On 21 December 1835 the Beagle anchored at the Bay of Islands. In the nine-day stop-over, the young Darwin collected insects, shells and rocks, and visited nearby Waimate mission station, near Paihia. While Waimate charmed him as an oasis of English civilisation, overall he was disappointed with New Zealand. He did however maintain an interest in the country, and he had connections with many people living there. One he met on Xmas day was William Colenso, printer, missionary, and naturalist. This is a later edition of Darwin’s Journal of Researches.
Charles Darwin, Journal of Researches. London: Ward, Lock and Co., 1890. Science DUD
William Colenso’s scientific interests were stimulated by his meeting with Darwin. After Darwin’s death in 1882, Colenso delivered a eulogy on 'that great and useful man' to the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute. Colenso's early work on moa bones, where he stated that Maori had no strong tradition of the moa, was eventually published in England with assistance by Richard Owen.
William Colenso, 'An Account of some enormous Fossil Bones, of an unknown species of the class Aves, lately discovered in New Zealand', in The Tasmanian Journal of Science, 1846, from Hocken Pamphlet Vol. 203, no. 3. Hocken Collection
In his inaugural address at the founding of the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury in 1862, Julius von Haast extolled Darwin’s theory of evolution as one of the greatest of all scientific advances. He sent a copy of the address to Darwin, thereby opening a friendly correspondence which continued for the rest of Darwin’s life. Haast named Mt Darwin, on the east of the Tasman Glacier, and Darwin was one of Haast’s sponsors as fellow of the Royal Society in 1867.
Julius von Haast, Geology of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland. Christchurch: 'Times Office', 1879. Leith Storage DMV
The author Samuel Butler was a 'New Zealander' for four years, returning to England in 1864 after sheep-farming at Mesopotamia, Canterbury. Although he utilized evolutionary science as a literary set-piece in his Erewhon and The Way of All Flesh, and generally endorsed evolution, Butler disliked natural selection. He was more in favour with Lamarck's or even Erasmus Darwin’s earlier proposals and wrote about these in his Evolution, Old & New. This is a later edition.
Samuel Butler, Evolution, Old & New. London: Jonathan Cape, 1921. Science QH 361 BZ533
In 1860, Captain Frederick W. Hutton (1836-1905) was introduced to the evolutionary theories of Darwin. In 1861, Hutton’s favourable review of Origin of Species in the Geologist (1861) impressed Darwin. By 1865, Hutton was in New Zealand and out of the army. He continued his advocacy of Darwin through his work in zoology and geology, and by teaching. He wrote some 600 publications during a busy career; this later edition of The Animals of New Zealand is but one.
F. W. Hutton and James Drummond, The Animals of New Zealand. Auckland: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1923. Science QL 340 HZ44
Thomas Cheeseman (1845-1923) is best known for his work at the Auckland Institute and Museum. He was stimulated to study local orchids by reading Darwin's book on orchids (he was the first botanist to collect plants on the Three Kings Islands). In the second edition, Darwin described the bizarre mode of fertilization indulged in by the Pterostylis trullifolia, stating: 'all that I have here said is taken from the admirable description given by Dr Cheeseman.' Their correspondence is at the Auckland Museum.
T. F. Cheeseman, Illustrations of the New Zealand Flora. Vol. II. Wellington: John Mackay, Government Printer, 1914. Special Collections QK 463 I946
The New Zealand-born Sir Walter Lawry Buller (1838-1906) became the leading ornithologist of New Zealand. The first edition of his magnificent work A History of the Birds of New Zealand (here on display) was published by subscription in 1873, with Darwin as a subscriber. Darwin later sponsored Buller as a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Walter L. Buller, A History of the Birds of New Zealand. London: John Van Voorst, 1873. Special Collections QL 693.5 BX56.