along the 
shallow beaches. He adds: 

The fact of trout of this weight having been secured caused a discussion 
as to whether they had entered the lake from the sea, as it was not considered 
possible that such growth could be attained in the time mentioned. Against 
this theory it is merely necessary to state that, roughly speaking the lake 
is nearly 200 miles away from the sea, the winding Molyneux the only 
connecting link, that no rainbow trout had been netted in previous years, 
and that in practically virgin waters for one particular species trout might 
thrive for a brief space beyond the expectations of the most sanguine. 

The following appeared in the Dunedin Evening Star in Aug. 1913 : 
A 13 Ib. male rainbow trout, suicidally trapped at Lake Hawea during 
ova-stripping, has been sent to the Otago Acclimatisation Society and will 
be stuffed and placed among the office trophies. The rainbow trout, as 
fry an inch long, were put into Hawea five years ago, and the finding 
of such a well-grown and healthy specimen is proof that the fish are getting 
good food and thriving in this lake. Up North the rainbow is reckoned a 
splendid sporting fish, and the flesh is excellent eating. 

Mr A. C. Henderson states that "in one virgin stream (in the 
Waimarino district) we liberated 200 fry, and two years afterwards 
the average fish taken was 3 Ibs. in weight." Mr C. P. M. 
Butterworth informs me that fry hatched in 1914 were liberated in 


Lake Onslow, a large artificial lake or dam near Roxburgh, in the 
following year. In 1916 one was caught which weighed 3 Ib. 14 oz. 
There is reason to believe that the growth in the larger lakes at the 
beginning of stocking was much more rapid. Mr Dansey states that 
some caught in the Waikato River weighed from 7 to 8 Ib. within four 
years from the liberation of the fry 1 . 

Speaking of rainbow trout in South Canterbury, Mr Wilfred 
Howell says: 

In the rivers they are not doing much good, as they seem to go down to 
the sea soon after being turned in, and no big fish ever come into the rivers 
from the sea. In the lakes, however, especially Lake Alexandrina in the 
MacKenzie country, they are doing very well indeed. Some were put 
in there five years ago as yearlings, and last month (July, 1916) three were 
caught, the largest 17 Ibs., the smallest 14 Ibs. 

The increase of these fish in the inland lakes of the North Island 
was so great that in 1913 the Government decided to take over the 
administration of the inland fisheries, and, in co-operation with the 
acclimatisation societies throughout the dominion, to endeavour to 
improve the condition of affairs. In Rotorua and Taupo the fish had 
deteriorated greatly, and measures were at once taken to reduce the 
number in the lakes. This was done in Rotorua by means of barriers 
in two of the largest rivers, and by netting traps and drag-nets in 
other streams. In Taupo all were taken by means of traps and nets. 

For the three years ending 3ist May, 1916, the total number of 
ill-conditioned fish taken and destroyed was as follows: 

1913-14 1914-15 191516 Totals 

Number Tons Number Tons Number Tons Number Tons 
Rotorua 18,271 19-3 14,941 20-7 25,243 22-5 58,455 62-5 
Taupo 2,830 4-6 12,779 2 7' 15.674 27-9 31,283 59-6 

The total number of good fish taken out and sold for the same 
period amounts to the following: 

1913-14 1914-15 1915-16 Totals 

Number Tons Number Tons Number Tons Number Tons 
Rotorua 25,851 15-9 28,460 18-2 35,464 20-5 89,775 54-6 
Taupo 6,243 "-o n,574 22'3 l6 ,i37 22-5 33,954 55-8 

1 Ernest Phillips, author of Trout in Lakes and Reservoirs, says (p. 37) : " Rainbows 
are no use at all for rivers. They disappear down to the sea very soon after they 
have been liberated. It might be thought that the Rainbow would find it hard to 
exercise this faculty for getting away from lakes and reservoirs and ponds, but it 
is apparently just as easy for a stock of Rainbows to disappear from a fenced and 
walled-in reservoir as it is from an open river. Until this was discovered there 
had been a great run on Rainbow trout, and thousands upon thousands had been 
turned down in municipal reservoirs. But when reservoirs had been stocked with 
countless numbers, and, after two or three years they were drained and found to 
be empty, a reaction set in." 


The marketable value of these fish for the three years named was 
1865, 1513, 1217. 

So that out of those two lakes there have been taken in these 
three years 213,467 fish weighing 23 2| tons. 

To still further keep up the fisheries and to renew the stock 
already in the lakes the Rotorua Hatchery has sold or distributed 
within recent years, 3,330,000 ova and 1,896,000 fry. 

With the object of improving the condition of the fish some 250,000 
native shrimps (Xiphocaris curvirostris) were caught in the Waikato 
River in 1908, and were liberated at suitable places in the lakes. In 
1909 another 185,000 were liberated, and another large quantity in 
1912. Since the Department of Internal Affairs took charge of the 
fisheries, 280,000 shrimps have been brought from the Waikato and 
placed in Lake Rotorua, and a further 110,000 in Lake Taupo; all 
in sheltered places. I question very much whether this expensive 
mode of feeding the trout has any permanent value. If the shrimps 
are placed in waters to which trout have no access, but from which 
they can escape into the trout-frequented areas, then they might form 
a permanent food supply. Otherwise they will simply be eaten up as 
quickly as they are liberated. Some more scientific method of feeding 
and of conserving the food supply should be adopted. 

Mr C. Chitty of Cambridge (according to Mr Jas. Drummond, 
Aug. 1914) says that in the Waikato, the native grayling used to ascend 
the river in thousands every spring. They were not seen after 1875, 
though the mullet continued to ascend. He blames the rainbow trout, 
but as a matter of fact these fish were not introduced into the Auckland 
district before 1883. 

* Mackinaw Trout; Great American Lake Trout 
(Salmo (Cristivomer) Namaycush) 

In 1906 Mr L. F. Ayson at the request of the Tourist Depart- 
ment brought a case of eggs of this species from America. They 
were hatched out at the Christchurch Society's Hatchery, and 4000 
fry were liberated in Lakes Pearson and Grassmere. Another lot of 
4000 were taken over to the west coast, with the intention of placing 
them in Lake Kanieri, but Mr Jas. King of Hokitika reports (July, 
1916), that owing to the carelessness of the curator then in charge 
of the hatchery they were all lost. Those in the Canterbury lakes have 
been caught by anglers during the last two or three years. Mr E. F. 
Stead, writing in April, 1916, says: 

The Mackinaw Trout are apparently thriving in Lake Pearson, as several 
have been caught weighing about 10 Ibs. As the lake is but little fished, 
this would indicate that there must be a fair number of these fish there. 


Lake Tahoe Trout (Salmo clarkii Tahoensis) 

The Auckland Society received 30,000 ova from Mr T. Russell 
in 1878. About 3000 fry hatched out, but only 1000 survived. Of 
these, part were placed in Lake Omapere, part in Lake Waikare, 
and a few in the Onehunga Springs. No one has any knowledge 
about them to-day ; they do not appear to have established themselves. 

There is some confusion about the identification of this fish and 
the succeeding species. The name I have given above is that furnished 
by Mr Ayson, Chief Inspector of Fisheries, who says that it is a 
species which runs up to 20 or 30 Ib. weight in Lake Tahoe and other 
lakes in the Sierra Nevada. He adds: "No other result could be 
expected from these fish when turned out in water like Lakes Omapere 
and Waikare, and the Onehunga Springs." 

Black-spotted Trout (Salmo henshawii) 

The report of the Auckland Society for 1885-86 states that ova 
of this species were received from San Francisco, "which were reared 
to maturity in the Society's ponds, producing fry, some quantity of 
which was liberated. They either disappeared, or merged with the 
Rainbow Trout." 

No one seems to have taken the trouble to look after the fish, 
once it had been successfully introduced. 

* Californian Salmon ; Quinnat Salmon ; King Salmon ; Chinook 
(Salmo quinnat; Onchorhynchus tschawytscha) 

The quinnat, like the brown trout, has been a great success in 
acclimatisation work. The species is now thoroughly established on 
the east coast of the South Island, and its range is being very steadily 

The Hawke's Bay Society was the first to take steps to introduce 
this fish into New Zealand, and through Dr Spencer F. Baird, Chair- 
man of the United States Fishery Commission, a shipment was 
despatched to Napier in 1875. Unfortunately it never reached its 
destination. The steamship having it on board went direct to Sydney, 
and failing to obtain a fresh supply of ice there, it was found on the 
trip to Auckland that the ova had begun to hatch out. To save them 
from total loss, Mr J. C. Firth took a portion of the eggs and placed 
them in the Auckland Society's ponds; the result was that out of 
20,000 ova which arrived, about 10,000 were placed in the Waikato 
and the upper tributaries of the River Thames. The remainder were 
placed in the hatching-boxes; about 1450 fry were forwarded to the 
Thames, Wairoa and Tauranga districts, though the loss, due to the 


heat of the season, was very great. About 1000 fry were retained in 

In 1876 a very large shipment arrived, which included 84,000 
eggs for the Government, a large parcel (the number not specified) 
for Auckland, 60,000 for Napier, and a quantity for the Canterbury 

The Government supply was sent to Southland, where Mr Howard 
reported loth March, 1877: 

The salmon were a most unqualified success; very nearly 18,000 have 
now been turned out, and about 200 kept for observation. All those turned 
out have been taken as far as possible up the Oreti, and placed chiefly 
in the five rivers at Lowther. 

I do not know what was done with the 60,000 ova for Napier, 
the records appear to have been lost. 

The Auckland Society hatched out about 20,000 fry, of which 
10,000 were placed in the Waikato, 3000 in the Tuakau, 2000 in the 
Mahurangi River, and 600 in the Southern Wairoa. A thousand 
sent to the Whakatane River were lost in transit. Apparently the 
Wellington Society received 400 fry from this lot (or from Napier), 
and these were liberated in the Hutt River, seven miles from the mouth. 

The Canterbury Society received 100,000 ova, which it was stated 
hatched out about 90 per cent. ; but they only distributed some 20,000, 
which were liberated in the Waimakariri, Hurunui, Rangitata, Little 
River, Rakaia, Avon and Ashley. 

In 1877 a big order for ova was sent to America, but owing to 
some bungling between the societies (which were always trying to 
act independently) and the Government, only n boxes arrived at 
Auckland, instead of 20 which were expected. Some were retained, 
and the others distributed to Nelson, Greymouth, Canterbury, 
Otago and Southland. 

The Auckland Society received 100,000 ova, and distributed them 
as follows : 40,000 in the Punui River in the King Country, 8000 in 
the Thames, 7000 in a small stream near Wairoa North, and 43,000 
in the Mangakahia River. About 95 per cent, were said to have hatched 
out. But this placing of ova in the rivers was rather a stupid procedure 
in face of the constant menace from eels and shags. Presumably 
the Auckland Society did not have proper ponds for dealing with 
large quantities of eggs. 

The Wellington Society again received some fry, about 1700, in 
this year, though it is not stated where they came from, and liberated 
them in the Hutt, in the Manawatu River in the gorge, 35 miles 
from the sea, in the Wairau, 15 miles up, and in the Wanganui, 
ten miles from the mouth. 


The Nelson Society received 25,000 and placed them in the 
Motueka and Wairoa Rivers. The Marlborough Society appear to 
have received 500 fry, but where from, I cannot find. Probably they 
are the same as are referred to in the preceding paragraph as having 
been liberated in the Wairau. 

The Grey Society received a box of ova, presumably 25,000 eggs, 
and these were placed in the Grey River. 

The Canterbury Society received 50,000 ova, and hatched out 
between 30,000 and 40,000 fry. Of these 10,000 were placed in the 
Waimakariri, 10,000 in the Rangitata, and smaller lots in the Shag, 
Hurunui and Heathcote. In 1880 three years later three fish were 
caught in the Waimakariri, weighing 8 lb., 5^ lb., and 4^ Ib. respec- 
tively. These were considered by many to be true quinnat salmon, 
but to make sure it was resolved to get a true quinnat from America 
either in spirits or in ice. However, with the lack of continuity which 
characterised so much of the work of the acclimatisation societies, 
this was never done, and the identification was not made. 

The Otago Society shipment appears to have numbered 50,000, 
and it hatched out pretty well, for 13,000 fry were liberated in the 
Kakanui River, and 18,000 in the Waipahi. 

The Southland Society received 100,000 ova, and placed 35,000 
fry in the Oreti, 18,000 in the Makarewa (a tributary), and 10,000 
in the Waipahi. Howard stated that the young fish were exceedingly 
healthy and strong. 

On ist February, 1878, the Colonial Secretary writing to the 
Governor states: 

the half million salmon ova which arrived in November last have been 
successfully hatched and distributed to the different rivers of the colony ; 
and that, owing to the extreme care with which the ova were packed, about 
95 per cent, hatched out. In addition to the half-million sent at the request 
of the Government, an equal quantity has been sent to the various 
Acclimatisation Societies without charge. 

In 1878 the Auckland Society imported 100,000 ova, and these 
were deposited in the tributaries of the Upper Thames, where numbers 
of young fry were seen. Those placed in the Thames and in the 
Waikato in 1876 and 1877 had also been seen, and the report con- 
cludes that "the full stocking of both these streams is now little more 
than a question of time." As a matter of fact the fish were never heard 
of or seen again. 

In 1880 the Wellington Society liberated some 4600 fry in the 
Hutt River, probably from Auckland ova. 

Nothing further in the way of introducing ova was done for many 
years. All these early experiments failed, and though an occasional 


doubtful fish was taken, as recorded below, the species did not succeed 
anywhere in establishing itself. 

The Canterbury Society's report of 1885 states that a fish found 
dead in the Avon in February, 1884, was "identified by Dr Bean, 
Ichthyologist of the Washington Museum, as a Californian Salmon.'* 

In its issue of 2ist August, 1895, the North Otago Times con- 
gratulates Mr George Dennison of Hilderthorpe, on being the first 
angler to capture a properly identified true salmon in New Zealand 
waters. The salmon was taken in the Waitaki River. This paragraph 
was evidently based on the following correspondence. The Field of 
20th July contained an account of four fish sent from the Waitaki 
Acclimatisation Society to the Editor, who passed them on to Dr 
Giinther and Mr Boulenger Nos. i, 2, and 3 were identified as 
belonging to Salmofario. Of No. 4 from the Waitaki River they say : 
"The specimen (length 29 in.; girth 15 in.; weight 9! Ibs.) was a 
female with well-developed ova; it was not the English Salmo salar, 
but undoubtedly an American species, but which one has not yet 
been decided." In The Field of 27th July, Dr Giinther further writes : 

In the editorial note (to previous letter) you assume that one of the 
specimens sent to you and examined by myself is Salmo quinnat, commonly 
called " California Salmon." This specimen differs so much from the others 
of the same consignment, in the form of the head and its component parts, 
in the shape of the body and tail, as well as in coloration, that I must 
consider it to have a different origin than the other specimens, which, in 
fact, I regard as beautifully grown specimens 'of Salmofario. It is certainly 
not a Salmo salar (as I think I demonstrated to Mr Tegetmeier), neither 
is it Salmo quinnat, which has a many-rayed anal fin, and is readily recog- 
nised. Being told that Californian Salmonoids had been introduced into 
the Waitaki waters, I consider it probable that that specimen might 
represent one of the numerous species of Salmo of the west coast of America, 
with which I am very imperfectly acquainted. 

After a lapse of several years, during which no importations were 
made, the Government took up the matter seriously and a continuous 
policy was entered on. 

Early in January, 1901 , a shipment of 500,000 quinnat-salmon ova 
was received from California, a gift from the United States Fish 
Commission, and of this a portion was sent up to Hakataramea, and 
the balance to Lake Ohau. In the following year 23,600 yearlings 
were liberated in tributaries of the Waitaki, and 20,000 retained in 
the ponds. In 1903 12,000 twenty-months old, and 20,000 twenty- 
six-months old, were liberated in the Hakataramea River. 

In January, 1904, 300,000 ova were received from the United States 
as a gift, and 98 per cent, hatched out. But evidently there were 
far more received, for during the year, 5000 three-and-a-half-year-old 


quinnatwere liberated in the Hakataramea, while in 1905 the numbers 
set free were 448 four-year old, 12,000 one-year old, 224,252 eight- 
months old, and 162,613 three-months old. In December, 1905, a 
fish believed to be a salmon was caught in the Waitaki and submitted 
to Sir James Hector, who said it was a true salmon grilse, probably 
belonging to Onchorhynchus quinnat, but he was unable to determine 
the species with certainty at that early stage. 

In 1906 another shipment of 500,000 ova was procured from the 
United States, Mr L. F. Ayson going to San Francisco for them. 
Half of these were taken to Lake Ohau, and 245,000 fry hatched out, 
which were liberated as soon as they absorbed the yolk sac. The other 
half were equally successful at Hakataramea, 224,833 fry hatching 
out. In addition to the foregoing there were liberated in the Hakata- 
ramea River 73 five-year-old, 12,587 two-year-old, and 53,378 one- 
year-old fish. 

On 6th June, 1906, Sir James Hector received a fish from Haka- 
taramea of which he wrote: "The fish sent is a true Pacific Salmon 
(Onchorhynchus quinnai), being a female of about 16 Ibs. weight." On 
29th June he reported on three more fish from the same river. One 
was a male, 25 in. long, weighing 6 lb., the second a female 22 in. 
long, and 5^ lb. in weight; and the third (probably only a three- 
year-old fish) was 17 in. long, and only i| lb. in weight. He thought 
it probable that all these fish, which were all in bad condition when 
received, belonged to O. quinnat. Both the Secretary of the Waitaki 
Society and the Collector of Customs at Oamaru stated that fish, 
supposed to be salmon, had been taken in the Waitaki and in Oamaru 
harbour by fishermen; those identified by Sir James Hector being 
of the number. These captures seemed to establish the fact that the 
fish were now returning to the river to spawn, and that the naturalisa- 
tion of the species was secured. 

In 1907 Mr Ayson again went over to San Francisco and brought 
back 500,000 ova, which reached Hakataramea on 8th April; and 
from these 482,000 fry hatched out. During the year 62 three-year-old, 
21,282 two-year-old, and 224,647 one-year-old fish were liberated 
in the Hakataramea River; and later in the year 290,000 fry. 

The report of the Marine Department for 1906-7 states that: 

this year, fish which are undoubtedly Quinnat salmon have been caught 
in the Hakataramea River, up which they are going to spawn; and the 
Manager of the Salmon Station reports that he has seen large numbers of 
them in the river. 

During May and June the manager obtained 30,000 ova, the first 
taken in New Zealand from these fish, from which about 25,000 fry 
were obtained; of these 17,000 were liberated in the river. In 


addition to the few fish which were stripped, numbers of salmon 
were seen spawning in the side streams of the Waitaki from Station 
Peak to some distance above Kurow ; also in the Ahuriri River higher 
up, in the Ohau, Haldane and Gray's Hill Creeks, and in the Mary 

In 1908 103 four-year-old, 173 three-year-old, 18,937 two-year- 
old, and 166,851 one-year-old fish were liberated in the Hakataramea 
River ; while 2000 were placed in the Selwyn River by the Canterbury 
Society. In this year more and larger fish ran into the Hakataramea, 
and 78,400 eggs were obtained. 

In 1909 43 four-year, 199 three-year, 611 two-year, and 14,624 
one-year-old fish from imported ova were liberated, together with 
8000 one-year-old and 51,000 three-months-old fish from ova pro- 
cured from river fish. The number of ova collected during the 
spawning season from running fish was 238,000. 

During the year a 5 Ib. quinnat salmon was caught near the 
mouth of the Rakaia River. This may either have come from the 
Waitaki, or have been one of the 200 fish which the Canterbury 
Society liberated in the Selwyn River in 1907. 

In 1910 only 210,000 fry were liberated from the Waitaki, owing 
to the very dry summer which preceded the spawning season, and 
the low state of the rivers. Of these, 32,000 were reared at the station 
for liberation in the Hakataramea; 25,000 ova were sent to Tasmania, 
and 150,000 to the hatchery at Kokotahi,.Westland. From this last 
lot of ova about 145,000 fry hatched out and were liberated in streams 
flowing into the Hokitika River, the stream which the Department 
decided should be stocked with this fish: 70,000 being put into the 
Harris Creek, 50,000 into Murray's Creek, and 25,000 into Duck 

There were liberated into the Hakataramea River, 126 three-year- 
old, 821 two-year-old, 23,854 one-year-old, and 22,700 fry from the 
season's ova, and into the Seaforth-MacKenzie River 3000 fry. 

The record for 1911-12 is taken from the Marine Department's 
report : 

The largest run of Quinnat salmon which has yet taken place, came up 
the Waitaki River last spawning season. They were found spawning in the 
main river itself, from a few miles up from the sea to where it branches 
off at the junction of the Ahuriri, Ohau, Pukaki, and Tekapo Rivers. 
Large numbers were seen spawning in these four large tributaries, and in 
the case of the Ohau and Pukaki they had run right through the lakes at 
the heads of these rivers, and were found spawning in the rivers beyond. 
These fish spawn in much deeper and heavier water than trout, and are 
therefore very difficult to capture for spawning purposes, as only a very 
small percentage of the fish which come in from the sea run up the smaller 


streams, such as the Hakataramea and Gray's Hills Creek, to spawn. The 
number of eggs collected last season was 240,000. These were disposed of as 
follows: 25,000 were sent to Tasmania, 157,500 to the Hokitika River, 
3000 salmon fry to the Seaforth-MacKenzie River, and the balance were 
retained at the Hakataramea Hatchery. This season the Manager reports a 
good run of salmon spawning in the Tekapo, and the collection of eggs 
for this season is now proceeded with. During the year there were liberated 
from the Hakataramea ponds: 137 three-years old, ion two-years old, 
8317 one-year old, and 12,426 four-months old fish. 

Mr Ayson's report for 1912 says: 

In point of numbers the run of salmon which spawned in the Waitaki 
River and its tributaries last season was quite equal to any of the previous 
years. The average size of the fish was, however, larger, and a peculiarity of 
the run was the very large percentage of male salmon which were captured. 
In other seasons the fish taken were about equal sexes, but last season 
nearly twice as many male fish were taken as females. Had the percentage 
of females been equal to other seasons nearly double the quantity of eggs 
would have been collected. The total quantity of eggs taken was 237,000, 
and these were disposed of as follows : 27,500 were supplied to the Tas- 
manian Government; 190,000 sent to the West Coast; 7500 retained at the 
Hakataramea Hatchery: 12,000, the loss during incubation. The salmon- 
eggs sent to the West Coast hatched out very well, and the young fish were 
planted in tributaries of the Hokitika River. It is interesting to note that 
a number of the young fish were taken in whitebait-nets in the tideway 
of the river during the early summer, showing that they maintain in this 
country the same characteristics of going to sea at an early stage of their 
existence as they do in their native country. 

The following fish were liberated from the station in October, 
1912, 503 three-years-old, and 567 two-years-old. 

In 1913 251,000 ova were collected in the tributaries of the 
Waitaki River, of which 150,000 were hatched at the Department's 
hatchery at Kokatahi and liberated in the tributaries of the Hokitika 
River, 25,000 were sent to Tasmania, 45,000 were liberated at Haka- 
taramea, and the fry of 20,000 were kept in the ponds at Hakataramea. 
Several thousand were hatched at Taupapa for the fresh-water 
aquarium at the Auckland Exhibition. 

The following is from Mr Ayson's report for 1914-16: 

A succession of floods in the Hakataramea River during the month 
of May, 1914, interfered seriously with the collection of salmon-eggs. The 
nets were washed out several times, and most of the salmon escaped up- 
stream and spawned in reaches of the river in the gorges. The manager 
at Hakataramea reports a heavier run of fish than the previous season, but 
owing to the unfavourable river-conditions the number of eggs collected 
was less. On account of the large number of salmon which escaped up 
the Hakataramea during the floods, the river was heavily stocked with 
the salmon-fry hatched from the natural spawning. In the late summer 


and autumn thousands of fine strong healthy fish were to be seen in every 
pool. The total number of eggs collected for the season was 243,000, which 
were disposed of as follows: 25,000 were supplied to the Tasmanian 
Government, 145,000 were sent to the West Coast for stocking the Hokitika 
River; 53,000 were hatched out at Hakataramea. 

During the year 41 ,000 three-months-old fry, 19,254 yearling salmon, 
580 two-year-old and 36 three-year-old fish were liberated. 

During the angling season it was reported that salmon were caught 
with rod and line at the mouth of the Waitaki and Rangitata Rivers, and 
also that they were frequently taken with hook and line off Timaru and 
Oamaru by persons fishing for sea-fish. 

The run of spawning salmon during the present season (1915) in the 
head-waters of some of the main tributaries of the Waitaki is undoubtedly 
the heaviest since the fish first commenced to run up from the sea. When 
recently in the Upper Waitaki district I was told by men who have lived 
for a number of years near the lakes and rivers in that region, and who are 
in the habit of observing the spawning every season, that there are more 
salmon and larger fish than any previous season. Mr Macdonald, manager 
of Ben Ohau Station, said that for some years he had watched the salmon 
spawning in the Ohau River, and this year from its outflow from the lake 
to its junction with the Waitaki River (a distance of about eighteen miles) 
he had never seen so many fish. 

When I arrived at Benmore Station after leaving the Ben Ohau Camp, 
Mr Sutherland (manager) told me his head shepherd and musterers 
had returned a few days before from the head of the lake and reported 
hundreds of large salmon spawning in the Dobson River, so I went on to 
the head of the lake the same afternoon to see for myself, and ascertain 
whether it would be possible to get any eggs. Mr Fraser, the shepherd 
in charge there, provided me with a riding-horse and accompanied me 
to the Dobson the following morning. We examined the river from its 
junction with the Hopkins to where the camp joins it, a distance of about 
eight miles. The statement of the Benmore shepherds with regard to the 
fish I found to be practically correct. We saw a number of large fish in 
every pool we counted as many as fifteen in one and large spawning 
beds every chain or so as far as we went. From the appearance of the fish, 
the number of spawning beds, and the number of dead fish on the shingle 
beaches, it was evident that the spawning was about finished for this 
season. We saw some very large fish: two spent dead fish measured 42 in. 
and 42! in., and I estimate the average size of the fish we saw at from 
20 Ib. to 25 Ib. I may say that I inspected the Dobson at the end of the 
spawning season of 191 1 ; then I saw from thirty to fifty fish and a number 
of spawning beds. This season I estimate there are well on to ten times 
as many, and much larger fish. 

The Marine Department's (Mr Ayson's) report for 1915-16 
states : 

Last spawning season 25 1 ,000 eggs were collected ; the most of these 
were taken at the Hakataramea Salmon Station. Two up-country collecting 


stations were worked, viz., Gray's Creek, on the Tekapo branch of the 
Waitaki River, and the Twizel River, a tributary of the Ohau branch. 
A large number of male fish were netted at Gray's Creek station, but all 
the females were spent fish and we were not successful in getting a fair 
quantity. Owing to the very low state of the Hakataramea River throughout 
the spawning season comparatively few fish ran up, and the quantity of 
eggs collected did not come up to expectations. The rack across the river, 
built on the American principle, was effective in stopping salmon from 
getting past, and all which came up were caught. 

This season we decided to work the Dobson River, one of the rivers 
which flow into the head of Lake Ohau, and the men commenced operations 
there about the aoth April, and notwithstanding the difficulties experienced 
in working such a heavy river they have to date been very successful in 
getting eggs. The run of salmon on the Hakataramea is by far the heaviest 
that has been experienced. The river this season is carrying a good body 
of water, and as it is discharging directly into the main branch of the 
Waitaki, all the salmon which come up from the sea have to pass its 
mouth, and as the condition of the Hakataramea is so favourable, a good 
many fish enter its mouth and find their way up through the nets. The 
first run of fish this season was fully two weeks earlier than in any previous 
season, and another unusual feature is the large number of unripe fish 
which have been taken. If the salmon continue running for another ten 
days at the rate they have been doing, the collection of eggs taken from 
fish netted in the Hakataramea alone will exceed half a million. From 
my own observations and from reports from the Tekapo and Pukaki Rivers 
it would seem that there is an exceptionally heavy run of fish in the Waitaki 
and all the tributaries this season. 

Salmon have been caught freely by anglers at the mouths of the Waitaki, 
Rangitata, and Rakaia Rivers this season, and information is to hand to 
the effect that large numbers have been caught by hook and line off the 
Timaru Breakwater. Last spawning season a large number spawned in 
the Rangitata River and its tributaries. All this goes to show that the 
salmon are fast making their way into the large snow-fed rivers north of 
the Waitaki. One of the reasons why the Waitaki River was chosen in the 
first instance for the salmon was because of the northerly set of the ocean 
current along the east coast, so that by stocking the Waitaki all the rivers 
north of that would in time be stocked by the fish being carried northward. 

The success of the efforts to establish quinnat salmon in New 
Zealand is mainly due to the zeal and continuous energy of Mr L. F. 
Ayson, Chief Inspector of Fisheries. 

The fish has spread south as well as north along the coasts of the 
South Island, and in 1917 was reported as being commonly taken by 
line fishermen off Otago Heads, and as moving down to Foveaux Strait. 

The early attempts to introduce this fish apparently all failed, and 
it is interesting to summarise the dates of these attempts, and the 
rivers or districts which were stocked. They were: (1875) Thames, 
Waikato, Wairoa district, and Tauranga district; (1876) Tuakau, 


Mahurangi, Mangakahia, Punui and Hutt, Napier district, Southern 
Wairoa,Manawatu, Wanganui ; Grey, Wairau, Hurunui, Waimakariri, 
Rangitata, Heathcote, Shag and Oreti; (1877) Northern Wairoa, 
Mangakahia, Punui and Hutt; Wairau, Motueka, Hurunui, Waima- 
kariri, Heathcote, Rangitata, Shag, Kakanui, Waipahi and Makarewa; 
(1878) Upper Thames; (1880) Hutt. Since 1901 they have been 
placed almost exclusively in the Waitaki and its tributaries, though 
a few were put in the Selwyn and the Seaforth-Mackenzie ; and (in 
1913) some hundreds were liberated in the Leith and Waikouaiti 
streams. More recently the Hokitika River has been chosen as the 
west coast stream to be stocked. 

In a letter written some years ago asking for information as to 
the failure to establish the quinnat salmon in the rivers of New 
Zealand, Marshall McDonald, Commissioner U.S. Department of 
Fish and Fisheries, said: 

We have experienced the same difficulty in attempting the acclimatisation 
of this species upon our eastern coasts; all experiments having failed 
completely after expending a large amount of money, and being tried on a 
scale of magnitude and under a variety of conditions sufficient to test fully 
the capabilities of our eastern streams in this direction. We have attributed 
the failure to the different temperature conditions prevailing in the rivers 
of the east and west coasts at the spawning season, which is from July to 
September. The streams of the west coast at this period, fed as they are 
by the melting snows in the mountains at the head of the large rivers, 
present a relatively low temperature which invites the ascent of the salmon 
in obedience to the natural instinct which pervades the entire family to 
move from warmer to colder waters in seeking their spawning grounds. 
On the east coast at this season of the year our rivers are warmer than the 
adjacent seas, and we have concluded therefore that the failure to enter 
our streams is due to the higher temperature conditions prevailing in 
them. This is probably true in regard to your own waters. The summer 
temperature of the Pacific Coast streams in which the salmon enter at 
the season of spawning rarely reaches 60 F. During the season on our 
eastern coast the temperature rises to at least 70 F., and sometimes reaches 
a maximum of 80 to 85 F. 

Mr Ayson writes me (August i7th, 1915) in regard to this com- 
munication : 

Quinnat salmon begin spawning about ist April, and are finished by the 
end of May. In America there are two distinct runs, which are called the 
summer and winter runs. Marshall McDonald in the report you quote 
evidently referred to the summer run. The winter run commences well 
on in October, and finishes in December. The Quinnat eggs with which 
we stocked the Waitaki were all from the winter-run fish, and it is interesting 
to note that we have only a winter run of spawning salmon, so far, in the 
Waitaki; which would go far to show that eggs taken from winter-run 
fish in America only develop winter-run fish in this country. 


The time of running in Southern Alaska, according to Dr Bean, 
is from May till August; at North Sound, the northern limit of its 
known migration, it is early in June. There can be no winter run in 
the far north of America, when the rivers are blocked with ice. From 
Mr Ayson's statement it would seem probable that all the ova 
received in New Zealand were from rivers which were open in the 
winter months. I have no record of size of the quinnat salmon 
captured in New Zealand. In Alaska rivers (Yukon, etc.) they average 
about 20 lb., but have been recorded up to 100 Ib. and more. 

I am told by some anglers who have caught the quinnat salmon 
in New Zealand waters, that the fish is a very inferior one for the 
table, being coarse and dry. It would be unfortunate, but a quite 
possible occurrence, that an inferior race has been introduced. Though 
so many separate shipments of ova have been received and hatched, 
it is possible that all those now running in the rivers of the east 
coast of the South Island are derived from one lot. 

(See Appendix B, p. 557.) 

* Sock-eye Salmon; Blue-back Salmon 
(Salmo (Onchorhynchns) nerka) 

In 1901-2 a shipment of 500,000 ova of this species was sent 
from Canada to New Zealand via San Francisco. It arrived in the 
colony in bad condition, only 160,000 being good when unpacked, 
and there was a large percentage of deformed fish among those 
hatched out. Of these, 5000 fry were liberated in tributaries of the 
Waitaki, 91,200 in the streams flowing into Lake Ohau, while 20,000 
were retained (on 3Oth June) in the hatchery at Hakataramea. In the 
following year 10,000 fry eleven months old, and 1500 sixteen months 
old were liberated from the ponds into the Hakataramea River. In 
1903-4, 5981 fish two-and-a-half years old were liberated in the 
river, and at the end of the year fast March) there were estimated 
to be about 2000 three-year-old fish left in the ponds. Of these, 
1273 were liberated the following year, and by the 3ist March, 1905, 
there were still left about 216 four-year-old fish. There must have 
been some loss in the ponds, for 34 were liberated next season, and 
only 1 8 remained in confinement. 

On 22nd May, 1906, Mr Chas. L. Ayson, Manager of the Haka- 
taramea Hatchery, wrote as follows: 

While cleaning the pond-net which I have set at the mouth of the Haka- 
taramea River to-day I caught on the top side of the net a fish about 16 in. 
in length, and which would, if in proper condition, weigh about five 
pounds. This fish is undoubtedly a sock-eyed salmon (O. nerka), which 
has been up the river for the purpose of spawning and was returning down 

T. N. z. 16 


stream. The fish was in a dying condition, being greatly covered with 
fungus. I now have it in formalin at the station. This, I think, should 
now set at rest all doubts as to them returning from the sea to spawn. 

In the following year some fish believed to be sock-eye salmon 
were caught in Lake Ohau and sent to Sir James Hector, who reported 
as follows (4th May, 1907): 

These fish are without doubt young sea-run specimens of the blue-back 
salmon, sock-eye (properly "Saw-qui") or red fish of Fraser River, and 
the krasnaia ryba of Japan two males and two females. These particular 
fish are so much out of condition that they are not fit either for food or 
sport ; yet, had they been allowed to mature, in the course of a few weeks 
they might have produced about 2000 fertile eggs, which would have been 
quite sufficient to stock Ohau Lake. 

The sizes of these fish were respectively: males, 19 in. and 42 oz.; 
18 in. and 36 oz.; females, 28 in. and 28 oz.; and 23 in. and 23 oz. 
Mr L. F. Ayson, Inspector of Fisheries, writing to me in 
September, 1916, says: 

An occasional sea- run Sock-eye has been taken in the spawning seasons. 
The last was a pair which I caught in the Twizel River (a tributary of the 
Ohau) in May, 1915, when collecting Quinnat salmon eggs. A number 
of them, however, have remained in Lake Ohau, and have run into the 
creeks at the head of the lake every season in the months of March and 
April to spawn. These lake salmon are not plentiful and are dwarfed in 
size, the average weight being under 2 Ibs. This lake habit of some of the 
Sock-eye is not peculiar to New Zealand, as in their native home in British 
Columbia, a number remain in the lakes in the same way. 

Dr Bean says of this fish in the Alaska Rivers that they average 
from 7 to 8 Ib. in weight, though individuals are occasionally seen 
up to 15 Ib. They run up the American rivers from April to June or 

Canadian land-locked Salmon (Salmo Sebago) 

In 1905 Mr L. F. Ayson, Chief Inspector of Fisheries, who wen 
to America for eggs of quinnat salmon, brought over to New Zealam 
a case of eggs of the land-locked salmon for the Southland Acclimatisa 
tion Society. About 10,000 ova were received at the Wallacetown 
Hatchery, and these hatched out well. Owing to some accident, al 
of the fry with the exception of about 100, escaped into a race 
leading into the Makarewa. The remainder were probably placed in 
Lake Te Anau, which was the destination originally intended fo 
all, but the Society's statement closes with the words "No furthe 

The species is incorrectly named Salmo ovanniche in the Southlanc 
Society's report. 


White-fish (Coregonus albus) 

In December, 1876, a case with 125,000 ova was despatched from 
San Francisco (from U.S. Fish Commission) for the Government 
of New Zealand, and arrived in Auckland on 2Qth January, 1877. 
Owing to there being no ponds at Wellington, the eggs were sent 
on to care of the Christchurch Society, where they were delivered 
on 3rd February. They began to hatch at once, for Dr Hector writing 
to the Hon. Spencer F. Baird on Qth February says: "The Secretary 
reports that over 200 young fish have come out, and says they are 
three-quarters of an inch long (five days old), very transparent, with 
bright yellow eyes, are very lively, and appear to be doing well." On 
22nd March, Mr Farr writes that owing to water overflowing the 
boxes, all but six or seven of the fry were lost. It was hoped that as 
they were washed out into the race, some of them would turn up 
again, a hope that was not realised. 

The Auckland Society received a box of ova in 1876, presumably 
from the same shipment, but only nine fry hatched out. It is very 
difficult to tell whether the Society got a supply on their own account 
previous to the Government's shipment. There was such a stupid 
want of co-operation on the part of many of the Societies, and the 
Auckland one especially seems to have been a sinner in this respect. 
It is in reference to this lot that Mr Dansey writes me on 28th June, 
1916, as follows: 

While I was in charge of the telegraph station at Te Ngae in the East 
shore of Lake Rotorua in 1876, some white fish, brought over from America 
by the late Joshua Firth of Matamata, were turned out into Te Awahua 
stream on the North West shore of Lake Rotorua, an exceptionally cold 
stream. I never heard of anything having been seen of them afterwards. 
Had they survived they would not have escaped notice, as there was at that 
time, and for some years afterwards, nothing in the lake but inanga (min- 
now), bull-heads and fresh- water crayfish. 

A box of the Government shipment was sent down to the South- 
land Society's ponds at Wallacetown, but the eggs were dead and 
quite undistinguishable on arrival. 

On i4th February, 1878, another shipment of 500,000 ova arrived 
in Auckland, and was distributed. One box with 50,000 ova was 
retained and hatched in Auckland; they turned out very badly, and 
were practically all lost. A second box with 50,000 ova was kept 
in Auckland (presumably in ice) till iQth April, when it was sent on 
to Mr A. M. Johnson of Opawa, Christchurch. Mr Johnson received 
them on the 23rd, and reported them "as all hopelessly bad, with 
the exception of three." 

The Canterbury Society received 100,000 ova, but only acknow- 

16 2 


ledged 20,000. From these only 12 fish hatched out and eight sur- 
vived. These were placed in a stream running into Lake Coleridge. 

The Waitaki (Oamaru) Society received a box of 50,000 ova, but 
there is no report as to what was done with them. 

The Otago Society also received one box, and were more suc- 
cessful than any of the others, about 1000 young fish hatching out 
"which throve very well at the breeding ponds." Mr Arthur, writing 
on loth July to Dr Hector, says: 

The last I know of them is, that Deans started with the whole lot for the 
Wanaka, before they had reached that age and size which we all agreed 
to be most prudent before turning them out. He got as far as the Teviot, 
but they had nearly all died, except one or two which were liberated in 
a lagoon communicating with the Clutha. 

The remaining four boxes with 200,000 ova were taken by Dr 
Hector himself to the Bluff by steamer, and conveyed as rapidly as 
possible to Lake Te Anau. By special train to Lumsden, and travelling 
all night in an American wagon, Te Anau was reached by 3 p.m. 
on 23rd March, and the boxes were unpacked. 

Out of the four boxes of ova three were almost completely destroyed by 
the growth of white fungus, and the young fish, which had evidently been 
hatched out for some time were reduced to a pulpy jelly. In the fourth 
box in which there was only a slight growth of fungus, a considerable 
number of the ova were found in sound condition, and hatched out rapidly 
as they were transferred to the trough. 

Mr S. Herbert Cox reported from Te Anau to Dr Hector on 2Oth 
February: "The whitefish are doing very well. They are all hatched 
out, and are feeding well, they will, I presume, be let loose in the lake 
about Saturday, if it is calm enough." There is no further record. 

The Nelson Society received an earlier consignment of ova which 
was brought over at the expense of Mr John Kerr of the Lake Run, 
but I cannot learn the date of this importation. " The ova were placed 
in a creek running into Lake Rotoiti, and hatched out well." None 
have ever been caught, but Judge Broad in his jubilee history of Nelson 
says : " it is believed that they exist in the lake in considerable numbers." 
Mr F. G. Gibbs, Chairman of the Rotoiti Domain Board, writing 
on 3rd February, 1917, says: 

I have frequently made inquiries about the whitefish, but I cannot find 
any one who has seen any trace of them. I well remember the ova being 
taken up to the lake, and I also remember that the local newspapers shortly 
afterwards reported that the young fish had been seen. If they really 
were seen, which many doubt, they have since completely disappeared, 
probably exterminated by eels, which are very abundant in the lake. 

In 1879 the Auckland Society imported 500,000 ova. Most of 


these were placed in Lake Taupe, but small lots were distributed 
to Lakes Okataina, Titikapu and Tarawera, and to the Awahou Basin 
discharging into Lake Rotorua. About 50,000 were placed in the 
hatching-boxes in the Domain, but failed to hatch out. 

In 1880 another shipment of 1,000,000 ova was made by the 
Government, and distributed to various societies. 

The Auckland Society received 50,000 ova. "The fish hatched 
out very well indeed, but the temperature being 65 F., they died 
day by day, and in a few days all but two had died." 

The Napier Society also received 50,000 ova on iQth January. The 
hatching commenced the same day, and about 200 were hatched out, 
but by 3Oth January all were dead but 12. 

The Nelson Society received 250,000 ova, but they were kept 
too long in Auckland before being forwarded, and reached their 
destination in a bad and stinking condition, many of them apparently 
already hatched out and dead. Only about 40 or 50 fish hatched 
out alive, and "with the exception of some eight or ten, these young 
fish quickly died off; those that were alive were put into one of the 
ponds, where they appeared to thrive." The Secretary adds : " I regret 
to say they suddenly disappeared. I do not think they died, as they 
were constantly looked after; and they were large enough to be seen 
in the pond, as the water was quite clear." 

The Christchurch lot amounted to 300,000. Hatching commenced 
on 2Oth January, and the whole of the young fish estimated at 
50,000 were hatched out by the 29th. 

Fungoid disease, however, made its appearance among them, although 
every precaution was taken to insure success, and daily the numbers were 
rapidly diminishing. On 24th Feb. the whole of the fish numbering about 
25,000 were liberated in Lake Coleridge. After watching them for a few 
seconds we noticed that they took a spiral course to the depth of about 
eight inches, then dived suddenly downwards and were lost to sight in the 
deep azure water. 

They were liberated from a boat at a distance of about half a mile 
from the shore. " The temperature of the water in the lake was taken, 
and to our astonishment was found to be 59 at a depth of fifty feet, 
and 60 at the surface." 

Mr A. M. Johnson of Opawa received two boxes (100,000 ova?), 
from one of which only 28 young fish were obtained, and from 
the other many thousands hatched out. This was on 29th January. 
On 4th May Mr Johnson writes to the Colonial Secretary stating 

after seven weeks of the time of hatching, the numbers continued to visibly 
diminish daily, in spite of every care and precaution, till the total number 


left cannot now be as many hundreds as there were thousands; those fish 
liberated in ponds full of Crustacea and insect life appearing to share the 
same fate as the ones in deep and protected races. 

I can find no further report of this experiment. 

