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Conchology Section
Auckland Museum Institute

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Newsletter - March 2005

Renewed contact: we are delighted to report that two former members, Eric and Aileen Edmunds, now of Mt Manganui, will be rejoining the Section.

President's report
At last month's meeting a good number of members attended to hear Vice President Fiona Thompson, assisted by our Treasurer, Dr Neville Hudson present an insight into the life and work of our highly respected Patron, Professor John Morton.
In recent years, on account of his age, Professor Morton has taken life more quietly although he has continued to lead a full life. Over the years he has touched the lives of many folk at Auckland University. His field trips are legendary and were often in a marine setting. He is also a respected layperson in the Anglican Church. Professor Morton has published a string of books and papers. His most recent work 'Seashore Ecology of New Zealand and the Pacific' was published late in 2004, a grand book to complete a life's work.

Next Meeting
Tuesday April 12th, 7:30pm in the Ranfurly Room at the Epsom Community Centre, 202 Gillies Ave. (corner of Kimberley Rd.) Park at the rear.

Topic: Open night! Reality Conchology - a fun quiz will be held with two Past Presidents to test your skills! Also, any member with an item of interest to share will be welcome to contribute ie: we have learned of Rosa's seven day bolt around the South Island and of her five shells collected therein (due to encounters with fiesty sealions and a 'tsunami' on the Westcoast), and of Peter's odyssey to Bland Bay, one of his favourite shelling spots - which yielded only three shells - his worst collecting trip there to date! Who can better these sorry tales? Come along and tell us about your worst shelling expedition! There will also be a short video shown by Rosa: 'In search of Madam President on the southern camper-van trail'.
Feature shell: HALIOTIDAE. Bring along a good selection of your specimens. Members present will vote for the best NZ. Haliotis iris (paua) and best WW Haliotis on display. The prize of a shell will be presented to the winner of each section.

Committee Meeting May 10th 6pm.
Committee Members are reminded to meet at 6pm sharp before the ordinary meeting. Our new President Mrs Heather Smith, will be returning from the South Island to chair the meeting. Heather will be the feature speaker at the monthly meeting at 7:30pm. and has asked for conchologists, a botanist, geologist, palaeontologist, marine biologist and an ornithologist to volunteer to attend and to support her talk.

Shell Auction
Saturday 30/July at the Albany Hall, Albany. Please put this date in your diary.

All Washed Up
What's your Beach-combing Story? Te Ara: Encyclopedia of NZ is calling for stories of 500 words in length, with a picture if possible, by the 30th April, about items found washed up on the coastline. re:

From the Clubs
Wellington Shell Club reports that a copy of Glenys Stace's book 'Just Under Water' has been donated to their library. Glenys is a Past President of the Section.
The Whangarei Shell Club report an interesting discussion took place at their last meeting on Janthinidae and the confusing variety of names for the shells, found in WW shell references.

Postscript from Florida
At Christmas a Volunteer at the Mote Marine Laboratory - Dolphin and Whale Hospital in Sarasota County, South-West Florida sent me a photograph of Bashful, a female rough toothed dolphin, Steno bredanensis, a small greyish-black species first described by Cuvier and usually found 100 miles off the Atlantic coast. During the severe hurricane season in 2004, Bashful had stranded in Florida in a pod of 37 dolphins. She was bought to the Mote on the 6th August 20 suffering from pneumonia and external wounds, with 6 other dolphins injured in the stranding.
Bashful made a full recovery and was released back into the Atlantic off the Space Coast on the 3rd March 2005 along with a male dolphin named Sleepy. A tracking device showed that by 11th March the two were a very long way off-shore: 670km ENE off Savannah, headed NE. They were together and using the upper 10-50m of the water column, making dives of up to 2-3 mins. Water depths in this region are more than 4,000m. The next day they were tracked 540 km off Charleston, South Carolina, headed North. However, by 25/March the two dolphins had completed a full circle and were 400km off Nags Head, North Carolina, but still quite a distance out to sea. See for more details.

For Exchange
From Mr. Richards Contreras Dulak of Chile: "I've been a shell collector for more than 20 years and interested in obtaining shells from your country. Do your members exchange shells? I can offer a large collection of land shells from Chile and Peru. Sincerely yours Dulack". Mr Richards Contreras email:

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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