As I write, Dr Tom Trnski is heading off once again to the Kermadecs in the interests of science. Marking this moment of further exploration, it is a professional pleasure for me to introduce this Bulletin which features the results of the Kermadec Biodiversity Expedition in 2011.
In a real sense, Auckland War Memorial Museum’s collections are a living, active resource. Contemporary science continues to be supported by the items held here. Each year, ongoing research and discovery shed fresh light on ecological contexts, species, environments and interrelationships. Historic collections have an important role to play as a baseline against which to compare more recent finds and evidence. Excitingly, new species continue to emerge and help to challenge or affirm earlier orthodoxies.
Founded in 1852, Auckland Museum now holds a wealth of historic collections. Many items are unique to Aotearoa New Zealand; the collections as a whole are of substantial international significance. They span war records, human history and natural sciences. Down the years the Museum’s curators, staff and volunteers have developed the strength of the collections. Documentation continues to evolve as researchers, scholars and members of the public share knowledge and extend understanding.
The strengths of the resources held by this institution are especially notable in fields relevant to the Kermadecs. Voyages to the islands coupled with research and field activity have been a golden thread for more than a century. Thomas Cheeseman, the Museum’s curator/Director for some 50 years, around the turn of the 20th century, made a spectacular personal contribution to the scientific authority of the collections. In this generation we salute him but he has not been alone. Many others have made a wide range of contributions, and they continue to do so.
The Kermadec Islands are a natural laboratory for research due to their isolation and limited impact of human extraction of marine resources. These conditions are not available anywhere else in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Auckland Museum’s strategy for developing the international significance of the collections depends on active research, scholarship and contemporary applications of science. As the latest expedition heads north, I commend this Bulletin and the reports that it presents.
Roy Clare CBE
Auckland War Memorial Museum
5 October 2015