The final lot of 250,000 was sent down to the Bluff, which was 
reached on igth January, met by Mr Deans, curator of the Otago 
Society, and conveyed to Queenstown the same day. "They com- 
menced to hatch at once, but died shortly after. As there seemed no 
chance of saving them, it was decided to turn them out at Beach 
Bay, about eight miles from Queenstown, the latter place being 
infested with trout and perch. All, with the exception of from 
1200 to 1300 (ova), were hatching out in the cans while going 
up the lake, and seemed quite lively when turned out. I regret 
to say I believe quite one-half of the ova have gone bad." By 
28th January the remaining ova were reduced to about 800 or 
900, and about 40 live fish, and these were liberated at Halfway 
Bay, between Queenstown and Kingstown. The temperature of the 
water was 56. 

The only subsequent reports of this 1880 shipment come from 
the Canterbury Society. The annual report for 1885 states that "we 
are credibly informed that shoals of the White Fish, placed by us in 
Lake Coleridge, have been recently seen there." In 1886 it is said 
"we have received several reports of the White Fish having been seen 
in Lake Coleridge, some of large size, and that they are multiplying 
has been proved by some young ones being washed ashore in a gale." 
In a letter received from Mr Edgar F. Stead in April, 1916, he says: 
"No whitefish have ever been caught in Lake Coleridge, nor have 
any skeletons of them been found." 

In 1884 the Nelson Society received about 1,000,000, of which 
300,000 were placed in the hatching-boxes, and the remainder were 
put in Lake Rotoiti. There is no report of any of these, for the Nelson 
Society have lost their records; but in 1901, Mr A. Rutherford was 
of opinion that the fish were then in Lake Rotoiti. 

Though all previous attempts had so far failed, it was determined 
to try again to introduce this desirable species, and two shipments 
were made to the Government from San Francisco in 1886-87. 

On I3th February, 1886, 1,000,000 eggs from the U.S. Hatchery 
at Northville, Michigan, were shipped by the ' Alameda ' which arrived 
at Wellington on I2th March. On opening the boxes the contents 
were found to be putrid, and this appeared to be due to carelessness 
on board the steamer, as the ova had been "packed with the greatest 
care and in the most approved method." 

On 1 5th January, 1887, the 'Alameda' again took a shipment of 


1,500,000 white-fish eggs, and arrived in Auckland on 5th February. 
They arrived in excellent condition, but according to the letter of 
the Minister of Marine on 26th February to the U.S. Commissioner 
of Fish and Fisheries, though "the percentage of bad eggs on being 
unpacked was less than one per cent.," yet "on being placed in the 
water the ova did not separate freely, and on the second day nearly 
fifty per cent, was dead." 

Ten trays were handed over to the Nelson Society on the 6th, 
but again I can find no record of what was done with them. This 
lot represented 500,000 ova. One tray (50,000 eggs) was sent to 
Clinton. About two-thirds of the eggs were bad, but a considerable 
number of fry were hatched out. The mortality, however, was so 
great that the rest, about 1000 in number, were turned into a large 
pond. One or two were seen later, but the rest disappeared. On 
February 25th, 1889, the pond was emptied and one specimen was 
found, which died the following day. It was 12 inches long, 3 in. 
deep and weighed close on u oz. 

A small lot from this tray was taken to Opoho, Dunedin, where 
over 200 fry were hatched out, but some died and the rest disappeared. 

The remaining 19 trays, containing 950,000 ova, reached Queens- 
town on 8th February. The following report by Mr Davidson, curator 
of the Lakes District Society is given in full : 

The ova were placed in the boxes on the 9th, the temperature of the water 
being 47, lowered from 50 by ice. I was able to keep the temperature 
at 47 for two days with ice; after this, when the ice was finished, the 
temperature remained at 50, and never rose higher. Some of the fry 
were moving in the boxes on the loth, but the greater portion died in the 
egg, not more than 50,000 hatching out. When unpacking the ova it was 
found that too much pressure had been used, making the ova stick together 
in one mass ; the ova, however, looked perfectly healthy, and were all alive, 
but it was impossible to separate them. If the ova had not been so far 
advanced there would have been a much greater chance of success. When 
the fry were fifteen days old, I observed the sac absorbed on most of them. 

I liberated about six thousand in Lake Wakatipu on a8th February. On 
5th March about twenty thousand were liberated in Lakes Wanaka and 
Hawea. I then began to feed those remaining on bullock's blood. They 
appeared to thrive well on it for a time say for about a month; after 
that they appeared to be not thriving so well. I therefore liberated the 
whole of them in Lake Wakatipu about 3ist March. The fry have been 
seen on several occasions, and are doing very well apparently, being 

I 1 in. long. I consider they are established without a doubt this time. 
I have liberated quite fifty thousand in healthy condition. 

This was written on ist June, 1887; there is no further record. 

Nothing further was done in the way of attempting to introduce 

white-fish till 1904, when Mr L. F. Ayson, Chief Inspectorof Fisheries, 


went to San Francisco and brought back with him 2,000,000 ova; 
half of these were taken to Lake Kanieri and half to Lake Tekapo. 
Mr L. F. Ayson, writing in September, 1916, says: 

In 1 904, on my recommendation, the Marine Department decided to make 
a systematic effort to introduce this fish, and hatcheries were established 
on Lake Tekapo, in the Mackenzie country, and Lake Kanieri, on the 
West Coast, and these hatcheries were equipped with the proper hatching 
jars. The eggs of whitefish cannot be successfully hatched in the ordinary 
trout boxes. In the American and Canadian hatcheries a special jar is 
used, and in the attempts to hatch out the earlier shipments of eggs im- 
ported, in the ordinary trout boxes, I am afraid very few of the young 
fish came to maturity. Two million eggs were imported each year from 
1904 to 1907. Each shipment of eggs arrived in first-rate condition, was 
successfully hatched out, and the fry liberated in the lakes mentioned. 

Writing on 22nd May, 1906, Mr Chas. Ayson, manager of the 
Hakataramea Hatchery, says: 

While at Lake Tekapo in January last I was informed by two different 
persons that they saw on different occasions at the bridge where the 
Tekapo River flows out of the lake, a strange fish, and from the 
description given me I am inclined to think that the fish seen were 

And Mr L. F. Ayson on 25th May states: 

I may say that reports are current at Lake Kanieri similar to those 
mentioned by the manager about Tekapo, viz. that strange fish have been 
seen, and from the description given resembling whitefish. At Kanieri 
Lake these fish are reported as having been seen in the shallow water near 
the foot of the lake. 

Early in 1907 Mr Ayson brought the last shipment of 2,000,000 
ova from San Francisco. Half of these went to Lake Tekapo, arriving 
at the head of the lake where the hatchery was situated on 9th March. 
The other half went to Lake Kanieri on the i ith ; the eggs were in the 
latter case just 43 days from hatchery to hatchery. 

In his letter already referred to Mr Ayson says : 

These fish are not easily seen, and the only way to prove whether they 
have taken a hold or not is by having the lakes tested with deep set nets. 
So far this has not been done. 

Reports have reached me several times of late of schools of fish being 
seen in both these lakes fish, which, from the description given, do not 
resemble trout. When I was on Lake Kanieri in the beginning of August 
last (1916) I saw fish shewing on the surface of the lake several times 
which were quite different in their movements from trout. 


Lake Herring; Cisco Herring; or Lesser White-fish 
(Coregonus artedi) 

In 1907 a small shipment of the eggs of this species was brought 
over from America by Mr L. F. Ayson, Chief Inspector of Fisheries. 
They were brought partly because of their value as a food-fish, and 
partly to increase the food supply for trout in Lake Rotorua and 
other lakes in the Thermal district. About 40 per cent, of the eggs 
died en route. The remainder were taken to Rotorua to be hatched 
and liberated. Apparently nothing further has been heard of them 

* Carp (Cyprinus carpio) 

In 1864 Mr A. M. Johnson shipped 200 carp in London in the 
' British Queen ' bound to Lyttelton. The experiment was, however, 
unsuccessful, all the fish dying during the voyage. In 1870 Mr E. 
Dowling imported a number of Chinese and Prussian carp into 

In 1867 the Auckland Society introduced 114 Prussian carp. Of 
these 12 were placed in Takapuna Lake. 

In 1868 a number of fish were shipped by the 'Celestial Queen' 
for Otago, but none survived the voyage. 

In 1 88 1 the Otago Society obtained six fish, but I do not know 
where from. These were placed in a dam at Waihemo, but this burst, 
and the fish were washed away. 

In February, 1911, Mr E. T. Frost reported that carp were very 
common in the Waikato district. They are red, golden, white and 
black, red and black, and white. The Maoris eat them in great 
numbers but find them too bony. 

Carp were liberated at Lake Mahinapua on the west coast 

Mr W. W. Smith tells me that they are common and of large 
size in Taranaki. 

Mr R. D. Dansey of Rotorua, who has given me a great deal of 
most interesting information regarding introduced animals in that 
part of New Zealand, tells me that carp are very plentiful in Rotorua, 
and are called "Morihana" by the Maoris. He gives the origin of 
this name as follows: 

I was present when in 1873 a small number of carp were first liberated 
in Lake Taupo by Sub-Inspector H. Morrison of the Armed Constabulary, 
then stationed at Tapuaeharuru. They had been brought up from Napier 
in a billy. Members of the Constabulary had been purposely stationed 
at intervals of several miles along the track from Napier to Taupo, a dis- 
tance of 90 miles, and the billy and its precious contents was passed on 


from man to man till it reached Tapuaeharuru, where the fish were 
liberated near the outlet of the lake. All hands and the cook from the re- 
doubt proceeded to the spot to see the liberation, and many natives came 
across the Waikato River to see the new pakeha fish. There was great 
cheering as the little carp swam out from the bank. The natives called them 
then and there "Morihana" after Captain Morrison, and they are still 
only known by the natives in the Taupo and Rotorua districts by this 

In 1880 five of us subscribed 1 each and commissioned "Jack 
LofBey " to bring a billy of young carp down from Taupo, where by that 
time they had become exceedingly numerous. They were duly liberated 
at the mouth of the Utuhina Creek and in a small lagoon emptying into 
the Lake, where they multiplied at an enormous rate. The Maoris did 
not like them, considering them too full of bones and dangerous for their 
children. Ere long a lucrative trade in gold-fish sprang up between the 
Ohinemutu Maori children and visitors. Carp frequenting the thermal 
waters along the southern shores of Lake Rotorua soon turned a bright 
red or white, some partly red and partly silver. The children became 
adepts at catching them with their hands among the reeds and rushes, 
up to a quarter of a pound weight or more. 

In June, 1916, at a meeting of the Arawa tribe in Rotorua, it 
was decided to send a telegram to the Hon. W. H. Herries, Minister 
for Native Affairs, protesting against a recent Government notifica- 
tion forbidding the catching of carp in Lake Rotorua, and pointing 
out that the Maoris were thereby deprived of a food supply which 
they had enjoyed for the last 30 years. 

The Canterbury Society received a number of silver carp from 
Sydney in 1868; I do not know what was done with them. 

Golden Carp ; Gold Fish (Cyprinus carassius) 

The first attempt to introduce goldfish into New Zealand was 
made by Mr A. M. Johnson, who succeeded in bringing a few alive 
(the only survivors out of a large and varied assortment of fish) in 
the 'British Empire* in 1864. These were landed at Lyttelton. 

In 1868 the Canterbury Society received a number from the 
Acclimatisation Society of Melbourne. 

I do not think these fish are specifically distinct from the ordinary 
carp 1 . 

1 The following paper on the "Rapid Growth of Carp due to Abundance of 
Food," by J. H. Brakeley, is taken from vol. vn, Bulletin of U.S. Fish Commission, 

"The European carp in becoming naturalised in this country has changed 
its habits in several important particulars. Instead of hibernating for several 
months with its nose in the mud, as in Europe, here it does this for a very short 
time, if at all, even as far north as the Middle States. The eggs hatch here in from 
four to seven days, according to the temperature of the atmosphere, while in Europe 
it requires from twelve to twenty. Here it readily takes the bait when skilfully 


Japanese Minnow (Pseudorasbora parva ?) 

A number of minnows from the rice-fields of Japan were imported 
to the ponds at Opawa by the late Mr A. M. Johnson. These probably 
belonged to the species named above. Several were distributed, but 
I have no word of their subsequent history. 

Gudgeon (Gobio fluviatilis) 

In 1864 Mr A. M. Johnson shipped a number of gudgeon on 
board the ' British Empire ' for Canterbury, but none of them survived 
the voyage. 

In 1868 another attempt was made by Mr Frank Buckland, a 
number of fish from the Thames, presented by Mr S. Ponder, being 
shipped to the Otago Society by the ' Celestial Queen.' 

This shipment was also unsuccessful. 

Barbel (Barbus vulgaris) 

Several specimens of barbel were included in Mr Johnson's un- 
fortunately unsuccessful experiment, made in 1864. 

Bleak (Alburnus lucidus) 

Mr Johnson also shipped some bleak by the * British Empire ' in 
1864, but all died on the way out. The tank in which these and several 
other species of fish were carried was lined with slate, and so divided 
by perforated partitions that fresh water flowed freely through it; 
there were also contrivances for aerating the water. The whole was 
surrounded with a framework case, with double cane-matting, which 

presented, while it is said not to bite at the hook in its native land. So, in becoming 
Americanised, it has become quite a different fish in habit, if not in form. 

The rapidity of growth, too, which characterised many of those distributed by 
the U.S. Fish Commission during the first four or five years, seemed to foreshadow 
another important change of habit. It was supposed that the waters of this country 
were more favourable for its development than those of its native land. But in 
this, I fear, we are doomed to disappointment. Further experience has shown that 
this remarkable growth of which we hear so much, and of which there are many 
examples on record, was due to the abundance of food with which the carp were 
supplied, rather than to other causes. The small number furnished by the Govern- 
ment to each applicant usually not over twenty were frequently placed in large 
ponds, and often at the close of the first summer the fish had reached a weight of 
from one to two pounds apiece, and by the end of the second summer from four 
to five pounds, and in some instances their growth far exceeded this. But now, since 
they have multiplied so that we can fully stock our ponds, their growth is much less 
rapid. In the autumn of 1884 the writer placed a little over 2500 carp, then one 
summer old and much larger than their parents when received from the Fish 
Commission, in a five-acre pond. In the following autumn they were found to 
average about eleven ounces each ; and last autumn, being the close of their third 
summer, they fell a little short of a pound apiece, and this, too, with the number 
in the pond reduced about one-fourth. In another pond of about half the size the 
growth was no more rapid." 


was kept constantly wet in the tropics. Troops of snails, water-lilies 
and weeds of various kinds were also introduced, partly for food and 
partly to assist in aeration. A lump of white lead in one of the tanks 
to have poisoned nearly all the fish before it was discovered. 

* Tench (Tinea vulgaris) 

Among the fish shipped from London for Lyttelton by Mr A. M. 
Johnson in the 'British Empire' were several tench. This was in 
1864. Unfortunately all the fish died on the voyage out. 

In 1867 the Canterbury Society received some live fish from the 
Hobart Acclimatisation Society, and in a report issued in 1871 it 
is said "they have successfully multiplied." 

In the following year the Southland Society received some from 
Mr Morton Allport of Tasmania. 

In 1868 Mr Frank Buckland shipped a number for Otago by the 
'Celestial Queen,' but none reached their destination. They got on 
well for some weeks till one day one of the ship's boys 

who was changing the water for the fish, got them into a bucket of fresh- 
water and emptied it over the ship's side, instead of so doing with a bucket 
containing the stale water that had been drawn off. 

In 1869 the Otago Society liberated 18 in the Ross Creek 
Reservoir, Dunedin, but the report does not state where they came 
from. In 1880 the Society sent 30 to Otekaike and 30 to Elderslie, 
both in the Oamaru district. In 1887 the Elderslie ponds were 
overhauled and cleaned, when great numbers of tench were distributed 
throughout the district. 

They are to be found in a few localities throughout South Canter- 
bury in ponds and dams, as at Cave and near Timaru. But they do 
not seem to occur in any waters south of the Oamaru district. A good 
many are to be met with near Hokitika and other localities on the 
west coast. 

They were formerly introduced into the Rotorua district as food 
for trout, but Mr Dansey tells me there are certainly none there now. 

Rudd ; Red-eye (Leuciscus erythrocephalus) 

This was another of the species which Mr Johnson endeavoured 
to introduce in 1864, but unsuccessfully. 

Dace (Leuciscus leuciscus) 

Mr Johnson had a number of dace in the shipment of 1864, but 
none survived the voyage. 


Roach (Leuciscus rutilus) 

Shipped by Mr Johnson by the ' British Empire' in 1864, but all 
died on the voyage. 

Minnow (Leuciscus phoxinus) 

A number were shipped by Mr Johnson in 1864, but all died on 
the voyage out. 


* American Cat-fish (Pimelodus cattus) 

In 1877 the Auckland Society received 140 fish from Mr T. 
Russell, and placed them in St John's Lake. They were lost sight of 
for a time, but reappeared in considerable numbers in 1884, and it 
was stated that they were evidently increasing fast. In 1885 they were 
caught in hundreds, and were sent to many parts of the provincial 
district. At the present time (1916) they are plentiful in Lakes St 
John and Takapuna. 

In 1885 some 30 fish were sent down to Wellington and placed 
in a Mr Perry's pond at Petone, but no one to-day seems to know 
anything about them. Probably about the same time Mr A. M. 
Johnson of Opawa obtained some from Auckland, and had a few 
there till recently (1916). 

Mr Jas. King of Hokitika informs me that some were liberated 
in Lake Mahinapua on the west coast, but he does not know when. 
In the annual report of the Westland Society for 1904, the secretary 
states that "Mr T. Green, of the South Spit, showed me two nice 
American Catfish, weighing 3^ Ibs., caught accidently while fishing for 
eels in Mahinapua Creek. Mr Green considers the lake and creek 
to be full of them." Mr Ayson tells me that at the present time 
(1916) they are plentiful in Lake Mahinapua. 

Mr W. W. Smith informs me (April, 1919) that they are abundant 
in ponds about Ashburton, probably obtained from Mr Johnson in 
the eighties. 


Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) 

In 1885 Mr S. C. Farr obtained 36 sticklebacks from the Brighton 
(England) aquarium, and shipped them by the 'Kaikoura' to the 
Canterbury Society, but they all died in the tropics. 

In 1892 Mr Clifford brought a number of these little fish out 
to Dunedin for the Otago Society. Some of them were kept for years 
at theOpoho Hatchery, and some were transferred to Clinton; but both 
lots seem to have disappeared, which perhaps was not to be regretted. 


Some were sent to Mr Johnson of Opawa, who kept them close 
in his aquaria, and wrote stating what an undesirable importation 
they would prove if liberated in our rivers. I do not know what came 
of any of these, but I am not aware of any sticklebacks being in any 
of the New Zealand waters at the present time. 

* Perch (Perca fluviatilis) 

The late Mr A. M. Johnson claimed that he first introduced 
perch into New Zealand; he arrived in Christchurch in 1864 from 
the Old Country. His first shipment of 200 fish per * British Empire ' 
in that year was, however, unsuccessful. 

In 1868 three perch were received by the Otago Society from the 
Hobart Society, arriving in July in the ' Swordfish,' and these were 
turned into the Ross Creek Reservoir, which supplies Dunedin 
with water. In September of the same year Mr Clifford landed 19 
more from Hobart, and these were placed in the same reservoir. 
In 1870, 1 8 more were landed. These fish increased and were 
spread far and wide through Otago, viz. to Lawrence, Gore, Clyde- 
vale, Kaitangata, Otekaike, Elderslie, Tapanui, Waikouaiti, Waihemo, 
etc. They were also sent to Ashburton, to the Canterbury Society, 
and to Nelson. The Otago Society's report for 1891 says: "These 
fish are becoming very numerous; Kaitangata Lake and Lovell's 
Creek are simply swarming with them." In 1892 the report is: 
"Perch are still on the increase. Some have been caught weighing 
as much as 5 Ibs." 

Also in 1868 the Southland and Canterbury Societies received 
perch the number not specified from Mr Morton Allport of Hobart. 
The annual report of the latter society for 1871 says: "they have 
successfully multiplied and no further importations are needed." 

In 1883 Mr Shury of Ashburton reported to the Canterbury 
Society that "perch in large numbers could be seen in some streams 
on the Wakanui road," and the report of the following year shows 
that they were extremely abundant in the district. 

In 1877 the Wanganui Society imported about 50 dozen perch 
from Ballarat, Victoria: "They were put into canvas bags filled with 
water and slung on frames on board ship. They arrived in capital 
order." A second consignment was not so successful, about half dying. 

In 1878 the Wellington Society got about two dozen from the 
preceding Wanganui shipment and placed them in the Wellington 
Reservoir. In 1886 they were very numerous, and several lots were 
placed in lagoons in the Wairarapa, and in lakes near Otaki. 


In 1885 the Hamilton Domain Board obtained 100,000 ova from 
the Canterbury Board, and liberated the fry in the Waikato district. 

In 1887 tne Taranaki Society obtained a number from Mr Johnson 
of Opawa, and Mr W. W. Smith, writing from New Plymouth in 
February, 1916, says: "They are common in the district; though 
introduced many years ago, I have not seen any large specimens." 

Mr Jas. King informs me that they were also liberated in Lake 
Mahinapua, on the west coast. 

Gippsland Perch (Percolates colonorum) 

In 1868 Mr A. M. Johnson imported a number of these fish, and 
kept them in his ponds in Opawa, Christchurch. 

Paradise Fish (Polyacanthus opercularis) 

In 1908 Mr A. M. Johnson imported some of these aquarium 
fish from Japan for his tanks at Opawa. 

Gourami (Osphromenus olfax) 

In 1869 Captain Tobin of the 'Sea-Shell' attempted to bring a 
number of these fish from Mauritius (where they have been acclima- 
tised) for the Canterbury Society. They did not survive the voyage, 


Turbot (Psetta (Rhombus) maxima) 

A successful attempt to introduce this species into New Zealand 
was made in 1913. The shipment was made on behalf of the Govern- 
ment and was under the care of the late Mr T. Anderton, curator 
of the Portobello Marine Fish Hatchery, Dunedin 1 . 

1 The only previous attempt to carry live sea-fish across the equator to 
southern waters appears to have been that of the New South Wales Fishery Depart- 
ment in 1902, under the superintendency of the late Mr H. C. Dannevig. On that 
occasion 722 plaice, 28 black soles, four large turbot and four large brill were 
shipped at Plymouth on the 'Oroya' on 2ist June. The turbot and the brill died 
before the voyage was half accomplished, the last being taken out on nth July. 
On arrival at Fremantle on 24th July, 581 plaice and 23 soles were alive. 
The 'Oroya' reached Sydney on 2nd August, and the surviving fish (560 plaice 
and 23 soles) were liberated in an enclosure at the Maianbar fish-farm in 
Port Hocking, situated about one and a half miles inside the Heads. Owing to 
inadequate preparation no suitable permanent enclosure for the fish was secured; 
the result was that during the intense heat of summer the whole stock of plaice 
died. Had the attendant in charge of the station opened the sluices and allowed 
the fish to escape into deeper and cooler water, they might have kept together 
and spawned at a later date, instead of being lost altogether. The soles appear to 
have survived the first summer. 


Seven hundred young turbot, varying from one to a little over 
two inches in length, were caught in the surf at Whitsand Bay, some 
20 miles from Plymouth, in September, October and November, 
1912. Of these, 400 died while being retained for shipment in the 
tanks at the Plymouth Marine Biological Station. The remainder, 
298 in number, were placed in a tank on board the 'Waimana' on 
1 2th January, 1913, and Otago Harbour was reached in March. 

The survivors, 195, were placed at once in the tanks of the 
Portobello Marine Hatchery, and by scrupulous attention to cleanli- 
ness and feeding, their growth and healthy condition have been 
phenomenal. On i9th May, 1916, more than three years later, the 
fish numbered 182, only five having died and eight having been 
liberated in the harbour. Before leaving Plymouth, Dr Allen strongly 
recommended that at least 75 per cent, of the fish should be 
liberated immediately on arrival in New Zealand. However, local 
knowledge of the ground-feeding habits of so many of our indigenous 
fishes, and of the possibility of the majority if not all, of these small 
fishes being devoured by such species as the red cod, ling and groper, 
led to the decision to retain the whole lot, if possible, in the tanks 
until they had attained to such a size as to guard them against much 
risk of capture. Owing to the low temperature sometimes experienced 
in the winter months, care was taken to slightly heat all the water 
passing through the tanks, and it was accordingly not allowed to fall 
below 42 F. 

As the fish had increased so much in size many of them measuring 
as much as eighteen inches in length and were crowded in the tanks, 
and on account of the time, labour and expense in feeding them, it 
was resolved to liberate a large proportion of them. 

Accordingly on i9th May, 128 fish were placed on board the 
S.S. ' Invercargill ' by Mr Anderton, and were liberated during the 
night in a previously selected bay (Tautuku Bay), where it was con- 
sidered they would be safe from trawlers, and from most of their 
natural enemies. The fish were liberated as rapidly as possible at one 
spot, in about ten fathoms of water on a clean sandy bottom, and from 
their schooling instinct which was very marked during their con- 
finement it was anticipated that they would tend to keep together. 

The remaining fish still showed no signs of spawning, and as 
some of them were 22 inches long, another large batch was turned 
out in the same locality as the previous lot on ist September, 1917. 
The temperature of the water at the time of capture of the young 
fish in the English Channel averaged 56 F., and this was the tem- 
perature of the water in Tautuku Bay at the time of liberation of 
the fish in May, 1916. 


There are now 14 fish left in the Portobello Hatchery Tanks, 
some of them just 24 inches in length, but they show no signs 
of spawning. I am inclined to think that the difficulty of getting 
most kinds of sea-fish to spawn in confinement is due to the shallow- 
ness and consequent lack of pressure of the water in which they are 
kept. At the spawning season all the large flat-fishes of indigenous 
species move out of shallow bays and estuaries, and it may be that 
a pressure of 30 to 40 fathoms of water assists the fish in the 
extrusion of the ova. We have noticed at the Portobello Hatchery 
that native flounders (Rhombosolea plebeid) taken at spawning time 
and placed in our ponds can hold up their ova for weeks. 

It is impossible to say whether the turbot has or has not become 
established in New Zealand waters. Even if any succeed in spawning 
their progeny are not likely to be in evidence for some years. 

T.N. Z. I 7 

Chapter VII 



(Family MURICID&, see Appendix B, p. 558.) 

Ericusa sowerbyt, Kiener 

AN example of this Australian mollusc was picked up in Evans* 
Bay, Wellington, by Miss M. K. Mestayer some years ago. She 
suggests that "it may have come to New Zealand adhering to the 
bottom of some ship, and may possibly have been knocked off by 
the vessel being put on the Patent Slip." I have not found or heard 
of any other examples being found in New Zealand waters, but there 
s no doubt that, from time to time, marine organisms are so intro- 


Conus mannoreus, Linn. 

Early in 1917 the lighthouse-keeper at Farewell Spit picked up 
a living specimen of this species, which he gave to Captain Bollons 
of the S.S. 'Hinemoa.' 

Miss Mestayer says of this genus : 

In his Catalogue of the Marine Mollusca, 1873, p. 23, the late Captain 
F. W. Hutton recorded two species of Conus as belonging to New Zealand, 
Conus zealandicus sp. nov. and Conus distans Hwass, N.Z. (Gumming). 
The type of Conus zealandicus is in the Dominion Museum. 

This species was founded upon a single specimen from the Bay of 
Islands. It has since been identified as Conus anemone, Lamarck, 
from Australia, by Suter, while in Tryon and Pilsbury's Manual of 
Conchology it is placed as a synonym of Conus aplustre, Reeve. In 
1882 Mr Justice Gillies stated that he had a single specimen of 
C. aplustre from the Bay of Islands, but suggests that this and other 
shells picked up in the same locality were perhaps dropped from some 
South Sea whaler. 


With one exception all the mollusca introduced into New Zealand 
belong to the Pulmonates, known popularly as slugs and snails. With 


the exception of the first named on the list, they have been un- 
wittingly introduced, with plants, garden stuff, etc. In spite of 
introduced enemies (birds, hedgehogs, etc.) they are extraordinarily 
abundant now in many parts, and are a great pest in gardens. 

The following list is compiled by the eminent New Zealand 
malacologist, the late Mr Henry Suter, and is practically the same as 
is given in his Manual of New Zealand Mollusca, published in Wel- 
lington in 1913 (p. 1071). 

The classification of Families is that adopted by the Rev. A. H. 
Cooke in the Cambridge Natural History. 

Family LiMN.asiD.flE 
Lymncea stagnalis, Linn. 

Onehunga Springs, Christchurch, introduced as food for trout 
in the River Avon (Suter). These were originally introduced from 
England in 1864 by Mr A. M. Johnson, late of Opawa, who 
brought them out as food for the fish he was endeavouring to intro- 

Suter thinks that the Tasmanian water-snails introduced by John- 
son in 1868 were most likely the same species. It is very abundant 
about Hobart and was described by the Rev. J. E. Tenison Woods 
as Limncea tasmanica in Proc. Roy. Soc. of Tasmania. 

Hutton stated in 1881 that this species was abundant in the River 
Avon, below the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. It was also recorded 
before 1890 from springs at Onehunga, near Auckland, and is now 
known from streams in Taranaki. - 

Lymncea auricularia, Linn. 

An empty shell was found near Wanganui (Suter). According to 
Kew, eggs of this species have passed unharmed through the digestive 
system of swans. 

Testacella maugei, Ferussac 

Originally described as T. vagans by Hutton who thought it was 
an indigenous species. 

Found in gardens in the vicinity of Auckland (Suter). 

The first specimens obtained were got by Mr W. W. Smith at 

This "snail-slug" is a native of South-west Europe, and it was 
first noticed between 1812 and 1816, in Britain. 


Agriolimax Icevis, Miiller 

A cosmopolitan slug (Suter). In 1867 Mr Fereday stated that 
he had seen ten common English slugs on one cabbage in his garden 
near Christchurch, and he used this as an argument for the intro- 
duction of birds, such as thrushes. 

This was probably the species he referred to. It appears to be 
common in New Zealand. 

Agriolimax agrestis, Linn. 

Common in meadows, fields and gardens (Suter) ; Auckland, Wel- 
lington, Taranaki, Nelson, Grey mouth, Christchurch, Dunedin, etc. 
Suter writing in 1917 says: 

In 1887 I was living on a ten-acre clearing in the Forty-Mile Bush, sur- 
rounded by native bush. This clearing had been laid down in grass about 
ten years earlier, and was used for feeding horses. Everywhere Agriolimax 
agrestis was common, but these slugs never penetrated the native bush. 
They evidently must have been brought to that place with the grass-seed, 
and no doubt in the egg-stage. In a similar way introduced slugs were 
brought to Campbell Island. They were, if I am not mistaken, a variety 
of the common A. agrestis or A. Icevis. 

Musson and Hedley were both of opinion in 1890 that A. leevis 
was indigenous in Australia; but the latter in 1892 considered that 
all the species of Limax described as native to Australasia are referable 
either to L. maximus, flavus, gagates, or agrestis, all believed to be 
introduced by man from Europe. 

Limax maximus, Linn. 

Reported from Dunedin by Captain Hutton, and from Taranaki 
by Mr W. W. Smith. 

(In Tasmania this slug is found to be infested with a mite, possibly 
the same as is found in England under similar circumstances. Mr 
Hedley says of it: "should it prove to be identical with the parasite 
attendant on the European mollusc, this fact would argue that the 
animals migrated in the adult stage, and not in the eggs." He further 
states that the species of Limax (all introduced) in Australia, have far 
outstripped their shell-bearing relatives.) 

Limax flavus, Linn. 

This species is rather common now, and has been reported from 
Dunedin, Greymouth and Taranaki. Mr Suter says it is especially 
injurious to garden vegetables. 


(Mr Musson thinks it possible that L. megalodontes, described by 
MM. Quoy and Gaimard in 1824, from Port Jackson, was this 

Amalia gagates, Draparnaud 

Reported from Ohaupo and Auckland by Mr Musson, and in 
Hawke's Bay by Mr Colenso. Mr Suter states that this is a very 
variable slug and quite a number of varieties can be distinguished. 

(Mr Musson thinks that Limax maurus, described by MM. Quoy 
and Gaimard in 1824, from Port Jackson, was this species.) 

Amalia antipoda, Pfeiffer 

Amalia fuliginosa, Gould 

Amalia emarginata, Hutton 

All these three species, according to Mr Suter, have to be included 
in the gagates group, and are found in New Zealand, but he gives 
no localities for them. 

Hyalina crystallina, Miiller 
Mr Suter records this species as occurring in Auckland. 

Hyalina alliaria, Miller 

In conservatories and hot-houses ; Mr Suter does not record any 
particular locality. 

Hyalina cellaria, Miiller 

Mr Suter records it as occurring in gardens, meadows, etc., mostly 
hiding under stones, at the Bay of Islands, Auckland, Napier, and 
Wanganui. Mr Musson reports it from Auckland "under stones, 
especially about the various volcanic mounts." 

Helix aspersa, Miiller 

According to Mr Suter this species is common at most of the 
sea-coast towns in New Zealand, where it is a great nuisance in 
gardens. Writing to me in 1917, he informed me that it was much 
more abundant in the north than it was at Christchurch, or farther 
south. Mr Hutchison states that "this common garden snail is 
greedily devoured by rats at Napier, while the next mentioned 
species (H. hortensis ?), which is also in the gardens, is not appreciated 
by rats for some reason." A reference to this will be found at p. 83. 

Thrushes are very fond of this snail, which they carry to some 
hard surface, where they break the shell with the bill and eat the 
animal. Mr Musson, writing in 1890, says that examples from Opua 
in the Bay of Islands are exceptionally thin-shelled, whilst shells 


from Auckland are of the variety conoidea, thin, small and conical. 
He also describes this as a most voracious snail, which has been known 
to perforate birds' eggs for food 1 . 

In the Agricultural Department's report for 1897 this species is 
stated (in conjunction with different species of slugs) to be very 
destructive to orange- and lemon- trees in the Hokianga district. 
Captain Broun records that in another district near Auckland he 
examined a lemon-tree about three years old that had been nearly 
killed by snails; large pieces of the bark had been eaten away, and 
even the green wood had been injured. 

Mr Huddlestone of Nelson states that English snails, introduced 
along with the plants from Britain, were first seen in the Nelson 
district in numbers in 1861. These were in all probability either 
Helix aspersa or H. caper ata. 

Helix hortensis, Miiller 

This snail is apparently widely spread in the North Island. It 
was recorded from Auckland by Captain Hutton, and from Taranaki 
by Mr W. W. Smith. I am told that it is abundant at Napier. 

Snails of the genus Helix seem to be very tenacious of life, a 
fact which favours their distribution in hay, straw, etc. Kew records 
cases of H. hortensis which lived for 14 months without food, and 
of H. aspersa, which survived after being in a closed pot of earth 
for about ten and a half months, and subsequently produced fertile 

Helicetta caper ata, Montagu 

Mr Suter recorded this snail from Nelson in the South Island, 
and Paekakariki in the North Island. It is probably much more 
widely spread than these two isolated localities indicated. As showing 
how readily snails are distributed, it may be mentioned that Kew 
(p. 161) records a case in England where "thirteen wrinkled-snails 
(H. caper ata}, together with a quantity of tares were taken from the 
stomach of a wood-pigeon which had been shot three days previously. 
Most of the snails were alive, and began creeping about on being 
placed in a dish containing a little water." 

Helicostyla tricolor, Pfeiffer 

Mr Suter reports this from a garden in the Bay of Islands. 

1 Dr Binney in Terrestrial Air-breathing Mollusks (1851) states that the larger 
European snails, and particularly Helix aspersa, are sometimes imported into the 
United States, for use as food by foreign residents. 

2 Mr A. Nicols in Acclimatisation of the Salmonidce at the Antipodes says (p. 46) 
that in the 'Mindora' shipment of salmon ova in 1869 "a living snail was found 
among the moss " in which the eggs were packed, and was " acclimated." By which 
I suppose he means that it was set free. 


Helicostyla daphnis, Broderip 
Found at Picton by Mr Kinsey. 

Helicostyla fulgetrum, Broderip 

Mr Suter states that "the specimen which was collected by Dr 
Dieffenbach, and was in the British Museum, is lost." 

Vallonia excentrica, Sterki 

Mr Suter gives this species as from Auckland, Mr W. W. Smith 
reports it from Taranaki. In Mr Musson's list of introduced Mollusca 
(1890) this species was referred to as Helix pulchella, Miiller. His 
specimens were collected by Mr Cheeseman in Albert Park, Auckland. 

Arion empiricorum, Ferussac 

Mr Suter reports this as found near Auckland, and at Dunedin. 
In the former locality Mr Musson states that they were found 
crawling over the roads after rain. 

Arion subfuscus, Draparnaud 

Found at Dunedin by Captain Hutton, who described it as a 
new species, which he named A. incommodus, but a specimen in the 
British Museum (also) from Dunedin, showed it to be the cinereo- 
fuscus form of A. subfuscus. 

Arion hortensis, Ferussac 

Reported as plentiful about Auckland (1890) by Mr Musson, who 
found it crawling about the roads after rain, along with A. empiri- 
corum. Mr W. W. Smith informs me that it also occurs in Taranaki. 

Arion minimus, Simroth 

Mr Suter records this snail from Rangitoto Island. It was also 
found by Mrs Longstaff at Matihiwi, near Masterton. 

Cionella lubrica, Miiller 
Mr Suter reports this species from Auckland. 

Ccecilianella acicula, Miiller 
This is also recorded from Auckland by Mr Suter. 


Aneitea grteffet, Humbert 

"This slug, a native of Queensland and New South Wales, was 
found at Port Chalmers by Dr C. Chilton, and near Collingwood 
by Mr J. Dall 1 ." 


Family OSTREID^ 
Ostrea edulis, Linn. 

In 1868 Mr W. C. Young shipped a quantity of oysters by the 
'Celestial Queen' from London to the Otago Society. Only two 
arrived alive in Dunedin : " These have been deposited on an artificial 
oyster bed at Portobello, where it is to be hoped they will do well." 
Great was the faith of these early pioneers in acclimatisation work. 
According to a letter from Mr Frank Buckland these oysters were 
from the River Roach in Essex, and were presented by Mr F. Wiseman 
of Paglesham. Mr Buckland evidently had not sampled the oysters 
of Foveaux Strait for he adds: " Oysters are found naturally in New 
Zealand, but if the culture of a better class could be instituted there 
is a chance of an additional source of food being supplied to the 

1 In Mr Musson's list of introduced Mollusca (1890) he gives Zanites nitidus, 
Miiller, as found by himself at " Lake St John, Auckland ; a dozen specimens under 
logs." Mr Suter informs me that the species was the indigenous Fretum novaree, 

Neritina fluviatilis, Linn., was reported from the Waikare River by Mr T. Kirk, 
and identified by Mr Musson in 1890. Mr Suter doubts the accuracy of the locality, 
and seems to think the specimens were taken by mistake from the collections 
in the Dominion Museum. 

Chapter VIII 


(Order CHILOPODA, see Appendix B, p. 558.) 

Cermatia smithii, Newport 

ONE example of this species was received recently (1919) at the 
Dominion Museum, Wellington. It was taken at Wanganui. 


(The scheme of classification generally adopted is that used by Dr D. 
Sharp in the Cambridge Natural History, but I have been obliged to depart 
from it in regard to several groups, especially those of parasitic insects, 
regarding which the classification is still in a condition of flux.) 

Order I. APTERA 
Sub-order THYSANURA 

Lepisma saccharina, Linn. (Silver-fish), Bristle-tail or Fish-moth 

This species is very common throughout the North Island, but 
not so widespread in the South. (Dr Hilgendorf reports it as only 
found in heated linen cupboards about Christchurch.) I have found 
it by no means uncommon in Dunedin. Mr Philpott has only found 
it in one locality in Southland. Hudson considers it was introduced 
at a very early date. 

Mr Howes reports it from houses in Wellington, Christchurch 
and Invercargill. "It is undoubtedly throughout N.Z. but cannot be 
said to be common." 

This insect is essentially a vegetable feeder, but its favourite 
food is starch. Hence the damage it does to books and papers, 
muslin curtains, starched articles of clothing, and silk garments and 
tapestry which have been stiffened with starch. They are great pests 
in libraries, where they eat the glaze, paste of the labels and the 
surface of the paper. 

A number of insects sent to Mr Jas. Drummond in May, 1913, 


from Lake Brunner, where they were said to have recently appeared, 
proved to be this species. 

Miller says this species only lives in damp places. 

Thermobia furnorum, Rovelli. (Fire-brat) 

Common about bakehouses, fireplaces, ovens or any warm dry 
places, especially in the North Island. 



Entomobrya multifasciata, Tulb. 

Two specimens of this cosmopolitan species were found in an 
ants' nest at Ashburton by Mr W. W. Smith and recorded in (or 
before) 1895. Its presence there may have been accidental. It is 
difficult to say whether this is an introduced or an indigenous species. 

Achorutes armatus, Nic., Tulb. 

Three specimens were found in an ants' nest at Ashburton by 
Mr W. W. Smith, and recorded at the same time as the preceding 
species. It is a very widely spread form, being found in all European 
countries, Sumatra, California, Brazil, etc. The same remarks apply 
to it as to the preceding. 


Forficula auricularia, Linn. (Earwig) 

This common European insect was first reported from Ashburton 
by Mr W. W. Smith in 1900. It was recorded from North Canterbury 
in 1908, and it was stated then that it had been known for some 
years in the Wairarapa district in the North Island. Since then it 
has been steadily increasing its range, and its abundance. Mr Howes 
first met with it commonly under fish crates in the railway station 
at Palmerston (S.) ; from such a position it would be spread broadcast. 
It is extremely abundant in the north end of Dunedin, in Christ- 
church, at Waikari in North Canterbury, and on the railway station 
at Cass. 

These insects are most destructive to vegetables, flowers and 
fruits, and they even penetrate into houses, and devour all starchy 
and saccharine food materials. They are voracious feeders, and are 
especially fond of the corollas of flowers, so that they are a great 


annoyance to gardeners. Occasionally they visit flowers for the nectar, 
and Knuth reports them as going into the flowers of Tropeeolum 
majus for this purpose. They have also been taken on the flowers 
of ivy (Hedera Helix), poppy (Papaver Rhceas) and Millfoil (Achillcea 
millefolium), perhaps on the same quest. But they eat the flowers 
of species of Brassica, and of the thistle (Cnicus arvensis) very freely. 
Their destruction of fruit is chiefly that which has fallen on the 
ground, or which grows near the ground, like strawberries. 

Kerner suggests that: . 

"it is very probable that the species of Forficula, which we frequently 
find working for days together in tubular flowers, so far interfere with 
the floral functions as that by their presence other insects, whose visits 
would be of use, are prevented from sucking the nectar." He adds: "I 
possess, however, no definite observations on this point." 

A rove-beetle, Philonthus ceneus, also introduced into New Zealand, 
is very generally mistaken for an earwig. 

Mr G. Howes informs me that he has three unidentified species 
of earwigs in his collection, which were introduced from the South 
Sea Islands in fruit. 

Chelisoches morio, Fabr. 

This species, originally belonging to the Malay Archipelago, was 
first observed by Mr Hudson, as landed from a home steamer in 
Wellington in 1890. He found another specimen amongst some 
bananas in 1898. Mr W. W. Smith reported it as occurring round 
about Christchurch in 1906. 


Blatta latipennisy Brunn. (Phyllodromia opima). (India?) 
( ? Blatta orientalis, the Black Beetle) 

This species was recorded as taken at Auckland by the ' Novara ' 
Expedition (1859). 

Blatta germanica. Linn. (Phyllodromia germanica, Linn.). 

(Cosmopolitan.) Cockroach 

This species, which has spread very widely from Europe, is 
known in America, where it is very common, as the "Croton Bug." 
Mr Howes reports it as generally distributed by merchandise, and 
common on all New Zealand coastal boats. It has been found in 
parts of Dunedin and Invercargill. 

Polyzosteria truncata, Brunn. 

This Australian species is recorded among introduced insects in 
Hutton's list in the Fauna Novce-Zealandiee. 


Periplaneta americana, Linn. Cockroach, Yellow Roach 

This species, which is now cosmopolitan in its distribution, is a 
native of tropical America. It is a common cockroach on board 
ships. Mr Howes says it is occasionally taken in seaport towns, 
where it comes off boats, amongst goods, etc. He has picked it up 
in fruit auction rooms in various parts of New Zealand. 


