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Newsletter - September 2014

August Meeting
Dr. Wilma Blom, Marine Invertebrates Curator at Auckland Museum, spoke to us about the 'Drier collection'. This vast collection of NZ and Australian shells had been housed at the Museum of Vancouver for over 80 years. Over time the Museum of Vancouver had lost all their staff with molluscan knowledge, and they decided that a more suitable home should be found for the collection. So a few years ago they offered it to Auckland Museum.

Wilma travelled to Vancouver to assess the collection, having been told that it contained about 500,000 shells that were collected in NZ & Australia some time between 1910 and 1920. The size of the collection was astounding - 280 huge boxes, each containing 2-6 drawers of shell lots. These were stacked floor to ceiling along the walls of the Museum store room. It was not possible to do a complete inventory in just a few weeks, so Wilma did random sampling to calculate that the collection contained about 20,000 lots. The lots were stored in a style reminiscent of Powell, and each lot contained many specimens - sometimes in the hundreds. The data labels contained the collect locality, but not the collect date - this was the style in those days. Wilma found that the collection also incorporated the 'Augustus Hamilton' collection.

An acquisition proposal was subsequently accepted, and preparations were then made to bring the collection to Auckland. This was a huge task. All of the collection lots were assessed to sort out the lots that would be of most scientific value. In the end about 4700 lots were packed into two large crates and shipped to NZ. The crates arrived early in July/2014 and went straight into the freezer to kill any pests. Treatment was to be completed in mid August, and the collection could then start to be integrated into the Auckland Museum collection.

As the Drier collection data contained no dates, Wilma decided to do some research on Dr Drier to see if she could determine more accurately the time period in which the shells were collected. Her internet searches produced a surprising amount of information on him. There were copies of official documents and numerous newspaper articles that allowed her to trace his activities and travels within New Zealand and abroad. Wilma was amazed at how much old information had been digitised, and gained renewed appreciation of the power of the internet. She also found his Auckland work and home addresses on the back of some of his shell labels which he had made by cutting up pages from his medical practice note paper. Coincidently, Dr Drier's old home in Vancouver is located midway between Wilma's B&B and the Vancouver Museum, and she walked past it daily.

Wilma managed to compile a basic biography of Dr Drier, and determined that most of his shell collecting in New Zealand was done between 1926 and 1929. He became a member of the Auckland Museum Institute in 1926 or 1927, and would no doubt have been mentored by Powell. Dr Drier moved with his family to Vancouver in 1930 and donated his collection to the Vancouver Museum in 1932. He died of pancreatic cancer in 1941.

Also at the meeting ...
Heather showed us photos of her trip to the various Australian Shell Shows earlier this year. She also expressed concern about damage to the beaches there, apparently caused by silt produced by local agriculture and industry. In particular this had adversely affected one of her favourite shelling spots - Hideaway Reef, about 4km north of Dingo Beach. Most shell species seem to have disappeared as a result of the silting, but surprisingly a few clam species remained unaffected. One of those species is shaped like a ball and does not attach itself to anything - it spends its life being rolled around by the water.

Andrew Spurgeon brought in a jar of live Nassarius burchardi which he had collected recently in the Waipu estuary. That is a range extension for this recent invader. Previously it had only been found in the Whangarei and Waitemata Harbours.

Peter demonstrated his new Ultrasonic device by cleaning Martins encrusted mystery Paua (see last month's newsletter).

Next Meeting Tuesday 9th September
Epsom Community Centre, 202 Gillies Avenue, Epsom at 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm). Supper provided.

The focus family will be Volutidae.
Members are asked to bring in Volutes for show, and especially any Volutes that may need their identity verified.
Also, Michael Barlow might report back on his recent trip to the Gould Reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Joan Limpus
We were saddened to hear of the death of Joan Limpus. Allan, her husband, is the Australian Volute authority who wrote the 'NZ Volute Iconography', and other Volute books. They had been married for over 60 years.
We send sympathy to Allan and his family and know that Joan will be greatly missed.

Shell Auction Saturday 25th October (Labour Weekend)
Our annual Shell Auction will be held on Labour Weekend at the Albany Hall, 3-21 Library Lane, Albany.
Enclosed is the auction schedule. This year there are 232 lots.
Proxy bids should be emailed to Peter Poortman at petermwp@gmail.com or posted to 26 Pendlebury Street, Green Bay, Auckland 0604.

New Zealand Shell Show 2015
This will be held on 16-18/January/2015 at the Petone Club in Udy Street, Petone, Lower Hutt.
Show classes, rules & registration form, and transport & accommodation information are now available from the Wellington Shell Club website at www.wellingtonshellclub.org.nz.

Poirieria Magazine
We welcome contributions to our club magazine "Poirieria".
Anything related to shells or collecting would be greatly appreciated - Eg. shelling trips/finds, personal observations/tips, scientific research, historic anecdotes, a notable washup, etc.
Please email articles to Peter Poortman at petermwp@gmail.com, or post to 26 Pendlebury Street, Green Bay, Auckland 0604.

Club Library
We have an extensive collection of books, magazines, and scientific publications available, as well as a biological microscope.

Other News

. If anyone has old or recent Poirieria magazines for give-away then please contact our Librarian, Luen Jones, on 09 8345195 or wildhoney@slingshot.co.nz.

. Items of interest for the monthly newsletter are always welcome - email to petermwp@gmail.com, or post to Peter Poortman, 26 Pendlebury Street, Green Bay, Auckland 0604.

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