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Conchology Section
Auckland Museum Institute

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Newsletter - February 2005

We welcome to the Section our new member, Ms. Judy Knowles, 2a Kohia Tce. Epsom ph. 09-630-8480 email:

President's Report
Thanks to all members who displayed trays of Turritellidae, Turridae and Terebridae at our last meeting, these shells were spectacular. We are pleased to report that the meeting raised $125 from the sale of donated shells on a trading table. We hope a trading table will become a regular event to help raise the $1500 needed for our gift to the Auckland Museum Institute's fundraising project. Thanks to members for their generosity.

Next Meeting
Tuesday March 8th, 7:30pm in the Ranfurly Room at the Epsom Community Centre, 202 Gillies Ave. (corner of Kimberley Rd.) Park at the rear.

Speakers: Fiona Thompson and Professor Jack Grant-Mackie will be speaking on the life and work of our Patron, Professor J. E. Morton.

Shell Family: The evening's shells for display are Tellinidae (Fiona has recently returned from a trip to Bangkok and the UK - with only one shell - an Asian Tellina that she salvaged from a seafood platter in Thailand!)

Doug Snook will be providing two door prizes. Thanks for your generosity, Doug.

Committee Members Please Note: The first committee meeting for 2005 is now re-scheduled for May 10th. 6pm - it's also a BYO dinner, prior to our monthly meeting at the Epsom Community Centre.

An Important Date For Your Diary
It's our 75th. birthday this year! The Conchology celebrates its birthday on the weekend Friday 16/Sept to Sunday 18/Sept. The draft programme includes a get together at the Epsom Community Centre on Friday evening, viewing shell collections Saturday and Sunday morning, and field trips for the low tides. Saturday evening at the Museum with a guest speaker, small auction from Miss Joan Coles collection, display of memorabilia and Sunday afternoon at our Epsom meeting room for a slide show, reminiscences and shell displays and sales. These venues - and good weather! - are already booked. Watch this space! More details to follow! Please forward the loan of any memorabilia concerning the Section over the past seventy-five years to the 75th Anniversary Committee: Mrs. Margaret Morley, Mrs. Nancy Smith, and Mrs Glenys Stace.

Field Trip Report
Due to the menacing swell from two cyclones in the Pacific, Saturday 19/Feb was not the best day for viewing marine life at Goat Island in the glass bottom boat at Leigh north of Auckland, and the weather did not bode well for a sailing when our three members met up at Leigh. However, our intrepid yachtie Richard, with a foot planted firmly on the end of the gang plank, cajoled the skipper until he finally relented. He dismissed his paid crew member and took Margaret, Rosa and Richard for a circumnavigation of Goat Is. Margaret (also a yachting legend, having notched up a sailing adventure down to the Auckland Islands) was amazed at the exposed geology of the island and its huge sea caves - both viewed only from seaward. We were delighted at the profusion of fish species living in the marine reserve and visible through the glass, even on a day when the water was considered to have poor visibility. The boat trip was a wonderful experience and we will organise a second field trip to the reserve in the near future.

From The Clubs
Whangarei Shell Club is celebrating it's 40th birthday this year! The club meets in the first week of the month. They report that some very nice shells from Bland Bay, Northland were exhibited at their January meeting.
Wellington Shell Club meets on the 4th Thursday of the month. In March they are organising a field trip to Green Point, south of Titahi Bay.

Marine Department Field Trip
Auckland Museum staff, Tony and Jenny Enderby, Margaret Morley, and Glenys Stace accompanied the visiting American scholar Larry (an expert on pelagic 'jellies') to the Mokohinau Island group off Northland. The weather was so calm we even jumped overboard in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf to collect some jellyfish specimens as they drifted past the boat. Other highlights of the trip: seeing a Brydes whale closeup, a 3 meter Hammerhead shark, schools of dolphins and numerous floating penguins.
The Mokohinau Islands on the edge of the continental shelf are a spectacular site to visit (we held a field trip to search for land snails there last year). The vertical walls of the dive site were tightly packed with colourful life, in a manner rather like goods on a supermarket shelf - only far more interesting. Of note were the spectacular nudibranchs Tambja verconis and Jason mirabilis, seen by the divers. This report by Margaret Morley.

Shellacious Islands
What you need to know about the popular shelling areas of Sanibel and Captiva Islands on hte Gulf Coast of Florida. These islands are actually made out of shell deposits and have top ranking for their shelling potential because of their geography. Sanibel 'does the tiwst' as it parades along the coastline among a string of other more orderly, straight and narrow islands. The east-west torque of Sanibel's south end acts like a shovel scooping up all the sea shells that the Gulf imports from the Caribbean.
Check out the website for Sanibel and Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce:
This report forwarded by a shell collector in Florida who complains of a bad back caused by doing the 'Sanibel stoop'. Oh what a delicious pain!!

Auction of Joan Coles' Shell Collection
Patricia Langford advises that the date for this auction will be announced in the next newsletter.

Library News
The Library is on the move again due to the re-building programme at the Auckland Museum. Please check details with Gladys ph. 09-624-2823 until further notice.

Tony and Jenny Enderby are calling for general articles and also articles for a feature section about the late Miss Joan Coles in the next edition of our POIRIERIA Journal. All queries: ph 09-422-6127 or email:

Website Officer
Peter poortman - NB. correct email is:


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