Orthodera ministralis, Fabr. Mantis 

Some time prior to 1860, Dr Sinclair took egg-cases of this 
Australian insect to England ; they were found apparently in Auckland. 
In 1873-74, Captain Hutton observed it at Clyde in Central Otago; 
Mr W. Colenso recorded it from Napier in 1878; Mr Potts found it 
in Canterbury in 1880; Mr Hudson found it in Nelson in 1886, and 
in Wellington in 1891 ; Dr Hilgendorf in 1916 says that it is common, 
but overlooked on account of its protective colouring; and in 1919 
Mr W. W. Smith says it is common in Taranaki, while Mr Howes 
reports it from Oamaru. It seems, therefore, to be pretty generally 
distributed. Captain Hutton writing in 1896 said: " I think that the 
species has been unintentionally introduced into Auckland from 
Sydney, and into Otago from Tasmania or Victoria, when large 
quantities of hay were brought to Otago from Australia." 

Ccedicia olivacea, Brunner 

This Australian locust was found very commonly amongst sweet- 
briars in Nelson in 1886, by Mr Hudson, and was also recorded 
from Auckland by Captain Hutton in 1897. The latter authority 
states that "probably it was introduced into Nelson in the early 
days of the gold-diggings, and taken from there to Auckland." 
Mr W. W. Smith tells me that it is common in Taranaki in 1919. 


Gryllus servillei, Saussure. Field Cricket or Whistling Cricket 
Also recorded as Acheta fuliginosa. Mr Hudson thinks that the 
introduction of this cricket from Australia occurred at a very early 
period. He first recorded it from the Nelson district in 1875, when 
it was extremely destructive. In 1896-97 the Agricultural Depart- 
ment reported it as very destructive in Auckland and Hawke's Bay, 
in the latter district eating the paddocks quite bare. It also entered 
houses, destroying wall-papers, boots, clothing, harness, provisions, 
etc.; and did much damage in orchards and gardens. In 1907 it was 


extremely abundant in the neighbourhood of Auckland. Mr Howes 
states that "the cheerful chirping of the Black Cricket can be heard 
every evening (in summer) about the North Island towns. I have also 
heard it in the Port Hills above Christchurch." 

Gryllotalpa vulgaris, Linn. Mole Cricket 

In 1888 this species was noted by Mr T. W. Kirk in a bank on 
the Tinakori Road, Wellington. Also found by Mr Robinson of 
Makara, west of Wellington. Dr Hilgendorf (1916) says: "the first 
specimen from near Wanganui was noted there some ten years ago; 
it is now common in sand-hills there." 

Mr Howes states that it is common as far south as Nelson. 


(In Neumann's classification the Mallophaga or Ricinidae are 
treated as a family of the sub-order Rhyncota or Pediculinae.) 

Trichodectes scalaris, Nitzsch. Ox-louse 
This ecto-parasite of cattle is not uncommon in New Zealand. 

Trichodectes sphcerocephalus, Nitzsch. Sheep-louse 
This species appears to be very common. The report of the 
Agricultural Department for 1916 states that it is a very abundant 
parasite among sheep. Mr Miller recorded it from Weraroa in 1917. 

Trichodectes lotus, Nitzsch. Dog-louse 
This species is found on dogs in New Zealand. 

Trichodectes climax, Nitzsch. Goat-louse 

Col. H. A. Reid informs me that this species occurs on goats in 
New Zealand. 

Goniodes dissimilis, Nitzsch. Brown Chicken-louse 
Col. H. A. Reid states that this parasite is found on poultry in 
New Zealand. 

Menopon pallidum, Nitzsch 

This most troublesome ecto-parasite of poultry is termed in 
American publications the shaft-louse or small body-louse of chickens. 
It is a species which moves with great nimbleness among feathers, 
and can be kept alive for months on fresh feathers, of which it par- 
ticularly consumes the quill epidermis. Col. H. A. Reid states that 
it occurs among poultry in New Zealand. 


Menopon biseriatim, Nitzsch. Body-louse of Chickens 

This species also occurs in New Zealand, and has been identified 
by Col. Reid. 



Atropos pulsatoria, Linn. Book-louse; Lesser Death Watch; 

This is a very generally distributed insect, which feeds on the 
paste of books, wall-papers, etc. It has been long known, and was 
probably introduced over a century ago, with the first papers and 

(See Appendix B, p. 558.) 


Family TENTHREDINE^:. (Sawflies) 

Eriocampa limacina, De Geer (Eriocampa adumbrata, Klug; Selandria 
cerasi, Curtis). Slug- worm, Leech. (Europe) 

Osten-Sacken appears to have been the first to record the occur- 
rence of this insect in New Zealand between 1870 and 1888. It is 
now very abundant all over New Zealand ; the larvae feeding on pear, 
cherry, hawthorn, plum, peach, and other trees of the Rosaceae. In 
the North Island it is particularly destructive, and practically prevents 
the use of the hawthorn as a hedge-plant. In the south it seems to 
appear too late in the season to do much harm. Howes has found it 
on the native tutu (Coriaria ruscifolia) at Queenstown. 

It is attacked and destroyed by two indigenous bugs, Cermatulus 
nasalis, Westwood, and Nezara amoyti, White ; also by the introduced 
Australian wasp, Polistes tasmaniensis. Mr Holman of Whangarei 
informs me that the native cuckoo (Eudynamis taitiensis) eats a con- 
siderable number of these slugs when they are in the larval condition 1 . 


Sir ex juvencus , Linn. Steel-blue Sawfly 

This European species has been found at the Government planta- 
tions at Whakarewarewa; the larvae attack Pinus radiata, boring into 
the timber. 

1 In the British Board of Agriculture's Leaflet No. 62 (March, 1900), it is stated 
that the Eriocampa limacina does much harm to pear and cherry trees in America. 
Harris, writing as early as 1797, says: "Small trees were covered with them, and 
their foliage entirely destroyed, and even the air, by passing through the trees, 
became charged with a disagreeable and sickening odour given out by these slimy 
creatures." The same thing has been noticed in England. 



Ryssa semipunctata, Kirby (Lissopimpla semipunctatd). 
Dark-winged Ichneumon 

In 1883 Mr P. Cameron obtained this species from specimens 
received from Greymouth. Writing in 1899 ne savs: 

Captain Hutton informs me that his belief is that the species has been 
introduced into New Zealand from Australia. The evidence undoubtedly 
is that it was rare in New Zealand thirty years ago, while now it is not at 
all rare. At Greymouth the late Mr Richard Helms took it commonly. 
In 1882 it was taken by Mr Hudson in Nelson, where it was fairly 
common. Mr Howes reports it from Wanganui and New Plymouth, 
and Mr D. Miller (1919) states that it is common in the Auckland 
provincial district. The wasp is parasitic on the subterranean grass- 
caterpillars (Porina umbraculata and P. cervinatd), and upon the army- 
worm (Cyrphus unipunctatd). It also attacks the N.Z. Flax grub 
(Xanthorce prcefectata), as well as native locusts. 

Bassus lactatorius, Fabr. (B. generosus, Cameron) 
Introduced from Australia. This is not a useful species, for it 
is parasitic in the larvae of the syrphidae or hover flies, which them- 
selves destroy great quantities of aphides. It was first reported by 
Hudson in 1883. 

Dacnusa sonchivorus, Cameron 

This ichneumon was identified from N.Z. in 1902 by Cameron. 
It is parasitic on Phytomyza albiceps, the caterpillar which bores in 
the leaves of sowthistle, cineraria and other composites. It appears 
to be a common species. (Cameron does not record this as an intro- 
duced form.) 

Eulophus albitarsis, Ashmead 

A European and North American species which was recorded 
from Chatham Island by Mr P. Cameron in 1902. I am not aware 
of its having been met with in either the North or the South Island. 

Pleurotropus (Entodon) epigonus, Walker 

Sir James Hector (in 1894) recorded this parasitic wasp as occur- 
ring at Marton in 1888. It was introduced from England by the 
Agricultural Department in 1893, as the natural enemy of the Hessian 
fly. Mr T. W. Kirk reported in (1895) 2& follows on this introduction: 
In last year's report I mentioned having succeeded in rearing from the 
parasitized "puparia" of Hessian flies, received from England, a large 
number of the ichneumon fly, known as Semiotellus nigripes, which were 
liberated in the various districts where the crops had suffered from the 
attacks of the Hessian fly. One place selected as a depot was the farm of 
Mr J. Hessey, of Masterton. This gentleman took a great interest in the 


experiment, fencing in a portion of his wheat as a sanctuary for the parasites. 
Here they must have made good use of their time, for during the past 
season, in company with Mr Hessey, I captured over a dozen of this 
particular species in a very short time, and this, too, in a paddock fully 
a hundred yards away from the nursery or depot. 

Mr Howes informs me (1919) that in a sample of oats sent from 
Balfour, Southland, more of these parasites emerged than Hessian 
flies. This is probably the species found on the Hessian fly at Lincoln, 
of which from two to five per cent, of the pupae hatch out parasites. 
(See Appendix B, p. 558.) 

Ichneumon sp. 

Kirk writing in 1894 says that in Britain a parasite is found on 
Phytomysa nigricornis, the cineraria fly, "but this does not seem to 
have yet reached Wellington." 

The species has certainly been detected since, for in 1906 Captain 
Broun reported its discovery in Auckland. 

Ichneumon sp. 

This species, which is parasitic on the diamond-back moth (Plutella 
maculipennis or P. cruciferarum), appears to be fairly common. Hilgen- 
dorf states that at Lincoln, about five per cent, of the caterpillar 
pupae hatch out ichneumons. 

Ichneumon sp. 

A species which is parasitic on Aphis brassicce, the green fly of 
the turnip. Hilgendorf states that in February and March, aphides 
on cabbage leaves are commonly found with holes in them, which 
have been made by the escaping parasite. 

Trichogramma pretiosa, Riley 

In 1900 a parasitic ichneumon was found in the pupae of the 
codlin moth in Mr Parr's orchard, at Waikumete, near Auckland, and 
Mr T. W. Kirk hatched out a number of them. Specimens sent to 
Professor L. O. Howard, of Washington, were identified as above. 
Mr W. A. Boucher reported on this parasite in 1902, that "while 
the percentage of moth-infected fruit of early and mid-season varieties 
remains much the same, a percentage of the fruit of the later varieties 
will apparently be saved from the moth." 

Zele sp. 

During 1908, Mr Simms, one of the Inspectors of Orchards in 
the Department of Agriculture, found this species under "some 
bandages " placed there to prevent the codlin moth from getting up 
the stems of apple trees. The investigation of this species was never 
carried out by the Department. 


Calliephaltes messer, Gravenhorst 

This insect had been introduced into California from Spain as 
a natural enemy of the codlin moth. In 1906 Mr Boucher was sent 
to California, where he obtained a supply of these parasites. These, 
and other parasites, were reared in an insectary specially built at 
Auckland, and were spread far and wide to over 50 localities where 
the moth was prevalent. In the Journal of Agriculture for 1911 it 
is stated that the codlin moth parasitical flies which were liberated 
in Whangarei five years previous "are increasing in appreciable 
numbers in the orchards. One firm of orchardists state they have 
this season found the larvae of the parasites in three out of five moth- 
cocoons examined." 

Platygaster minutus, Lindemann 

This small hymenopterous insect, parasitic on the Hessian fly, 
was introduced from Britain by the Agricultural Department in 1893. 

(Family CHALCIDID^E, see Appendix B, p. 558.) 

Family APIDJE 
Bombus terrestris, Linn. 

Bombus lucorum. Linn. TT , , 

r, , , T^ , Humble-bees 

Bombus ruder atus, Fab. ,p, , 

Bombus hortorum, Linn. 
Bombus lupidarius, Linn. 

The naturalisation of humble-bees in New Zealand is due to the 
action of the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society, the object of intro- 
ducing them being to bring about the fertilisation of the red clover 
(Trifolium pratense), which is very extensively cultivated, but which 
previous to the advent of these insects did not produce seed, except 
to a very limited extent. 

In a notice of the humble-bee in New Zealand in the N.Z. Journal 
of Science (January, 1891), I stated in regard to the fertilisation of 
red clover that 

the pollen and stigma of this flower are accessible to all insects which are 
heavy enough to press down the keel, and if bees visit the flowers for pollen 
only they will no doubt bring about cross-fertilisation. This may account 
for an interesting example given me by Mr Wm. Martin, of Fail-field, 
near Dunedin, who informs me that as far back as 1858 he obtained a 
large quantity of very fine seed off a small patch of red clover which he 
had under cultivation. 

The first attempt to introduce these insects was made by Dr Frank 
Buckland in 1873, but he failed to get the bees in time. In January, 
1876, a consignment from Dr Buckland was brought out in the 
'Otari,' by the Hon. John Hall, but all were found to be dead. 

T. N. Z. IS 


In the Society's report for 1880 it is stated: "Your Council has 
received intimation from Mrs Belfield of Timaru, of a shipment of 
humble-bees from Messrs Neighbour & Sons, England." 

Mr I. Hopkins, formerly Chief Government Apiarist, and author 
of a bulletin on the "History of the Humble-bee in New Zealand," 
refers evidently to this attempt as follows: 

" Until a few years ago " (he was writing in 1914) " I was under the im- 
pression that I had liberated the first humble-bees in this country, but 
was corrected by a resident in Timaru, who stated he liberated in 1883, 
some which came to the order of a lady, I think." 

These apparently failed to establish themselves, for when bees were 
liberated subsequently by the Society, the rapidity of increase and 
of spread was phenomenal. 

In 1882 Mr Hopkins sent an order for 100 queens to Messrs 
Neighbour & Sons, London. 

After stating the object of importing the bees I left the selection of them 
to the firm, but gave instructions how they were to be packed, and to be 
brought out in the ship's cool room, at a temperature of about 40 F. 

These arrived in May, 1883, but were all dead. Another lot of 145 
arrived in February, 1884, but only two were alive. After feeding 
them, these were liberated, but there was no indication afterwards 
of their having established themselves. 

Other consignments arrived by post, and in the steamships ' Ionic ' and 
'Doric,' in January and February, 1885. A total of nearly five hundred 
bees came in the several consignments, but all were dead except the two 
mentioned. From the difference in their size, markings, and colours we 
concluded at the time that queens of three or four species had been sent, 
but what they were we had no knowledge. 

These lots came to Auckland. 

The second consignment of bees to the order of the Canterbury Society 
arrived in the S.S. 'Doric' at Lyttelton in February, 1884, and the third, 
of 200 bees, in the 'Ruapeha' in April, 1884. Both lots were dead. 

In January, 1885, the 'Tongariro' brought a fourth consignment 
of 282 bees, of which 45 were alive ; and in February of the same 
year, the ' Aorangi ' landed 48 out of 260 shipped. The first lot were 
liberated at Riccarton, and the next at the foot of the Port Hills. 
"Both lots of bees were strong and healthy when liberated, and 
doubtless the majority, if not all, of them succeeded in establishing 

It is interesting to learn from the report issued by the Canterbury 
Society in February, 1886, that the cost of collecting and shipping 
the bees in England, was is. jd. each; the cost of those landed in 
New Zealand was 95. $d. each. 


Another interesting and noteworthy fact is that in their original 
instructions for shipment of bees the Society particularly asked that 
Bombus terrestris be sent out, a species in which, according to Miiller, 
the trunk is too short to reach the bottom of the tube of the flowers 
of Trifolium pratense. It is certain that this species was among those 
sent out, and it is still the commonest species in New Zealand. But 
apparently also specimens of B. ruder atus (variously referred to also 
as B. subterraneus and B. harrisellus), and B. hortorum were introduced 
at the same time. For as soon as the insects began to increase, 
fertilisation of the clover ensued and abundance of seed began to be 
obtained. I noticed also that previous to 1889 all my species of 
Primula (primroses, cowslips, etc.), which were growing freely in my 
garden, failed to produce seed naturally. After humble-bees began 
to come about, they seeded quite freely. This, too, in spite of the fact 
that the smaller bees learned to bite the corolla-tubes, and so make 
holes half-way down, through which they could suck the nectar with- 
out disturbing either anthers or stigmas. Mr Hopkins refers to the 
perforation of the tubes of red-clover flowers as being done by both 
B. terrestris and B. lucorum in Europe, but could find no evidence 
of its being done in New Zealand. However, in April, 1892, the late 
Mr John Allan of Taurima (in the Taieri Plain) informed me that 
he had repeatedly seen small humble-bees, biting the tubes of the 
red clover; these were, no doubt, small bees produced late in the 
season, and not full-grown. I have frequently observed humble-bees 
biting holes in the tubes of Primula, Arbutus, Antirrhinum, Eccremo- 
carpus, Salvia, Narcissus and Hyacinth. It would seem also that they 
learn the trick from one another. Thus bulb-growers in one district 
have told me that all their hyacinth blossoms were destroyed by 
humble-bees, while in another district at a few miles distance the 
hyacinths were quite untouched. 

After the bees became thoroughly established in the country, 
some doubt began to be expressed that the wrong species had been 
introduced, and the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association 
resolved to import more. On the advice of Lord Avebury, they 
obtained three shipments from London through the agency of Mr 
Sladen. Mr Hopkins in his pamphlet says: 

Mr O. B. Pemberton, the secretary of the association, writes in January, 
1913: "We got out in all three shipments, arriving as follows: 

Arrival Number sent Live Queens 

(1) 24th February, 1906 ... 15 10 

(2) 29th November, 1906 ... 165 71 

(3) 27th December, 1906 ... 145 62 

The Queens we got out were B. lapidarius and B. hortorum. These 

1 8 2 


were all liberated by me in different localities. I have not heard of any of 
the B. lapidarius being seen, so I presume they did not live." 

The increase of the bees in the first few years after their introduc- 
tion was phenomenally rapid. The first were liberated at Christchurch 
in January, 1885. In January, 1886, two were seen by Mr J. D. Enys 
on Castle Hill on the West Coast Road (64 miles), and others 
at Mount Peel 90 miles in another direction. Early in 1887 they 
were reported from Kaikoura, 100 miles to the north, and from 
Timaru, 100 miles to the south. At the end of the year they had made 
their way from Oamaru up the Waitaki Valley, through the Lindis 
Pass and on to the Hawea flats. In February, 1888, they appeared 
at Dunedin, and at the same time at Waihola 30 miles south-west. 
In November, 1889, they were first recorded from the head of Lake 
Wakatipu, and in the beginning of 1890 were observed in the neigh- 
bourhood of Invercargill. No doubt their spread to the west coast, 
and to Cook Strait was equally rapid, but there is no record. Both 
whole nests and queens were sent from time to time to the North 
Island from Canterbury from 1888 onwards, in which year they were 
first observed in Wellington, while the first record from Auckland 
was in May, 1890. They became thus fully established throughout 
New Zealand in less than ten years. 

So rapid was the first increase of the humble-bees that apiarists 
began to take fright, and it was very commonly feared that soon the 
hive-bees would be crowded out from the flowers and that no nectar 
would be left for them. In some districts, as in thistle-infested areas, 
the bees swarmed to such an extent when the plants were in flower, 
as to deter timid persons from going through. This extraordinary 
rate of increase was not maintained. After a time the numbers 
became reduced, till in some districts where they were formerly 
abundant, they became almost rare. In most parts of the country 
now, though humble-bees are fairly common, they are nowhere so 
abundant as to constitute a pest or even a menace. 

The causes of this diminution in numbers have never been in- 
vestigated, though a few observers have sought to give some explana- 
tion of the facts. Hopkins considers that the rainfall is the chief 
factor, and that those portions of Marlborough, Canterbury and 
Otago where the annual rainfall is under 30 inches, are best 
suited for the growth and increase of the bees. Portions of Otago 
and Southland, a small part of Canterbury, Nelson, and a very small 
portion of the North Island have less than 40 inches but more than 
30 inches of rain per annum; while most of the North Island 
ranges between 40 and 70 inches. Speaking of the diminution in 
numbers Hopkins says : 


There seemed to be no plausible reason for the decline. I am inclined to 
think that the falling-off was due to a series of unfavourable seasons closely 
following each other, unusually heavy rainfalls will cause great destruc- 
tion by flooding their nests. 

This, however, is only a surmise, and I do not think any exact 
observations have been made in support of the statement. I have 
elsewhere shown that in many parts of New Zealand humble-bees 
do not hibernate at all, and it is just possible owing to this that they 
frequently succumb to the rapid falls of temperature which are so 
common in our insular climate. Even in Otago where the winters 
are often fairly severe the mean winter temperature being 41 F., 
and the mean winter minimum for the same months being 35 F. 
I have seen and recorded the bees in every month of the year. In 
Taranaki, W. W. Smith says : " Queens of the three forms naturalised 
in the North Island may be seen on the wing almost every day of 
warm sunshine in the public park at New Plymouth throughout 
winter months." 

The males appear in Otago about November, which is somewhat 
earlier than occurs in the corresponding season in Britain. 

Mr J. Attwood of Northern Wairoa stated in 1914 that all the 
varieties of humble-bees were common in the district, and that ten 
years ago he noticed the large jet-black bees (either B. terrestris or 
B. ruder atus). 

Mr W. Hone of Waverley (1914) says that more than 40 years 
ago, Mr J. Dickie, Senr., sowed red clover on a part of his land near 
Waverley, from which he obtained a large crop of very fertile seed. 

Mr W. W. Smith states that hive-bees occasionally fertilise red 
clover in the shorter flowers of the heads. 

Mr Philpott informed me in 1917 that the most common species 
in Southland is B. terrestris, var. virginalis. B. ruderatus also occurs, 
but the other introduced species are not found in the south. 

I have not found the humble-bees visiting many of the indigenous 
flowers either for nectar or pollen. They are very fond of the flowers 
of Fuchsia excorticata, and frequently suck out the nectar left by 
honey-birds or tuis, through the portions of the tube torn open by 
the birds. They have also been recorded on Veronica ettiptica, many 
large hybrid veronicas, Myoporum Icetum and Muehlenbeckia australis. 

Mr A. Philpott informs me (February, 1917) that he found humble- 
bees not uncommon on the Celmisia blossoms on the Hunter Moun- 
tains, at a height of 4500 ft. To get to the upland open country from 
the Monowai flats the insects would have to traverse or pass through 
about six miles of Nothofagus forest. 

The following species of plants which have been introduced into 

2 7 8 


New Zealand, and have become more or less wild, are visited by 
humble-bees in Europe : 

Bombus terrestris 

Ranunculus aquatilis, R. acris, R. repens, 
Nigella damascena. 

Berber is vulgaris. 

Papaver Rhaeas, P. somniferum. 

Cheiranthus Cheiri, Brassica oleracea, 
Sinapis arvensis, Cakile maritima. 

Viola tricolor, V. arvensis, V. odorata. 

Malva sylvestris. 

Hypericum perforatum. 

Geranium Robertianum. 

Cytisus scoparius, Ulex europeeus, Lupinus 
luteus, Medicago saliva, M. lupulina, 
Trifolium repens, T. hybridum, T.fragi- 
ferum, T. pratense, T. medium, T. ar- 
vense, Lotus corniculatus , Vicia sativa, 
Faba vulgaris, Phaseolus vulgaris. 

Persica vulgaris, Prunus domesticus, P. 
avium, P. cerasus, Rosa rubiginosa, Ru- 
bus fruticosus , R. idcRus, Crateegus oxy- 
acantha, Pyrus malus, P. communis, 
P. aucuparia. 

(Enothera biennis. 

Ribes nigrum, R. rubrum, JR. grossularia. 

Daucus Car ota. 

Knautia arvensis. 

Petasites officinale (vulgaris), Tanacetum 
vulgare, Bellisperennis, Cnicus arvensis, 
C. lanceolatus, Chrysanthemum leucan- 
themum, Carduus crispus, C. nutans, 
Onopordon acanthium, Centaurea nigra, 
Taraxacum officinale, Sonchus arvensis, 
Crepis virens. 

Calluna vulgaris. 

Vinca major. 

Echium vulgare. 

Verbascum thapsus, Linaria vulgaris, 
Digitalis purpurea. 

Mentha arvensis, Nepeta cataria, N. gle- 
choma, Lamium purpureum, L. album, 
Marrubium vulgare. 

Primula elatior. 

Plantago lanceolata, P. media. 

Salix alba, S.fragilis. 

Allium Cepa. 

Bombus hortorum 

Daucus Car ota. 

Senecio jacobcea, Cnicus arvensis, C. lan- 

ceolatus, C. nutans, Onopordon acan- 

thium, Centaurea nigra, Taraxacum 

Calluna vulgaris. 
Echium vulgare. 
Verbascum Thapsus, Linaria vulgaris, 

Digitalis purpurea. 
Mentha aquatica, Prunella vulgaris. 
Primula elatior, P. vulgaris, P. verts. 
Polygonum Persicaria. 
Salix caprea. 

Brassica oleracea, Sinapis arvensis. 

Viola odorata, V. tricolor, V. arvense. 

Malva sylvestris. 

Hypericum perforatum. 

Geranium Robertianum. 

Tropeeolum majus. 

Cytisus scoparius, C. laburnum, Medicago 

sativa, M. lupulina, Melilotus officinalis, 

Trifolium repens, T. pratense, Anthyllis 

vulneraria, Lotus corniculatus, Vicia 

sativa, Faba vulgaris, Phaseolus vul- 
Prunus domesticus, P. avium, P. cerasus, 

Rubus fruticosus, R. idceus, Crateegus 

oxyacantha, Pyrus malus. 


Cakile maritima. 

Cytisus Laburnum. 

Trifolium pratense, Faba vulgaris. 

Cnicus arvensis, Taraxacum officinale. 

Bombus lucorum 

Cakile maritima. 

Viola odorata. 

Trifolium repens, T. pratense, T. arvense. 

Rubus fruticosus, R. idceus, Pyrus com- 

Ribes grossularia. 

Enemies. Mice are probably the most serious enemies the 
humble-bees have in New Zealand. They are very common, especially 


Carduus nutans. 
Echium vulgare. 
Linaria vulgaris. 

Petasites vulgaris , Cnicus arvensis, Tarax- 
acum officinale. 
Calluna vulgaris. 

Thymus Serpyllum, Lamium album. 
Salix alba. 


in districts and neighbourhoods where cultivation is carried on, and 
no doubt they destroy numbers of nests and larvae. But I have no 
direct evidence of this. 

Mr W. W. Smith states that during the drought in 1891-93 in 
Canterbury, starlings attacked and ate humble-bees during the spring 
seasons, when food generally was scarce. Again in 1896 he recorded 
that " last nesting season we noticed starlings several times capturing 
and carrying the bees to their nests to feed their young." A North 
Canterbury farmer states (in 1910) that he has repeatedly seen 
starlings catching the humble-bees and carrying them off to their nests. 

In the following year the Akaroa Mail reported that tuis were 
observed catching humble-bees and taking their honey-bags from 

Mr Smith also reported in 1896 that numbers of dead humble- 
bees were found during two previous seasons with a small puncture 
either in their thorax or abdomen. On one occasion he saw a specimen 
of Bombus subterraneus seized by a large native fly Asilus varius 
which pulled it to the ground, pierced the forepart of the thorax, 
and killed it in a few seconds by sucking out the viscera. 

In September, 1890, I found large numbers of dead humble-bees 
about Dunedin, and these were always thickly infested with mites, 
some parts of the body especially the bare posterior upper surface 
of the thorax being covered with them to such an extent as to have 
the integument completely hidden. 

Mr W. W. Smith (April, 1919) states that the red mites were 
extraordinarily common on the humble-bees, and he thinks are or 
were largely responsible for their remarkable diminution in numbers. 
He adds, " I have not seen a humble-bee in the N. Island this month." 

The importance and value of the humble-bee to New Zealand 
has been very considerable. Mr Smith states that within nine years 
of the liberation of 90 queen bees in Christchurch in 1885, "the 
sum of about 200,000 has been realized on red clover seed alone." 

Humble-bees were carried over to the Chatham Islands in October, 

They were also introduced into New South Wales from New 
Zealand many years ago. 

Hive-Bees (Apis mellifica, Linn, and A. ligustica, Spin.). (Europe) 

The history of the first introduction of hive-bees into New Zealand 
has been investigated by Mr Isaac Hopkins, late Chief Government 
Apiarist, and from his report the following facts are gleaned. 

On 1 3th March, 1839, the Rev. J. H. Burnby and his sister 
arrived in the ' James ' at the Mission station of Mungunga, Hokianga. 


Miss Burnby brought with her the first bees introduced in two straw 
hives. These came from New South Wales. In 1840 Lady Hobson, 
wife of the first Governor of New Zealand, brought bees with her 
from New South Wales. In 1842 Mrs Allum arrived at Nelson in 
the ' Clifford ' with the first shipment of bees from England ; and in 
the same year the Rev. W. Cotton arrived in the Bay of Islands with 
another lot of bees from England. 

It is probable that the bees referred to by Dieffenbach (in 1839) 
had swarmed from those brought over in the autumn by Miss Burnby, 
unless, indeed, they were an independent importation. He says: 
"Bees have been introduced into New Zealand from New South 
Wales; my excellent friend, the Rev. Richard Taylor at Waimate, 
had a hive, and they were thriving remarkably well." 

As settlement proceeded throughout the country most of it on 
the skirt of bushland great numbers of swarms were lost in the 
forests, where they quickly established themselves in hollow trees. 
Lady Barker in Station Life in New Zealand says she ate bush-honey 
in Canterbury in 1866. Wild bees were very common in Southland 
in 1868. 

The Hon. Herbert Meade writing in 1871 says: 

New Zealand is par excellence the land of honey, and although the bees 
have only been introduced for, I believe, about twenty-five years, the woods 
are already full of wild honey. A friend assured me that he had taken as 
much as 70 Ibs. from a single tree, and known others to get 200 and 300 Ibs. 
at one haul; another man collected a ton and a half in a few weeks. 

The greatest enemies to the bees here are the dragon-flies, which grow 
to an enormous size. They waylay the luckless bees when homeward 
bound and laden with honey, and after nipping off the part containing 
the sting, devour the remainder with the honey, at leisure. 

Dragon-flies do occasionally eat bees, but they are not really for- 
midable enemies ; their numbers are too few. 

Honey-bees were sent over to the Chatham Islands in October, 
1890. They had been imported previously, though I have not got a 
date for their introduction, but were supposed to have been destroyed 
by spiders, which were particularly abundant. 

Numbers of various kinds of bees have been introduced into the 
country from time to time, such as Italian, Syrian, Cyprian, Holy- 
land, Carniolian and Swiss-alpine; but only the first-named is 

The first Italian bees introduced were landed in 1879 by Mr J. H. 
Harrison of Coromandel (one hive) and the Canterbury Acclimatisa- 
tion (one hive). 

Then the Canterbury Society imported four hives of Ligurians 


in 1880, and the Otago Society ten hives in 1883 ; but most of those 
introduced were brought in by private individuals and bee-keepers' 
associations. Mr Isaac Hopkins of Auckland, formerly Chief Govern- 
ment Apiarist, tells me: 

There have not been sufficient foreign bees other than Italians cultivated 
and escaped in New Zealand to make any difference in our wild or vagrant 
bees. It might be possible to find a pure Italian vagrant colony that had 
just escaped from some apiary, but not one of the second generation. There 
are too many "black bees" about, and in a state of nature they breed a 
tremendous number of drones, while we restrict their breeding. Therefore 
there is a large preponderance of black drones flying, and in most districts 
the chances are fifty to one that an Italian queen will meet a black drone. 
There are plenty of crosses, Black-Italians, about. 

According to Sir Walter Duller, the native kingfisher (Halcyon 
vagans) is destructive to bees. A farmer at Paraekaretu found that 
his bees were disappearing, and on killing a kingfisher found its 
crop full of bees. 

Mr W. W. Smith states that hive-bees occasionally fertilise red 
\ clover in the shorter flowers of its heads. 

Indigenous plants visited by hive-bees for nectar or pollen 

The following list is compiled partly from data supplied to me 
by various bee-keepers and partly from my own observation and is 
probably far from complete. 

Clematis indivisa (Puawhananga), pollen only, and Clematis faetida. 

Ranunculus rivularis, the honey from this flower is more or less poisonous. 

Melicytus ramiflorus (mahoe), Pittospomm tenuifolium (kohuhu or black mapau) 
and P. eugeniaides (tarata or white mapau), Gay a Lyallii (lace-bark), Aristotelia 
racemosa (mako-mako), Discaria Toumatou (tumatukuru), Sophora tetraptera (ko- 
whai), Rubus australis (bush-lawyer or tataramoa), Accena Sanguisorbee (piri-piri), 
Carpodetus serratus (piripiriwhata or putaputawheta), Leptospermum scoparium 
(manuka or tea-tree) and L. ericaides : the former is a particular favourite with bees, 
and produces highly aromatic honey of a rich pinky-brown colour. Metrosideros 
lucida (rata) ; probably all the species are visited by bees, for all are nectar-producing, 
but this is the only one I have received a record of. Myrtus bullata (ramarama), 
M. pedunculata, M. obcordata (rohutu), Fuchsia excorticata (kotukutuku) ; all bee- 
keepers who live near the bush report this species. Aciphylla squarrosa (spear-grass, 
taramea or kurikuri), Panax arbor eum (whauwhaupaku), especially on the male 
flowers, Griselinia lucida (puka) and G. littorahs (broad-leaf, kapuka or papaumu). 
Celmisia coriacea, and on many other species bees have been recorded ; also several 
species of Raoulia, which have not, however, been strictly identified. 

Senecio lagopus, S. bellidioides and probably most of the shrubby species. 

Brachyglottis repanda (pukapuka or wharangitawhito) and B. Rangiora (rangiora). 
Both these species are especially blamed for producing poisonous honey. In October, 
1906, six Maoris at Rewiti, near Helensville, were poisoned (though all ultimately 
recovered) by eating honey which contained large quantities of pollen grains of 
two species, viz., manuka and pukapuka. There was no doubt whatever in the minds 
of those who investigated it that the poison was due to the Brachyglottis. The plants 
are known to be poisonous. A settler near Rotorua died from eating this honey 
in 1917. 

Parsonsia heterophylla (kaiku or kaiwhiria) and P. capsularis (aka-kiore), Con- 
volvulus tuguriorum, probably for pollen; Veronica salicifolia, V. Traversii, V. soli- 


cormoides and probably all the shrubby species; Muehlenbeckia australis, Knightia 
excelsa (rewarewa or native honeysuckle), Nothofagus sp. (native birches or beeches), 
probably all the species are visited but whether for nectar or pollen is not recorded ; 
Podocarpus (miro and black and white pines) several species, all for pollen ; Rkipo- 
gonum scandens (supple-jack, kareao or pirita) ; Cordyline australis (cabbage-tree or 
ti). This species is blamed by some apiarists for producing very thick honey, which 
is difficult to extract. Astelia nervosa, Phormium tenax (New Zealand flax or hara- 
keke), and Bulbinella Hookeri. 

Of introduced plants probably the best honey producer is the white clover 
(Trifolium repens) which gives a beautiful pale honey. In districts where it abounds 
the ragwort (Senecio jacobced) produces somewhat late in the season a dark, strongly- 
flavoured honey which is not always saleable. 

In April, 1919, I noticed bees in great numbers feeding on fallen 
(rotten) pears, at Whangarei. 

In Europe, Apis mellifica fertilises the following flowering plants 
which have been introduced into New Zealand : 

Ranunculus aquatilis, R. acris, R. repens, R. bulbosus, Nigella damascena. 

Herberts vulgaris. 

Papaver Rhoeas, P. somniferum, Chelidonium majus. 

Fumaria officinalis. 

Nasturtium officinale, Sisymbrium officinale, Brassica Rapa, B. oleracea, Cheiran- 
thus Cheiri, Sinapis arvensis, S. alba, Capsella Bursa-pastoris, Cakile 
maritima, Crambe maritima, Raphanus Raphanistrum, R. sativus. 

Reseda luteola, R. lutea. 

Spergula arvensis, Stellaria media. 

Hypericum perforatum. 

Malva sylvestris. 

Geranium molle, Erodium cicutarium, Tropceolum majus. 

Cytisus scoparius (for pollen only), Medicago saliva, Trifolium repens, T. fragi- 
ferum, T.pratense (after the flowers have been punctured by short-trunked 
humble-bees), Lotus corniculatus , Robinia pseudo-acacia, Vicia tetrasperma. 

Rosa canina, R. rubiginosa, Rubus fruticosus, R. idceus, Fragaria vesca, Crateegus 
oxyacantha, Pyrus communis, Pyrus malus. 

Ribes nigrum, R. rubrum, R. Grossularia. 

CEnothera biennis. 

Daucus car ota. 

Petasites vulgaris, Centaurea cyanus, Cnicus arvensis, C. lanceolatus, Cichorium 
Intybus, Hypochceris radicata, Tanacetum vulgare, Senecio jacobeea, Tarax- 
acum officinale. 

(See Appendix B, p. 559.) 

Family VESPID^E 
Polistes tasmaniensis , Sauss. Australian Wasp 

This wasp has been established about Hokianga and Whangarei, 
probably, indeed, all over North Auckland Peninsula for a great 
number of years, and was first recorded from Rawene in 1893. It 
was then common over the Hokianga district. In 1911 Colonel 
Boscawen reported of an orchard in Opitonui, that it was full of 
their nests. It is extremely common in the north, but has spread 
very slowly to the south of Auckland. In 1918 Mr Howes met with 
it both at Dunedin and Waipori 1 . 

1 In Nicol's book, Acclimatisation of Salmonidce at the Antipodes, we are told 
(p. 46): "a living wasp was found among the moss" in which the eggs were packed, 
in the shipment of salmon ova sent to Otago in 1869, in the ' Mindora.' 


It attacks many species of insects, and is especially destructive to 
the pear-leech or sawfly (Eriocampa limacind). 

Prenolepis longicornis, Fabr. (Europe and Asia) 

Mr W. W. Smith states that this so-called " Sugar- Ant" is a great 
nuisance in some houses in Nelson and New Plymouth, and is com- 
mon in both localities. It is also common in the Auckland Province, 
and is probably very widespread, especially in the North Island 1 . 




In the Index Fauna Nov<e-Zealandiee y pp. 349-54, a list of intro- 
duced species of insects is given. Among those named, especially 
among the Coleoptera, are many regarding which no information is 
now available, for Captain Hutton, who compiled the list, died several 
years ago, and Major Broun, who made a great number of the identi- 
fications, died recently (1919). He was unable, during the last few 
years of his life, to supply me with the information which I sought. 
Hence several species are recorded, regarding which no details can 
now be given. Mr W. W. Smith informs me that he used to send 
up numerous specimens of introduced insects to Major Broun, but 
it is not possible to say whether any records of these were kept, 
or if so, where they are now. 

Aphodius granarius, Linn. 

Mr Wakefield found this European beetle in Canterbury in 1872. 
He then stated it to be scarce, but it was plentiful in the following 
year. In 1887 Mr G. V. Hudson reported it as taken in horse-dung 
in Wellington. Mr W. W. Smith informed me (in April, 1919) that 
the species was common in Taranaki. A favourite location for it is 
on the stems of tree-ferns, among the scales and hairs 2 . 

Trox sp. 
In the Index it is stated: "Reported by Dr Swale." 

1 Mr G. Howes collected an Australian (?) ant at Titahi Bay near Wellington. 
In connection with the introduction of a lace-wing fly from the Cook Island to 

help to suppress aphides in New Zealand (date?), it was stated that one breeding- 
cage was found to contain a number of ants, which had got in and destroyed all 
the flies. I have no means of ascertaining what species of ant was thus introduced. 

2 Pascoe in 1875 recorded an Aphodius "like A. pusillus," and an Onthophagus 
"apparently identical with the Australian O.fulvolineatus, Bl." from New Zealand, 
but, he adds, "there could have been no pabulum for such insects formerly." 


Onthophagus granulatus, Boh. Dung Beetle 
In 1872 Mr C. M. Wakefield stated that specimens of this beetle 
had been taken by Mr Fereday in Nelson provincial district and he 
considered that they had been introduced with cattle from Australia. 
Mr Hudson met with it at Wakapuaka in Nelson, in 1882. Mr W. W. 
Smith reported it as common in Taranaki in 1919. He thought it 
was probably common throughout New Zealand, but that there were 
no collectors of introduced species. 

Onthophagus posticus, Erichson 

Mr W. W. Smith reports this Australian species as common in 
Taranaki, where it usually occurs under the dry bark of species of 

Proctophanes sculptus, Hope 

Taken by Hudson at Palmerston North in September, 1883, in 

Calathus sealandicus, Redtenbacher 

Hudson found this species under stones at Karori, Wellington, 
in November, 1882; and later at Nelson and Palmerston North. 
Writing in 1917 he says : " I doubt if this insect is imported as other 
European Carabidae have not arrived here." Miller thinks the species 
is indigenous. 


Rhytisternus puella, Chaudoir 

Taken by Mr Hudson at Karori, Wellington, in 1882, under 

Hypharpax australasiee, Dejean 

This Australian beetle was considered by Captain Hutton, on the 
authority of Mr W. Bates, to be an introduced species. It was 
recorded in 1874. 

Hypharpax australis, Dejean 

Common among grass, in vegetation, etc., in Taranaki, according 
to Mr W. W. Smith (in 1919). An Australian species first recorded 
in 1874. 

Agonochila binotata, White 

Mr Hudson reports this Australian species as occurring under bark, 
in the Tinakori Range, Wellington, in September and October, 1887; 
also as occurring at French Pass. Mr Philpott states that it was 
common near Invercargill in 1892, and adds (1917): "It is not so 


commonly met with now, owing probably to so much bush-land 
having been brought under cultivation. I do not remember having 
seen it far from the coast." 

Leemosthenes complanatus, Dejean 

Mr Hudson recorded this South European species in March, 1888, 
as occurring under packing-cases. This insect was identified by Com- 
mander J. J. Walker as Pristonychus terricola, Herbst. 


Hydrobius assimilis, Hope 

Taken by Mr Hudson in a brackish pool at Ocean Beach, Happy 
Valley, Wellington, in November, 1886. Mr Smith states that it is 
not uncommon near the sea at New Plymouth and elsewhere, in 1919. 

Paracymus nitidiusculus, Broun 

Mr Hudson says: "Not known to me; but it seems hardly likely 
that Broun would describe an introduced species, unless he made a 
synonym ! " It is given in the Index Fauna Novce-Zealandice as an 
Australian beetle. 

Cyclonotum marginale, Sharp 

This Australian beetle is common in New Plymouth according 
to Mr W. W. Smith (1919). It was recorded in the Index in 1903. 

Cercyonflavipes, Fabr. 

Mr Philpott reports (1917): "I knew this species at least twenty 
years ago, finding it both near the coast and fifty or sixty miles inland 
(in Southland). It is not abundant." As far back as 1872, Mr C. M. 
Wakefield sent specimens of this beetle to Britain from Canterbury, 
and stated that it was abundant. 

Homalota sordida, Marsham 
Taken by Mr W. W. Smith at Ashburton, about 1884. 

Oxytelus rugosus, Fabr. 

This Australian species is recorded in the Index in 1903. Taken 
at New Plymouth by Mr W. W. Smith. 

Quedius fulgidus, Fabr. 

Introduced from Europe, and recorded in the Index in 1903. 
Mr W. W. Smith informed me in 1919 that it is common about New 


Philonthus ceneus, Rossi. Rove Beetle 

Taken by Hudson among decaying vegetable refuse in a garden 
at Karori, Wellington, in February, 1883. This insect is commonly 
taken for an earwig. Found about the same time at Ashburton; 
especially under the bark of Eucalyptus trees. 

Philonthus scybalarius, Nordmann 
The only record I can find is in the Index (1903). 

Philonthus affinis, Roth. 
Originally taken by Mr W. W. Smith at Ashburton about 1884. 

Philonthus nigritulus, Gravenhorst 
Only recorded in the Index (1903). 

Xantholinus punctulatus, Paykull 

Mr Wakefield recorded this species from Canterbury in 1872. 
I have no record of its occurrence since. 

Platysama bakewelli, Marseul 

An Australian species, recorded in the Index (1903). Mr W. W. 
Smith informs me (1919) that it occurs at New Plymouth, on trees, 
especially under bark. 

Carcinops i^-striata, Stephens 
Recorded in Index (1903). 

Carpophilus hemipteris, Linn. 
This cosmopolitan species is recorded in the Index (1903). 

Carpophilus mutilatus, Erichson 
Like the last, a cosmopolitan species, first recorded in the Index 

Osmosita colon, Linn. , 

Found by Hudson in September, 1888, at Karori, Wellington, 
amongst the skin and bones of a dead cow. Philpott writes (1917) 
"I used to meet with this species occasionally about twenty years 
ago. It was never common, and I have not seen it for many years." 


Tenebrioides mauritanicus, Linn. 

Captain Hutton records this species under the name of Trogosita 
mauritanica, as occurring in New Zealand before 1870. Mr W. W. 
Smith (1919) reports it as common about New Plymouth. A sunshine- 
loving beetle, found on dry walls, etc. 

Silvanus surinamensis, Linn. 

This cosmopolitan beetle is recorded in the Index (1903). It is 
being continuously introduced into New Zealand. It is common in 
all large dry-goods stores. It has recently been found in Quaker 
Oats, and other grain preparations, especially those from the United 

Silvanus unidentatus, Fabr. 

An European species, recorded in the Index (1903). 

Coccinella n-punctata, Linn. Common Ladybird 

Taken by Mr Hudson on top of the Tinakori Range, Wellington, 
in February, 1889; also recorded by him as swarming about the cairn 
on the top of Mount Enys (Castle Hill, West Coast road) at an 
elevation of 7200 ft. above sea-level on gth January, 1893. Writing 
in 1896 Captain Broun stated that in previous years he had dis- 
tributed colonies of this insect throughout the Waikato district. It 
is common now in Taranaki (April, 1919) and appears to be pretty 
universally distributed throughout New Zealand. 

This species is a valuable help to the farmer and gardener, as 
it devours the aphides which attack turnips, cabbage, grain, garden 
plants and fruit trees. It does not confine itself to any one species, 
but eats most species of aphides. Hilgendorf states that as a rule it 
is not sufficiently numerous to do much good, but that occasionally 
it is abundant. 

Coccinella calif ornica, Mannh. 

According to the report of the Agricultural Department for 
1899 thi s species of ladybird was introduced from America by A. 

Philpott says (1917): " Neither this nor any of the succeeding six 
species seem to have spread to Southland, or at least to the neigh- 
bourhood of Invercargill." 


Coccinella sanguinea, Linn. 

Introduced from America, along with the preceding species, in, 
or before, 1899. 

Rhizobius ventralis, Erichson. Blue Ladybird 
In 1900 the Agricultural Department introduced this insect from 
Australia, and liberated small colonies at Auckland, Whangarei and 
Hawke's Bay, for the purpose of combating the scale-insects which 
attack the various species of Citrus (oranges, lemons, etc.). About 
this same year an imported scale-insect (Eriococcus coriaceus) was 
noticed in S. Canterbury attacking the various gum trees (Eucalyptus 
sp.) which had been extensively planted there. The pest soon rose 
to dangerous proportions and threatened the existence of the gum 
trees, numbers of them dying. Quantities of Rhizobius were then 
obtained from North Auckland, and other lots from New South 
Wales and were widely distributed in the district. By the winter 
of 1907 the plantations were well stocked all through the South 
Island, and the following year the scale-insect was well under control. 
The Rhizobius is now very common, especially in the South Island. 

Novius cardinalis, Mulsart (Vedalia cardinalis). 
Australian Ladybird 

In 1894 leery a appeared at two places in the Wellington district, 
and a number of ladybirds were reared anjd liberated on the properties 
attacked. They appeared to have exterminated the blight in the 

In 1899 the Agricultural Department introduced a large number 
of these ladybirds in order to destroy the cottony-cushion scale (leery a 
purchasi), and continued to rear and distribute them for several years. 

Dr Hilgendorf in 1917, says of the shrub-land in the Cass district: 
"the yellow-spotted black ladybird, V. cardinalis, occurs rarely." 

Mr W. W. Smith (April, 1919) reports it as common in Taranaki. 

Hippodamia convergeus, Guer. 

In 1899 the Agricultural Department introduced this species from 
America. I have no further record, and do not know whether it 
increased or died out. 

Leis conformis, Boisd. The common Spotted Ladybird of Australia 
In 1896 this species was introduced from New South Wales by 
the Agricultural Department, as a destroyer of aphides. Two years 
later it was reported from Auckland, where they were originally 
liberated, that they were breeding. 


Cryptolcemus montrouzeri, Mulsart. Red-headed Ladybird 

In 1899 the Agricultural Department introduced this insect from 
Australia (it had previously been introduced into Hawaii from 
Australia, with good results) and liberated it in the district north 
of Auckland and about Whangarei. It proved itself a very valuable 
introduction, attacking and destroying the mealy-bug (Dactylopius 
adonidum), the orange-scale (Lecanium hesperidum) and the scale (Erio- 
coccus araucarice) which infested the Norfolk Island and other pines. 
Considerable numbers were reared and distributed in succeeding 
years. The species does not appear to breed south of Auckland. 
Colonies were taken down to Timaru in 1906, and liberated in the 
gum-tree plantations to combat the scale (Eriococcus coriaceus), but 
the winter of South Canterbury proved too severe, and the field was 
abandoned to Rhizobius ventralis which soon almost cleared the pest 

Orchus chalybeus, Boisd. The Steely-blue Ladybird 

This species was also introduced from Australia by the Agricul- 
tural Department (in 1899?) and liberated north of Auckland; and 
in 1906 a large consignment from New South Wales was liberated 
near Timaru to assist in the destruction of Eriococcus. The winter 
climate of Canterbury is, however, too severe for it. It is now very 
abundant, north of Cambridge, Waikato, on oakscale. 

Orcus australasia, Boisd. The Six-spot Blue Ladybird 

A single specimen of this Australian insect was taken by Mr 
Hudson among some apples, in April, 1887, in Wellington. It is 
probable the apples were imported. 

Monotoma picipes, Herbst. 
Recorded in the Index (1903). 

Monotoma sub-^-faveolata, Watson 

Mr W. W. Smith met with this beetle in the eighties, among 
rotten grain sacks, at Albury, S. Canterbury. This is probably the 
cause of its appearing in the Index. 

Monotoma sptnicollis, Aube. 
Another European species recorded in the Index (1903). 

Coniuomus nodifer, Westwood 
Recorded in the Index (1903). 
T. N. z. 19 

2 9 o INSECTS 

Dermestes vulpinus, Fabr. Bacon Beetle 

This most destructive beetle was first recorded by A. Purdie, who 
found specimens among some paper, wrapping a collection of geo- 
logical specimens received in Dunedin from Australia in 1884. It 
appears to be very common in many parts, and Captain Broun 
reported to the Agricultural Department in 1895, tna * ne na< ^ s P ent 
"three days in the Government Buildings, Auckland, destroying this 
pest, which threatened injury to official documents and other property 
stored in the cellars." Mr A. M. Wright, Chemist to the Christchurch 
Meat Co., records an experience they had with this insect at the 
works at Picton, when it caused a good deal of damage to the wood- 
work of the manure building, and invaded the adjoining fellmongery 
building. I give his own account of the trouble : 

At the time we were storing in the manure-shed a quantity of partly- 
dried shank-bones with wool adhering, and this at one time became almost 
a heaving mass of larvae which spread about the whole building, boring 
into bones, wood, and even the lead covering of some concrete, where 
they buried themselves until they appeared as the insect. 

The remedy lay in the removal of the partly-dried shank-bones outside, 
and with this precaution, as well as a general care to prevent none but 
dried offal manure within the building, the hatching ground of the pest 
was removed, and little or no trouble has been found since. For one year 
we specially treated all our manure in a dryer at the close of the season, 
in order to kill all eggs and larvae before sending any out to clients. The 
danger at one time seemed so acute that plans were actually prepared to 
pull down the wooden block and replace it with a brick building, but 
fortunately the pest was practically eliminated. We were not able to trace 
definitely the point of origin of this insect, but its presence first became 
evident after the arrival of some material from Dunedin, and also from 

I find that this beetle is in pretty well every manure factory in 
the country, and is considered a very serious pest, on account of its 
destructive attacks on the woodwork. It also occurs in many places 
where fur, hair, skin, etc., are stored, as it eats these materials. 
Mr Hudson reports (on the authority of Mr Creagh O'Connor) that 
this bettle is very destructive to sheep -skins. 

Mr A. T. Potter found this beetle in a building in Whangarei 
in December, 1895, it having been probably imported from Sydney, 
and observed its habits. He says: 

the beetle propagates only in very hot weather. When about to change 
from the larva into the pupa state, it will burrow into sound woodwork 
of a building, which in some cases is reduced to a honeycomb. The eggs 
hatch (at 70) in from four to seven days. The mature larva after moulting 


several times. . .formed a chamber in its food material, or in any other 
convenient locality at hand, when it curled itself up, loosely covered with 
some of its own food, and the refuse round it. There it lay for five days, 
then moulted again for the last time, and turned to the pupa from which 
the beetle developed in thirteen days. 

Butler says of the species : 

they are the jackals of the flesh-flies, coming round when the maggots of 
the latter have finished up all the soft and juicy parts of a fresh carcase, 
and clearing off the hard and dry remnants of the skin, tendons, ligaments, 
etc., which their predecessors have left untouched. 

Dried meats, skins, horns, hoofs and feathers are attacked; they 
destroy every form of preserved animal, such as beasts, birds, fishes, 
crabs, insects and spiders in museum cases, and are especially fond 
of cork. "An account has been placed on record of the destruction 
of a whole ship's cargo of cork by vast numbers of them." 

Mr A. H. Cockayne says it is very destructive to sheep-skins in 
freezing works, stores, etc. In 1918 a great deal of damage was done 
to rabbit- and sheep-skins in the Dunedin stores. 

Dermestes lardarius, Linn. European Bacon Beetle 

The first record I find of this insect was in February, 1873, when 
Dr van Haast found a live specimen in a box of insects received at 
the Christchurch Museum from Australia. 

It is occasionally introduced in American bacon, but does not 
establish itself. 

Anthrenus musceorum, Linn. Museum Beetle 
This species feeds upon skins, hair, feathers, and other remains 

of animals, and is not deterred even by such strong odours as camphor. 
Mr W. W. Smith reports it as common and very destructive in 

houses in Taranaki (April, 1919). 

Lyctus brunneus, Stephens. The Ship-borer 

In the Agricultural Department's report for 1903, Captain Broun 
stated that this beetle had only been found by him at Auckland three 
times, all isolated captures. 

(See Appendix B, p 559.) 

Family PTINID/E 
Ptinusfur, Linn, 

First recorded from Canterbury by Mr C. M. Wakefield in 1872. 
Mr Hudson reports that this species was found amongst chicory 



plants about 1909 by Mr A. H. Cockayne. Mr Philpott writing in 
1917 says: 

This beetle is common about houses wherever dry dead animal matter 
is to be found. For this reason it is often met with in disused bee-hives 
and comb-frames. It is the worst enemy the entomological collection has 
to be guarded against. Houses badly infested with the White Pine borer 
(Anobium domesticum) are often found to be infested with Ptinus fur also. 
They probably feed on such of the borers as fail to emerge from the timber. 
P, fur does not bore into the wood, though it often scoops out a little 
depression for the purpose of pupating in. It is not confined to buildings, 
but is found in the depths of the bush and high up on the mountains. 
I do not know anything of its first appearance in New Zealand, but its 
acquaintance was forced on me as soon as I began to make a collection 
of Lepidoptera, about 27 years ago. 

It is probable that this was one of the species, referred to by Sir 
Joseph Banks in his Journal (see p. 341), as making their bread on 
board ship almost uneatable. It readily attacks grain. "At one time 
it was considered to be so largely an animal feeder as to have been 
called by De Geer vrillette carnassiere, the 'carnivorous borer.'" 

Mr W. W. Smith informed me (April, 1919) that this very quick 
and active beetle is common among plants growing in warm borders, 
where it shelters under fleshy leaves and in similar situations. It 
is abundant in New Plymouth. 

Anobium sp. (probably tesselatuni) 

This species is recorded by Dr Hilgendorf from North Canterbury, 
where it was found to be very destructive in the English Church, 
Ashley, in December, 1916. The mature beetle emerges from the 
wood during several months of the year. It is larger than the preceding 
species, and has a circular gold spot on its back. 

This is the insect popularly known in Britain as the Death Watch, 
on account of the ticking noise made by striking the walls of their 
burrows with its head or jaws. 

Mr W. W. Smith (April, 1919) says it is very common in Taranaki. 

Anobium domesticum, Linn. Wood-borer; White-pine-borer 

This destructive beetle was first observed by Captain Broun in 
1875 at Tairua. Its ravages are extended to many kinds of wood, 
but white-pine or kahikatea is the timber most readily attacked. 
"Entire buildings have been reduced to a substance resembling saw- 
dust." Professor Kirk, writing in 1904, after an examination of white- 
pine and other timbers, found that all specimens attacked by the 
borer contained considerable quantities of starch in the wood-cells. 
He recommended that the timber be felled in early spring, when the 


starch is turned to glucose, and then rafted to dissolve out the glucose. 
Timber without starch or glucose was not found by him to be attacked 
by the borer. 

Dr Hilgendorf states that this species emerges in the mature state 
from the timber in which it lives only in the second and third week in 
December of each year. Mr Philpott states that the perfect beetles 
begin to emerge about the middle of November, and by the middle 
of December are in their greatest numbers. By the end of January 
they have become scarce. The species is very abundant in Southland. 
At Weraroa the beetles are found to emerge during October and for 
a period of four months. 

W. Riddell of Invercargill, with some 35 years' experience in the 
timber trade, considers that 

the white-pine beetle undoubtedly shows preference for timber grown in 
certain localities. For instance, White pine from a lowland forest is readily 
attacked, while that from a more elevated and drier locality is safe for a 
much longer period. He further stated that on an average about ten years 
elapse before the grub makes its appearance in a new house, and that 
there are very few houses more than ten years old in Invercargill in which 
the grub is not found. There are very few kinds of timber exempt from 

He considers it mainly a question of age and dryness, and that certain 
substances in the wood must evaporate or change before the insect 
will attack it. 

E. A. Butler states that "formerly their ravages were more con- 
siderable" (in Britain) "than at the present day, owing to the then 
more extensive use of timber and especially unpainted timber in 
building construction." 

This species makes ticking sounds similar to those of A. tesselatum. 

The larae are destroyed to a certain extent by a minute wingless 
ant-like hymenopteron, which goes into the tunnels and attacks its 

Anobium paniceum, Linn. Biscuit- Weevil ; Drug-store Beetle 

This omnivorous insect eats anything of a vegetable substance 
that it meets with. Its first name is given on account of the attacks 
it not unfrequently makes on ship's biscuits ; its second for its pen- 
chant for such things as rhubarb root, ginger and even Cayenne 
pepper. It is also very destructive to books, drawings and paintings. 
Westwood records it as perforating tinfoil for the comestible below it. 

Mr W. W. Smith states that it is as common as the preceding 
species in any timber, especially in white-pine. It works nearer the 
surface than A. domesticum (April, 1919). 


In Europe it has been found to visit the flowers of Hawthorn 
(Cratagus oxyacantha). 

Metriorhynchus rufipennis, Fabr. 

Mr Hudson considers that this is probably M. erraticus, which 
was found in August, 1895, by Major- General Schaw, at Auckland; 
and which he himself found abundant on dead trees at Ohakune, in 
January, 1912. This is probably the species which Mr Smith records 
as so destructive to the foliage of young blue-gum trees (Eucalyptus 
globulus) in Taranaki. 

It occurs very commonly there under the bark of trees. Mr 
Smith says this is the commonest location for Australian and Tas- 
manian beetles. 

Family CLERID^E 

Necrobia ruficollis, Fabr. (Burying Beetle) 

Mr Hudson recorded this beetle in 1890, as occurring commonly 
in decaying animal matter. It was found by him first at Karori, 
Wellington, in September, 1888, amongst the dried skin and bones 
of a dead cow. 

Mr Smith (April, 1919) reports it as very common in Taranaki, 
occurring under dry boards, among rotten sacks, etc. Also under 
dead birds and dead sheep. Very abundajnt in stores in Wellington, 
associated with Dermestes vulpinus, in 1918. 

Necrobia rufipes, De Geer. Red-legged Ham Beetle 
First recorded from Auckland in 1875 ^Y Captain Broun. Taken 
by Mr Hudson at the Dee River, Kekerangu, in February, 1890. Mr 
Philpott says (1917): 

I first met with this species in 1890, when I found it to be very abundant 
in a fertiliser (bone-dust) works near Invercargill. I have never found it 
except in, or about, sacks of bone-dust. 


Lacon variabilis, Candeze. Australian Click Beetle 
Recorded by Mr Hudson as taken on the hills around Nelson 
by Mr A. S. Atkinson in June, 1886 ; and by Commander J. J. Walker 
at Picton in the autumn of 1902. Very common in Taranaki (April, 

Monocrepidius exsul, Sharp. The Potato Elater 

Stated by Mr Hudson (1917) to be very common at Karori, 
Wellington. It flies freely in the dusk of the evening. Mr W. W. 


Smith states that the beetle is very destructive to the foliage of the 
Virginian creeper (Ampelopsis virginica or Veitchit). The report of 
the Agricultural Department for 1898 states that it often cuts the 
stems of growing potatoes. Quite common in Wellington Province. 

Agriotes sp. 

The report of the Agricultural Department for 1906 states that 
a species of Agriotes, probably A. lineatus, Linn., the striped click 
beetle, or wire worm, was very common, and had done much damage, 
especially in potato crops, at Mangaweka. Mr W. W. Smith says 
(1919) that this species attacks the roots of gooseberry bushes, 
frequently killing the plants. Mr A. H. Cockayne informs me that 
it is very generally distributed. 

Buprestis lauta, Leconte 

Common in Taranaki, especially in sunny weather (April, 1919). 
It was recorded in the Index (1903). 

Stigmodera gulielmi, White 
Recorded in the Index (1903). 



Tenebrio obscurans, Fabr. Meal Worm 

Sir Joseph Banks in his Journal says, when nearing New Zealand 
(23rd September, 1769): 

Our bread is but indifferent, occasioned by the quantity of vermin that 
are in it. I have often seen hundreds nay, thousands, shaken out of a single 
biscuit. We in the cabin have, however, an easy remedy for this, by baking 
it in an oven, not too hot, which makes them all walk off; but this cannot 
be allowed to the ship's people, who must find the taste of these animals 
very disagreeable, as they everyone taste as strong as mustard, or rather 
spirits of hartshorn. They are of five kinds, three Tenebrio, one Ptinus, and 
the Phalangium canchroides ; this last, however, is scarce in the common 
bread, but vastly plentiful in white meal biscuits, as long as we had any left. 

Mr C. Bills informs me (1918) that bird-dealers formerly im- 
ported considerable numbers of meal worms into New Zealand for 
feeding introduced birds, but that they had discontinued doing so 
for some years. 

Mr W. W. Smith informs me that they are very common in 
Taranaki. The probability is that they are widely spread. 


Tenebrio molitor, Linn. Meal Worm 

This cosmopolitan species has long been in New Zealand. It 
was recorded in the Index in 1903. Mr W. W. Smith reports it as 
very common in Taranaki (1919); while Mr A. H. Cockayne says it 
is very abundant in imported meals and artificial foods, and is 
constantly being introduced. 

Gnathocerus cornutus, Fabr. 
Recorded in the Index (1903). 

Tribolium ferrugineum, Fabr. 
A cosmopolitan beetle, also recorded in the Index (1903) 

Anthicus floralis > Linn. 

Recorded in the Index in (1903). 

Mr W. W. Smith reports this as common in Taranaki, on flower 
stalks, etc. (April, 1919). 


Nacerdes melanura, Schmidt. Wharf-borer 
In the report of the Agricultural Department for 1902, Captain 
Broun recorded this species as occurring in hardwood, imported into 
Auckland from Australia and Tasmania.* 

Bruchus rufimanus, Boh. Pea Weevil 

This beetle is commonly imported into the country from Britain 
with peas and beans. A bag of specially selected peas imported from 
a London seedsman was submitted to me in 1906 ; every pea contained 
a weevil. Dr Hilgendorf says that in Canterbury it lays eggs in beans 
as they develop in the field, but fortunately they are not very common. 

In Britain it is frequently found in springtime on the blossoms 
of gorse and broom. 

Very common in Taranaki (April, 1919). 


Paropsis sp. 

Mr Drummond reports (November, 1916) that an Australian 
species was found in the bright sunshine on granite (?) rocks on 
Cooper's Knob near Lyttelton at a height of 1800 ft. This beetle 
feeds on Eucalyptus. 


Hylotrupes bajalus, Linn. Borer 

The first record I have found of this beetle is of two specimens 
taken at Auckland in 1874, an d identified in London by Mr H. W. 

It perforates wood, and 

Kirby states that Sir Joseph Banks once gave him a specimen of sheet-lead, 
which, though only measuring eight inches by four, was pierced with 
twelve oval holes, some of which were as much as one-fourth inch in 
longest diameter. 

The lead had covered rafters which had been bored by the insects. 

Phoracantha recurva, Newman 

One specimen of this beetle was captured near Christchurch in 
1873. Mr W. W. Smith says this active beetle is not uncommon in 
Taranaki (April, 1919). 

Callirhce allaspa, Newman 
Recorded in the Index (1903). 

Tessaromma sulcatum 

Mr Hudson reports this Australian species as captured at Auckland 
in May, 1902, by Commander J. J. Walker. 



Doticus pestilens, Oliff . Dried-apple Beetle ; Jumping Anthribid 

This apple weevil imported from Australia was recorded by 
Mr T. W. Kirk in 1895 as abundant in orchards about Wellington, 
where it was still common in 1899. 

Very common in Taranaki (April, 1919). 

Otiorhynchus sulcatus, Fabr. Black Vine-Weevil 

Captain Broun found this among sorrel (Rumex acetoselld) and 
grass-roots on Mount Eden in 1866. Mr Pascoe received numerous 
specimens from Captain F. W. Hutton from Wellington in 1875. 
Later on it was found abundantly in a vinery at Nelson. Mr Hudson 
found it under stones on the Tinakori Range, Wellington, in August, 
1889 and 1890, and under boards at Kaitoke in 1902. 

Mr Philpott (1917) says "I find this species commonly about the 
base of tufts of grass when gardening in the spring." 


Mr W. W. Smith reports it as very common in Taranaki (April, 
1919). It is apparently widespread, among sorrel roots especially. 

Gonipterus reticulatus, Boisduval 

Mr Hudson informed me in 1890 that this Australian beetle had 
been found by Mr W. W. Maskell amongst species of Eucalyptus, 
Sydney Street, Wellington. It was very abundant there in February, 
1892. It is very fond of sunshine. 

Mr Smith reports it as occurring on several species of plants in 
Taranaki, and says that in captivity the perfect insect (imago) is a 
voracious feeder. It is very common among eucalypts. 

Calandra granaria, Linn. Grain-weevil ; Corn-weevil 
I do not know how early this beetle was introduced, but it has 
been known for a very long time, and is very troublesome in stored 
grain, especially in wheat. In 1894 and 1895 the grain sheds in 
Timaru were very badly infested, and it did a great deal of damage. 
Dr Hilgendorf informs me that about 1900 a rejected consignment 
of wheat was emptied on Timaru beach, and the weevils were seen 
crawling towards the town in thousands. They were destroyed by 
fumigation with carbon disulphide. Again in 1916 it was imported 
in vast numbers in a consignment of barley from South Australia. 
Dr Hilgendorf adds that as about 40 days elapse between the 
laying of the egg, and the emergence of the mature beetle, the pest is 
never very bad, except in grain at least one season old. 

Calandra oryztz, Linn. Rice-Weevil 

This cosmopolitan beetle was recorded in the Index (1903), it is 
probably common in New Zealand. Mr W. W. Smith records it as 
common at Ashburton and New Plymouth (April, 1919). 

Anthonomus pomorum, Linn. Apple-blossom Weevil 
This beetle has been a long time in the country, but is not very 
common. In 1890 it did a great deal of harm in orchards in Canter- 
bury. It is common at Ashburton and at New Plymouth. 

Sitones lineatus, Linn. Striped Pea-Weevil 
This little beetle, which attacks peas, beans and species of Tri- 

folium, is a European species. The adults are found in numbers on 

the flowers of gorse and broom in Britain. 

Mr W. W. Smith reports it as common at Ashburton and at New 

Plymouth (April, 1919). 

Mr A. H. Cockayne says it is common in Wellington Province. 


Oxyops concreta, Pascoe 

This is an Australian species, the larva of which attacks the leaves 
of species of Eucalyptus. It is found about the Manawatu district, 
and is probably of general distribution where gum-trees have been 
planted in New Zealand. Mr A. H. Cockayne states that at the 
Government plantations at Rotorua and Waiotapu the cultivation of 
blue-gums (Eucalyptus globulus) has had to be abandoned, on account 
of the ravages of this weevil. 

(See Appendix B, p. 559.) 


Danaida plexippus, Linn, (erippus, Cr.) 

Mr Hudson says of this butterfly that it is " a comparatively recent 
natural immigrant which probably reached New Zealand during the 
first half of the last century, independent of human agency." 

It appears to have been first observed in 1840-41, when Mr F. W. 
Sturm took a specimen at Reinga, on the Wairoa River in Hawke's 
Bay. In 1848 the same gentleman took a number at the Waiau, a 
tributary of the Wairoa. It has been frequently taken in Hawke's Bay 
since then (in 1861, 1873, 1874, etc -)- Mr Sturm says that it kept 
about the Lombardy poplars and Hoheria populnea in his garden. He 
thought it was an indigenous species. 

Mr Colenso recorded the same species apparently in 1877 from 
the same district, and stated that he had known it for some years. 
Dr Hector found it in great abundance in Hokitika during the summer 
of 1873. Mr Fereday discussed the question of its introduction in 
1874 (Trans. N.Z. Inst. vol. vi, p. 183). 

In 1879 Mr Kingsley took a specimen in Nelson, and in 1890 
he got several from the same district. In 1906 Mr Hudson got speci- 
mens from Makara Beach near Wellington, and saw one in the city 
itself. Mr Howes tells me (1919) that it has been taken at Auckland 
and Wanganui; it is also reported to have been seen in Dunedin, 
and he himself obtained one in a dying condition at Halfmoon Bay, 

Stewart Island. 

Danaida chrysippus, Linn. 

Mr Hudson states that two specimens of this species were taken 
at the Thames in March, 1904. Mr Howes, writing in 1919, says: 
" One flew into an Auckland school a few years back. Two specimens 
were recently taken at Wanganui." 


Vanessa atalanta, Linn. English Red Admiral Butterfly 
Mr T. W. Kirk captured specimens of this species in the Wellington 
Botanical Gardens, during the summer of 1881, and saw others on 
several subsequent occasions. Mr A. Philpott saw a specimen in a 
collection of Lepidoptera made by Mr Dunlop of the Orepuki Shale 
Works, who informed him that this was the only one secured out of 
several seen. Mr Howes, however, is of opinion that the specimen 
was brought out from Britain by Mr Dunlop, as he saw it shortly 
after his arrival here. There is evidently some doubt about its occur- 
rence in Southland. 

Vanessa urticce, Linn. Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly 
Found by Mr T. W. Kirk at the same time and in the same locality 
as the preceding species. No later record of its occurrence is known. 

Junonia vellida, Fabr. 

Mr Hudson states that this butterfly was common in the Cook 
Strait region in 1886-87, but that only one or two specimens had 
been seen since then. He considered it to be a natural immigrant 
from Australia, where it is common. 

Miss Castles informs me that it was taken at New Plymouth in 
1893 (where Mr W. W. Smith also reports it as taken occasionally), 
and at Motueka in 1898. In March, 1910, it was taken at Mt Greenland 
in Westland by Mr H. Hamilton. Lastly Mr Howes saw (but could 
not capture) a specimen in Dunedin in 1918. 


Bombyx mori. Linn. Silkworm 

I cannot find out the earliest date at which silkworms were intro- 
duced into New Zealand, but about 1863, Mr T. C. Batchelor, of 
Nelson, was rearing Tuscan worms with considerable success. 

(Further information on the subject will be found in Appendix B, 
p. 560.) 

Heliothis armigera y Hubner. Tomato Caterpillar 

This cosmopolitan moth, which is known in America as the 
cotton-ball worm and the corn worm, and in Australia as the maize 
moth, was reported to the Agricultural Department in 1907 from 
several localities. Several consignments of tomatoes from Sydney 
were found to be infested with this pest. Mr Howes says it is some- 


what rarely seen in the south of the South Island, though he has 
taken occasional specimens in Dunedin, and has seen it in fair numbers 
at Oamaru and Queenstown. Mr W. W. Smith informs me that it is 
common at New Plymouth, where it is very destructive to tomatoes, 
the larvae eating the fruit. It is probably common throughout the 
North Island. The larva is fond of burying itself in the flowers of 
asters, etc. ; indeed its wide range of food plants makes it troublesome. 


Sphinx convolvuli, Linn. Convolvulus Hawk Moth 
Captain Hutton, and probably several other entomologists, con- 
sider this cosmopolitan species to be indigenous. It was found in 
Hawke's Bay, and recorded by Mr A. G. Butler in 1877. Sir w - Buller 
reported it as common in Ohinemutu in 1879, an( J it was taken in 
Auckland in 1882. Since then it has been taken in many parts of 
New Zealand. Mr Howes suggests that, as it is commonly found 
feeding on the Kumara (Ipomoea batatas), it was probably introduced 
either along with that plant, or that it is a comparatively recent arrival 
from Australia. 

Sphinx ligustriy Linn. Privet Hawk Moth 

Mr Howes reports this species as having been taken at Titahi 
Bay near Wellington. 

Chcerocampa celerio, Linn. Silver-stripe Moth 
Mr Hudson recorded this first in 1904, where four specimens 
were taken by different collectors in Nelson. It is a species of very 
wide distribution, and Mr Hudson considered it a natural immigrant 
frofn Australia, where it is common. Mr A. P. Buller recorded it 
the same season from Titahi Bay, Wellington, where several specimens 
were found at dusk by Mr C. O'Connor, feeding on the sweet-scented 
Christmas lily (Lilium longifloruml). He considers it probable that 
it was brought over to New Zealand by westerly winds, in view of the fact 
that the Hawk-moth family are possessed of sustained powers of flight ; 
indeed, I might mention that I have in my collection a fine Sphinx that 
flew on board the R.M.S. 'Ruahine' when the vessel was some five 
hundred miles off the coast of South America. 

Trochilium tipuliforme, Clerck (Mgeria tipultformis, 

Sesia tipuliformis). Currant Clear- wing Moth 
Introduced with the garden currant (Ribes rubrum) from Europe, 
and first bred from larvae so obtained by Mr Fereday in Christchurch 
in the early seventies. It has since then become very generally 


distributed. Though so common, it does not seem to do a great deal 
of harm, or to very seriously affect the fruiting powers of the currant 


Utetheisa pulchella, Linn. 

This moth was first observed by Mr Hudson in 1877, in the 
Wainuiomata Valley near Wellington, and subsequently at Petone; 
it was recorded as Deopeia pulchella. Meyrick considered it as probably 
only an occasional immigrant. Later it was taken in considerable 
numbers on the flowers of the white rata, and others in the tussock- 
grass, by Mr O'Connor, at Titahi Bay. Mr Howes informs me that 
Mr Hamilton took it at Dunedin, and that Mr Morris recorded a 
swarm on the river bed of the Waitaki, near Oamaru. The moth 
usually appears in February. 

Phrissogonus laticostatus, Walk. 

This species was first taken by Mr Hudson in 1905 at Nelson and 
again at Wangamii. In 1914 it was collected at Otaki, by my son 
Dr J. A. Thomson. Mr Howes informs me that he collected it 
amongst seaside scrub at Auckland. Mr Meyrick states that it is 
"very common in Australia, whence it has been recently introduced 
by artificial means." 

Paragyrtis inostentata, Walk. (Adeixts inostentatd) 
Mr A. Philpott records this moth as common (in 1915-16) on 
Seaward moss and other coastal swamps near Invercargill, and adds : 
"The restricted distribution in New Zealand of this common Aus- 
tralian species would seem to point to its recent introduction through 
the medium of shipping at the port of Bluff." 

Mr Howes met with this species commonly in a swamp at Wai- 
marino in the North Island. 

Ophideres maturna, Linn. Banana Moth 

Probably introduced from Australia with bananas. Mr Hudson 
reports them as first seen in 1906 when a specimen was taken at Makara 
Bay, near Wellington. Another was captured by Mr Howes in Dunedin 
in 1907. 

Ophideres fullonica, Hubn. 

Mr Meyrick reports one doubtful specimen of this Australian 
species, which was taken at Christchurch. "In any case," he adds, 
"it is probably only a stray immigrant." 


Ophiusa pulcherritna, Lucas 

Mr Hudson states one specimen of this Queensland species was 
obtained in 1904, at Titahi Bay near Wellington. 

Ophiusa melicerte, Drury 

A single specimen of this moth was taken in Mr Travers's green- 
house in Wellington in 1870, and was described by Mr Fereday as 
Catocala traversii. Since then it has been taken at Titahi Bay, 
Wellington, at Waitomo, at Motueka and at Orepuki 1 . 

It is a common moth in Australia. 

Plusia oxygramma, Hubn. 

Mr Hudson calls this a well-established natural immigrant. 
Several specimens were taken in the Thames district in 1906. Miss 
Castles records it as occurring at the Waitakere in 1909, and at 
Fielding in 1911. Mr Howes states that it is common throughout 
the North Island, but that south of Christchurch only occasional 
specimens are seen. 

Agrotis segetum, Schiff. Turnip Moth 

First recorded from Wanganui in the Agricultural Department 
report for 1904. Mr W. W. Smith (April, 1919) says it is common 
at New Plymouth. The caterpillars attack especially mangolds, turnips 
and potatoes. They hide beneath the surface of the soil, and usually 
attack the plants they infest at or just below the surface, and nearly 
always at night. They also attack wheat and grass crops, and several 
garden vegetables and flowers. The moth is now common everywhere. 

Meliphora grisella, Fabr. Bee Moth 

Apparently introduced along with honey-bees, as the larva lives 
in bee-hives. Mr W. W. Smith reports it as common in Taranaki. 
He further states that when he arrived in South Canterbury in 1877, 
this moth was common in the hives on the Upper Rangitata. Mr 
Meyrick recorded a specimen from Nelson in 1877. 

Plodia inter punctella. Hub. Indian Meal Moth 
First observed in 1912 by Mr Hudson; probably introduced in 
figs, maize, etc. It feeds on raisins, currants, prunes and other dried 
food-products. It was recorded again in 1914. Mr A. H. Cockayne 
says it is common in the Gisborne district. 

1 In his paper on some rare species of Lepidoptera (Trans. N.Z. Inst. vol. xxxvn, 
P- 333 ). Mr A. P. Duller mixes up two papers by Mr Fereday in vol. ix of the Trans. 
NJZ. Inst. in a remarkable manner. 


Pyralis farinalis, Linn. Meal Moth 

Mr G. Howes reported this species as common in Dimedin in 
1903-4. Mr W. W. Smith also recorded it as common in Taranaki, 
and later as common everywhere. It attacks all kinds of cereals 
"whether as corn, flour, meal, bran, and even straw." The moth 
appears during the summer months, wherever grain or farinaceous 
materials are stored. 

Hymeniafascialis, Cram. 

Larva found on melons, etc. It has probably been introduced 
with fruit from tropical or sub-tropical Australia. Hitherto it has 
only been recorded by Meyrick in 1912. 

Diplopseustis perieralis> Walk. 

Found near towns, and probably introduced from Australia or 
Fiji, where it is not uncommon. Mr Philpott is inclined to think the 
species is indigenous, as it occurs throughout both islands. 

Galleria melonella, Linn. Bee Moth ; Wax Moth 

According to the reports of the Agricultural Department, this 
moth was first observed at Okaiawa near Mount Egmont, in three dif- 
ferent apiaries, in 1904. It was probably introduced from Australia, 
where it is said to have been brought from Europe in 1880. There 
was very considerable doubt thrown for some time on the identifica- 
tion, but the fact of this species being established in the North Island 
is now well known, alike to lepidopterists and to apiarists. Mr W. W. 
Smith informs me (1919) that the species is common in hives in 
Taranaki. It also occurs at Ruakura. 

In the Apiaries Act 1907, this moth is included among the diseases 
of bees, which come under the powers of the Act. 

Ephestia kuehniella, Zell. Mediterranean Flour Moth 

Mr A. Philpott writes (August, 1916): "This species has become 
established in the flour-mills in Invercargill within the last two or 
three years, and I also have had examples sent to me from Dunedin." 
In 1905 it was reported from the Waikato. Mr A. H. Cockayne says 
it has been found in pretty well every flour- mill in New Zealand. 

Crocydopora cinigerella, Walk. 

Mr Meyrick reported this moth as occurring at Whangarei and 
Nelson in 1885-86, and says if this is " a recent accidental introduction 
(from Australia) it will probably be found soon to become more 


common and generally distributed." Mr Philpott says (1916) : " I have 
not met with it myself and do not think it is in any South Island 

Mr Howes states that "the only locality I have met with this 
species was on the shores of Lake Taupo on shingle; apparently it 
was attached to a creeping convolvulus." 

Tortrix postvittana, Walk. 
Mr Hudson says: 

It is undoubtedly introduced from Australia where it is abundant. The 
larva feeds on Geranium ( ? Pelargonium). It was first observed at Wellington 
in 1891, and though not abundant, is steadily becoming commoner. 

Mr Howes records it from Auckland and Wanganui ; and Mr Meyrick 
from Christchurch. 

Tortrix indigestana, Meyr. 

Mr A. Philpott says: "Meyrick suggests that this species may be 
an introduction from Australia. I have seen only one specimen 
from Flagstaff, Dunedin." Mr Meyrick recorded it from two speci- 
mens reared from larvae feeding on Pimelea Icevigata, from Makara 
Beach. Mr Howes states that it is very common on hills above 
Waitati near Dunedin, wh'ere it was attached to Dracophyllum, and 
is found apparently right through New Zealand. 

Laspeyresia pomonella, Linn. (Carpocapsa pomonella). 
Codlin Moth 

This moth is one of the most dreaded orchard pests in all countries 
where it is now found. It probably was introduced into New Zealand 
from various sources, from Britain and America, or from Australia, 
where it first appeared about 1855. Mr T. Kirk recorded having 
seen grub-eaten apples some years previous to 1874, at which date 
it was first noticed in Auckland, the fruit having come from Tasmania. 
In 1882 it was recorded by Mr Meyrick as having been taken at 
Wellington, and he added "probably widely spread, though hitherto 
little noticed." There is no doubt that it was very common, for in 
1894 tne Agricultural Department reported it as occurring in very 
many parts of New Zealand, and it took drastic steps to combat the 
pest. In addition to publishing literature with instructions to fruit- 
growers, it instituted close inspection of orchards and of all fruit 
(apples, etc.) imported into the country. It also sought for and intro- 
duced various natural enemies, especially parasitic wasps, such as 
Calliephaltes messer and Zele sp. belonging to the Ichneumonidae. 


In 1886 the moth was reported from Christchurch, next year 
from Te Awamutu; in 1891 from Paraparaumu, 1892 from Auckland, 
and 1897 from New Plymouth. In 1899 it was stated to be spreading 
to some extent about Hawera, and was also reported from Waikouaiti, 
Timaru, Palmerston North, Wanganui and Hawke's Bay. It was 
almost certainly in all those districts some time before its presence 
was recorded. 

Mr Philpott informs me that it does not occur much further 
south than the lower end of Lake Wakatipu. In all cases where the 
pest has been reported from Southland, the species has turned out 
to be one of the native moths Tortrix excessana, Walk., or Ctenopseustes 
obliquana, Walk. The latter moth has frequently been mistaken in 
other parts of New Zealand for the codlin moth, for it attacks apples 
in much the same manner, but the damage it does is infinitesimal 
when compared with that of the imported pest. 

The codlin moth has numerous enemies, both native and intro- 
duced. The tiger beetle (Cidndela tuber culatd) destroys the grubs on 
the ground, and also climbs up trees in search of them. The common 
red ant (Aphcenogaster (Monomoriurn) antarcticus) and the larger Am- 
blyopone cephalotes also climb trees and destroy the grubs. 

The indigenous Ichneumon insidiator, or an allied variety, attacks 
the grubs. 

At least one fungus (Isaria farinosa) which is allied to Cordiceps, 
the vegetable-caterpillar fungus, also attacks and destroys the codlin- 
moth grub 


Phthorinuea operculella, Zell. (Lita solanella, Boisduval.) 
Potato Moth 

This species has been known for the last 25 or 30 years, and 
is fairly common and destructive in the North Island, and as far 
south as Canterbury ; but in the south its occurrence is only periodic. 
A few years ago it caused some loss in the neighbourhood of 
Dunedin. Mr A. Philpott says it does not trouble Southland. It is 
reported every year in the reports of the Agricultural Department, 
and the larva is found on stored potatoes or those exposed before 
being dug. Potatoes introduced from New South Wales and Victoria 
are frequently infested with the caterpillar. Mr Meyrick says this 
species has certainly been introduced with the potato, and is probably 
a native of Algeria. It feeds on all species of Solatium, and also attacks 

Mr T. Kirk states that the larva can be reared on poro-poro 
(Solanum aviculare)\ and Mr Allan Wright records it as feeding on 


bulrush or raupo (Typha angustifolid). Mr Howes says that when 
potatoes are cultivated, the destruction of all small tubers and waste 
by turning pigs on to the ground after the crops are dug, together 
with the burning of the haulms, will easily keep the pest in check. 

The larvae of this species are attacked and destroyed by the larvae 
of two common indigenous hover flies Syrphus nova-zealandics and 
Melanostoma fasciatum . 

Endrosis lacteella, Schiff. (E.fenestrella). Window Moth 

This moth seems to have been introduced in the very early days 
of colonisation. The moth itself is common throughout the year, but 
particularly from October to March, and is very generally distributed, 
being reported as a household moth from Whangarei to Invercargill. 
The larva feeds on seeds, dried fruits, flour, pollard, honeycomb and 
many other farinaceous or saccharine materials. This species appears 
to have got both its technical name, and its popular designation of 
" Milk-moth," in consequence of its being so frequently found drowned 
in milk jugs. It is not a clothes moth, but is commonly destroyed 
as such. 

Borkhausenia pseudospretella, Staint. ((Ecophora pseudo- 
spretella, Staint.) A Clothes Moth 

This is probably one of the first moths which was introduced 
into New Zealand, and it is now generally distributed, probably in 
every house. The moth occurs between November and March. The 
larva feeds on all sorts of dry refuse, and on cloth (woollen, cotton 
and linen), paper, cork, etc. It is very destructive in museums. 
Mr W. W. Smith says it occurs, but not commonly, in Taranaki. 
Mr Meyrick (1883) recorded it from Hamilton, Napier, Wanganui, 
Wellington, Christchurch, Castle Hill and Dunedin. 

It was reported by Mr Butler in 1877 in collections received 
from N.Z. from Dr Hector and Mr J. D. Enys. Dr Hilgendorf (1917) 
states that it is very common at Lincoln, and is destructive to stored 
wheat. It is also met with in the Chatham Islands. 

Mr Butler calls this species "a detestable pest," and adds: 

This is one of the most destructive insects imaginable, and is apparently 
a perfectly general feeder; nothing that is in the smallest degree edible 
comes amiss to it. The moth is fond of concealment, and often hides amongst 
the substances that have suffered from its depredations. When disturbed, 
it runs rather than flies, and that very rapidly, at once seeking shelter again. 
To pursue it with one's fingers is no easy task; it is so rapid in its move- 
ments and so slippery when touched, in consequence of the glossiness of 
its scales. The caterpillar is of an active habit, but conceals itself most 


effectually by spinning together quantities of the material it happens to 
be feeding upon. 

It has been found to destroy tons of rice in a warehouse, and one 
of the Local Government Boards in Liverpool lost a great number 
of sweeping brooms, made of heather or ling, which were kept 
amongst their stores. Mr W. W. Smith (April, 1919) states that it is 
now very common, especially among grass and other seeds. 

Ocystola acroxantha, Meyr. 

Mr Hudson says: "First observed in 1886, and no doubt intro- 
duced from Australia along with Eucalyptus, to which it is attached.'* 

Barea confusella, Walk. 

Mr Hudson says: "First observed in 1908, when it was taken 
both at Nelson and Wellington. Also introduced from Australia 
where it is common, attached to Eucalyptus." 

Mr Philpott says : " Examples were sent to me from New Plymouth 
in 1909. It is now common near Dunedin, but does not occur in 
Southland. I have also seen specimens from the Humboldt Range." 

Symmoca quadripuncta, Haw. 

First observed in Nelson in 1908, where, according to Mr Hudson, 
it was taken by Mr Sunley. It is a British species, which is not known 
from Australia. 

Choreutis bjerkandrella, Thunb. 

This cosmopolitan moth is a well-established natural immigrant, 
according to Mr Hudson. It has been collected at many points in 
both islands: Kaeo, Whangarei, Hamilton, Taranaki, Palmerston, 
Napier and Nelson. Mr W. W. Smith says it is very common in 
Taranaki. Mr Howes reports it as very common among tussocks 
above the bush line on Flagstaff and other hills near Dunedin. Mr A. 
Philpott, writing in July, 1916, says: "If this is an introduced species 
it has thriven wonderfully. It is found in all open situations up to 
about 3000 feet." 

The larvae feed on the thistles (Carduus, Cnicus, etc.), and other 

Plutella maculipennis, Curt. (P. cruciferarum, Zeller). 
Diamond-back Moth ; Shot-hole Moth ; Cabbage Moth 

This species is abundant all over New Zealand, especially (ac- 
cording to Dr Hilgendorf) in all regions where the rainfall is not 
much over 30 inches per annum. He estimates the damage done 


to turnips, rape and cabbages as amounting annually to hundreds 
of thousands of pounds, and in some seasons as exceeding 250,000. 
Rape is, however, the least damaged. The species was introduced 
certainly more than 30 years ago. 

According to Mr T. W. Kirk the moth occurs from August to 
May ; he states that it first came into notice in the Wellington district 
in 1879. 

Hilgendorf gives the average cycle of the life of the insect as 
53 days: the adult moth lives from 10 to 15 days; the eggs, which 
average 18 in number, are laid on the third to the seventh day, and 
they hatch out in nine days; the life of the caterpillar is 22 days; 
and the pupation period 17 days. From January to March, in 
badly infested districts, the moths are seen on the turnip fields in 
clouds ; and they destroy about 75 per cent, of the crop. Smith says 
they attack and destroy all species of Brassica. 

The caterpillars are attacked and destroyed by the larvae of the 
common hover flies Syrphus novce-zealandiee and Melanostoma fas- 

The eastern districts of Britain were ravaged by the caterpillars 
of Plutella maculipennis in 1891, when it was noticed that various 
kinds of birds were very effective enemies, especially rooks, starlings, 
and sea-gulls; and it was stated that where small birds had been 
exterminated the damage was worse. 

Bedellia somnulentella, Zeller 

This moth has been known for the last 20 years or more; its 
larva mines large blotches on the leaves of species of Convolvulus, 
Calystegia and Ipomata, The late Mr A. Purdie of Dunedin bred it 
freely from its larva some 20 years ago. The moth occurs usually 
from September to November. Mr W. W. Smith reports it as occur- 
ring in Taranaki commonly. 

Opogona comptella, Walk. 

This moth was taken at Nelson by Mr Sunley in 1910, and is 
considered by Mr Meyrick to be an accidental introduction from 
South-east Australia, where the species is common. Mr Howes 
obtained a specimen more recently on the Raurimu Spiral. 

Tricophaga tapetiella, Linn. (T.palcestricd). 
Clothes Moth ; Tapestry Moth 

I do not know when this moth was first introduced. Its larva 
feeds chiefly on furs and woollen stuffs. Mr Philpott states that it 


is not at all common in the south, but Mr W. W. Smith reports it 
as very destructive in Taranaki. It was reported from N.Z. in 1877 
by Mr G. Butler in collections received from Dr Hector and Mr J. D. 
Enys. It is fairly abundant in all parts of New Zealand north of 
Southland, not only in houses, but in the bush. 

Monopis ethelella, Newman 

Mr Hudson informs me that this moth was introduced from 
Australia, where it is common. The larva feeds on skins. Mr Philpott 
says it is very common and generally distributed ; it occurs through- 
out the whole year; but he is doubtful as to its being an intro- 

Mr W. W. Smith reports it as common in Taranaki. It has been 
taken up to 4000 ft. 

Monopis crocicapitella, Clem. 

This is a rather common species, whose larva feeds on refuse. 
It was originally recorded by Mr Meyrick in 1887 as M.ferruginella. 
It has been collected in all parts of New Zealand, and more or less 
all the year round. In Nelson it has been taken at 4000 ft. elevation. 

Tinea fuscipunctella, Hawthorn 

Widely distributed in New Zealand, feeding on all kinds of dry 
refuse, both animal and vegetable; a domestic species. According to 
Mr A. Philpott it is rare in Southland. 

Tinea terranea, Hawthorn 
Mr W. W. Smith informs me that this species occurs in Taranaki. 

Tineola biselliella, Humboldt. Clothes Moth 

Another common and very destructive domestic species, feeding 
especially on woollen goods and hair. It is occasionally found in 
the linings of sofas and chairs, and in mattresses. The larvae are 
found in the houses in Britain from February to September inclu- 
sive, and the moths from April to November. 

Mr W. W. Smith says these moths were common at Oamaru in 
1884, an d are now (1919) very common everywhere. 

Sitotroga cerealella, Oliv. Angoumois Grain Moth 

Originally reported by Mr A. H. Cockayne about 1910, in im- 
ported maize from the United States. Probably frequently introduced, 
but not established. 


Lampronia rubiella, Bjerk. Raspberry-bud Caterpillar 
Introduced from Britain. The report of the Agricultural Depart- 
ment for 1904 states that the caterpillar was found on raspberry 
plants at Wellington and Hastings ; and in the following year it was 
observed at Kaiapoi. 


(?) Perissectes australasice, Donovan 
This Australian moth was found at Woodville in the spring of 1918. 



Cecidomyia destructor, Say. Hessian Fly 

This much-dreaded pest has been present in all wheat- and 
barley-growing districts in New Zealand for the last 30 or 40 years, 
but has generally been kept well under observation and reduced 
by stubble burning. The fly was first detected in wheat at Marton 
in 1888, and at the same time Mr Hudson stated that large numbers 
of a hymenopterous parasite were observed. Mr Maskell thought 
these latter insects belonged to the family Proctotrupidae, and that 
they were indigenous to New Zealand. This first attack involved 
some 200 acres of wheat. In 1892 about 1300 acres in the Marton 
district were attacked, and the fly appeared in the beginning of 1893 
at Balclutha. During that year over 7000 acres in Bruce County were 
in wheat, and half of it was badly damaged by the fly; also about 
200 acres were attacked in Clutha County. It appeared also in 
Tuapeka County, and in Nelson and Blenheim. The Government 
then arranged for some thousands of infected puparia of the Hessian 
fly to be sent from England, and in this way two parasites Pleurotropus 
epigonus and Platygaster minutus were introduced into the colony. 

In 1894 the fly was severely felt in Masterton and Bruce, and in 
the former district many farmers abandoned the cultivation of wheat. 
In 1896 Semiotellus was found somewhat freely in the Bruce district, 
but no Hessian fly was recorded. In the following year the fly was 
thinly distributed about Waimate, Timaru, Oamaru and in Bruce. 

In more recent years the fly has been recorded from time to time, 
but it is now negligible as a pest. 

Hessian fly attacks rye, and it has been stated that it never attacks 
oats. This, however, is incorrect, for Mr Howes informs me that 
badly affected oats have been sent from Balfour in Southland, in 
which "the introduced control insects were more numerous than the 
Cecidomyids." The fly also has been found on the following grasses: 


Yorkshire fog, Holcus lanatus; Timothy, Phleum pratense, Triticum 
repens, Agropyrum repens, Elymus americanus and Bromus ciliatus 1 . 

Psychoda phaleenoides, Latr. 

This fly, introduced from Europe, was first recorded by Hutton 
as being common in Christchurch in 1901 ; and was also found by 
Suter in Auckland. Mr W. W. Smith (April, 1919) says it is common 
in Taranaki. 


Scatopse notata, Meig 

Hutton records in 1901 that : " In a letter to Mr Skuse, Baron von 
Osten-Sacken says that he has received numerous specimens from 
New Zealand. No doubt it has been introduced from Europe." 

Oligotropus alopecuri, Reuter. Meadow-foxtail Midge 

This species, which is found generally amongst meadow-foxtail 
pastures, originated in Scandinavia, and is also found in Great Britain. 
It appeared first in N.Z.-grown seed during 1910, but by 1914 had 
so increased as to become dangerous. In 1915 ten per cent, of the 
Manawatu crop of meadow- foxtail was infested, and in the following 
year the precentage was higher, so that the local production of this 
seed had to be abandoned. Meadow-foxtail seed was harvested only 
in two districts Manawatu and Tauranga. Up till 1917 the Tauranga 
crop was not seriously infected. The larvae are frequently found in 
seed imported from Europe. 

Contarinia tritici, Kirby. Wheat Midge 

Mr A. H. Cockayne states that this species occurs at Timaru 
and at Gore. 

Dasyneura pyri, Bouche (Perrisia pyri). Pear Midge 
This midge was first recorded from Avondale, Auckland, in 1918. 
The larvae attack the young shoots of pear trees. It spread over the 
whole of Auckland Province within a year of its discovery; it was 
probably established for some years previously. It only attacks pear 
trees under (about) eight years of age. 
It is very destructive to young trees. 

1 Mr A. Philpott, writing on 23rd April, 1917, says: "A few years ago some 
pods of Phonnium tenax, attacked by the larva of a Cecidomyia, were sent to me. 
The pods were distorted and small, and the seeds less than the usual size. I do not 
think that the fly was C. destructor, but I was not successful in rearing the mature 
insect. Probably it was an undescribed native species." 


Exaireta spimger, Schiner 

Introduced from Australia, and first recorded in 1859 from Auck- 
land (Reise der ' Novara'). Since recorded from Auckland (where it is 
abundant), Whangarei and Wellington (Hutton). Abundant in summer. 
Mr Hudson says it was captured fairly commonly in the Welling- 
ton Botanical Gardens in 1882, and adds " I have always assumed this 
to be a native." Mr A. Philpott has not met with it in the south, and 
considers that so conspicuous an insect could not escape detection. 

Mydas macquarti, Schiner 

First recorded from Auckland in 1859 (Reise der' Novara'). Later 
(1901) it was omitted from Hutton's list of introduced Diptera. 

Family ASILID/E 
Lampria cenea, Fabr. 

First recorded in New Zealand by Nowicki (1875 ?) Later (1901) 
it was omitted from Hutton's list. 

Family PHORID/E 
Phora omnivora, Hudson 

This fly, which is now abundant all the year round, was originally 
recorded from Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin by Captain 
Hutton in 1900. It is a common meat fly, but its larva is parasitic 
on several moths, as Melanchra composita, the New Zealand army- 
worm or grass-caterpillar, M. mutans, M. ustistriga, Erana graminosa, 
and other species of Noctuae. It also occurs on some Coleoptera, e.g. 
Uloma tenebrionides. Mr Hudson was under the impression that it 
was very destructive in bee-hives, but both Mr D. Miller and Mr 
Philpott think this is an erroneous idea. The former suggests that 
the larva is only a scavenger in bee-hives. The latter ventures to think 
that the hive is not "finally ruined by the wholesale destruction of 
the honey when the flies emerge," but by the reduction in the strength 
of the colony caused by the parasitic larvae, the hive being at last so 
weakened that the necessary temperatures cannot be kept up and the 
activities of the colony cease. 


Syrphus viridiceps, Weid. (Syrphus obesus, Hutton) 
An Australian fly, well established in the far north of Auckland, 
at Parengarenga Harbour. The larvae destroy large numbers of cater- 


pillars and aphides. All authorities state that the larvae of Syrphus 
destroy great quantities of aphides. Recently (April, 1919) Mr Miller 
has obtained it from Otira Gorge. 

Syrphus novee-zealandice, Macq. 

First recorded in New Zealand by Mr Bigot. The species is very 
common throughout New Zealand. It is perhaps a native species, 
but may have been introduced from Polynesia. Very abundant during 
the summer in Otago; but in Nelson, where the climate is more 
equable, it occurs practically all the year round. 

Eristalis tenax, Fabr. Common Drone Fly 

Capt. Hutton thought this species came from Britain, but Mr W. W. 
Smith believes that California was the region from which it was 

Mr G. V. Hudson first noticed it in Wellington in 1888, and 
Mr Smith took it later in the same year at Ashburton, on the flowers 
of Veronica Andersoni. It soon became very abundant. It usually 
appears late in autumn (Mr Howes records it as flying in August), 
and lasts till the end of July. Its rat-tailed larva is abundant in 
ditches and dirty water. 

Dr Hilgendorf reports it as occurring in cess-pools and earth 
closets, and even found alive floating in sheep-dip, where probably 
the poisonous matters had sunk to the bottom, and the upper layers 
were purified by addition of rain-water. 

Eristalis tenax fertilises (in Europe) the following flowers of species 
which have been introduced into New Zealand : 

Ranunculus aquatilis, R. acris, R. repens, Sambucus nigra. 

R. bulbosus. Sherardia arvensis. 

Berberis vulgaris. Bellisperennis, Achillcea millefolium, Cni- 

Papaver somniferum. cus arvensis, C. lanceolatus, Cichorium 

Brassica Rapa, B. nigra, Sinapis arvensis, intybus, Leontodon hirtus, Hypocheeris 

S. alba, Cakile maritima, Crambe mari- radicata, Taraxacum officinale, Crepis 

tima. virens, Anthemis arvensis, Matricaria 

Spergula arvensis, Stellaria graminea. inodora, Senecio jacobeea, Calendula 

Hypericum perforatum. officinalis, Carduus crispus, C. nutans, 

Lotus comiculatus, Trifolium arvense. Centaurea nigra. 

Rubus idceus, R. fruticosus, Crateegus Solanum tuberosum. 

oxyacantha, Pyrus cammunis, P. mains, Mentha aquatica. 

P. aucuparia, Prunus domesticus, P. Fagopyrum esculentum, Polygonum Persi- 

avium, P. cerasus. caria. 

Ribes Grossularia. Euphorbia helioscopia, E. cyperissias, E. 

(Enothera bienrds. Peplus. 

Carum Petroselinuni, Daucus Carota, Salix caprea. 

Scandix pecten-Veneris. Allium cepa. 
Hedera Helix. 

Syritta oceanica, Macq. 
First recorded in New Zealand by M. Bigot (date?). 


Merodon equestris, Meig. Narcissus Fly 

In 1906 narcissus bulbs imported from Britain were found to be 
infested with this fly. Originally found in Invercargill, it has since 
been met with in Auckland, and is probably occasionally introduced. 
Recently (1918) some bulbs were received from Japan which were 
infested by the larvae of this or an allied species, but as they did not 
develop beyond the pupal stage the species could not be determined. 

Drosophila ampelophila, Loew. Fruit Fly ; Pomace Fly 

This European species was first noticed by Captain Broun in 
1904. It has become very common, especially at seaports where fruit 
is introduced, and is particularly partial to bananas, oranges, and 
pineapples, which it attacks whether they are bruised or not. Some 
idea of the frequency of this and other allied species of flies may be 
gathered from the following statement. 

In 1910-1 1 the following cases of fruit imported into New Zealand 
were condemned and destroyed for fruit-fly maggot: 

Total imported Destroyed 

Auckland 299,249 cases 848 cases 

Wellington 305,050 987 

Christchurch 62,332 255 

Dunedin 58,633 273 

Bluff 10,338 9 

Mr Howes considers that the term " fruit-fly " should be confined 
to those flies which attack growing fruits. The Drosophilidae are 
usually known as "Vinegar-flies," and attack rotting vegetable matter 
and over-ripe fruit. He adds: 

Fruit-flies have been bred from apparently perfectly sound fruit. On 
the other hand many fruits with accidental bruises and perforations prove, 
on examination, not to be infected. I have seen fruit- flies inside a Chinese 
fruit-shop in Lambton Quay, Wellington, crawling up the glass. It might 
be possible to establish these flies in the North Island, but not in the colder 
parts of the south. 

Dacus psidii, Froggatt. Guava Fruit Fly 

According to the Agricultural Department's report for 1908, this 
species is frequently found in fruit imported from Northern New 
South Wales. It has apparently not become established in New 

Tephrites xanthodes, Broun 

Introduced from Suva on pineapples ; and from Tonga and Raro- 
tonga on oranges, grenadillas and mummy apples. First observed 


by Capt. Broun in 1903. Constantly met with on imported fruit 
from all those localities. Not established. 

Tephrites tryoni, Froggatt. Queensland Fruit Fly 

Introduced from Australia in pineapples ; first observed by Capt. 

Broun in 1904. For many years it was very commonly met with, 

but was not nearly so common in 1907 and 1908. Mr W. W. Smith 

(April, 1919) states that it is very common in orchards in Taranaki. 

Trypeta musce, Froggatt. New Hebrides Fruit Fly 
The Agricultural Department report for 1918 states that this 
fly was very prevalent in Mandarin oranges imported from Sydney, 
and that large numbers had been bred out. It has not succeeded, 
however, in establishing itself. 

Lonchtea splendida, Loew. Tomato Fruit Fly 
First observed in 1903 in tomatoes brought from Sydney, from 
which large numbers were reared. In the Agricultural Department's 
report for 1908 it is said to be on the increase in tomatoes and 
oranges. It is found, but not commonly, in Wellington, and probably 
in other centres. 

Consignments of the following fruits containing maggots have 
been burned on the wharves apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, 
figs, grenadillas, loquats, mangoes, mummy apples, mandarins, maupi 
fruit, nectarines, oranges, peaches, persimmons, plums, pineapples, 
pears, shaddocks and tomatoes. Several regulations were enforced 
to check the introduction of this pest, but owing to efforts of importers 
these regulations were temporarily relaxed, and in October, 1907, a 
very large consignment of fruit containing maggots was distributed 
from Auckland, and reached various parts of the colony. Efforts 
were immediately made to trace this fruit and destroy it where 
possible. But later in the season the flies were found breeding in 
peaches in several gardens in Napier, and in both peaches and 
tomatoes near Blenheim. In 1908 it was found in peaches both in 
Napier and Auckland gardens, and in many consignments of imported 

Since 1908 no specimens, other than those from imported fruit, 
have been found. 

Halter ophor a capitata, Broun. Mediterranean Fruit Fly 
First detected in peaches on Wellington Wharf in 1898, when 
flies were reared from maggots in the condemned fruit by Mr T. W. 
Kirk. Later they were discovered by Capt. Broun in soil accom- 


panying imported plants. The flies deposit eggs in two days after 
emerging from the pupa, and 29 days later, new flies emerge. 

The report of the Department of Agriculture for 1908 records 
a new species of fruit fly introduced with Citrus fruit from Rarotonga 
and Tonga. Apparently it has not been described. 

Phytomyza albtceps, Meig. 

This fly is common throughout New Zealand, and the larva 
burrows in the foliage of many plants, especially composites. The 
sowthistles (Sonchus oleraceus, S. asper and S. arvensis) are most 
commonly attacked, but the following have also been noted as fur- 
nishing food plants for this species. Dahlia, dandelion (Taraxacum 
officinale), common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), cape weed (Crypto- 
stemma calendulacea), and nettle (Urtica ferox). 

Dr Hilgendorf informs me that the larvae are attacked and des- 
troyed by the larva of an introduced parasitic hymenopterous insect 
(Dacnusa sp.). Messrs Watt and Miller report two other hymen- 
opterous parasites, minute species of the genus Chrysocarts, which 
destroy this fly. 

Phytomyza nigricornis, Macquart. Cineraria Fly ; Marguerite Fly 

This species was first recorded in Wellington in 1893. In 1897 
it was said to be widely dispersed and to have become a serious pest, 
and it has been reported every year since as abundant. It mines the 
leaves of Cineraria, globe artichoke, sowthistle, dandelion, chrysan- 
themum, peas and poro-poro (Solatium aviculare). 

Phytomyza chrysanthemi, Kowarz. Chrysanthemum Fly 

This species was reported as occurring abundantly on chrysan- 
themums in 1907-9. 


Fannia camcularis, Linn. (Homalomyia canicularis, Linn.). 
The Little House Fly 

Seems to be common throughout New Zealand, though not so 
abundant as Musca domestica. It delights to hover and sport about 
in rooms, and is easily recognisable on window panes by its small 
size, and the semi-transparent patches on its body. 

Abundant in early spring, and is displaced by the common house 
fly in summer. Its larvae are occasionally the cause of intestinal 


Comptosia bicolor, Macq. 

First recorded from Auckland in 1859 (Reise der ' Novara ') ; intro- 
duced from Australia. 

Capt. Hutton omits this from his list in 1903, as having been 
included in error in the ' Novara ' list. 

Comptosia fasciata, Fabr. 

First recorded from Auckland in 1859 (Reise der 'Novara')', 
probably introduced from Polynesia. 

This species is also omitted by Capt. Hutton. 

Micropalpus brevigaster, Macq. 

First recorded from Auckland in 1859 (Reise der 'Novara')', 
probably introduced from Australia or Tasmania. 
Omitted by Capt. Hutton. 

Lamprogaster strigipennis, Macq. 

First recorded from Auckland in 1859 (Reise der 'Novara')', an 
Australian species. 

Omitted by Capt. Hutton. 

Lamprogaster coerulea, Macq. 

First recorded from Auckland in 1859 (Reise der ' Novara ') ; prob- 
ably introduced from Australia. 

Omitted by Capt. Hutton. 

Captain Hutton was of opinion that the five above-named species 
got into the ' Novara V lists in error. 

Phorocera feredayi, Hutton 

First recorded from Dunedin by Capt. Hutton in 1881. Parasitic 
in the larvae of the basket moth (Liothula omnivord). 

Phorocera marginata, Hutton 

Recorded from Dunedin (1881), Christchurch and Wellington. 
Parasitic in the larva of Liothula omnivora, (Eceticus omnivorus, 
Melanchra composita, M. ustistriga, and M. mutans. 

Phorocera nyctemeriana, Hudson 

Wellington (1883) recorded by Mr Hudson; Christchurch and 
Queenstown (Capt. Hutton), and Dunedin by Mr Howes. Parasitic 
on the caterpillars of Nyctemera annulata and of Leucania purdiei 1 . 

1 Philpott recorded this as reared from Porina, but is not sure that his identifica- 
tion is correct. 


Family DEXIID^E 
Dexia rubricarinata, Macq. 

First observed in Auckland, 1859 (Reise der ' Novara'). Collected 
on the Kermadecs by Mr W. L. Wallace in 1908, where it was 
taken from the carcase of a goat. Also at Astrolabe, Nelson, on the 
sea-beach in 1911 by Mr D. Miller. 

This species was omitted by Capt. Hutton, but these later dis- 
coveries show the accuracy of the ' Novara ' list, as far as this species 
is concerned 

Rutilia pelluceus, Macq. 

Recorded from Auckland in 1859 (Reise der 'Novara'). 
Omitted by Capt. Hutton from his list in 1903. 

Aminia leonina, Fabr. 

First recorded from Auckland in 1859 (Reise der 'Novara') prob- 
ably introduced from Australia. 
Omitted by Capt. Hutton. 

Sarcophaga impatiens, Walker. Flesh Fly 

This is one of the commonest flies in New Zealand, particularly 
in the South Island. Capt. Hutton considered that it was probably 
introduced from Australia. He met with it in great abundance in 
Whangarei in 1901 . Dr Hilgendorf also reported it from Christchurch 
and Banks' Peninsula. Mr Philpott took it at Ashburton in the month 
of April. 

Mr D. Miller in 1909 says: 

This common fly is found in most situations. During December 1907 at 
Taieri Mouth, I captured a specimen near a swamp. About the middle 
of June 1908, I picked up another individual which was lying on the 
Tomahawk (Dunedin) sea-beach; and several were obtained from the 
swamp behind Murdering Beach during January 1909, as well as from 
Long Beach during the two following months of the same year. 

Ten years later, in 1919, he informed me that he had obtained the 
larvae in large numbers infesting the intestine of a sheep. 

Musca domestica, Linn. Common House Fly 

Very abundant throughout New Zealand; and probably intro- 
duced at a very early date. 


In 1870 A. Bathgate stated that it is driving out to a great extent 
the native blow-fly. Hutton in 1901 says: 

The statement that the introduced house-fly has displaced the native 
blow-flies, which have practically disappeared, is quite erroneous. I doubt 
whether they compete in any way. 

The female lays about 120 eggs. 

In Europe Musca domestica has been found to visit and pollinate 
the flowers of the following plants which have been introduced into 
New Zealand. 

Herberts vulgaris. Contum maculatum, Carum Petroselinum. 

Cakile maritima, Bellis perennis. 

Stellaria media. Digitalis purpurea. 

Pyrus malus, P. commums and P. aucu- Fagopyrum esculentum. 

Musca taitensis, Macq. 

This was reported by Captain Hutton in 1881, as having been 
found by Dr Sinclair. He thought, however, that probably it did 
not belong to the genus Musca. 

Musca corvina, Fabr. 

This was recorded in the Index in 1903 by Captain Hutton as 
occurring in New Zealand, on the authority of Dr Hilgendorf. 

Muscina stabulans, Desv. The Stable Fly 

First recorded from Auckland in i8$g f (Reise der ' Novara'). Now 
abundant throughout New Zealand; more common in the North 
than in the South Island. 

The larvae probably eat all kinds of decaying vegetable matter, 
and have frequently been found on rotten fungi. They occasionally 
attack growing plants, and have been found destroying shallots. 

Calliphora erythrocephala, Desv. Common European Blow-Fly 
First noticed by Mr Hudson in June, 1889, at Wellington, and 
by Capt. Hutton 1893 m Christchurch. It is now common through- 
out New Zealand. The fly is particularly fond of the flowers of indi- 
genous species of Veronica. 

In Europe this species fertilises the following plants which have 
been introduced into New Zealand: 

Ranunculus repens. Cnicus arvensis, Senecio jacobcea, Tarax- 

Brassica nigra. acum offictnale, Calendula officinalis, 

Hypericum perforatum. Achilleea millefolium, Onopordon acan- 

Pyrus communis. thium, Calluna vulgaris, Linaria vul- 

Ribes grossularia. garis, Veronica serpyllifolia, Mentha 

Daucus Carota. aquatica, Salix caprea. 
Hedera Helix. 


This species lays from 300 to 600 eggs, but is not viviparous like 
some of the indigenous blow-flies 1 . 

Pollenia villosa, Robineau-Desvoidy (Calliphora Icemica, Walker). 

The Golden-haired Blow-Fly 

Probably introduced from Australia into the North Island, where 
it became common before 1874. In that year it was first observed 
in Christchurch. In 1900 it was first observed at Lake Wakatipu. 
It is now abundant throughout New Zealand. Mr Hudson observed 
it in Wellington in 1881. One of the most common meat flies in 
houses. It deposits both eggs and maggots. In Australia it does 
incalculable damage by blowing the wool of sheep, the maggots 
burrowing into the skin of the animal, causing the wool to rot off. 

Although well-established throughout New Zealand, it has not 
hitherto caused any appreciable damage among sheep. The cases of 
sheep-blowing which occur in New Zealand are generally attributed 
to Lucilia sericata, which is an erroneous idea, as any damage done 
is caused by Pollenia villosa, 

Lucilia casar, Linn. Green-bottle Fly ; Sheep-maggot Fly 
First observed by Capt. Hutton in Christchurch in 1872; but it 
was some years before it spread. It is particularly common in the 
North Island and in Marlborough, where it causes fly-blow in sheep. 
Dr Hilgendorf states that the eggs are laid on dogs, and the maggots 
bore into the ham-muscles of living sheep. The species is not so 
common in the South Island. Mr Philpott says : " during the summer, 
odd specimens are often met with, and I once saw about a dozen 
on a dead rabbit in March." 

1 Mr Philpott writes me as follows: "There is something peculiar about ovi- 
depositing habits of the large blow-flies. In some localities it is quite unsafe to leave 
blankets or any woollen fabrics uncovered, but in others they may be left exposed 
from one year's end to another without being fly-blown. On the Tuatapere- 
Preservation Inlet track a stock of blankets has been placed in each of the Govern- 
ment huts, but it has been found necessary to provide zinc cases to keep them in. 
These huts are all practically at sea-level, but the same trouble occurs at higher 
elevations. The hut on the Hump is situated at about 3000 ft., but in hot weather 
the flies are just as great a nuisance as down on the coast. In various parts of the 
Wakatipu district campers are subjected to the same annoyance. On the other 
hand, in a hut on the Hunter Mountains (at 3000 ft.) blankets have been left for 
eight or nine years. They are never covered in any way, simply lie on the bunks, 
or hang on the rafters, and no trouble from fly-blow has ever been experienced. 
I have camped in this hut for four successive seasons, always in mid-summer; 
the blue-bottles come into the hut freely and alight on the blankets, but do no 
harm. Last year I found that the furniture of the hut had been supplemented by 
an uncured long-woolled sheepskin, but even this failed to induce the flies to ovi- 
posit. Also, I camped for a fortnight one year on Ben Lomond, at about 2000 ft. 
This was late in November, and although the weather was hot, my blankets were 
not interfered with. Unfortunately, I cannot speak with decision as to the species 
of fly. It may be that the Hunter Mountain fly is Calliphora quadrimaculata." 


Mr Howes says (1919): "From a mass of wool swarming with 
maggots, I bred out three different flies, none of which were Lucilia 
ceesar" Mr Miller writes me: "This fly is abundant everywhere, 
living often on decaying vegetable matter. It is, however, particularly 
a carrion fly, though it also feeds on excrement." It is a fly which 
increases rapidly, the female laying from 3000 to 6000 eggs. 

This species is a familiar flower-visitant, and in Europe fertilises 
the flowers of the following species of plants introduced into New 
Zealand : 

Ranunculus sceleratus, R. acris, R. repens, Bellis perennis, Achillcea millefolium, 

R. bulbosus. Cnicus arvensis, Matricaria inodora, 

Brassica nigra. Anthemis arvensis, Chrysanthemum 

Stellaria media, Cerastium triviale. Leucanthemum, Senecio jacobcea, Ta- 

Geranium molle. nacetum vulgare, Cnicus lanceolatus, 

Cratcegus oxyacantha? Taraxacum officinale. 

Rubus idceus, Pyrus mains, Pyrus aucu- Solanum tuberosum. 

paria. Mentha piperita, M. aquatica. 

Carum Petroselinum, C. carui, Conium Euphorbia helioscopia, E. Peplus. 
maculatum, Daucus Carota. 

Lucilia sericata, Macq. Sheep-maggot Fly 

Mr Hudson took this species at Karori in 1883. It appeared in 
North Otago in 1906, when attention was drawn to its occurrence, 
and steps taken to arrest its progress. Also found in Mackenzie 
country. It reappeared again in 1907-8, in Palmerston South. In 
1909 it was abundant everywhere. It is chiefly found in South Island. 
Lucilia sericata (in Europe) visits -flowers of Medicago saliva, 
Achillcea millefolium, Cnicus arvensis, and Senecio jacobcea. 

Stomoxys calcitrans, Fabr. The Biting House Fly ; Stable Fly 

Common in both islands. I noted it near Dunedin in 1893, and 
Capt. Hutton found it later near Christchurch. Mr Hudson found 
it in Wellington in May, 1889. Dr Hilgendorf says: 

An observation in 1917 showed that the inhabitants of a stable were 
50 per cent. Stomoxys, and 50 per cent, of Musca domestica ; of a pig-sty, 
95 per cent, of Musca and 5 per cent. Stomoxys; and of a house near by 
100 per cent. Musca. 

This fly is about the size of the common house-fly (Musca domes- 
tica), but is at once distinguished by its needle-like proboscis, with 
which it gives a fierce puncture of the skin. It is much quicker in 
its movements also, due, no doubt, to its inherited need of escaping 
rapidly from the animal it has pierced. It easily punctures through 
one's clothes. 

The species is probably common throughout New Zealand. In 
Europe it visits the flowers of: 

Hypericum perforatum. 

Achillcea millefolium and Cnicus arvensis ; and Mentha aquatica. 


Stomoxys nigra, Macq. 

Found in 1916 at St John's Lake, Auckland, by Mr D. Miller. 
This is a South African species. 

Family CEsTRiDjE 

(Estrus ovis, Linn. Sheep Nasal Bot-Fly 

Capt. Hutton recorded this first in Canterbury in 1 873 . Dr Hilgen- 
dorf states that these flies are very common; and that in the back 
country of Canterbury they trouble the merinos very much: 

"At the Cass on hot days," he says, "the sheep may be seen stamping 
their feet, tossing their heads, or standing huddled together, with noses 
to the ground; this is because the bot-flies have laid their eggs in their 

Dr Gilruth, reporting on the subject in 1899, stated that: 

flocks in New Zealand become affected without any previous agitation of 
the animals having been noticed. In older countries the sheep become 
very excited if even only one fly be in their vicinity. They suffer mostly in 
autumn, the larvae lodging in the nasal passages and the bony sinuses of 
the skull. 

The larvae have been known to cause rhinal myiasis (i.e. in human 

This fly is found in all parts of New Zealand. Dr Hilgendorf 
considers that nearly every sheep harbours them. 

Gastrophilus equi, Meigen. Horse Bot-Fly 

Captain Hutton saw this species first in 1892, and for two or three 
years they were very abundant and caused quite a scare. Dr Hilgendorf 
considers that the damage they do to horses' stomachs is probably 
insignificant, though the annoyance to horses when the flies are 
laying their eggs is very great. He says: "Every horse we kill has 
abundance of bots in its stomach." 

Mr Philpott says (1917): 

The horse hot is very common now. Some horses are extremely restless 
when the flies are about, but others take little notice. A few weeks ago I 
saw a bay mare so covered with eggs about the legs and abdomen that at 
a little distance she appeared to be tinged with grey. Her owner told me 
that she never took the least notice of the flies. In the same paddock was 
another horse which was continually walking to and fro, whisking its tail 
and snapping vigorously at the insects. 

Gastrophilus hcemorrhoidalis, Meigen. Horse Bot-Fly 

Supposed to have been introduced by some Mexican circus-horses 
from San Francisco; first noticed in the North Island in 1889, and 


in the South Island in 1891 . Now common throughout New Zealand, 
but according to Dr Hilgendorf not nearly as abundant as G. equi. 
Mr D. Miller says : 

During February 1909, I observed a large swarm hovering about a 
young horse, attacking the animal at the knees and sides, and, as they flew 
about the place upon which they wished to alight, they suddenly darted in 
and out, each time coming into contact with the horse's flesh. 

Gastrophilus nasalis, Meig. 

Mr W. W. Smith records this bot-fly as first attacking horses in 
South Canterbury in 1890, and then spreading rapidly over the South 
Island. It was fairly common in New Zealand in 1894. 

Hypoderma bovis, De Geer. Ox-warble Fly 

According to Dr Hilgendorf hardly an ox reaches New Zealand 
without carrying the larvae of this fly, but none has yet got past the 
Quarantine Stations, which so far have successfully resisted the estab- 
lishment of this dangerous pest. 

In Europe the larvae have occasionally been found in human beings ; 
but the parasite is more common among herdsmen in America. 

Mr D. Miller (April, 1919) says these larvae were found on cows 
at Lea Flat Station, about 20 years ago; and at Owaka about 30 
years ago. 

The larvae of this species have been known to occur in man. 

Melophagus ovinus, Latr. European Sheep Tick ; Ked 

Dr Reakes informs me that this insect pest is common through- 
out New Zealand; and Dr Hilgendorf states that it is universal. 


Family PULICID^ 
Pulex irritanSy Linn. Common Flea 

In his narrative of Captain Cook's second voyage, when in Queen 
Charlotte Sound in 1773, Forster states: "We were told that the 
people from the 'Adventure ' had found the native huts exceedingly 
full of vermin and particularly fleas." It is rather singular that neither 
Cook nor Banks in the first voyage to New Zealand makes any mention 
of the fleas, which were associated with the natives. In his second 
voyage, when the 'Adventure ' came into Ship Cove in Queen Charlotte 
Sound in April, 1773, the old Maori pa was found to be deserted, 
but "the presence of immense quantities of vermin was taken by the 


sailors as a rough and ready indication that the huts had not been 
long abandoned by the Maoris." 

It is quite probable that there were no fleas in this country at the 
date of Cook's first voyage (1769), but that they were then introduced, 
and very rapidly increased. It would seem indeed that this is the case 
from the following facts. 

In the vocabulary at the end of Nicholas's Narrative of a Voyage 
to NewZealand, vol. ii, p. 338 (published in 1817), occurs the following : 

A White Man = Packaha. 

The flea is also called by this name, as the Maoris assert it to have been 
first introduced into their country by Europeans. 

Angas in Savage Life and Scenes in Australia and New Zealand, 
vol. n, p. 20 (published in 1847), says: 

Here we pitched our tent, overlooking the broad surface of the Waikato, 
at about half a dozen yards from its brink. The fear of too many visita- 
tions from that active parasite, the flea (cleverly styled e pakea nohinohi, 
or "the little stranger," by the natives, who say it was first introduced by 
the Europeans), prevented our encamping within the enclosure of the pah. 

Mr Elsdon Best says: "I cannot remember any mention of the 
flea in old Maori traditions, as the waeroa, Kutu and namu are men- 
tioned, which seems to support the above statements." 

After their introduction fleas increased at an astounding rate, and 
spread from end to end of the country. The Maori pas and villages 
were full of them, especially in the North Island ; but they are found 
also in vast numbers in warm dry quarters, such as abandoned settle- 
ments, old sheds and sheepyards, where the ground often literally 
moves with them. 

Ctenocephalus canis, Curtis. Dog and Cat Flea 
This is a common species in New Zealand, and "is probably the 
most widely distributed member of the order." It has been recorded 
as Pulex serraticeps, Gervais. Mr Rothschild considers that there are 
two distinct species, one C. canis occurring on dogs, and C. felis on 
cats, but he states that it is impossible to separate them. 

Ceratophyllus fasciatus, Curtis. Rat Flea 

This flea is probably common on rats throughout the country, 
but no one has worked out the occurrence of this important group, 
except Dr Russell-Ritchie, who informs me that it is common in 
rats which have been examined in Wellington Hospital. This is one 
of the species which conveys bubonic plague, but before investiga- 
tions into the possible introduction of this disease can be properly 
undertaken, a complete study of the fleas present in the country must 
be made. 


This species is found on Mm decumanus (the brown rat), and on 
M. musculus (the mouse) 1 . 

Ceratophyllus gallince, Wagner. Bird Flea 

This species occurs in dirty fowl-runs, where it causes harm and 
irritation to the birds. It has usually been referred to as Pulex avium, 
Tasch. The report of the Agricultural Department for 1900 states 
that this insect is common in New Zealand. 

Ctenopsyllus musculi, Wagner. Rat Flea 

This species is also probably found throughout New Zealand, as 
it occurs on mice, brown rats and black rats (Mus rattus). Dr Russell- 
Ritchie tells me that it is found on rats in Wellington, but not so 
commonly as Ceratophyllus fasciatus. 

1 The connection between rats (or mice) and bubonic plague was evidently 
known to Asiatic peoples in very far- distant ages. Like many other facts of historic 
and scientific interest, this knowledge was lost with the wholesale destruction of 
peoples and libraries which has taken place from time to time in the past. But there 
is an interesting record of it in the early history of the Jewish people. Somewhere 
about the nth century B.C., as narrated in the First Book of Samuel (Chap, iv-vi), 
during the ever-recurring wars between the Philistines and the Israelites, the latter 
were defeated with great slaughter in a battle fought near Aphek, and the Ark of 
God was taken, and was conveyed to the house of Dagon in Ashdod. There is a 
mixture of history and of priest-lore in the succeeding narrative, but we are told 
"the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, 
and smote them with emerods " ( = haemorrhoids or bubonic glands ?). In other words 
they were attacked by some very deadly and infectious plague. The lords of the 
Philistines sent the ark to Gath, " and it was so, that, after they had carried it about, 
the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction : and he 
smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their 
secret parts." Then they sent it to Ekron, and the plague broke out there. In their 
desperation, thinking it was a visitation of vengeance of the God of Israel, they 
resolved to return it to the people from whom it was originally taken, and to accom- 
pany it with a trespass offering. This offering consisted of five golden emerods and 
five golden mice, which probably may be more correctly translated rats, though 
mice and rats are equally transmitters of bubonic plague. The further mixture of 
history and priestly superstition is recorded at the end of Chap. vi. The ark was 
placed on a cart to which two cows were attached, and they were set towards the 
land of Israel and allowed to go wherever they liked. They took the road to Bethshe- 
mesh, and the arrival of the ark was hailed by the people with joy. But they carried 
the plague with them, for the priestly record says: "He smote the men of Beth- 
shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people 
fifty thousand and threescore and ten men. And the people lamented, because the 
Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter." It is a most interesting 
narrative, and shows that at that early date the rulers knew that there was some 
relation between the plague and the rats or mice, even though they did not know 
that fleas were the carriers of the infection. 



Thrips sp. 

Several species of Thrips and allied genera occur in New Zealand, 
most of which are apparently introduced, but, as far as I am aware, 
none have been worked out or identified. They are found in numbers 
in most cultivated flowers, as well as a great many indigenous species; 
but here again no record has been made of them. In some cases they 
are found in such abundance on vegetation as to amount to a des- 
tructive pest. Mr W. W. Smith has sent me foliage of Pittosporum, 
etc., from New Plymouth, which shows the effects they produce. 
The undersides of many of the leaves were covered with a rust- 
coloured dust, others were similarly affected on the upper surface. 
The cuticle was punctured, and the epidermal cells largely destroyed, 
while in most of them the chlorophyll was wanting. Whether this had 
been removed by the insects puncturing the upper layers of tissue, 
or was due to the destruction of the epidermis, I could not say. 
Many of the leaves were covered with white patches, which proved 
to be formed of thousands of minute eggs, apparently of Thrips. 
The effect on many leaves of the loss of chlorophyll and of the damage 
to the epidermal tissues was to give them a silvery appearance, and 
to cause them to present a very sickly aspect. 

(See Appendix B, p. 560.) 

Nabis HneatuSy Dahlbom 

This European species is recorded by Captain Hutton in the Index 
(1903) as occurring in New Zealand. In a note on those introduced 
Hemiptera, Mr G. W. Kirkcaldy states that this species is probably 
included in error. 

Cimex lactularius, Linn. Bed Bug 

This most objectionable insect has been in New Zealand from 
early days of settlement, as many of the vessels which visited the 
country were infested with bugs. I first met with them on a coasting 
steamer in 1884; and Mr Hudson reported them in 1890. They are 
not particularly common in the South Island, but in the warmer 
parts of the North Island, many houses are infested with them. 


Sciocoris helferi, Fieb. 

In a note written in 1896 Captain Hutton says of this species 
"A South European species, said to have been collected in Auckland 
by the 'Novara' Expedition." In 1905 Mr Kirkcaldy stated that the 
species ought to be expunged from New Zealand lists till further 
confirmation. It has not been recorded since. 

Nezara prasina, Linn. 

Captain Hutton stated in 1897 that "specimens of this species 
are in the British Museum from New Zealand." It is a cosmopolitan 
species, but I have not heard of any collector who has found it in 
these islands. 

Sub-order HOMOPTERA 

Psylla acacice-baileyance, Froggatt 

In the report on State Afforestation in New Zealand for 1910-11, 
this species is stated by Mr A. H. Cockayne to occur on the planta- 
tions of black wattle (Acacia decurrens), "but so far it has done little 
harm." It has evidently been introduced from Australia. 

Rhinocola eucalypti, Maskell. Yellow Aphis 
This species, which is a native of Australia, is a small dark brown 
psyllid, the larvae of which cluster at the tips of the foliage of young 
blue gums (Eucalyptus globulus), and cover themselves with threads of 
white flocculent matter, hence apparently the popular name. Mr Mas- 
kell thought it was introduced from Tasmania. The species is common 
in the Manawatu district, and is probably of very general distribution. 

Family FULGORID^: 
Scolypopa (Pochasia) australis. Walk. Vine Hopper ; Tree Hopper 

Captain Broun reported this (in 1896) as common on native 
shrubs in the forest about 20 years ago. Later on it began to 
attack passion-vines, figs, etc. ; preventing the formation or maturing 
of the fruit. In 1898 it is recorded as occasionally attacking grape- 

The species was probably introduced from Australia. Mr Howes 
found it in Auckland in immense numbers on fig trees, and on many 
garden plants. He also obtained it in Nelson. 


Family APHID^E 

Aphis brassicce, Linn. Cabbage Aphis 

This pest seems to have appeared at an early date after settlement. 
It was very abundant 50 years ago, and is particularly common in 
those districts of New Zealand where the annual rainfall does not 
exceed 35 inches. It attacks every species of Brassica (cabbage, 
turnip, swede, rape, etc.), and is found on many other crucifers 
(Capsella, Sisymbrium, Cakile, etc.). Dr Hilgendorf considers that 
it is the most destructive insect that has been introduced into the 
country, and estimates that the annual loss due to its presence 
cannot be put down at less than 250,000 ; and this not so much by 
the direct damage it does, as the restriction it entails in the selection 
of varieties which while more or less blight-proof, are not nearly as 
productive as others 1 . 

Aphis persicce niger, Smith. Black Peach Aphis 
Mr D. Miller informed me that this insect, which appears to be 
common in parts of Australia, has recently (1917) been recorded 
from New Zealand (locality?). 

Chermes corticate, Kaltenbach 

This species is recorded by Captain Hutton in the Index (1903). 
None of my correspondents know it. 

Chermes pint, Koch 

In 1884 Mr Maskell recorded that pine trees were badly attacked 
by a "blight" some four or five years previously. The species which 
suffered were Pinus halepensis, P. radiata (P. insignis), and P. sylvestris. 
The latter species was especially damaged in Nelson, while the former 
about Wellington were greatly infested. It was also destructive in 
plantations at Wanganui, Christchurch, Ashburton and Peel Forest. 
The pest seems to be fairly common, and though it does not kill 
pine trees, it disfigures them and greatly interferes with their vigorous 
growth. Mr Maskell suggested that perhaps C. pint and C. corticalis 
were the same species. 

Chermes laricis, Hartig. The Pine White Aphis 
In the report on State Afforestation for 1901-11, this species is 
stated by Mr A. H. Cockayne to be fairly abundant on some of the 
pines, "but it appears to select trees that are of weak constitution, 

1 In the report of the Agricultural Department for 1905, two species are 
recorded which, in the absence of certain literature, I cannot identify. They are: 
(i) the turnip fly (Aphis rosce), which is recorded from Kohinui, and (2) the green fly 
(Rophalosiphon dianthi), which is said to have been found on diseased tomatoes from 


and will probably more or less disappear when the trees are older." 
Though only reported from Rotorua and Waiotapu, the insect is 
probably widespread. 

Lachnus strobi, Fitch 

Recorded by Mr D. Miller as occurring on Douglas Spruce (Abies 
Douglasii) at Palmerston North in 1919. 

Phylloxera vastatrix, Planchon. Vine Louse 

This insect appeared in one locality in Auckland in 1885, and 
efforts were made to exterminate it. In 1889 and 1890 it was found 
in several places near Auckland, and at Whangarei. In 1895 it was 
reported from three localities near Masterton, and in 1 898 at Carterton. 
In the Agricultural report for 1898-99 it is also stated to have been 
found in Eden, Waitemata, Whakatane, Tauranga, Piako and Manukau 
counties, and to be common from Auckland North. In 1902 it was 
rediscovered at Mt Eden, Auckland, and in the following year was 
reported from Opotiki, and was said to be bad at Whangarei. 

In 1920 it was still present in a number of localities in the Auck- 
land district. 

Schizoneura lanigera, Haus. (Eriosoma lanigera, Haus.). 
Woolly Aphis ; American Blight 

This species has been known for a very long time in New Zealand, 
and is universally distributed throughout the country. It is very 
abundant still in old and neglected orchards, but has been greatly 
reduced in recent years by the use of "Northern Spy" stocks on 
which to graft the different varieties of apples. Dr Hilgendorf con- 
siders that it is more common in the northern half of the North 
Island than elsewhere. 

In 1861 the Otago Provincial Council passed the "American Blight 
Protection Ordinance," the preamble of which reads: 

Whereas considerable injury has been done to Fruit Trees within the 
Province of Otago by the Blight, or Insect called the American Blight; 
and whereas it is expedient to prevent as much as possible the increase 
thereof: Be it therefore enacted, etc. 

This is interesting as showing how early this insect was recognised 
as a dangerous and common pest in New Zealand, and also how 
unscientific is the definition of the pest itself. 

The majority of apples in New Zealand are now grafted on Northern 
Spy stocks, an American apple which has a hard bark and very firm 
wood, thus enabling it to withstand the attacks of the woolly aphis. 


Siphonophora rosce, Reaum. &ose Fly 

This pest has long been known in the country, and apparently 
is common everywhere. 

Siphonophora granaria, Kirby 
This species is also widespread throughout New Zealand. 

Mysus cerasi y Fabr. Black Aphis ; Black Fly 
This pest has been known in New Zealand since the early fifties, 
and appears to be common throughout the Dominion. It particularly 
attacks peach, cherry and plum trees, making its appearance in the 
early spring, and doing most damage when the trees are in bloom, 
and the foliage and fruit are young. 


The nomenclature of this family has recently undergone a com- 
plete revision, and I am indebted to Mr Guy Brittin of Christchurch 
for a correct list of the species. As, however, most fruit growers only 
know the names which appear in Maskell's papers, and in the publica- 
tions of the Agricultural Department, I have retained these in paren- 
theses for the sake of reference. 

Aulacaspis rosce, Sandberg (Diaspis rosce) 

This species, which attacks rosaceous plants roses, blackberries, 
raspberries, etc. has been reported from Canterbury and Hawke's 
Bay. It was first recorded by Maskell in 1878. 

Diaspis boisduvalii, Signoret 

This scale has been found on various species of wattles (Acacia), 
and on some hot-house plants. It was also recorded by Maskell in 1878. 

Chionaspis citri, Comstock 

Originally imported from America, this destructive insect is found 
on species of Citrus in the north of New Zealand ; it is also commonly 
introduced on oranges from Sydney. 

Chionaspis dubia, Maskell 

Originally described by Mr Maskell in 1881, who stated that it 
was common on many plants, Coprosma, Rubus, Asplenium, etc. In 
re-describing it in 1887, he added Pellcea to the plants on which it 
feeds, and gave Canterbury and Auckland as habitats. In 1891 a 
small form of it was taken at Reef ton on leaves of Leptospermum, and 
at Wellington on Asplenium and Cyathodes. In 1915 it was reported 


by Mr E. E. Green as occurring on a species of Adiantum introduced 
from Fiji. Mr Brittin states: "I am rather doubtful as to whether 
this is imported or not." 

Lepidosaphes pinncsformis, Bouche (Mytilaspis citricola, Packard). 
Lemon Scale ; Purple Scale 

In 1889 this scale insect was found on the rind of some oranges 
forwarded to Mr Maskell from Inangahua ; the oranges came originally 
from Fiji. In 1895-96 it was found on lemons imported from Portugal. 
In the report of the Department of Agriculture for 1909 the species 
is reported as occurring among lemon trees in New Zealand. 

Lepidosaphes ulmi, Linn. (Mytilaspis pomorum, Bouche). 
Apple Scale 

Probably introduced very much earlier, but first recorded by 
Mr Maskell in 1878, when it was quite common in New Zealand. 
It is a most abundant, and extremely destructive species. While 
chiefly attacking apple trees, it is stated by Mr Maskell to occur on 
pears, hawthorn, walnut, plum, peach, apricot, lilac, Cotoneaster, 
sycamore, ash, and many other plants. According to Dr Hilgendorf 
this pest has been tending to disappear during the last ten years 
in North Canterbury, but from natural (unknown) causes. A very 
minute white acarid (mite) has been observed among the eggs of 
this scale insect. 

Lepidosaphes nullipora, Froggart 

Mr Brittin informs me that he has found this species very plenti- 
fully in North Otago, on Eucalyptus, wattle and walnut. It has 
probably been introduced from Australia. It may be easily mistaken 
for L. ulmi. 

Aspidiotus aurantii, Maskell (A. coccineus, Gennadius). 
Red Scale of Orange 

In 1878 Mr Maskell reported this species as occurring on orange 
and lemon trees, growing at Governor's Bay, near Lyttelton. It 
occurs, he says, in immense numbers on the oranges and lemons sold 
in our shops, and which are imported from Sydney. It was also 
reported from Auckland. 

The Agricultural Department report for 1909 speaks of "the 
immense quantities of scale-infested Citrus fruits which both Australia 
and Italy have for years poured into the Dominion." Energetic 
measures are taken, however, to arrest the introduction and spread 
of the pest. 


The following table gives the amount of fruit, which was fumigated 
at the principal ports of arrival in order to combat the introduction of 
scale insects, mealy bug, etc. 

Fruit imported Fumigated 

cases cases 

Auckland 299,249 7751 

Wellington ... 305,050 2922 

Christchurch ... 62,332 280 

Dunedin 58,633 97 

Bluff 10,338 

Aspidiotus buddleice, Signoret 

Found by Mr Maskell in 1877 on tne silver wattle (Acacia dealbata) 
in Nelson; also in Christchurch on the same kind of tree. 

Aspidiotus camellite, Signoret 

Originally noted by Mr Maskell in 1878 on camellias in Christ- 
church. In 1885 he reported it as common about Wellington on 
Euonymus, weeping willow, and other garden trees and shrubs, to 
which it often did much damage. 

Aspidiotus perniciosus, Comstock. San Jose Scale 
First reported by Mr Maskell in 1895, but his specimens were 
Australian, and the insect was probably not in New Zealand at that 

In the Agricultural Department's report for 1909 it is stated to 
be firmly established in portions of the Nelson district and to be 
found in isolated localities in other parts of both islands. It has been 
noticed on apples, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, currants 
and gooseberries. 

Aspidiotus hederce, Bouche (A. nerii) 

Originally recorded by Mr Maskell in 1881, as occurring in the 
North Island (Wellington) on Coprosma, and later on Carpodetus 
serratus and Vitex littoralis. The favourite food-plant in Europe, from 
whence it was introduced, is Nerium oleander. In 1877 he also found 
it on karaka (Corynocarpus Icevigata). It has also been met with on 
palms and orchids in hot-houses, on grape-vines, and, in Christchurch 
on wattles. In 1895 it was found on the skins of a shipment of lemons 
imported from Portugal, and some of this fruit was sent up to Whan- 
garei, where lemons are somewhat extensively grown. 

Chrysomphalus rossi (Crawford), Maskell (Aspidiotus rossi) 
This species was recorded by Mr Maskell in May, 1890, as having 
been received by him from Australia, where it was very common in 


Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, on almost every kind of plant; but 
the first announcement of its appearance in New Zealand was in 1895, 
when Captain Broun found it on olive trees at Whangarei. Later the 
Agricultural Department reported it as occurring on various species 
of Citrus, and on Camellia. The species, which is cosmopolitan in 
its distribution, is now common and very troublesome in the northern 
parts of New Zealand. 

Coccus maculatus, Signoret (Lecanium maculatum} 

This European species was reported by Mr Maskell in 1878, as 
occurring on Bouvardia in a greenhouse in Christchurch. I do not 
know that it has been recorded since. 

Coccus mori, Signoret (Lecanium mori) 

Taken by Mr Maskell onAlsophila and other plants in the Botanical 
Gardens, Wellington, in 1884; and in 1893 on Asplenium and other 
ferns. In 1895 it was found to be plentiful on gorse (Ulex europceus) 
and broom (Spartium or Genista) at Fairlie in South Canterbury. 
(The latter is probably Cytisus scoparius.) 

Coccus longulus, Douglas (Lecanium longulum, Douglas ; 
L. chirimolice, Maskell) 

In 1889 Mr Maskell recorded this species from Fiji, where it 
was found on the bark and leaves of the Peruvian Cherimoyer (Anona 
tripetala). In 1896 he states: 

This insect has come to New Zealand. Captain Broun sent me specimens 
on Laurus, from Northcote, near Auckland. It has evidently been imported 
from Fiji, between which place and New Zealand there is a rapidly-growing 
trade in fruit, etc. 

Coccus hesperidus, Linn. (Lecanium hesperidum, Blanch). 
Broad Scale ; Holly Scale ; Ivy Scale 

In 1878 Mr Maskell wrote: "This insect is becoming a veritable 
pest in this country. Hollies, ivies, Portugal laurels, and many other 
trees in our gardens are every year becoming more and more infested 
with it." In 1887 he added Camellia, orange, myrtle, box, etc., and 
stated : " this is the commonest of the Lecanidae in this country." It 
is also found on oranges, gooseberries, and occasionally on grape- 

In 1888-89 Dr Jas. Hudson recorded this species (under the name 
of Lecanium hispidum) as occurring on orange and lemon trees in 
Nelson, and badly infesting the trees. In February, 1890, he observed 
Rhizobius ventralis preying on the Coccid; and in January, 1891, he 


stated that both the blight and the ladybird had completely dis- 

It is kept in check to some extent by a parasitic fly, and by an 
undetermined species of fungus. 

Coccus persicce, Geoffroy 

In 1891 Mr Maskell recorded this species, or a variety of it, as 
occurring on grape-vines at Ashburton, under the name of Lecanium 
rosarum, Snell. 

Coccus persicce, var. coryli, Linn. (Lecanium ribis, Fitch) 

This species was recorded in 1890 by Mr Maskell, who received 
specimens from Ashburton, from Mr W. W. Smith. At that date it 
was common in gardens on gooseberries, black and red currants. In 
the following year he noted its occurrence from various places in 
Canterbury, and from Oamaru, and added: "the pest is a new arrival 
in the colony within the last three or four years, and seems to be 
spreading rapidly." 

Saissetia nigra, Neitner (Lecanium nigrum, L. depressum) 

This was recorded in 1878 by Mr Maskell, as occurring on green- 
house plants in Christchurch and Wellington. 

Saissetia olece, Bernard (Lecanium oleee). 
"Black Scale" of California 

Reported in 1884 by Mr Maskell as becoming very common 
throughout New Zealand, especially in the North Island. It occurs 
on many plants in gardens and orchards. He found it abundant on 
Cassinia leptophylla, a native composite shrub which covers the hills 
near Wellington ; and it was reported also to be spreading on native 
trees near Whangarei. A very widespread species. 

Saissetia hemispherica, Targioni-Tozzetti (Lecanium 
hemisphericum, L. hibernaculorum, Boisd.) 

This European species was stated by Mr Maskell in 1878, to be 
common in greenhouses in Christchurch. In 1884 he found it on 
Camellia in the Hutt Valley, Wellington. 

Pulvinaria floccifera, Westwood (P. camellicola, Signoret) 

In 1878 Mr Maskell recorded this species as occurring on Camellia 
in Christchurch and Wellington, and in greenhouses in the south. 


Asterolecanium variolosum, Ratzeburg (Planchonia 
quercicola, Bouche 

In 1895 Mr R. I. Kingsley sent to Mr Maskell from Nelson twigs 
of oak thickly covered with this coccid, and he stated that "the owner 
first noticed the blight about fourteen years ago." 

Pseudococcus longispinus, Targioni-Tozzetti (Dactylopius 
adonidum, Signoret). Mealy Bug 

What I think was certainly this species was abundant in a vinery 
in Auckland in 1884; it was also reported from Whangarei. It was 
not recorded, however, until 1889, when Mr Maskell stated that it 
occurred in the hot-houses and stoves of Government House, Wel- 
lington. In 1895 Mr Maskell mentioned an outbreak of this pest in 
the Hutt Valley, near Wellington. In the following year Captain 
Broun reported that it had proved a terrible nuisance in some of the 
northern vineries; at Tauranga it was most abundant on passion- 
vines (Passiflora sp.). It was also found commonly on many fruit 

The Agricultural Department introduced the black ladybird (Rhi- 
zobius ventralis), the steely-blue ladybird (Orchus chalybeus), and the 
red-headed ladybird (Cryptolcemus montrouzeri), specially to combat 
this dangerous pest. 

Pseudococcus coriaceus, Maskell (Eriococcus coriaceus). 
Blue-Gum Scale 

First noticed about Timaru in 1900, having been introduced from 
Australia, partly among young gum trees, and partly by hardwood 
logs. It has been detected within recent years as being brought in 
in both ways. It was originally described by Mr Maskell in 1892 
from specimens sent to him from New South Wales. About 1900 
plantations of gums (Eucalyptus globulus and E. stuartiana chiefly) 
were attacked by this scale insect, and trees 40 to 80 feet in 
height were completely killed. It soon spread over S. Canterbury 
and North Otago, and threatened to destroy all the gum trees in the 
country (including E. gunnii, E. amygdalina, E. regnans, and E. cocci- 
ferd). Later on it was found infesting European myrtle (Myrtus com- 

A number of black ladybirds (Rhizobius ventralis), red-headed 
ladybirds (Cryptolesmus montrouzeri), and steely-blue ladybirds (Or- 
chus chalybeus) were brought from North of Auckland, where they 
had been introduced some years previously, and were liberated near 
Timaru. The two last-named species could not stand the winter of 
S. Canterbury, but the Rhizobius increased rapidly and very soon 


cleared the trees of scale. By the winter of 1907 nearly all the affected 
plantations were stocked with ladybirds. Mr T. W. Kirk said in 

In January of this year my assistant collected at Rolleston over 1300 on 
ten gum trees in a little over three hours .... Three years ago the planta- 
tions were swarming with the pest and to all appearances were doomed to 
utter destruction. It is not too much to say that within another twelve 
months there will scarcely be a single living scale to be found on the 
southern plantations. 

Eriococcus araucariee, Maskell 

Mr Maskell described this species from specimens found on Nor- 
folk Island pines (Araucaria excelsd) at Governor's Bay, near Lyttelton, 
in 1878. It is found on the same tree and on the Moreton Bay pine 
(A. Bidwillii) in the North of Auckland district. The species has been 
found both in Spain and in America, and is almost certainly an 
introduction. It is apparently held in check in New Zealand by the 
introduced ladybirds. 

Dactylopius coccus, Costa (Coccus cacti). Cochineal Insect 

Apparently two attempts, both unsuccessful, have been made to 
naturalise the cochineal insect in New Zealand. Mr Jas. Drummond 
states that it was introduced by Mr Walter Brodie into Mangonui 
about 1847. The Canterbury Society received a number of these 
insects in a case of food-plants, from Sir Geo. Grey, in 1868. The 
climate of New Zealand is too cold for this species. 

leery a purchast, Maskell. Cottony-cushion Scale 

This species was described by Mr Maskell in 1878 from specimens 
sent to him by the Rev. Dr Purchas, who first found it, in Auckland, 
where it had nearly destroyed a hedge of the Kangaroo Acacia 
(A. armatd). Writing in 1883, Mr Maskell said: 

leery a purchasi has spread greatly in the last two years . It had just reached 
Napier at the date of my last paper ; it has now established itself in that 
district, not only in gardens but in the native forests. In Auckland it is 
attacking all sorts of plants, from apple trees and roses to pines, cypresses 
and gorse, and it is spreading over a large district. It has reached Nelson 
. . .where it is devouring wattles, cypresses, gorse, and many other plants. 

Mr Maskell made every effort to rouse public attention to the danger 
arising from this dreaded pest. Fortunately the Agricultural Depart- 
ment awoke to the importance of meeting the problem, and by the 
introduction of the Australian ladybird (Vedalia cardinalis), this scale 
is now kept in check and rapidly destroyed wherever it is met with. 


Chtetococcus parvus, Maskell (Cryptococcus nudata, Brittin) 
This species was found on Hoheria at Cashmere Hills, Christ- 
church, by Mr G. Brittin, and described as a new species, in 1914. 
It was later found to be a species which Mr Maskell had described 
in 1897, as feeding on wild plums in China. In 1914 it was reported 
by Mr Green as occurring at St Albans, Herts, England, on cherry 
trees which had been imported from Japan. 

Sub-order ANOPLURA 

Pediculus capitis, Nitzsch. Common Louse 

Sir Joseph Banks, describing the Maoris shortly after he first met 
them in 1769, says: "In their hair was much oil, which had very 
little smell, but more lice than ever I saw before 1 ." 

Very common in New Zealand. 

Pediculus corporis, De Geer (P. vestimenti, Nitzsch). Body Louse 

Equally common with the preceding species. Mr Howes says, 
what is perfectly correct, that both species are becoming scarcer. The 
segregation of children in schools formerly tended to spread these 
offensive insects, but closer inspection in later years has very much 
reduced the pest. 

Phthirius inguinalis (Pediculus pubis). Crab Louse 

Mr Elsdon Best writing in June, says: "The Maori carried two 
forms of louse, the body louse (Kutu), and a form called the Werau 
that, he says, infests the aroaro (private parts) only. Both are said 
to have been pre-European." 

I think it more probable that this parasite was introduced by 
Europeans from the earliest days when they had connection with 
Maori women. Banks says: 

Though we were in several of their towns, where young and old crowded 
to see us, actuated by the same curiosity as made us desirous of seeing them, 
I do not remember a single instance of a person distempered in any degree 
that came under my inspection, and among the numbers of them that 
I have seen naked, I have never seen an eruption on the skin or any 
signs of one, scars or otherwise. Their skins, when they came off to us in 
their canoes, were often marked in patches with a little floury appearance, 
which at first deceived us, but we afterwards found that it was owing to 

1 In another passage Banks says: "the disgustful thing about them is the oil 
with which they daub their hair, smelling something like a Greenland dock when 
they are 'trying' whale blubber. This is melted from the fat either of fish or birds. 
The better sort indeed have it fresh, and then it is entirely void of smell." 


their having been in their passage wetted with the spray of the sea, which, 
when it was dry, left the salt behind it in a fine white powder. 

During the period of the war a considerable increase in the preva- 
lence of this pest has been noted. It is no doubt due in part to the 
use of the public lavatories in trains and railway stations by infected 


Hcematopinus ventricosus, Denny. Rabbit Louse 

This louse has probably been here since rabbits were first intro- 
duced. In 1889 Mr Coleman Phillips attributed the decrease of the 
rabbits in South Wairarapa in 1885-86 largely to the prevalence of 
this insect-pest, in association with Sarcoptes cuniculi. 

Hcematopinus eurysternus, Nitzsch. Ox Louse 
This parasite has been reported by the Agricultural Department 
for many years past, as being common both on cattle, and pigs. The 
latter occurrence is not given by Colonel Reid, and I think, therefore, 
that it is doubtful. 

Hcematopinus macrocephalus, Burm. (H. asini). Horse Louse 
This species is commonly found on horses all over the Dominion. 

Hcematopinus vituli, Linn. (H. tenuirostris). 

Long-nosed Ox Louse 

Colonel Reid informs me that this species occurs on cattle in 
New Zealand ; and Mr Miller states that it was met with at Weraroa 

in 1917. 

Hcematopinus ovillus, Neumann 

In 1906 this louse was found among sheep in the South Island, 
but was not identified with any described species. Specimens were 
sent to Dr Neumann who described it (Agricultural Report for 1908, 
p. 194) under the above name. This species is found among sheep 
in Scotland, from whence, no doubt, the parasite was introduced, 
but where it was not previously identified. 

Hcematopinus pedalis, Osborn 

Colonel Reid states that this species occurs among sheep in New 

Hcematopinus urius, Nitzsch (H. suis, Linn.). Pig Louse 
All the authorities are agreed that this louse is very common among 
pigs in New Zealand. 

Hcematopinus pilferus, Burm. Dog Louse 

Dr Reakes and Colonel Reid inform me that this species is com- 
mon on dogs. 

Chapter IX 


(Order ANASPIDACEA, see Appendix B, p. 561.) 



Porcellio scaber, Latreille. Wood Louse 

THIS species, which originally belonged to the more temperate 
regions of Europe, but has been introduced accidentally by man to 
nearly all the temperate regions of the world, must have reached 
New Zealand at an early date, for it was recorded in White's list of 
New Zealand Crustacea in the British Museum in 1847 as P. graniger. 
It is now common all over the Dominion, especially in greenhouses 
and other places near dwellings, but also further from habitations, 
though not (according to Dr Chilton) in the untouched native bush. 

Mr W. W. Smith states that the wood lice have largely displaced 
native ants. He says (1901): 

In several parts of this district (Ashburton) the wood-lice have almost 
displaced the native ants. Instead of finding great numbers of ants' nests, 
as formerly, under the half-embedded stones, we found their old homes 
tenanted by swarms of wood-lice. 

Armadillidium vulgare, Latreille 

Another European species that has been dispersed by artificial 
means to all temperate regions. In New Zealand it is known from 
Nelson, where it appears to be common in the town gardens ; from 
Mount Egmont (exact locality not known) ; and from Sumner, where 
it is common in some gardens. The date of its introduction into New 
Zealand is unknown, but it was established in Nelson before 1890. 

Metoponorthus pruinosus, Brandt 

Dr Chilton says "a species common in Europe and neighbouring 
countries in rather warmer climates than the two preceding. Also 
widely dispersed into the warmer portions of the world. Specimens 
from Tasmania in the British Museum were named Porcellio zea- 
landicus by White in his list, published in 1847, and a similar speci- 
men from New Zealand was obtained in 1854 (^ ut not described till 
1876, in Miers' Catalogue of New Zealand Crustacea), so that it must 
have been introduced before that date, perhaps by whaling ships. It 


does not appear to have established itself, and I have specimens from 
one locality in Hawke's Bay only." 

The species is abundant in Norfolk Island, the Kermadecs, 
Australia, etc. 


Sub-order MACRURA 


Homarus vulgaris, Linn. European Lobster 

The first attempt to introduce the lobster into New Zealand 
waters was made by the late Mr A. M. Johnson, who left London 
in 1864 by the ship 'British Empire' with 26 lobsters on board 
which he obtained from the "Mumbles" in Wales. In a letter 
to me dated i5th September, 1915, he says: "they developed so 
pugnacious a disposition that they killed each other; the remaining 
one I sold to one of the first-class passengers." Mr Johnson evidently 
kept them altogether in one tank. 

In 1885 Mr S. C. Farr, on behalf of the Canterbury Society, put 
12 lobsters on board the 'Kaikoura,' but they all died in the tropics. 

In 1892 Mr Clifford shipped a number from London for the 
Otago Acclimatisation Society, but "although the experiment was 
gone into on a somewhat extensive scale, it nevertheless failed." 

In 1891 and again in 1892, Mr Purvis, chief engineer of the 
'Ionic,' attempted to bring lobsters out to Otago, on both occasions 
without success. But in 1893 he was successful in landing nine (out 
of 12 shipped) at Dunedin. These were liberated at the Mole at 
the entrance to Otago Harbour, a very unsuitable place, but nothing 
more was ever heard of them. 

The next attempt was made on behalf of the Board of the Porto- 
bello Marine Fish Hatchery, when arrangements were made with the 
Marine Biological Laboratory to procure lobsters at Plymouth, and 
ship them to New Zealand. Four shipments were made on successive 
trips of the S.S. 'Karamea' in 1906-8, as follows: 

Date of arrival Number shipped Number arrived 

at Port Chalmers - 11 . , 

1906, June agth ... 13 males 12 females 2 females 

1907, Feb. 26th ... 13 12 3 males 4 
Aug. 25th ... 13 12 3 4 

1908, March 6th ... 17 16 17 14 

In 1908 some 36,000 larvae were hatched in the tanks; and in the 
following year about 100,000 were hatched out. In 1910 only 33,000 
larvae were secured in the tanks; but the majority were allowed to 
hatch naturally in the ponds and the larvae to escape into the open 


sea. This plan has been followed in succeeding years, as it has been 
found impossible with the other work to be done at the station, to con- 
trol the rearing of young lobsters. On ist March, 1913 , Mr Anderton, 
curator of the Station, arrived from Britain in the 'Waimana' with 
14 male and 28 female lobsters (out of 43 shipped). 

In the following year, to relieve the congestion in the ponds, 12 of 
the old stock of lobsters (four males and eight females) were liberated 
at the end of the spawning season, in what was considered to be the 
most suitable locality in the neighbourhood of Otago Harbour. 

In 1914 and succeeding years the female lobsters, numbering 
about 20, have borne full crops of eggs. It is considered therefore 
on a moderate estimate, that during the 15 years since lobsters 
were first introduced at Portobello, more than 1,000,000 fry have 
been liberated from Otago Harbour. As the young lobsters are 
free-swimming for the first few weeks of their existence, and as a 
southerly current averaging a knot and a half per hour flows past 
the entrance of Otago Harbour, the probabilities are that numbers 
of them have been carried northwards before they reached the stage 
at which they sink to the bottom of the sea. 

No young lobsters have yet been taken on the coast, but as they 
take probably seven years or more to reach sexual maturity, and during 
that time live mostly concealed among rocks and seaweed, the chances 
of their being captured are few. Any day therefore specimens may 
be met with. 


Penceus canaliculatus , W. A. Haswell. Australian Prawn 

In 1892 the Wellington Society received some prawns from Captain 
Wheeler, which he had brought over from Sydney. They probably 
belonged to this species, which is commonly caught and marketed 
in Sydney. They were liberated at Nelson, and were never heard 
of again. 

In 1894 Mr Clifford brought over a number (which I identified 
as belonging to this species) from Sydney for the Otago Society. They 
were liberated from the mole at the entrance to Otago Harbour, and 
were not heard of again. The water of the southerly current which 
washes the south-east coast of Otago is too cold for this species 

In July, 1921, the Otago Acclimatisation Society obtained from 
the Fisheries Department, Melbourne, a number of fresh-water 
shrimps from some inland waters in Victoria. All were dead on 
arrival. I do not know what species this was. 


Sub-order BRACHYURA 

Family CANCRID^ 
Cancer pagurus, Linn. British Edible Crab 

In 1885 Mr S. C. Farr, on behalf of the Canterbury Society, 
shipped 12 crabs by the 'Kaikoura,' but they all died in the tropics. 

No further attempt seems to have been made till the Portobello 
Fish Hatchery Board decided to introduce them. In August, 1907, 
there were landed from the 'Karamea,' three male and five female 
crabs; and on her next voyage in 1908, seven males and one female. 
The females all bore ova, but no attempt was made to deal with the 
larvae as they hatched. They were liberated from the station with 
the outgoing tide, and considerable numbers were carried outside the 
Otago Heads and set free at a distance off shore. In this way it was 
estimated that up to 1912, over 20,000,000 fry had been liberated. 

In 1913 there were shipped on the 'Karamea' at Plymouth, 
50 crabs (17 males and 33 females), and of these 43 were landed 
at the hatchery. They did not thrive, however, and no fewer than 
1 6 died at the approach of the cold season. It was therefore 
thought advisable to liberate most of the remainder, so 19 were 
set free in a suitable locality, and eight were retained in the 
ponds. Of these two died the following season. The number of 
larvae liberated in 1914-15 was estimated to be 12,000,000. It is 
probable therefore that some 40,000,000 larvae have been distributed 
since the first experimental introduction in 1907. As the larvae remain 
in a pelagic condition for a long time, and pass through several 
metamorphoses, the death-rate must be very high; but making allow- 
ance for this the chances are that ere long specimens of this crab will 
be found on the New Zealand coast. 

It has been found very difficult to keep these crabs under observa- 
tion at the Portobello Hatchery, as they burrow in the mud, get under 
stones and even under the foundations of the walls of the ponds. 
It is probable also that the winter temperature of the ponds in Otago 
Harbour is too low for them, and this may account for the high death- 
rate. In British seas it is known that they move into deep water at the 
approach of winter. While the temperature of the open sea outside 
Otago Heads seldom falls to 50 F. in the middle of winter, that of 
the Harbour itself often touches 40 F., and in the ponds has been 
found as low as 32 F. Lobsters can stand these low temperatures, 
but they appear to be very detrimental, if not always fatal to this 
species of crab. 



Isometrus thorellii. Australian Scorpion 

Mr W. W. Smith has obtained specimens of this Australian scor- 
pion among imported hardwood timber at New Plymouth. It may 
have been introduced at other ports also, but, fortunately it does 
not appear, so far, to have succeeded in establishing itself anywhere 
in New Zealand. 


Family PHOLCID^; 
Pholcus phalangioides, Fuesslin 

This cosmopolitan spider was collected by Comte de Dalmas in 
the interior both of the North and South Islands. Mr Miller records 
it from Nelson and Wanganui. 


Theridion tepidariorum, Koch. House Spider 
This species was taken in the collections made by the 'Novara' 
Expedition in Auckland in 1859, but whether in houses or in the 
open is not stated. Comte de Dalmas says : 

This ubiquitous species is found commonly in the open air, despite the 
very temperate climate, and has also been collected in the Chatham Islands, 
while in Europe it is not found outside (buildings) even in Central France. 

Theridion rufipes, Lucas 

This species was recorded by Mons. E. Simon, in 1899, from 
D'Urville Island. It is also a species of very wide distribution. 


Diplocephalus cristatus, Blackwall (Walckencera cristata) 
Mr A. T. Urquhart reported in 1891 that specimens of this 
European spider were taken at Nelson by Mr A. S. Atkinson and 
were identified by the Rev. O. P. Cambridge. It has not been reported 
by any other collectors since that date 1 . 

1 In 1879 the Rev. O. P. Cambridge described a spider from an imperfect male 
example in Mr A. S. Atkinson's collection, probably from Nelson, as Linyphia 
melanopygia. In 1886 Mr Urquhart described the female from specimens taken 
at Te Karaka, Auckland. Le Comte de Dalmas makes the following interesting 
remark on this species, under the genus Ostearius, belong to the Argiopidas : 

"The genus Ostearius was proposed by Hull (in 1910) for the form found in 
England and described by O. P. Cambridge (in 1907) under the name of Tmeticus 
nigricauda, the diagnosis and figures of which resemble so closely those given twenty- 

ARANE^E 345 

Lephthyphantes tennis, Blackwall 

This species was taken by Comte de Dalmas (in 1912-13) in the 
interior of the Canterbury and Nelson districts, and also in the interior 
of the North Island (" dans la seule region encore uniquement peuplee 
d'indigenes Maori"). 

Lycosa piratica, Clerck 

This species was recorded by Mons. E. Simon in 1899 from the 
shores of Cook Strait. 



Demodex folliculorum, Owen. Hair-follicle Mite 
Abundant from the earliest days, but whether the mite was found 
among the Maoris, or was introduced by Europeans it is quite im- 
possible to ascertain. 

Demodex folliculorum, Owen, var. cants 

This cosmopolitan mite is common among dogs in New Zealand 
and sometimes causes follicular mange. 

Demodex folliculorum, Owen, var. suis (D. phylloides. Cooker) 
Occurs among pigs; occasionally producing a pustular affection. 

Sub-order ASTIGMATA 


Sarcoptes scabiei, De Geer. The Itch Mite 
This mite has long been known in New Zealand, and was probably 
introduced in the earliest days of settlement. 

The following, communicated to me by Mr Elsdon Best (June, 
1918) may refer to this parasite: 

The hakihaki, a form of itch, which developed into a distressing skin- 
disease, was pre-European. In many parts one now hears little of it among 
the natives, but it was among the Urewera in the nineties. 

eight years previously by the same author for Linyphia melanopygia of the Antipodes, 
that they seem to apply to a single species; more especially as L. melanopygia, 
founded on a single incomplete male, has been rediscovered in abundance by 
Urquhart, who rectifies the difference of the ocular group, figured by Cambridge 
with the median anterior eyes contiguous, instead of being separated almost by 
the width of their diameter. The two species belong in any case to one genus, 
which seems to be close to Microneta ; if they are indeed a single species, then this 
one, common in New Zealand, but very rare and discovered only recently in England, 
would appear to be, in contradistinction to the others, accidentally imported into 


Sar copies scabiei, var. cants 

I am informed that this mite occurs in New Zealand, particularly 
on house dogs. It is not included in Colonel Reid's list (furnished to 
me) of ecto-parasites found in this country. 

Sar copies minor, Fiirst, var. cuniculi 

This mite, which particularly attacks the head of the rabbit, pro- 
duces a kind of scabies which is fatal to severe cases. Colonel Reid 
does not include it in his list, but Mr Coleman Phillips, in 1889, 
attributed the disappearance of rabbits in the South Wairarapa district 
largely to its attacks, conjointly with those of the rabbit louse (Hcema- 
topinus ventricosus). 

Sar copies mutatis, Robin. Scaly-leg Mite (of fowls) 
In the report of the Agricultural Department for 1900 it is stated 
that the mite which causes this disease is not uncommon in New 

Psoroptes communis, Fiirst, var. ovis 

This mite produces the disease known as scab in sheep. At one 
time it was universally spread throughout the flocks in New Zealand, 
where it had been introduced from Australia, and originally from 
Europe. Before the days of Colonial administration in New Zealand, 
the various Provincial legislatures attempted to cope with it. Active 
measures were adopted wherever it occurred, and a tax of 2s. per 
annum per 100 sheep used to be levied on sheep-owners for the 
inspection and control of the pest. This tax at one period realised 
over 20,000 per annum. About 1880 the country was declared free 
of the pest, but the tax was not remitted till 1906, on account of 
the necessity for maintaining a close inspection of the flocks. There 
has been no reappearance of the pest in New Zealand for over 40 

Psoroptes communis, Fiirst, var. cuniculi. Rabbit Mite 

This ecto-parasite occurs among rabbits in New Zealand. It 
produces scabies in the ear, and has been found in the pulmonary 

Chorioptes auricularum, Bendz. 

Colonel Reid states that this mite occurs in cats in New Zealand. 
It produces intense irritation in the ear of its victim. 

Tyroglyphus siro, Linn. Cheese Mite 

This cosmopolitan species was probably introduced with the 
earliest importations of cheese into the country. It, however, only 
occurs on old dry cheeses, occasionally in flour, on dried fruits, etc., 


and is usually rigidly excluded from all dairy factories and all good 
cheese stores. 

Tyroglyphus farinte, Koch. Wheat Mite 

In 1893 at a meeting of the Entomological Society of London, 
Mr R. W. Lloyd exhibited specimens of this "wheat mite" which 
was found in wheat imported from New Zealand. The species was 
probably introduced into New Zealand from Europe at an early date. 
Mr W. W. Smith informed me some years ago that it was very 
common in grain sheds at Ashburton, and it is probably widespread. 
It is occasionally found on dry cheese, and is recorded as T. siro\ 
but it is considerably smaller than that species. 

Tyroglyphus longior, Gervais 
Recorded from Wellington; probably widespread. 

Cylolichus nudus, Viz. Internal mite of Fowls 
Mr D. Miller reports this as first recorded in 1920. 

Glyciphagus prunorum, Hermann (Glyciphagus domesticus, 
De Geer). Common mite 

This cosmopolitan species has been known in New Zealand from 
the earliest days of European settlement. This is the cause of" Grocer's 

Rhizoglyphus sp. 

Mr Howes informs me that an undetermined mite, belonging to 
this genus, is commonly found attacking bulbs of various species (of 
Narcissus ?) in New Zealand. 


Family IXODID^E 
Hcemaphysalis bispinosa, Neumann 

Some years ago ticks found in the north of Auckland were classified 
as Ixodes ricinus. Later on, further specimens from the same locality 
were sent to Prof. Nuttall of Cambridge, who advised the Agricultural 
Department that they belonged to the genus Hcemaphysalis. More 
recently, other specimens submitted to Cooper, a co-worker with 
Nuttall, were classified as H. bispinosa. 

Dr Reakes thinks that as Ixodes ricinus is commonly found in 
most temperate climates and is normally found in Britain, it is quite 


possible that it occurs also in New Zealand, but it has not yet been 
actually recorded. 

H. bispinosa, previously recorded as H. punctata, Koch, has been 
found in New Zealand on horses, cattle, and casually on sheep and 
dogs. It only sucks the blood of its host, and is not credited with 
being the carrier of any disease. 

Family GAMASID^ 
Derma ny ssus gallin<K, De Geer 

This is a common and very injurious mite which is present in all 
but exceptionally clean poultry houses. It lives in concealment during 
the daytime, in the straw of the nests, and the cracks and crevices 
of the roosts, and comes out at night to attack the fowls. It is wide- 
spread in New Zealand. 

Bryobia pratensis, Garm. Red Mite of Fruit growers 

In the report of the Agricultural Department for 1901 Blackmore 
reports a Bryobia as found under the leaves of fruit trees, to which 
it was causing great damage. In the report for 1909 it is stated to 
be doing great damage to apple trees, especially in the North Island. 
In the South Island it was found to be causing the death of various 
species of Abies. 

In 1905 it was reported from such widely-separated localities as 
Ormond, Palmerston North and the Lillburn Valley. It is generally 
distributed throughout New Zealand. 


Eriophyes (Phytopus) pyri, Paget. Pear Mite 
Reported in 1896 and 1897 as very common in the colony. It 
appears in spring and early summer, and attacks foliage. In 1909 
the Agricultural Department reported it as very prevalent, and doing 
considerable damage on unsprayed trees. 

Generally distributed throughout New Zealand on pear trees. 

Uropoda vegetans t De Geer 

Mr W. W. Smith stated in 1901 that this parasitic mite had been 
found on the following Lepidoptera, viz., Xanthorrhoe beata and 
X. rosearia at Invercargill ; and on the following beetles Tricho- 
sternus antarcticus, and a large carnivorous ground beetle at Ash- 
burton ; Uloma tenebrionoides, Lissotes reticulatus, Thoramus wakefieldi, 


(Emona hirta, Pterostichus prcecox, Coptomma variegata and Xyloteles 
griseus, at Ophir, in Central Otago. It was also taken on a fly in the 
Wellington district, and on an introduced wood louse (Porcellio scaber). 

As far back as 1892 Mr Maskell reported this mite on a species 
ofElater (?) from Wellington; and on Oniscus (Porcellio ?) from Christ- 

The carabid found infested with this mite at Ashburton was in a 
cucumber-frame which was crowded with wood lice. Mr Smith says 
this species has only been detected in certain districts within recent 
years, and he considers it to be an introduced form which is 
spreading rapidly. 


Tetranychus tellarius, Linn. Red Spider 

This mite has probably been in New Zealand from early days 
of settlement. It was reported in 1873 as occurring commonly on 
apple trees, but probably this was a mistaken identification, and 
Bryobia pratensis was intended. It is a common greenhouse and 
vinery pest, but numerous reported cases refer, to the other species. 
As far as I know, it is not found on apple trees at all, but I have 
heard of its attacking violets. The Agricultural Department reported 
it in 1911 as common on Cape gooseberries, violets and primroses. 

Tetranychus bimaculatus, Harvey. Red Spider 

Mr A. H. Cockayne states, in the Afforestation report for 1910-1 1 , 
that this species threatens to become a serious menace to the suc- 
cessful growing of certain species of Abies in the Canterbury district. 

Chapter X 





Bipalium kezoense, Moseley 

PROFESSOR DENDY, writing in 1894, says: 

This species, which has been so widely distributed by the unintentional 
agency of man, and whose natural habitat is still unknown, was obtained 
by Mr T. Steel in Albert Park, Auckland, in 1892. 

Rhynchodemus moseleyi, Fletcher and Hamilton 

Four specimens of this Australian species were collected by 
Mr Steel in Albert Park, Auckland, in 1892. 

Geoplana sanguined, Moseley 

In 1879 Captain Hutton described this Australian planarian as 
Rhynchodemus testaceus, from specimens obtained by him at Dunedin 
and Wellington. It has since been collected at Napier, Auckland and 
Tarawera township, and is probably widespread throughout New 

Geoplana coerulea, Moseley, var. 

Three specimens of this common Australian species were reported 
in 1892, from Albert Park, Auckland. 

It is quite probable that all four species of these introduced Land 
Planarians are widely spread in New Zealand, but very few persons 
notice, and fewer collect them. 


Amphistomum conicum, Zeder 

Found in the rumen and reticulum of cattle, but apparently does 
little harm. It has been reported from time to time both by Drs Gilruth 
and Reakes. 



(Distomum hepaticum, Retz.) Fasciola hepatica, Linn. 
Liver Fluke 

This parasite was undoubtedly introduced with living sheep, and 
is not common, nor does it appear to cause loss of stock. It occurs 
in the livers and bile-ducts of sheep in the Hawke's Bay, Fielding 
and Nelson districts. Cases were found at Te Hauke in Hawke's 
Bay in 1897, and again in Waipawa and Te Aute in 1907. The Euro- 
pean host is a small snail, Lymncea tmnculata. This species does not 
occur in New Zealand, but there are half-a-dozen native species of 
the genus, and probably one of these is the intermediary host. The 
presence of fluke was recognised when sheep came to be examined 
in the freezing works after the passing of the Slaughtering and 
Inspection Act in 1900. It occasionally occurs in cattle. 



Moniezia expansa, Rud. 

In 1902 Dr Gilruth stated that this species was the common 
tape-worm of the sheep in New Zealand. In 1903 it was stated to 
be very common, and it was reported that calves were infected with 
it in several districts. In 1916 Dr Reakes informed me that it was 
occasionally found in cattle, but was rare and did no harm economic- 
ally. It was also found in sheep, but he adds "it is not common and 
probably does little harm. No serious mortality has been traced to 
it." It is impossible to say when it was first introduced into the 
country. Colonel Reid states that it occurs also in goats in New 

Moniezia alba, Rud. 

Dr Reakes states that this is occasionally found in cattle on post- 
mortem examination, but that it is far from common. 

Moniezia planissima, Rud. 

According to Dr Reakes this parasite is occasionally found in 
cattle and sheep, but is far from common. 

Moniezia filicollis, Rud. 

Colonel Reid states that this species occurs in sheep in New 


Teenia echinococcus , V. Sieb. (Larval form: Echinococcus 
polymorphic, Dies.; E. veterinorum, Rud.) 

This is the most common tape-worm in dogs, and Dr Reakes 
thinks was probably introduced with the first European dogs brought 
into the country. It is widely distributed all over the Dominion, 
and Dr Gilruth considers "that it is almost impossible to find an 
ox or sheep perfectly free from them." They are also found in horses 
and in pigs. In stock they are not so dangerous as in man, where 
their hydatid cysts form a destructive and offensive form of disease. 
The following figures, showing the extent to which hydatids in 
human beings occur in New Zealand, during the years 1914 to 1917, 
have been kindly furnished to me by Mr Malcolm Eraser, Govern- 
ment Statistician: 

1914 1915 1916 1917 

Total cases recorded ... 68 90 78 80 

Deaths due to hydatids ... 12 n 17 12 

Teenia marginata, Batsch. (larva = Cysticercus tenuicottis, Rud.) 

This tape-worm is also common in dogs, and the larval form in 
cattle, sheep, and, occasionally, in pigs. It has been a very long time 
in New Zealand, but it does comparatively little harm; the cysts are 
usually found in the serous membranes, particularly those covering 
the intestines. The slender neck enables it to be easily removed. The 
larvae frequently die when encysted in oxen or sheep, become calcified, 
and are then occasionally taken for tubercular growths. 

The parasite does not attack human beings. 

Teenia solium, Rud. (larva = Cysticercus celluloses, Rud.). 
The Pork Tape-worm 

This cestode, which produces " pig- measles," has never to my 
knowledge been recorded in its tape-worm form in man in New 
Zealand, but Colonel Reid reports the cystic form as occurring in pigs. 

Teenia cosnurus, Kiirch. (larva = Coenurus cerebralis, Rud.) 

This tape-worm occurs in the dog, but its cystic stage develops 
in the brain-cavity of the sheep, producing the disease known as 
" Gid " in England, and " sturdy " in Scotland. It is not very common, 
but some cases were recorded from Christchurch and Wellington 
in 1897, and again in 1901-12. It also occurs in cattle. 

Teenia serialis, Baillet (larva = Coenurus seriate, Gervais) 

Colonel Reid reports this tape-worm as occurring in dogs. It is 
closely related to the preceding species. The cystic form occurs in 


rabbits and hares, but it has not been recorded from those animals 
in New Zealand. 

Tcenia crassicollis, Rud. (larva = Cysticercus fasciolaris, Rud.) 
Colonel Reid records this tape-worm as occurring in cats in New 
Zealand. The cyst-stage occurs in rats and mice. 

Tcenia serrata, Goeze (larva = Cysticercus pisiformis, Zed.) 
In 1888 Professor Thomas reported the larva or bladder- worm 
as fairly common among rabbits in the Waikato, but as rare in the 
Wairarapa. The tape- worm occurs in dogs, and the cyst-stage in hares 
and rabbits. 

The parasite does not attack man. 

Tcenia saginata, Goeze (larva = Cysticercus mediocanellatce, 
Davaine ; Cysticercus bovis, Cobbold) 

A case of this was reported from Invercargill in 1908 ; the parasite 
affecting the muscular tissue of the heart of a bullock. In its adult 
condition this tape- worm lives exclusively in the intestinal canal of man, 
while the corresponding Cysticercus is found almost exclusively in the 
ox. The popular name is the unarmed beef-worm, or the fat tape-worm. 

It is a cosmopolitan species, found especially in the tropics. An 
individual of this species has been estimated to give off in a year, 
550 grammes weight of proglottids. 

Tcenia (Anoplocephald) perfoliata, Goeze 

This tape-worm is sometimes met with in horses in New Zealand ; 
it is usually found in the caecum. 


Family AscARiD^E 1 

Ascaris megalocephala, Cloq. Common White Worm 
Dr Reakes states that this worm, which is found in the intestines 
of the horse, is widely distributed throughout the Dominion. It 
apparently does little harm. It was probably introduced with the 
first horses which came into the country. 

Ascaris suis, Goeze. Large White Worm of Pig 
This worm, which is not uncommon in the small intestines of the 
pig, is not uncommon in New Zealand. Dr Reakes states that it 
does little harm. 

1 In the N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, Vol. xxii, No. 2 (Feb. 1921), at p. 123, it 
is stated that pigs at Roa were infested with worms probably Ascaris lumbricoides. 

T. N. z. 23 


Ascaris mystax, Zeder. Stomach-worm of Cat 
Has been noted in several parts of New Zealand, and is probably 
not uncommon. It is found inhabiting the stomach and small intes- 
tines of the cat. The form of this worm found in the dog, and which 
Colonel Reid states occurs among these animals in New Zealand, 
has been recorded as A. marginata, Rud., but it is not specifically 

Heterakis papillosa, Bloch. White Intestinal Worm of Fowls 
This parasite is found among domestic fowls in New Zealand, 
especially where they are crowded together. It occurs chiefly in the 

Heterakis perspicillum, Rudolphi 

Colonel Reid informs me that this worm also occurs among fowls 
in which it chiefly infests the small intestine. 

Oxyuris curvula, Rud. Whip worm; Maw- worm 

This worm occurs in the large intestines of the horse. It is com- 
mon in New Zealand, and Dr Reakes states must have been in the 
country for a long time. 

Sclerostomum equinum, Miiller (Sclerostomum armatum, Dujardin; 

Strongylus armatus, Rud.). Palisade Worm 
Dr Reakes informs me that he first met with this species on the 
lowlands about Kaiapoi, but that it was no doubt in New Zealand 
at an early date. It is fortunately not very common at present. It is 
the most dangerous worm which infests horses. The parasite is able 
to bore its way from the intestines into the blood stream, causing 
aneurisms of the larger arteries, especially the anterior mesenteric. 

Sclerostomum tetracanthum, Dies. (Strongylus tetracanthus, Mehlis). 

Round Worm of the Horse 

In the report of the Agricultural Department for 1900 this 
parasite is recorded as occurring among horses on the west coast of 
the South Island. 

Sclerostomum hypostomum, Dujardin 

Dr Reakes informs me that this parasite occurs among sheep in 
New Zealand, but that it is not common. It is found in the small 
intestines of sheep, and often causes haemorrhages through punc- 
turing the mucous membrane. 


Strongylus contortus, Rud. 

Dr Reakes thinks this parasite has been introduced within the 
last 20 years. It occurs in most parts of the Dominion, especially 
in damp, recently-fallen bushlands. He is of opinion that in con- 
junction with S. cervicornis and S. gracilis, it causes more loss among 
stock than all the other diseases of sheep put together. It is found 
chiefly in the fourth stomach of sheep and lambs. Colonel Reid 
states that it also occurs as an endo-parasite of cattle. 

It is found in the true stomach of young calves, and in some 
countries causes heavy mortality among them, especially when they 
are not properly fed. 

Strongylus micrurus, Mehlis. Lung Worm, causing Husk or Hoose 

Dr Reakes states that this worm causes great loss among calves, 
but it is thought that it is not so serious a plague now as it used to 
be, as farmers rear and feed their stock better. 

Strongylus ovis-pulmonalis, Ercolani 

This parasite was apparently first reported as occurring in 1897 
among sheep at Okoroire. 

In 1902 Dr Gilruth found it encysted in the lungs of sheep. 

Strongylus pulmonaris, Ercolani 

Colonel Reid reports this species as occurring in cattle. It inhabits 
the bronchi of calves. 

Strongylus cervicornis, McFadyean 

This species was first reported in 1897 as occurring in young 
sheep at Okoroire. In 1899 Dr Gilruth reported parasitic gastritis in 
calves at Orepuki, Southland, as due to this worm. Mr McFadyean 
also found it in old cattle on the west coast of the North Island. He 
also met with it in sheep, but in their case not burrowing into the 
gastric glands. In the Agricultural Department's report for 1906 it 
is recorded as having been met with in the fourth stomach of an 
Angora goat. 

Strongylus convolutus, Ostertag 

Dr Reakes (writing in 1916) states that this parasite has " probably 
been introduced within the last fifteen years." It is very destructive 
to young cattle, causing heavy mortality, especially among those 
which have not been properly fed. The worm encysts itself in the 
walls of the stomach. 



Strongylus strigosus, Dujardin 

In the report of the Agricultural Department for 1906 it is stated 
that this parasite has been found in the stomachs of a large number 
of rabbits in the neighbourhood of Roxburgh, Otago. 

Strongylus gracilis, McFadyean 

This destructive worm has been found in the stomachs of New 
Zealand cattle. Colonel Reid also reports it as occurring in sheep. 

Strongylus filicollis, Rud. Thread -worm of Sheep 
Dr Gilruth reported this species in 1902. Dr Reakes states that 
when found in the small intestines of sheep it probably does little 
harm; but when it occurs in the abomasum its presence is serious, 
and it does considerable damage. Colonel Reid reports it as infesting 
goats in New Zealand. 

Strongylus paradoxus, Mehlis. Lung-worm of Pig 
This parasite occurs among pigs in New Zealand, but Dr Reakes 
states that it is not very common, and that it does little harm. It was 
first noted in the report of the Agricultural Department in 1895. 

Strongylus strigosus, Dujardin 

This species infests rabbits, and Colonel Reid records it as occur- 
ring in rabbits in New Zealand. 

Strongylus rufescens, Leuchart 

Dr Reakes informs me that this species causes pneumonia and 
nodules in the lung substance of sheep 1 . 

(Esophagostomum inflatum, Sch. 

Dr Reakes reports this parasite as occurring in the large intestines 
of New Zealand cattle, but that it is not common. It apparently 
does little harm. 

(Esophagostomum venulosum, Rud. 

Colonel Reid states that this is an ecto-parasite of the sheep in 
New Zealand. 

(Esophagostomum columbianum, Curtice 

Dr Gilruth reported this small round worm in 1902. Dr Reakes 
states that it is found in the large intestine of sheep, but apparently 
causes little trouble. Colonel Reid also records it as an endo-parasite 
of cattle. 

1 In October, 1906, the Agricultural Department reported Strongylus capillaris, 
as occurring in a sheep in the Southland district. I cannot place this species. 


(Esophagostomum dentatum, Rud. 

Colonel Reid reports this species as occurring among pigs in 
New Zealand. 


Tricocephalus affinis, Rud. Whip-worm 

This worm was first reported from Wanganui in 1896, as occurring 
in the large intestines of lambs. In 1902 Dr Gilruth stated that it 
was to be found in the caecum of nearly every sheep examined. In 
1906 it was met with in the caecum of an Angora goat. In 1916 
Dr Reakes informed me that it was sometimes found in the large 
intestines of cattle. He did not consider that it did much harm. 

Tricocephalus crenatus, Rud. 

Colonel Reid reports this species as occurring in pigs in New 
Zealand. It lives in the intestines of the animal. 

Filaria immitts, Leidy 

The larvae and nematode of this parasitic worm have been found 
in imported dogs while in quarantine. 

Tylenchus devastatrix, Kiihn. Potato Eelworm ; Stem Eelworm 

I do not know when this pest was first reported in New Zealand, 
but it was referred to in the report of the Agricultural Department 
for 1903, as being present, but not very common. In 1905 it caused 
considerable damage at Tauranga and elsewhere, especially in heavily 
manured fields; and was again troublesome in 1907 and 1908. In 
1906 it was only reported from one locality, but several shipments 
of potatoes from Tasmania were found to be attacked by it. 

It attacks many kinds of plants, e.g. wheat, oats, hops, clover, 
and onions, but it is often associated with fungi (Sclerotinid) and 
it is not easy to determine whether the insect or the fungus is the 
cause of the disease. 

Either this, or a closely allied species, is found on Holcus lanatus, 
Anthoxanthum odoratum, Poa annua, Bellis perennis, Capsella Bursa- 
pastoris, Spergula arvensis, Ranunculus repens, Sonchus oleraceus, Plan- 
tago lanceolata and Centaurea cyanus. 

Tylenchus tritici (T. scandens), Basstian. Ear-cockle; Peppercorns; 


This eelworm has been known in New Zealand for many years, 
Mr T. W. Kirk having met with it first about 1893, but it has never 


so far assumed dangerous proportions. The larvae are very tenacious 
of life, and will hatch out worms after two years' drying. 

Heterodera radicicola, Greef. Cucumber and Tomato Eelworm 
This pest has been known for a number of years in this country, 
and is especially troublesome to tomatoes grown under glass. 

Heterodera schachtii, Schmidt. Beet Eelworm 
This species has been in the country for a long time, but it is 
the sort of pest that is very seldom noted or recorded. Mr T. W. 
Kirk informs me recently (1919) that no specimens have been sent 
to the Agricultural Department for some years past, which probably 
only shows that it has not been giving trouble to cultivators. 

Echinorhynchus gigas, Goeze 

Colonel Reid reports this parasitic worm as occurring in New 
Zealand pigs. It is usually met with in the small intestine. 

Linguatula denticulatum, Leuckart 
Colonel Reid reports this worm as occurring in sheep. 

Linguatula lanceolatum, Frohlich 
This species is recorded by Colonel Reid from dogs. 



Family MEGASCOLEcm^ 1 

Dichogaster modigliani, Rosa 

This species has been reported to me, but I have failed to record 
by whom, as occurring in New Zealand. Dr Benham informs me 
that the only record of a Dichogaster in this country, rests on a state- 
ment by Ude (1905), that an unnamed species, allied both to D. modi- 
gliani, and to D. malayana, Horst, was gathered "at Oripi Bush, 
Tauranga," by a German traveller. He records it merely as Dicho- 

1 A. Nichols, in Acclimatisation of Salmonidf? at the Antipodes at p. 46, says of 
the shipment of salmon ova made to Port Chalmers in the 'Mindora' in 1869: 
"a living worm was found among the moss in which the eggs were packed, and 
was 'acclimated.'" Dr Benham suggests that this was probably an Euchytroeid. 


gaster sp. As these worms come from Sumatra and the Malay Archi- 
pelago, he considers it likely that the tickets of localities got mixed up. 

Dichogaster sylvatica, Hebdier (?) 

Dr Benham states that the occurrence of this Australian species 
is incidentally referred to by Ude (1893), where he mentions that in 
a letter to him from Dr Rosa, the latter refers to a "variety from New 
Zealand." The specimens Ude was examining were from Australia. 

Eudrilus eugeniee, Kinberg 

Mr W. W. Smith reports this species as occurring in Taranaki. 
Dr Benham, however, who is extremely doubtful of its occurrence, 

I cannot find any statement in any writer that this occurs in New Zealand, 
except in a list of New Zealand worms given by Beddard (1891), which 
includes "Eudrilus sp. (fide Benham)." I have no recollection or record of 
how I came to make that statement to him. 

He adds that it is not unlikely that the worm does occur here, as 
although it is a native of Africa, it has been found widely distributed, 
apparently by man. 

It was probably on Beddard 's authority that the species was 
included in the list of introduced worms in the Index Fauna Novce- 


Pontoscolex corethrurus, Fr. Miiller 
Recorded in the Index Faunce N.Z. in 1903. Dr Benham says: 

A native of Central America and the West Indies, it has been found in 
several of the Pacific Islands, such as Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and the Sandwich 
Islands, but I cannot find any definite statement by any writer that it has 
occurred here, though Michaelsen in his Monograph (1900) gives New 
Zealand as one of the localities, but gives no authority for its occurrence. 

Eiseniella tetrcedra, Savigny 

Mr W. W. Smith recorded this in 1892, under the name Allurus 
tetrcedrus, as occurring in still pools in the Ashburton River. Com- 
monly met with in cultivated land. Mr W. W. Smith states that it 
occurs in red masses in sluggish overgrown gutters in New Plymouth. 


Helodrilus (Eisenid) fcetidus (Sav.) (Allobophora foetida). 
British Brandling Worm 

Originally recorded from Dunedin in 1876, by Captain Hutton, 
who described it as a new species, under the name Lumbricus annulatus. 
Dr Benham informs me that British worms of the Fam. Lumbricidce 
are all commonly met with in cultivated land. This was reported by 
him in 1898 as common in Dunedin. Mr W. W. Smith reports it 
as occurring in great numbers in Taranaki, in heaps of rotten manure 
and putrid matter. It occurs in Sunday Island, Kermadec Group, 
"under leaves." 

Helodrilus (Eisenid) roseus, Sav. 

Recorded by Captain Hutton in the Index Fauna Novce-Zealandite 
in 1903. Mr W. W. Smith records it as common in Taranaki. Also 
found in the Chatham Islands. 

Helodrilus constrictus, Rosa. 

Dr Benham has no doubt this species occurs in New Zealand, 
although it has not been recorded. It is found in Campbell Island 
where he states: "its occurrence is clearly related to the habitation 
and cultivation of a patch of garden by the shepherds." It is also 
common everywhere in Sunday Island in forest on damp ground, and 
under nikau palm leaves and tree-fern fronds. 

Helodrilus (Allobophora) caliginosus (Sav.) 

In 1898 Dr Benham reported this as a very common worm about 
Dunedin. Specimens labelled Lumbricus levis by Captain Hutton, 
belonged to this species. It is also found in Chatham Island ; and in 
Sunday Island in soil, and under nikau palm leaves. 

(A European species of Allobophora was found in 1916 by Mr D. 
Miller in flax swamps in the Manawatu district.) 

Helodrilus (Dendroboma) rubidus, Sav. 

This European worm is recorded in the Index in 1903. Mr Smith 
states that it is common in Taranaki. 

Otoclasium cyaneum, Sav. 

Another European species recorded in the Index in 1903 ; and also 
by Mr W. W. Smith from Taranaki. 

Lumbricus rubellus, Hoffmeister 

This was described as an indigenous species by Captain Hutton 
in 1876, under the name L. campestris. He recorded it as common 
in Dunedin and Wellington. In 1892 Mr W. W. Smith reported 


it as common in moist soil on swampy flats, and under moist cakes 
of cow-manure. Later he records it from Taranaki. It is no doubt 
a common form. 

Lumbricus castaneus, Sav. 

A European species recorded in the Index Faunee Novee-Zea- 
landice in 1903. Mr W. W. Smith reports it from Taranaki, as occur- 
ring commonly in newly cleared forest. 

Lumbricus terrestris, Linn. 

Mr W. W. Smith recorded this species in 1892 as "common 
everywhere." His specimens were identified by Mr Beddard and 
Mr J. J. Fletcher. He further states that it is common in Taranaki, 
where it attains to a large size in rich soils. There is evidently some 
confusion as to nomenclature, for Dr Benham informs me that he 
has never come across the species in New Zealand. 

Hirudo medicinalis, Linn. var. officinalis. Medicinal Leech 

The Otago Society introduced 200 leeches in 1867, and handed 
them over to the care of Mr F. D. Rich of Palmerston, who appears 
to have placed them in one of the backwaters of the Shag River, 
from whence they were probably washed out in the first big flood. 
The Canterbury Society introduced 12 in 1867, apparently through 
the agency of Mr A. M. Johnson, but there is no record of them. 
In 1868 Mr Howard of the Southland Society obtained some and 
placed them in the ponds at Wallacetown, but they were never seen 

In addition to these efforts, chemists imported them at all the 
main centres, but no further attempts seem to have been made to 
rear them in the country. 

Professor H. B. Kirk informs me that in Auckland, about 1875 
leeches were found in a small pool at the foot of a clay bank on the 
west side of Grafton Road ; and that boys used to catch them to sell 
to the chemists. 

Of late years, probably due to the use of other remedies, the 
employment of leeches for medicinal purposes has greatly diminished. 
The great war has also contributed to their disuse as their im- 
portation has practically stopped. In 1918 it was impossible to obtain 
leeches from any chemists in Dunedin. 

Part III 

Chapter XI 

OF the plants referred to in the following pages, over six hundred 
species have become more or less truly wild, i.e., they reproduce 
themselves by seed, and appear at the present time to be more or 
less permanent denizens of the country. The great majority of them 
have been brought in accidentally as seeds among other seeds, or in 
hay, straw, and other packing materials. Some of them have been 
introduced purposely as food or fodder plants, timber or ornamental 
trees and shrubs, or ornamental flowers. Some have been introduced 
for sentimental reasons, as very probably the briar rose was. In 
addition to these I have referred to several species of plants which 
have resisted all efforts often long continued and numerous to 
naturalise them. 

It is seldom possible to assign definite dates for the first intro- 
duction of plants into a foreign country, as can often be done with 
animals. In the majority of cases the most that I can do is to give the 
date of the first definite mention of their occurrence. 

Though isolated references to many introduced plants occur in 
various publications ranging from Banks's Journal to more recent 
times, the first list of such introductions appears to be in Sir J. D. 
Hooker's Handbook to the New Zealand Flora, which was written in 
1864, though not published till 1867. This contains the names of 
165 species of plants, and includes most of the commonest weeds 
and grass of cultivated land. A very large number of these were 
recorded by Mr Thos. Kirk from the Auckland provincial district, 
and were marked by an 'A' in Sir Joseph Hooker's list. Most of the 
cereal and the commoner cultivated grasses were introduced in early 
whaling days and by the first missionaries, that is between 1800 and 
1820. Succeeding lists by Messrs Colenso, T. Kirk, Buchanan, 
Petrie, Cockayne and many other observers have added to our know- 
ledge of the alien flora, and to its spread in these islands. The most 


complete list is that given by Mr T. F. Cheeseman in the Manual of 
the New Zealand Flora (pp. 1062-93), published in 1906. But in none 
of these lists is any attempt made to give dates of introduction. 

In the classification adopted by me in this work, I have mainly 
followed Mr Cheeseman , who based his on the system used by Sir J . D . 
Hooker in his various British and Colonial Floras. I am not here 
concerned with any discussion on the principles of classification 
adopted or favoured by various systematists and authors. My object 
is to use names by which the plants referred to can be readily recog- 
nised and distinguished, and I have seen no good reason to follow 
any other scheme than that adopted by the most eminent of British 

No work has been done in New Zealand in recording the insects 
which visit and pollinate the flowering plants, either indigenous or 
introduced, except in a few isolated cases. 

I have therefore appended to many of the introduced species of 
plants referred to here, the names of those insects which have also 
been introduced into New Zealand, and which in Europe are found 
to pollinate their flowers, or at least to visit them for nectar or pollen. 


Division POLYPETAL^: 



Some authors are of opinion that the curved or hooked beaks of 
the achenes of the genus Ranunculus are a means of attaching the 
fruits to the plumage of birds, and in this way of distributing the 
species. I should think this is a rare, or at best a doubtful method of 
distribution. Guppy says : " I have found the achenes of Ranunculus 
frequently in the stomachs of birds in England, in partridges fre- 
quently and in wild ducks at times." 

Ranunculus aquatilis, Linn. Water Crowfoot ; Water Buttercup 
First recorded as occurring in various parts of South Canterbury 
by Dr Cockayne. In 1906 I reported to Mr Cheeseman that it 
appeared in Otago first in the Waikouaiti River; then in the upper 
portions of the Waipahi, and more recently in the Pomahaka, these 
two latter being tributaries of the Clutha River. In 1908 Cockayne 
recorded it as being plentiful in a lake near the mouth of the Rangitikei 
River. It has since then increased very rapidly, and has in parts 
nearly choked some of these streams. Almost certainly introduced 
from Britain. Flowers in December. 


This species may be spread by means of its achenes, but it is 
more likely that fragments of the stems are carried on the feathers 
and feet of aquatic birds. 

It is visited by Apis mellifica, Bombus terrestris and Eristalis tenax. 

Ranunculus Flammula, Linn. Lesser Spear-wort 
Recorded by Cheeseman in 1906 as occurring in the Waiharakeke 
Stream, Piako; and again in 1912 from the vicinity of Kaitaia, col- 
lected by H. B. Matthews, in wet Kahikatea forest. This species is 
likely to increase rapidly on account of its long creeping runners, 
which will grow from 20 to 24 inches in a year. 

Ranunculus sceleratus, Linn. Celery-leaved Buttercup 
First recorded from the Otago Goldfields in 1876 by Dr Petrie. 
In the Manual of the Flora, Cheeseman records it as occurring in 
"damp pastures and waste places from Mongonui to Southland, 
local." It is, however, very abundant in many localities, and in times 
of drought has proved fatal to cattle. (Fl., Nov. to March.) 
Visited by Lucilia ccesar and Musca corvina. 

Ranunculus acris, Linn. Field Buttercup 

Probably introduced at an early date in the settlement of the 
country; first recorded by Kirk in 1867, among the plants of the 
Great Barrier Island. 

Cheeseman in 1906 records it as occurring in "pastures and waste 
places in both islands, but not common." It is extraordinarily com- 
mon in some parts, for instance near Dunedin. (FL, Nov. to Jan.) 

Ranunculus repens, Linn. Creeping Buttercup 
Probably introduced as early as R. acris, but recorded along with 
it in 1867. One of the most abundant weeds in New Zealand, 
spreading in all directions, both by its seeds and its creeping stolons. 
(FL, Nov. to Jan.) 

Ranunculus bulbosus, Linn. Bulbous Buttercup 
First recorded in 1871 by Armstrong from the Canterbury district. 
Cheeseman in the Manual (1906) states that it is abundant in pastures 
and waste places in both islands. It is not, however, at all common 
in Otago and Southland. (FL, Oct. to Dec.) 

These three species of buttercup, R. acris, R. repens and R. bul- 
bosus are in Europe visited by Apis mellifica, Eristalis tenax and 
Calliphora erythrocephala. 

Ranunculus sardous, Crantz. Hairy Buttercup 
First recorded from the North Cape by Cheeseman in 1896. In 
his Manual he states that it is common in pastures and waste places 


in both islands. Kerner states that this species is mainly dependent 
for dispersion by sticking to the feet of birds in hardened soil and 
clay. (Fl., Nov. to Dec.) 

Ranunculus parviflorus, Linn. Small-flowered Buttercup 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864. According to Cheeseman's 
Manual (1906) it is said to be abundant in pastures and waste places 
in both islands. It is not common in Otago and Southland. (Fl., 
Oct. to Dec.) 

Ranunculus arvensis, Linn. Corn Buttercup 

First recorded by Armstrong as occurring in Canterbury in 1879 
Cheeseman states (1906) that it occurs "in cultivated fields in both 
islands not common." I do not think it occurs in Otago. (FL, Jan. 

Ranunculus muricatus. Linn. 

In 1877 Kirk states that "specimens supposed to have been col- 
lected near Wellington are in the herbarium of the Colonial Museum." 

First recorded in 1882 by Cheeseman from the Bay of Islands and 
waste places about Auckland and Onehunga. In the Manual (1906) 
it is said to occur in "waste places in both islands local." (FL, Nov. 
to Dec.) 

Ranunculus falcatus, Linn. 

First recorded by Petrie as occurring in dry localities in Northern 
and Central Otago. Found on bare ground in the hill-country of 
Maniototo and Vincent Counties 1 . 

Nigella damascena, Linn. Love-in-a-Mist ; Devil-in-a-Bush 

First recorded by Cheeseman in 1882 as a garden escape in light 
soils near Auckland. The Manual (1906) gives the same distribution. 
The species has not established itself to any extent. 
It is visited by Bombus terrestris and B. lapidarius. 

Delphinium Ajacis, Reich. Larkspur 

Recorded by W. W. Smith in 1903 as occurring in Ashburton 

Aquilegia vulgaris, Linn. Columbine 

First recorded in 1882 by Cheeseman as a garden escape, about 
Auckland. It only occurs as a garden escape in several parts of New 
Zealand, though it is fairly common in many suburban areas. 

1 Kirk in 1877 reported Ranunculus philonotis, Retz. as occurring in Evans' Bay 
(Wellington), Hutt Valley and Otaki. 


Acanitum napellus, Linn. Monkshood 

First recorded by W. W. Smith in 1903, as a garden escape at 
Ashburton. There is no report of it from any other locality. It does 
not seem to spread readily. 


Berberis vulgaris, Linn. Barberry 

First recorded by the author in 1873, as occurring on the site of 
abandoned gardens in the Taieri Plain, and near Dunedin. Since 
the vast increase of blackbirds and thrushes the barberry has been 
spread a great deal, and is to be found in many districts at a short 
distance from settlement. It is becoming common near Dunedin. 
Kerner records that when seeds of the barberry have passed through 
the alimentary canal of a thrush the period of germination is hastened. 


Papaver hybridum, Linn. Rough Poppy 

First recorded as a garden escape at Ashburton by W. W. Smith 
in 1903. It has not been reported from any other locality. 

Papaver Argemone, Linn. Pale Poppy 

First recorded by the author in 1870 from Southland among 
freshly sown pastures. Also reported from Ashburton by W. W. 
Smith. Has not spread. 

Papaver horridum, DC. 

Appeared in a fowl run at Maheno in North Otago in 1917; 
supposed to have been introduced with Canadian Wheat. The species 
is S. African and Australian. 

Papaver dubium, Linn. Long-headed Poppy 
First noted by the author in 1885 on heaps of tailings at Coal 
Creek, Clutha Valley. Petrie has also reported it from cultivated 
fields in various parts of Otago. 

Papaver Rhceas, Linn. Field Poppy 

First recorded in 1869 by Kirk among naturalised plants of Auck- 
land; and from Southland by the author in 1870. In Cheeseman's 
Manual it is stated to be found in both islands in "cornfields and 
waste places, not common." (Fl., Dec. to Feb.) It has not spread 
to any extent, however, though all the conditions for its increase 
seem favourable. 


Papaver somniferum, Linn. Opium Poppy 

First recorded in 1882 as a garden escape near Auckland by 
Cheeseman. Noted by the author as fairly common in 1885 in the 
Clutha Valley in the neighbourhood of gardens. It has not established 
itself anywhere as a wild species. (Fl., Jan. to Feb.) 

Argemone mexicana, Linn. 
Mexican Poppy ; Yellow Poppy ; Prickly Poppy 

First reported from Taranaki in 1888; and again in Hawke's Bay 
and Marlborough in 1894 by T. W. Kirk. 

Glancium flavum, Crantz. Horned Poppy 

Firstrecorded asG.luteum as widely diffused on shingly beaches 
near Wellington by Kirk in 1877; it is supposed to have been intro- 
duced in the packing material of the patent slip machinery at Wel- 
lington. Also recorded by W. W. Smith from Ashburton in 1903. 
Cheeseman in the Manual of the N.Z. Flora (1906) states that it 
occurs from East Cape and Wanganui to Cook Strait. Dr Cockayne 
has collected it at the mouth of R. Awatere, Marlborough. It has 
more recently appeared at Puketeraki in Otago, where perhaps it was 
purposely sown. 

Guppy says that the mode of dispersal is problematical : 

" Its seeds have no proper buoyancy even after prolonged drying. On 
account of their oiliness they will float at first on still water ; but they can 
be made to sink at once, or in a day, by dropping water on them." (Fl., 
Nov. to Jan.) 

Chelidonium majus, Linn. Celandine 

First recorded from Ashburton in 1903 by W. W. Smith. It also 
occurs somewhat rarely in the neighbourhood of Dunedin. 

Eschscholtzia calif ornica, Chamb. 

First recorded by Kirk in 1877, from Castle Point in Wellington 
provincial district. In 1879 Cheeseman reported it as covering the 
greater part of a field at Panmure, Auckland. In 1882 it was common 
in the neighbourhood of Auckland in light dry soils. Cheeseman 
recorded it in 1906 as a garden escape in light dry soil in both islands. 
It is thoroughly established as a noxious weed in dry parts of Marl- 
borough, Otago and South Canterbury, for nothing will eat it. The 
fruits are jerked off the receptacle when they are ripe. Hence it 
spreads along made ground, such as railway embankments, but does 
not progress over pastures to any great extent. The seeds apparently 
require loose soil to germinate in. (Fl., Dec. to Feb.) 



Fumaria muralis, Sond. Fumitory 

First recorded by Kirk in 1877 as common in cultivated land about 
Wellington, Wairarapa, and Wanganui; and again in 1895 as found 
on a ballast-heap in Wellington, among refuse from Buenos Ayres. 
It is now an extremely common weed in many parts of New Zealand, 
and is a familiar garden pest. In many districts it flowers all the 
year round, but in the south mostly from October to April. 

Fumaria officinalis, Linn. Fumitory 

First recorded by Kirk in 1869 among naturalised plants of Auck- 
land. In the Manual it is stated to occur rarely in cultivated fields 
in both islands. (Fl., Nov. to Jan.) 

In Europe the flowers are fertilised by the honey-bee (Apis mel- 

Corydalis lutea, DC. 

Recorded by W. W. Smith in 1903 as occurring in Ashburton 

Matthiola incana y R. Br. Common Stock 

First recorded by Kirk in 1877 as occurring on clifTs at Castle 
Point, Wellington. (Fl., Nov. to Dec. 1 ) 

Cheiranthus Cheiri, Linn. Wallflower 

Polack speaks of this species as cultivated by Europeans in the 
north of the North Island in 1838, and as being "acclimated." 

First recorded as a garden escape naturalised in a few rocky 
places near Dunedin in 1873 by the author. Though widely spread it 
has never established itself to any extent. (Fl., Oct. to Jan.) 

Nasturtium officinale, R. Br. Water-cress 

Canterbury was settled in 1850, and this plant was probably 
introduced very soon after, for in a few years it blocked the Avon 
and other streams in the vicinity of Christchurch. It is given in 
Hooker's list of introduced plants in 1864, and in Kirk's list 
of Great Barrier plants in 1867. By that time it was widely spread 
and strongly established. In 1872 it was abundant on the margin 
of the Waikato River. At the present time it is one of the com- 
monest of introduced plants in streams and wet places. (FL, Oct. 
to March.) 

1 Kirk reported Matthiola sinuata, Br. as growing at Castle Rock in 1887. 
T.N. z. 24 


It is frequently found to be very much infested with the common 
cabbage blight Aphis brassicce. 

In A. R. Wallace's Darwinism he mentions the fact, communicated 
to him by Mr John Enys, that: 

a natural remedy to the water-cress has been found by planting willows on 
the banks. The roots of these trees penetrate the bed of the stream in every 
direction, and the water-cress, unable to obtain the requisite amount of 
nourishment, gradually disappears. 

This is no doubt quite true for narrow streams, with a good flow 
of water. In such situations also Elodea Canadensis tends to displace 
it; and I have noticed in some parts of the Avon at Christchurch, 
and in tributary streams, that a species of Nitella can strangle both 
of them. But watching shallow ponds near Dunedin, I have noticed 
that unless kept severely in check, the water-cress can put Elodea, 
Aponogeton and species of Nymphcea right out of competition in a 
year or two. 

A few years after their introduction into the streams in the Canter- 
bury district, water-cress plants grew to gigantic proportions, being 
as much as 14 feet in length, and stout in proportion. The size is 
now quite normal. 

In Europe the flowers are fertilised by the honey-bee (Apis mel- 

Barbarea prcecox, R. Br. American Cress 

First recorded in Kirk's list of introduced plants on the Great 
Barrier Island in 1867; and in Wellington in 1877. In the Manual 
(1906) Cheeseman reports it as not uncommon in waste places and 
roadsides in both islands. (Fl., Oct. to Dec.) 

Barbarea vulgaris, R. Br. Winter Cress 

Said to be common on Otago Peninsula; I am not sure of the 

Arabis hirsuta, Scop. Rock-cress 

Reported as occurring near Ashburton by W. W. Smith. 

Alyssum calycinum. Linn. 

First recorded by Armstrong in 1879 as occurring in Canterbury. 
Cheeseman reports it from both islands as not uncommon on road- 
sides and in waste places. Petrie states that he has found it in Central 
Otago, growing up to 3000 ft. (Fl., Nov. to Jan.) 

Alyssum maritimum, Linn. 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864. Armstrong in 1871 re- 
corded it among plants from Canterbury. Kirk in 1877 reports it 
from two points near Wellington. In 1906 Cheeseman states that it 


is found in waste places and dry sandy soils near the sea, often 
abundantly in both islands. (FL, Nov. to Feb.) 

Alyssum orientale, Ard. 

Recorded by W. W. Smith in 1903 as occurring in Ashburton 

Erophila vulgaris, DC. Whitlow-grass 

First reported by Petrie from Eastern and Central Otago, and on 
ridges near Balclutha. (Fl., Oct. to Nov.) 

Erophila verna, Linn. 

Recorded by W. W. Smith in 1903 (as Draba verna) as occurring 
in Ashburton County. 

Cochlearia Armoracia y Linn. Horse-radish 
Probably introduced at an early date in settlement ; first recorded 
in Hooker's list in 1864. Stated in the Manual to occur in deserted 
gardens and waste places, but uncommon. It is chiefly, as Kirk puts 
it, an outcast from gardens. 

Hesperis matronalis, Linn. Dame's Rocket 

Reported as a garden escape in both islands; from Poverty Bay 
by Bishop Williams; near Wellington by Kirk; and in cornfields at 
Oamaru by Petrie. (Fl., Nov. to Dec.) 

Malcolmia maritima, R. Br. Virginian Cress 
First reported from waste places near Wellington by Kirk, it 
occurs as a garden escape in several localities. (FL, Sept. to June.) 

Cardamine hirsuta, Linn. Bitter Cress 1 

The introduced form of this species (which is also indigenous to 
New Zealand) is one of the most troublesome weeds of cultivation 
in gardens and greenhouses. The explosive fruits scatter the seeds, 
and the plants produce cleistogamic flowers all through the winter 
months. It flowers most of the year. 

Sisymbrium Sophia, Linn. Flix-weed 

First reported by Petrie from Central Otago, growing near Alex- 
andra and Naseby. (FL, Dec. to Jan.) (According to Kerner, an 
average plant of this species produced 730,000 seeds in a year.) 

Sisymbrium officinale, Scop. Hedge-mustard 
Must have been common in the early days of settlement, but first 
recorded from the Auckland district in 1882 by Cheeseman as being 

1 The indigenous form is now recognised as a distinct species C. heterophylla 
( = Sisymbrium heterophyllum, Forst. f.). 



generally distributed. However, Mr Cheeseman informs me that the 
plant recorded in Hooker's list of 1864, and in Kirk's list of Great 
Barrier plants in 1867, as Erysimum officinale, is this species. 

(FL, Nov. to Jan.; but in cultivated land flowers all the year 

In Europe the honey-bee (Apis mellificd) occasionally visits this 
flower; I have not noticed it in New Zealand. 

Sisymbrium pannonicum, Jacquin 

According to Kirk 1869 this species was introduced into the 
Auckland district along with European flax. If so, it failed to establish 

Camelina sativa, Crantz. Gold of Pleasure 

Recorded in 1882 by Cheeseman as occurring in one or two 
places near Auckland. Also by Petrie from Oamaru. In the Manual 
it is said to occur rarely in cultivated fields in both islands. The seeds 
become mucilaginous on the surface when wet. (Fl., Dec. to Jan.) 

Erassica oleracea, Linn. Wild Cabbage 

Captain Cook, on arriving in Dusky Sound in the 'Resolution' 
early in 1773, during his second voyage to New Zealand, cleared a 
piece of garden ground and "sowed a quantity of European garden 
seeds of the best kinds." Cabbage was almost certainly among them 
but probably none of the plants established themselves. Later in 
the year Captain Furneaux arrived in the 'Adventure' in Queen 
Charlotte Sound, and made a garden on Motuaro, in which, among 
other seeds, cabbage was sown. Captain Cook followed in May, 1773, 
and made other gardens on Long Island. On returning in November 
he says: "I crossed to Ship Cove next day and visited the gardens. 
I found cabbages, carrots, onions and parsley in excellent condition." 
The Sound was visited in October, 1774, when he says : "We likewise 
visited the cabbage-garden on Motu-Aro, and found the plants shot 
into seed, which had been for the greatest part consumed by the birds." 
These were probably the parakeets. 

On the third voyage, Captain Cook again visited Queen Charlotte 
Sound, and though the gardens were "over-run with the weeds of 
the country, we found cabbages," etc. 

From this centre the cabbage has spread round the coasts of 
New Zealand, but there is no doubt the Maoris helped to distribute it. 

Commander Bellingshausen, who visited Motuaro in 1820, says: 
"we gathered such a quantity of wild cabbage that we had sufficient 
for one meal of cabbage soup for all the servants and the officers." 


A. R. Cruise, writing in 1820, says: "the excellent plants left by 
Captain Cook, viz., Cabbages, turnips, parsnips, carrots, etc., are still 
numerous but very degenerated." Captain Edwardson, speaking of 
the natives of Foveaux Straits in 1823, sa y s: "Potatoes, cabbages and 
other kitchen vegetables introduced by the Europeans are cultivated." 
The mate of the brig 'Hawes' in 1828 found near Tauranga many 
cultivations with cabbages, etc. 

Polack in 1831 recorded cabbages as extensively cultivated by the 
natives in the Kaipara district. 

Dieffenbach, who visited East Bay near Tory Channel in 1839, says : 
"the cabbage, which now abounds in Queen Charlotte Sound, and 
which grows wild, was in blossom, and covered the sides of the hills 
with a yellow carpet." Later on, speaking of Captain Cook, he says: 
"the cabbage, which he sowed, has spread over all the open places 
in Cook's Straits, and early in spring the sides of the hills are covered 
with its yellow flowers." In the island of Kapiti he found plantations 
of cabbages thriving well. Bidwill, who travelled in 1839 from 
Tauranga to the summit of Tongariro, found that the natives used 
wild cabbages, which they boiled freely. 

When Wilkes visited the Auckland Islands in 1840, he found 
cabbages growing finely on one of the points of Sarah's Bosom. 

At the present time the wild cabbage is common on sea-cliffs in 
both islands, but especially in the neighbourhood of former Maori 
settlements. (FL, Nov. to Dec.) 

In Europe the flowers are visited by two of our humble-bees 
Bombus terrestris and B. lapidarius. I have seen hive-bees on them. 

Brassica campestris, Linn. Swede-turnip 

I cannot find when swede-turnips were first introduced into New 
Zealand, but it is quite probable that they were among the seeds 
sown by Cook in 1773. The first notice I have come across is by 
Bidwill when travelling in 1839; a * a sma ^ native settlement between 
Waikato and Taupo "they roasted some Swedish turnips." He clearly 
distinguishes between them and common turnips, of which the natives 
used the leaves, and which were abundant in the wild condition. At 
present this species only occurs as an escape from cultivation. 

There is, however, a remarkable form of wild turnip found 
growing in Taranaki, which W.W. Smith considers to be the " Korau " 
of the Maori. It is a gigantic form, growing five and six feet high, 
with heavy branching stems, and leaves from two to three feet long. 
It never forms any bulb, but has a thick stem as much as three inches 
or more in diameter at the base. Both Cheeseman and Williams say 
that the " Korau " is Brassica campestris, Linn., but Smith thinks this 


form does not belong to this species. At the same time it is not Bras- 
sica Rapa, which is a very different plant. I suggest that it may be a 
hybrid between these allied species ; it certainly is an interesting form. 
In the Noxious Weeds Act, 1900, wild turnip (Brassica campestris) 
is included among noxious seeds. As no farmers and probably very 
few botanists can distinguish the seeds of the species of Brassica, 
probably the identification does not matter much. 

Brassica Rapa, Linn. Turnip 

Cook and Furneaux sowed seeds of turnip in their various clearings 
in Queen Charlotte Sound in 1773, and showed them to the natives. 
In November of the same year they found that they had seeded. 
The natives spread the seed throughout both islands in all probability. 
Marsden found them in cultivation when he landed at the Bay of 
Islands in 1814; but the Maoris in Queen Charlotte Sound appear 
to have lost the plant, for Bellingshausen gave them seeds in 1820 
and showed them how to sow them. 

Nicholas (1817) says that the natives "had mussels and turnips 
at this feast, but the latter had very much degenerated, and become 
long and fibrous." He says also: "the turnip is called packahd from 
its whiteness." 

The mate of the brig 'Hawes,' in 1828, found many cultivations, 
in which was a small sort of turnip, near Tauranga. 

Polack, who was in New Zealand from 1831 to 1837, says: "the 
turnip is found in a wild state over the entire country," but he only 
saw a small portion of the North Island, mostly in the Kaipara and 
Wairoa districts. Dieffenbach, in 1839, f un d that the natives in 
Kapiti were cultivating turnips. 

E. J. Wakefield found wild turnips on the site of Cook's old 
garden at the entrance of Queen Charlotte Sound in 1839. D'Urville 
in 1840 visited Otago Harbour and found turnips in all the native 
and the whalers' cultivations. Wilkes found wild turnips on the 
Auckland Islands in 1840. Wohlers met with them growing wild near 
Lake Ellesmere in 1844. 

At the present time it is still found near old Maori settlements 
but is most commonly found as an escape from cultivation. (Fl., Dec. 
and Jan.) 

Brassica Napus, Linn. Rape 

No doubt introduced at an early date, but first recorded as a 
naturalised plant by Kirk in 1870 in the vicinity of Auckland. It 
only seems to occur as an escape from cultivation. 

In Europe the flowers are visited by the honey-bee (Apis mellifica) 
and the drone-fly (Eristalis tenax). 


Brassica nigra, Koch. Black Mustard 

First recorded by Kirk in 1870 from the neighbourhood of Auck- 
land. Cheeseman (1906) reports it as not uncommon in cultivated 
fields and waste places in both islands. (Fl., Nov. to Dec.) 

In Europe the flowers are visited by Calliphora erythrocephala, 
C. vomitoria, Lucilia ccesar and Eristalis tenax. 

Brassica adpressa, Boiss. 

The record of this species in Cheeseman's Manual (1906) is the 
first I have noted; it is reported as occurring not uncommonly in 
fields and waste places in both islands. 

Brassica Sinapistrum, Boiss. (Sinapis arvensis, L.) 
Charlock; Skillock; Wild Mustard 

No doubt introduced at an early date. First recorded in Hooker's 
list in 1864. Cheeseman reports it as occurring, but not common, 
in cultivated fields and waste places in both islands. It is, however, 
very common in cornfields in Otago and Southland, where it seriously 
reduces the yield of grain in many parts. The seed retains its vitality 
for a long time, especially when buried. (Fl., Nov. to Jan.) 

Visited in Europe by Calliphora vomitoria, Eristalis tenax and 
Bombus lapidarius. 

Brassica alba, Boiss. White Mustard 

Sown in Queen Charlotte Sound in 1773 by Furneaux and Cook, 
and noted again by Cook in 1777. It does not seem to have become 
established. Polack records it as cultivated by Europeans in 1831 
in the North Auckland district. It is now stated by Cheeseman 
(1906) to be found in cultivated fields and waste places in both 
islands, but not common. It is only found as an escape, or a weed 
of cultivation. (FL, Nov. to Jan.) 

Diplotaxis muralis, DC. Rocket; Wall Mustard 
First recorded as occurring near Ashburton in 1899 by W. W. 
Smith, and as spreading in 1903. Cheeseman (1906) reports it as 
occurring in waste places in both islands, but local. (Fl., Dec. to Feb.) 

Eruca sativa, Lam. 

Reported by Kirk from Port Fitzroy in the Great Barrier Island. 
(Fl., Nov. to Dec.) 

Capsella Bursa-pastoris, DC. Shepherd's Purse 
No doubt an early introduction, but first recorded in Hooker's 
list in 1864. This is a most abundant weed of cultivation, and is 


found in every part of New Zealand. It is very liable to be attacked 
by a fungoid parasite, Cystopus Candidas, the so-called white rust 
which spreads to cabbages and other cultivated crucifers. It is also 
a carrier of club-root. (FL, Sept. to April.) 

(Kerner states that an average-sized plant produces 64,000 seeds 
in a year.) The seeds emit mucus when moistened, and so may adhere 
to feathers of birds, etc. 

Dr Cockayne says of this species that it is very variable in its 
natural habitat, and has already given rise to certain mutants. In 
New Zealand it varies to an astonishing degree, especially in highly 
manured ground. 

Senebiera didyma, Pers. Wart- cress 

An early introduction, first recorded by Hooker (as S. pinnatifida) 
in 1864. A most abundant weed in all parts of New Zealand, especi- 
ally common in waste ground near the sea. (FL, Dec. to Feb.) 

Coronopus procumbens, Gilib (Senebiera Coronopus, Poir.). 

Wart-cress, Hog's-cress 

Another early introduction; also recorded in 1864 for the first 
time. Very common in waste places in both islands. (Fl., Nov. to 


Lepidium Draba, Linn. Hoary-cress 

First noted by the author in 1895, as occurring abundantly on 
Morven Hills Station, Otago. Also recorded from Ashburton by 
W. W. Smith. I have received specimens from J. B. Armstrong 
(1919), who informs me that it occurs in cultivated land near Christ- 
church, where it is a troublesome weed on account of its underground 
running stems. 

Lepidium campestre, R. Br. Field- cress ; Pepperwort 
First recorded from the Taieri Plain, Otago, in 1873, by the 
author. Cheeseman (1906) reports it as occurring in cultivated fields 
and waste places in both islands, but not common. 

Lepidium hirtum, Sm. 

First recorded in 1882 as L. Smithit, Hook., by Cheeseman, as 
occurring in pastures near Alexandra, in the Waikato. It was very 
common in Southland in 1900; and in the Manual (1906) is stated 
to occur in both islands in cultivated fields, roadsides, etc., but local. 
(Fl., Dec. to Jan.) 

Lepidium ruderale, Linn. Narrow-leaved Cress; Sheep's Cress 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864. Stated by Kirk to be very 
common in the vicinity of every township in the Waikato in 1870. 


In 1877 ne states that it is abundant near Wellington, and is widely 
diffused by sheep. Cheeseman in the Manual (1906) states that it 
is plentiful in waste places and roadsides, especially near the sea. 
It is very abundant in Otago. 

Lepidium sativum, Linn. Garden-cress 
Polack (1831-37) mentions this species as common in a wild state 

all over the country, but he is not a safe guide. It is recorded in 

Hooker's list in 1864. It occurs in several parts but only as a garden 


The seeds become mucilaginous when wet, and possibly adhere 

to the feathers of birds. I do not know whether this is common to all 

species of the genus Lepidium. 

Thlaspi arvense, Linn. Penny Cress ; Mithridate Mustard ; 
Canadian Stinkweed 

The Agricultural Department reported this species in 1910, as 
recently introduced into New Zealand. It was promptly declared a 
noxious weed in the Third (Optional) Schedule of the Act of 1908, 
by Special Gazette Notice of i6th June, 1910. 

Iberis amara, Linn. Candytuft 

First recorded as a garden escape at Ashburton in 1903 by W. W. 
Smith. Cheeseman reports it from both islands, but "far from com- 
mon." Like many a garden escape, I do not think it can hold its own 
away from cultivated ground. (Fl., Nov. to Jan.) 

Rapistrum rugosum, All. 
Cheeseman (1882) says: 

In the summer of 1876 this plant appeared in great abundance on the 
Barrack Hill, Auckland, now known as the Albert Park. The grading and 
laying out of the park during the past year has nearly destroyed it, but a 
few specimens still linger in the adjoining streets and unoccupied allotments. 

He has not recorded it in his Manual (1906), so presumably it has 

Cakile maritima, Linn. Sea Rocket 

Recorded by Cockayne in 1908 as occurring near New Brighton, 

Raphanus sativus, Linn. Radish 

First introduced by Furneaux and Cook in 1773, and sown in 
clearings in Queen Charlotte Sound, where it was found by them 
again in 1777. It was probably re-introduced by the early missionaries, 
1814-20, for Polack records it as wild in many parts of the country 


20 years later. In 1882 Cheeseman says it is thoroughly estab- 
lished in littoral situations, on sand-hills, etc., from Mongonui down 
to Thames and Raglan. It does not persist, however, and in the 
Manual (1906) is only recorded as a " garden escape, but uncommon." 
(Fl., Dec. to Feb.) Cockayne says of it that it "is abundantly 
naturalised near Wellington, but the roots are no longer swollen to 
any extent." 


Reseda Luteola, Linn. Dyer's Weed ; Weld 
First recorded from "sand-hills below the block-house, Wan- 
ganui" by Bark in 1877, and later from the Taieri Plain, Otago, in 
1880, by the author. Cheeseman in the Manual (1906) states that it 
is not uncommon in fields and waste places in both islands. In Marl- 
borough it is common on roadsides, in company with Madia saliva. 
Cockayne records it as common in Central Otago, and in the Waitaki 
Basin from Omarama to Kurow. (Fl., Dec. to Jan.) 

Reseda lutea, Linn. Cut-leaved Mignonette 

Petrie gathered this about 30 years ago at the Sowburn in Central 

Otago. In the Manual (1906) Cheeseman records this as occurring 

in fields at Pukeroro, on the authority of J. P. D. Morgan. In 1912 

it was found on the slopes of Mount Eden, Auckland, by F. Neve. 

Reseda alba, Linn. White Mignonette 

First recorded in 1873 from Otago by the author as R. suffruti- 
culosa ; later found by Bishop Williams at Poverty Bay, and by Kirk 
in Canterbury. I have met with it as a garden weed in Otago. 


Cistus sp. 

This species is now (1918) growing wild at Puketeraki in Otago, 
and is found in some gardens in Dunedin. The seed was brought 
from Gallipoli by returned soldiers. 


Viola tricolor, Linn. Pansy ; Heartsease 

Probably introduced early last century. First recorded as a natural- 
ised escape in 1871 by Armstrong from Canterbury, and by Kirk in 
1 877 as an occasional outcast from gardens. Cheeseman in the Manual 
(1906) says it occurs in both islands in cultivated fields and waste 
places, local. Guppy records that the seeds of this species, after 
lying a little time in water, were thickly covered with mucus, and 
that they adhered to a feather, on drying, as firmly as if gummed. 


Viola arvensisy Murray 

First recorded in 1873 fr m cultivated land in Otago by the author 
and again from Wellington by Kirk in 1877. It is not common and 
appears only as a weed in cultivated fields. 

Viola odorata, Linn. Sweet Violet 

I record this species, because innumerable attempts have been 
made to naturalise it in the open, but they have never succeeded. 
The probable explanation is that neither among the indigenous nor 
introduced insects is there found one which can fertilise its flowers. 
At the same time in my own garden in Dunedin it used to seed some- 
what freely from cleistogamic flowers, but only in rather dry situa- 
tions. Kirk reported it in 1877 from Ohariu, but added "possibly 

I have recorded, in connection with guinea-pigs, how these animals 
running wild in a garden, and on lawns in which violets were growing, 
enabled the latter to increase to a great extent. The guinea-pigs ate 
the grass very close, but would not touch the violets. Kerner has 
already pointed out that cattle, when grazing among grass which 
contains violets, will not eat the flowers of the latter. 

lonidium filiforme, F. Muell. 

Recorded by Kirk, in the Student's Flora (1899), as found in 
grassy places near Lake Takapuna, Auckland, by Miss Rolleston. 


Polygala myrtiflora, Linn. 

First recorded by Kirk from Auckland district in 1869. Cheeseman 
(1906) reports it as a garden escape in several localities near Auckland ; 
and from near Napier, on the authority of Colenso. Carse records it 
(1915) as found sparsely among sand-dunes on the west coast of 
Mongonui County. 

Polygala virgata, Thunb. 

Recorded in 1912 by Cheeseman from several parts of the North 
Island: "among fern and low tea-tree scrub at Mangatete, near 
Awanui (H. Carse); edge of forest near Kaitaia (Mrs Foley); in 
several places near Kihikiki, Waikato (N. M. Lethbridge)." Mr 
Cheeseman adds, "it is probably a garden escape, although I cannot 
learn that the species has been in cultivation in any of the localities 
quoted above." 


Polygala vulgaris, Linn. Milkwort 

Collected on the open ground above Waitati, near Dunedin, by 
Miss Eileen Woodhead, in November, 1917. Presumably introduced 
from Britain. 


Dianthus prolifer, Linn. (Tunica prolifera, Cheeseman) 
First recorded as a garden escape at Ashburton by W. W. Smith 
in 1903. 

Dianthus Armeria, Linn. Deptford Pink 

First recorded in 1882 from the Waikato district by Cheeseman. 
Perhaps Silene Armeria recorded by Armstrong from Canterbury in 
1879, * s tne same species. In the Manual (1906) it is stated to occur 
in both islands in pastures and waste places, but not commonly. 
Cockayne reports it as fairly common in montane tussock-land in 
Marlborough and Canterbury. (Fl., Dec. to Jan.) 

Dianthus barbatus, Linn. Sweet-william 

First recorded in 1871 by Armstrong from Canterbury. It is 
occasionally found as a garden escape in many districts. (FL, Nov. 
to Jan.) 

Saponaria Vaccaria, Linn. 

First recorded in 1870 by Kirk as occurring in the Auckland 
district. Later reported in the Manual (1906) on Kirk's authority 
from "Cultivated fields near Auckland and Wellington." (FL, Dec. 
to Jan.) 

Silene inflata, Sm. Bladder-campion 

First recorded from the neighbourhood of Auckland by Kirk in 
1870. In Cheeseman's Manual (1906) it is stated to occur, but not 
commonly, in both islands in cultivated fields, roadsides, etc. I have 
met with it from Whangarei to Dunedin. 

Silene conica, Linn. 
Reported by Petrie to occur in Otago. 

Silene gallica, Linn. Catchfly 

First recorded from Otago in 1873 by the author. It is now 
common in every part of New Zealand in roadsides and waste places. 
(FL, Oct. to Jan.) 

Silene quinquevulnera. Linn. 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864, but no doubt introduced 
much earlier. It is one of the commonest weeds in the country. One 
of Drummond's Wellington correspondents stated that he had known 
it since 1855. (FL, Oct. to Jan.) 


Dr Cockayne remarks of Silene anglica, Linn, (which includes 
both S. gallica and S. quinquevulnera) that it develops more succu- 
lent leaves when growing near the sea than inland 1 

Silene noctiflora, Linn. 

Armstrong reported this species from Canterbury in 1871, Kirk 
from Wellington in 1877, and Cheeseman in fields at Matamata in 

The Manual (1906) omits all notice of the species. 

Silene nocturna, Linn. 

Reported by Kirk as occurring at Karori, near Wellington. (Fl., 

Silene nutans, Linn. Nodding Catchfly 

First recorded in 1879 by Armstrong from Canterbury. Later by 
Cheeseman from pastures at Matamata in the Thames Valley 2 . 

Lychnis Flos-cuculi, Linn. Ragged Robin 

First recorded in 1870 by Kirk from the Auckland district. Cheese- 
man reports it from Whangarei, and W. W. Smith from Ashburton. 
In Britain it is usually found in moist ground. (Fl., Oct. to Nov.) 

Lychnis vespertina, Sibth. White Campion 

First recorded in 1875 from Dunedin by the author, and later by 
Petrie from the same locality. Also from Ashburton by W. W. Smith. 
It is found in hedgerows and by waysides. (Fl., Nov. to Dec.) 

Lychnis diurna, Sibth. Red Campion 

Recorded by W. W. Smith in 1903 as occurring in Ashburton 
County. I have also noted it as a garden escape near Dunedin, but 
it does not establish itself. 

Lychnis coronaria, Descr. Rose Campion 

Reported to be common near Wellington in 1 877 by Kirk. Recorded 
by Cheeseman in the Manual (1906) as an occasional outcast from 
gardens, in both islands. (FL, Nov. to Dec.) 

1 In C. J. Cornish's charming little work Wild England of to-day and the Wild 
Life in it (London, 1895), there is an extract from an article which appeared in the 
Journal of Horticulture on Brading Harbour in the Isle of Wight, written by Mr C. 
Orchard. The writer says: "On two distinct places I have found the very rare 
Silene quinquevulnera, which I believe has been found only in two or three places in 
England." In New Zealand it is a common weed. 

2 Armstrong in 1879 recorded Silene italica, Pers., and S. orientalis, Linn., as 
occurring in Canterbury. 


Lychnis Githago, Scop. Corn-cockle 

First recorded in 1869 by Kirk from Auckland district; and in 
1871 by Armstrong in Canterbury. It is not uncommon in cultivated 
fields in many parts of New Zealand, but nowhere seems to have 
become a pest. (FL, Nov. to Dec.) 

Cerastium glomeratum, Thuill. Mouse-ear Chickweed 
First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864 as C. vulgatum. An abundant 
weed in every part of New Zealand. (FL, Sept. to April.) 

Cerastium triviale, Link. Larger Mouse-ear 
First recorded in 1864 in Hooker's list as C. viscosum. Equally 
abundant with the preceding species throughout the country. Both 
these species (as also Stellaria media) are characterised by a develop- 
ment of strong tissue in the stem immediately above the root-attach- 
ment, which often enables them to hold on to the soil, when all the 
branches have been torn off. They then spring up again from the 
root-stock. Visited (in Europe) by Lucilia ccesar. (FL, Oct. to April.) 

Stellaria media, Linn. Chickweed 

Introduced at a very early date. First mentioned by Dieffenbach 
in 1839. Most abundant weed of cultivation. (FL, nearly all the year 

Stellaria Holostea, Linn. Greater Stitchwort 
First recorded in 1871 by Armstrong from Canterbury Province. 

Stellaria graminea, Linn. Lesser Stitchwort 
First recorded in 1882 by Cheeseman as occurring near Auckland. 
In the Manual (1906) it is said to occur in fields and on roadsides 
in both islands, but not commonly. It is extraordinarily abundant 
on Pine Hill near Dunedin, where, when in flower, it gives the fields 
a greyish-white hue ; it has also spread into many other districts near 
Dunedin. Visited (in Europe) by Eristalis tenax. (FL, Nov. to Jan.) 

Stellaria uliginosa, Murr. 

In the Manual (1906) this is reported from bogs near Westport 
by Townson; and from Ruapuke Island in Foveaux Strait by Chas. 
Traill. It only grows in moist ground in Britain. 

Arenaria serpyllifolia, Linn. Sand wort 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864. Stated in the Manual 
(1906) to be "abundant in light dry soils." (FL, Nov. to Jan.) 


Sagina procumbens, Linn. Pearlwort 

First recorded from the neighbourhood of Dunedin in 1879 by 
the author. Now extremely abundant in damp ground. Either this 
or the following species are used as the basis of bowling greens in 
some parts of the country, Invercargill, Gore, etc. It forms a very 
close fine sward. (Fl., Oct. to March.) 

Sagina apetala, Linn. Pearlwort 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864. Abundant in most parts 
of New Zealand. (FL, Oct. to Jan.) 

Spergula arvensis, Linn. Spurrey ; Yar 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864. A most abundant weed 
of cultivation, especially in the south. In damp seasons it is a serious 
menace to turnip crops, as it is most difficult to destroy. It thrives 
especially well, too, in ground which has been treated with phosphatic 
manures, which are the principal artificial stimulants used in New 
Zealand farming. (Fl., Oct. to Jan.) Visited in Europe by hive-bee 
(Apis mellificd) and drone-fly (Eristalis tenax). 

Spergula pentandra, Linn. 
Stated by Kirk to be naturalised near Wellington. 

Spergularia rubra, St Hilaire. Sandwort Spurrey 
First recorded from the neighbourhood of Wellington by Kirk in 
1877, and from Ashburton in 1903 by W. W. Smith. Cheeseman in 
the Manual (1906) reports it as abundant on roadsides and waste 
places in both islands. While the indigenous species S. media is found 
near the sea, this introduced one is usually found in inland localities, 
according to Cheeseman. (FL, Nov. to Feb.) 

Polycarpon tetraphyllum, Linn. 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864. Very abundant on road- 
sides and waste places in both islands. In 1877 Kirk recorded a 
varietal form which produced "hemispherical masses of deep green 
foliage" as abundant on the sands near Cape Palliser. (FL, Sept. to 


Portulaca oleracea, Linn. Purslane 

Apparently introduced by Cook in 1773 in the gardens made in 
Queen Charlotte Sound. It is not included in Hooker's list of intro- 
duced plants in 1864, but Kirk records it from the Great Barrier 
Island in 1867. Cheeseman in the Manual (1906) reports it as 


"abundant in warm dry soils as far south as the East Cape, rare and 
local from thence to Cook Strait." There is no reason to believe 
that it is a survival from Cook's time ; it has been re-introduced much 
more recently. (Fl., Nov. to Jan.) 

Claytonia perfoliata, Donn. 

Found by myself as a garden escape near Dunedin in 1886, and 
still occasionally met with; also recorded from Cheviot by von Haast, 
and as a garden weed in Invercargill by Cockayne. It is a North 
American species, but I have reason to believe that it was introduced 
with seed or bulbs from Britain, where it is not infrequently natural- 
ised. It does not spread, nor does it seem to thrive away from culti- 
vated ground. In 1912 Cheeseman reports it from Karori, Wellington, 
collected by J. S. Tennant. 

Calandrinia caulescens, H. B. K. 

Cheeseman states that this species appeared in 1881 in a freshly- 
sown grass field at Otahuhu (Auckland). In the Manual (1906) he 
reports it as growing in "cultivated fields, rare and local" in both 
islands. It formerly was common in one locality near Dunedin, but 
has since disappeared. Kirk reported it from "near Christchurch." 
In 1882 he stated that "a white-flowered species has become plentiful 
in stony places near Penrose and thence to Onehunga." 

Hypericum Androscemum, Linn. Tutsan 

First recorded by Kirk in 1869 from Auckland district. In the 
Manual Cheeseman (1906) reports it as not uncommon on roadsides 
and waste places. But it is particularly a plant found about meadows, 
in the shelter of hedges, thickets, etc. 

Now especially abundant by sides of water-courses and on the 
outskirts of forest land, where it often forms a dense undergrowth. 
Birds feed on the fruit and thus tend to spread it over wide areas. 

Included in the Second Schedule of the Noxious Weeds Act by 
Special Gazette Notice of ist October, 1903 ; and in Third (noxious 
seeds) Schedule by Gazette Notice of loth November, 1904. 

Hypericum perforatum, Linn. St John's Wort 
First recorded in T. Kirk's list of Great Barrier plants in 1867. 
Cheeseman states that in 1882 it is common round Pirongia and 
threatens to become a dangerous weed. At Matamata "some old 
pastures have been completely over-run with it." It was first noticed 
in Otago by the author in 1894 in the neighbourhood of Dunedin. 
It is stated in the Manual (1906) to be abundant in both islands. 


Cockayne (1920) records it as spreading greatly in the vicinity of 
Arrowtown, and as invading the bracken heath near Lake Wanaka. 
(Fl., Dec. to Jan.) 

In Europe its flowers are visited by Apis mellifica, Bombus terrestris, 
B. hortorum, Eristalis tenax and Calliphora erythrocephala. 

Hypericum humifusum, Linn. 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864, and in many subsequent 
catalogues since. In the Manual (1906) it is said to be common, 
especially on clay soils, in both islands. (Fl., Dec. to Jan.) 

Both of the above species were included (with H. Androscemum) 
in the Second Schedule of the Noxious Weeds Act by Special Gazette 
Notice of ist October, 1903; and in the Third (noxious seeds) 
Schedule by Gazette Notice of loth November, 1904. 

Hypericum montanum, Linn. 

Recorded by W. W. Smith in 1903 as occurring in Ashburton 


Althaea officinalis, Linn. Marsh-mallow ; Guimauve 
First recorded from Ashburton in 1903 by W. W. Smith. 

Lavatera arbor ea y Linn. Tree-mallow 

First recorded by Kirk in 1869 in list of plants from Auckland 
district, and again by him in 1877 as an occasional garden escape in 
Wellington district. It does not appear to spread, though it frequently 
persists for a long time on the site of old gardens. (Fl., Nov. to Jan.) 

Malva sylvestris, Linn. Common Mallow 

First recorded by Kirk in 1869 from Auckland district. In the 
Manual (1906) it is reported as occurring on "roadsides and in waste 
places" but not commonly, in both islands. (Fl., Nov. to Dec.) 

Flowers visited (in Europe) by Apis mellifica, Bombus hortorum , 
and B. lapidarius. 

Malva rotundifolia. Linn. Dwarf Mallow 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864. Reported by Cheeseman 
(1906) to be not uncommon on roadsides and in waste places in both 
islands. (FL, Nov. to Jan.) A very common weed. 

Malva parviflora, Linn. 

Recorded in 1 882 by Cheeseman as occurring in waste places near 
Auckland, but not common. It is now an abundant weed in road- 
sides and waste places throughout the country. (Fl., Nov. to Jan.) 

T.N. z. 25 


Malva verticillata, Linn. 

First recorded in 1882 by Cheeseman, as in immense abundance 
near Auckland; also at Thames and on the Coromandel Peninsula. 
It is now found abundantly in many parts, particularly in waste 
ground. (Fl., Nov. to Jan.) 

Malva crispa, Linn. 

Reported by Kirk as a garden escape at Port Waikato. (Fl., Nov. 
to Dec. 1 ) 

Modiola multifida, Moench. 

First recorded in 1860 by Kirk from the Auckland district as 
Malva caroliniana. In 1882 Cheeseman writes that it "must have 
been an early introduction, as it was nearly as abundant and as widely 
distributed in 1863 as it is now." In the Manual (1906) he reports it 
as abundant in pastures and on roadsides in both islands. 

Sub-division DISCIFLOIUE 


Linum marginale, A. Cunn 

Dieffenbach, in 1839, says: "The vegetation" (of Motu Narara) 
"is scanty and confined to a species of Linum with blue flowers." This 
was almost certainly L. marginale. I have met with it about Dunedin 
sparingly during the past forty years. Cheeseman in the Manual 
(1906) says it is generally distributed in both islands, but most 
plentifully in the north. It is very abundant to the north of Auckland, 
Whangarei, etc. (FL, Nov. to Jan.) 

The seeds of most, if not all, species of Linum become mucilaginous 
when wet. This may be to enable them to adhere to the soil, but it 
is probable also that they adhere to the feathers of birds, just as those 
of Plantago do. 

Linum usitatissimum, Linn. Common Flax 

In 1814 Marsden gave "Shunghee" (? Hongi) some English flax 
seed. This was at the Bay of Islands. There is no record, however, 
as to whether it was grown and utilised by the natives or by the 
missionaries. It was next recorded in 1869 by Kirk from Auckland 
Province. In 1877 ne reports it as plentiful near an old ford of the 
Ruamahunga (Wellington), and in the Wairarapa. Cheeseman in 
1906 records it as only occasionally seen as an escape from culti- 
vation. It has not apparently established itself anywhere. (Fl., Dec. 
to Jan.) 

1 In 1879 Armstrong reported Malva campestris, Linn, from Canterbury. 

LINE/E 387 

Linum galltcum, Linn. 

Cheeseman says this species was first seen in localities near Auck- 
land in 1876. In the Manual (1906) he reports it as occurring in 
"fields and waste places as far south as the East Cape." (Fl., Nov. 
to Feb.) 

Linum catharttcum, Linn. Purging Flax; Heath Flax 

First noted about 1895 by the author in Dunedin; then at Ash- 
burton in 1903 by W. W. Smith. In the Manual (1906) it is reported 
as occurring in fields and waste places in both islands, but not com- 
monly. (FL, Nov. to Dec. 1 ) 

Tribulus terrestris, Linn. 

In 1912 Cheeseman records the occurrence of a specimen of this 
plant collected by Mr F. Hutchinson in pure shingle at Port Ahuriri, 
Hawke's Bay. 

Geranium Robertianum, Linn. Herb Robert 

First reported from near Wellington by Kirk in 1877. Cheeseman 
says in 1882 that a few plants were seen at Devonport (Auckland) in 
1879, but it has apparently died out. However, in 1910 he records 
it again from near Whangarei, and also from Auckland. In the West 
Taieri bush (Otago) it has been wild for quite 40 years, and is 
to be found in several localities round Dunedin ; also near Wellington. 
In the Manual (1906) Cheeseman reports it from fields and waste 
places in both islands, not common. Introduced from Britain. (Fl., 
Dec. to Jan.) 

Visited in Europe by Bombus terrestris, B. hortorum and B. lapi- 

Geranium pratense, Linn. Meadow Crane's-bill 

Buchanan recorded this species as growing at Kawau in 1876. It 
is a common enough garden plant in some districts, and may very 
occasionally occur as a garden escape, but it has never spread. 

Geranium lucidum. Linn. Shining Crane's-bill 

Recorded in 1903 by W. W. Smith as occurring in Ashburton 
County, but it has not been observed since. 

1 Armstrong records Linum angustifolium, Sin. (? Linn.), from Canterbury in 



Geranium molle, Linn. 

This species was first collected in New Zealand by Dr Lyall, who 
visited these islands in 1847-49 in H.M.S. 'Acheron,' and Sir J. D. 
Hooker in including it in the Handbook of the New Zealand Flora 
admitted that he was much puzzled with the plant. It was also 
found in Hawke's Bay by Colenso. Kirk in the Student's Flora of 
New Zealand treated it purely as a naturalised species. Cheeseman 
in including it among the indigenous plants in his Manual of New 
Zealand Flora says : 

There can be little doubt that this is introduced, but as it has had a place 
given to it in previous works on New Zealand plants, and as it is now found 
in all soils and situations, and would certainly be considered indigenous 
by a stranger unacquainted with its history, it appears best to retain it 
in the Flora. 

1 think it should have been relegated to the list of naturalised plants 
in the Appendix, where, unfortunately, it does not appear. It is very 
common in pastures at the present time. 

This species is visited in Europe by Apis mellifica, Bombus terrestris 
and Lucilia ccesar. 

Erodium cicutarium, L'Herit. Stork's- bill 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864, var. chcerophyllum, DC. 
reported by Kirk from Auckland district in 1869. It is abundant in 
waste places and cultivated ground throughout New Zealand. In the 
desiccated regions of Central Otago it is especially abundant, and, 
according to Petrie, is readily eaten by stock 1 . It dies off by mid- 
summer, but seldom fails to mature plenty of seed. 

In Europe the flowers are visited by Apis mellifica and Calliphora 
erythrocephala. (Fl., Sept. to March.) 

Erodium moschatum, L'Herit. Musky Stork's-bill 
First recorded by Kirk in 1869 from Auckland district; and in 
1871 in Canterbury by Armstrong. In 1882 Cheeseman says "an 
abundant weed, especially in light soils." In the Manual (1906) he 
reports it as abundant by roadsides and in waste places in both 
islands. (Fl., Oct. to Feb.) 

Erodium malachoides, Willd. 

Originally recorded by Cheeseman, 1882, as E. maritimum, 
Linn., from Mongonui, Bay of Islands and Waiwera. Kirk states that 
this was naturalised at the Bay of Islands in 1867, but was not 
observed elsewhere, till he found it on a ballast heap in Wellington 

1 Dr Cockayne tells me that it is sown for sheep feed in denuded areas of the 
United States of America. 


in 1892. The latter lot was introduced from Buenos Ayres. It does 
not seem to have established itself. In the Manual (1906) Cheeseman 
states that it occurs in sandy places near the sea at Mongonui and the 
Bay of Islands. (Fl., Oct. to April.) 

Pelargonium zonale, L'Herit. Scarlet Geranium 

Cheeseman records this in the Manual of the New Zealand Flora 
(1906) as occurring in the North Island, "often persisting for some 
years in deserted gardens." But I think it must be classed as a true 
garden escape, which has taken possession of considerable areas of 
waste ground in the neighbourhood of gardens, and which is therefore 
particularly common in the suburban districts of many northern 
towns. (FL, Oct. to April.) 

Pelargonium quercifolium, L'Herit. 

First recorded by Kirk from Auckland district in 1869, and again 
from Wellington in 1877. It is, like the preceding species, a garden 
escape in the North Island, but not nearly so common. 

Tropceolum majus, Linn. Indian Cress ; Garden Nasturtium 

Polack (1831-37) speaks of it as cultivated in European gardens 
in the north of the North Island. First recorded as a wild plant by 
Cheeseman in 1882 and as common near Auckland. It has become a 
most abundant weed in many suburban areas, especially in the North 
Island; and in Auckland, Wellington and other towns frequently fills 
waste sections of land with its attractive foliage and bright blossoms. 
I have measured gigantic wild specimens at New Plymouth in which 
the leaves were as much as eight inches across. (Fl., Jan. to April.) 

It is visited in Europe by Apis mellifica, Bombus hortorum, and 
earwigs (Forficula auricularia), the latter after nectar. 

Oxalis cernua, Thunb. 

First recorded in 1882 from Auckland by Cheeseman as a trouble- 
some weed in gardens. In the Manual (1906) it is stated to be "an 
occasional weed in gardens and orchards in the North Island." 
Cheeseman says (1917) that it "is still far too plentiful." 

Oxalis compressa, Thunb. 

This species was recorded by Cheeseman in 1882, as "a common 
garden escape, especially near Auckland." But in later years it was 
not observed, and so was expunged from the list published in the 
Manual in 1906. 


Oxalis variabilis, Jacq. 

First recorded in 1882 from Auckland as a garden escape by 
Cheeseman. Characterised in the Manual as "a garden escape, not 
common" in the North Island. (FL, Aug. to Oct.) 

Oxalis hirta, Linn. 

Recorded by Kirk from Auckland in 1899; and by Cheeseman 
in 1906 in the Manual as " a garden escape in the vicinity of Auckland, 

rare." (FL, Sept.) . 

Oxalu rosea, Jacquin 

Recorded by W. W. Smith in 1903 as occurring in Ashburton 


Limnanthes Douglasii, R. Br.(own) 

Recorded by W. W. Smith in 1903 as occurring in South Canter- 
bury as a garden escape. It does not spread. 

Citrus aurantium, Risso. The Orange 

An officer of the brig ' Hawes ' travelling near Tauranga in Decem- 
ber, 1828, remarks : " I met with a few orange trees which have been 
introduced with success." Probably he was referring to native planta- 
tions, either under cultivation or abandoned. Oranges do not appear 
to become naturalised in any part of New Zealand. 


Vitis vinifera, Linn. Grape-vine 

Grapes were introduced by the missionaries early last century. 
In 1838 Polack says that "they are largely cultivated to the north-ward 
of the River Thames." Kirk reported in 1877, and Cheeseman in 
1882, that they were to be found in deserted gardens and old Maori 
cultivations, but apparently they were not spreading and the latter 
author practically repeats this in the Manual (1906). 

Melianthus major, Linn. 

First recorded in 1877 as a garden escape near Wellington, but 
able to maintain its position when not disturbed by man. Also by 
Cheeseman from Auckland and Thames. Cheeseman states in the 
Manual (1906) that it is not uncommon in the North Island as a 
garden escape. (FL, Aug. to Oct.) 


Corynocarpus Icevigata, Forst. Karaka 

Though this plant is treated both by Hooker and Cheeseman as 
an indigenous species, it seems highly probable that it was introduced 
into New Zealand by some of the early Polynesian immigrants. If 
so, it was most likely brought from Western Polynesia by way of 
the Kermadecs. There are three species of the genus Corynocarpus 
all closely allied, one in New Zealand, one in New Caledonia, and 
one in the New Hebrides. 

"Tradition says that one Roau came in the Nukutere canoe, 
landing at Waiaua, near Opotiki, and brought with him the Karaka, 
the ti and the taro." The date of this introduction was about twenty 
generations ago, or five hundred years. Cheeseman says of its occur- 
rence: "Abundant (in the North Island) chiefly in lowland situations 
not far from the sea ; (in the South Island) Marlborough and Nelson 
to Banks' Peninsula and Westland, but very rare and local." Once 
introduced into the country it would readily be spread by fruit-eating 
birds. The Maoris used the fruit for food. 

Similarly the plant was almost certainly conveyed from New 
Zealand to the Chatham Islands. W. T. L. Travers in letters from 
his son H. H. Travers (1871) learned that the natives stated that their 
Maori (not Moriori) ancestors brought the tree with them. It is 
found "growing abundantly in the immediate neighbourhood of the 
various old settlements, but not in the general bush of the islands 1 ." 

Sub-division CALYCIFLOR^E 



Lupinus arboreus, Sims. Tree Lupin 

Freely sown as a plant for sand-binding in many parts of New 
Zealand, but first recorded from Ashburton in 1903 as a garden escape. 
Cheeseman in 1906 reports it as increasing in some localities. It has 
got very commonly into many river beds in Canterbury and elsewhere, 
and has spread very considerably away from sandy areas where it has 
been sown. Indeed in many localities it assumes all the characters 
of a "pure formation." 

It was included under the name of Lupinus luteus, among noxious 
seeds in the Act of 1900; and in the Second Schedule of the Act by 
Special Gazette Notice of aoth June, 1901 . It is difficult to understand 
why this was done. The plant is a nitrogen-fixer, and where it has taken 
possession of great areas of sand-hills, it produces valuable surface 
soil on which other plants afterwards grow freely. (Fl., Dec. to Jan.) 

1 Dr Cockayne says this statement is incorrect, and that Karaka is the dominant 
tree of the lowland forest in all parts of Chatham Island. 


Dr Cockayne states that this species, normally yellow, and varying 
but little in its native land, has undergone many changes on the dunes 
near New Brighton, Canterbury, in the colour of its flowers. There 
are, e.g., a pure white, yellows of various tints, and a great variety of 
purples combined, or not, with whites and yellows. These abnormally 
coloured plants occur in patches here and there as a general rule, 
and appear to get more abundant year by year. Such variations have 
not been noticed by him in the North Island, nor in Central Otago. 

Ulex europceus, Linn. Gorse ; Whin ; Furze 

No doubt an early introduction. When Darwin was at the Bay 
of Islands in 1835 ne savs: "At Waimate I saw gorse for fences; five 
years ago nothing but the fern flourished here." 

Some of the early settlers in New Zealand sowed Gorse for sheep- 
feed. About 1890 a Mr Williams sowed a pretty large area of it in 
drills, and the sheep managed to keep it down for a few years, but 
ultimately, of course, it got ahead of them, and so filled the ground. 
At the time of his sowing gorse was well established over the country. 
This was at Pakaraka in the Bay of Islands district. 

The plant spreads by means of its elastic seed vessels which throw 
the seeds to a considerable distance. It seeds very freely in New 
Zealand, but in spite of its brilliancy and attractiveness of colour I do 
not think its flowers are often cross-fertiliaed. I have examined long 
stretches of gorse hedges in full bloom ; on one occasion a hive-bee 
was seen on the flowers, apparently gathering pollen ; and a few blow- 
flies (Calliphora) visited them, but I never saw a humble-bee on them. 
In 1893 it was a very common weed in many parts of New Zealand, 
and to-day is most abundant. Petrie informs me that the seeds are 
freely eaten and distributed by Calif ornian quail. It would be inter- 
esting, however, to ascertain whether the seeds are ground up by the 
birds in the process of digestion, or whether they escape trituration 
and are passed undigested. 

This species was declared a noxious weed in the Second Schedule 
of the Act of 1900. 

In damp seasons in Auckland and the districts to the north of it, 
gorse is a much more leafy and less spinous plant than it is, for 
instance, in Otago; it flowers from August to April in the north; 
but in the south it is found to bloom right through the winter. 

Dr Cockayne points out that some remarkable more or less here- 
ditary variations have come about in this species, such as colour 
changes from normal yellow to white, differences in shape and size 
of flowers, and variation in the time of blooming. He also notes that 
it does not spread at above 2000 ft. altitude. 


In 1901 W. W. Smith stated that "the larvae of several species 
of Elater have destroyed enormous areas of gorse fences in New 
Zealand during the last ten years by consuming the roots of the plants." 

Drummond (Jan. 1916) records that gorse is decreasing in the 
Upper Waitemata. He later states that on Gouland Downs, south 
of Collingwood, an early settler sowed four sacks of gorse seeds. It 
has not thriven, the soil being perhaps too moist and swampy, and 
only a few stunted plants are now to be seen. 

In a letter in Nature of 26th September, 1918 (p. 65), it is stated 
that gorse seed, buried for 25 years, has sprung up freely on land 
in Cumberland which was cleared of gorse and heather in 1893. For 
the preceding ten years or more, the land was in permanent pasture, 
but was ploughed and recultivated in 1918. I had the same experience 
in the neighbourhood of Dunedin. A gorse hedge was rooted out 
in 1876, and the ground has since been in continuous cultivation as 
a garden. Whenever extra deep digging was done, as late as 1908, 
gorse seedlings used to appear occasionally. 

As early as 1859 gorse and broom began to give trouble to farmers 
and others, and the Provincial Legislatures of Taranaki and Nelson 
passed restrictive ordinances, compelling private individuals to keep 
their hedges pruned, to stop planting new hedges, and fining them 
for any plants growing on the public roads. 

Cytisus scoparius, Link. Broom 

No doubt an early introduction, but first recorded specifically by 
Armstrong in 1 87 1 from Canterbury. It is now widely spread through- 
out the country, and in some districts covers wide areas of land to 
the exclusion of everything else. It also forms along with gorse 
immense shelter for rabbits. (Fl., Oct. to Jan., but sporadically 
throughout the year.) 

In the Act of 1900, it is declared to be a noxious weed in the 
Second Schedule. 

The flowers are visited, for pollen only, by Apis mellifica, Bombus 
terrestris, B. hortorum and B. lapidarius. 

This species, like the last, exhibits numerous variations from type, 
and these appear to be more or less hereditary in character. 

Cytisus capensis 
Recorded from Canterbury in 1871 by Armstrong. 

Cytisus albus, Link. White Broom 

First recorded from Ashburton (as C. albidus), where it was 
common as undergrowth to the belts of trees skirting the railway 


lines, in 1903 by W. W. Smith. It was also growing freely on the 
flats on the Ashburton River. It is now common on some Canter- 
bury river beds. In the Manual (1906) it is reported as occurring 
in both islands as "an occasional escape from gardens." (Fl., Sept. 
to Oct.) 

Cytisus candicans. Lam. 

Apparently first recorded by Cheeseman in the Manual (1906). 
It is abundant in both islands. (Fl., Sept. to Nov.) 

Ononis arvensis, Linn. Rest-harrow; Wild Liquorice 

Introduced into Southland in 1870 among grass-seed, but did not 
succeed in establishing itself. 

Medicago sativa, Linn. Lucerne ; Alfalfa ; Purple Medick 

Probably introduced very much earlier, but first recorded in 1882 
by Cheeseman as occurring in cultivated fields near Auckland, but 
not common. Abundantly cultivated in many parts of the country 
but only occurs naturalised as an escape. (Fl., Sept. to Jan.) 

The flowers (in Europe) are visited by Apis mellifica, Bombus 
terrestris, B. hortorum and B. lapidarius. 

Medicago lupulina, Linn. Black Medick 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864, but certainly introduced 
at a much earlier date. Now very abundant in fields and waste places. 
(FL, Sept. to Feb.) 

Medicago denticulata, Willd. Toothed Medick 

Also first recorded in Hooker's list in 1864. Abundant throughout 
all cultivated districts. (FL, Sept. to Jan.) 

This and the next species are included among the noxious seeds 
in Schedule 3 of the Noxious Weeds Act, 1900. 

Medicago maculata, Willd. Spotted Medick 
First recorded by Hooker in 1864. Cheeseman in the Manual 
(1906) says: "Abundant in the Auckland Provincial District, local 
elsewhere." It is a most abundant weed in many parts of Otago, 
especially in the coastal districts. (FL, Sept. to Dec.) 

Melilotus officinalis, Lam. Melilot 

First recorded in Hooker's list in 1864; no doubt introduced very 
many years earlier. Cheeseman in the Manual (1906) reports it as 


sparingly naturalised in fields and waste places in both islands. (Fl., 
Dec. to Jan.) 

Melilotus arvensis, Wallr. Field Melilot 

First recorded by Hooker in 1864. Now occurs commonly in 
waste places and on roadsides throughout New Zealand. Cockayne 
says it is extremely common in sand-dunes in many parts of the 
North Island. (Fl., Dec. to Feb.) 

Melilotus alba, Desr. White Melilot 

First recorded in 1871 by Armstrong as M. leucantha in plants 
naturalised in Canterbury. Reported from Napier by Kirk and Cheese- 
man; and from the Canterbury Plains by W. W. Smith. (Fl., Jan. 
to March.) 

Trifolium subterraneum, Linn. 

Reported by Cheeseman in 1906 as occurring in the Auckland 
district, and increasing rapidly. I found it common in the Whangarei 
district in 1916. 

Trifolium arvense, Linn. Hare's-foot Trefoil 
First recorded in 1879 fr m Canterbury by Armstrong. Cheese- 
man in 1882 says it was observed in a field at Otahuhu in 1876, but 
has not been seen since. In the Manual (1906) he reports it as found 
on roadsides and in waste places in both islands, and increasing, 
especially in light soils. (FL, Jan. to March.) 

In Europe the flowers are visited by Bombus lapidarius. 

Trifolium incarnatum, Linn. Crimson Clover 
First recorded in 1877 from Porirua by H. B. Kirk; then in 1882 
by Cheeseman as occurring occasionally in pastures, especially in the 
Waikato. It is found in pastures in both islands, but not commonly. 
In the Journal of the Department of Agriculture for 1910 it is said 
to be largely used for ploughing into the ground for green manuring. 
(Fl., Dec. to Feb.) 

Trifolium ochroleucum, Linn. Sulphur Clover 
First recorded in 1879 by Armstrong from Canterbury ; and stated 
by Smith to occur about Ashburton in 1903. 

Trifolium pratense, Linn. Red Clover 

No doubt an early introduction into New Zealand, but first re- 
corded by Hooker in 1864. It is a most abundant plant in all parts 
of New Zealand to-day, but before 1885 when humble-bees were 


successfully imported into the country, it was only found where it had 
been sown, and was not spreading to any great extent, except whe