Auckland War Memorial Museum tribute to entomologist Keith Wise
Date: 5 April 2012
Image: Keith Wise (right) in 1996 with John Early who succeeded him as Curator of Entomology.
The board and staff at Auckland War Memorial Museum are saddened at the death of Keith Wise - the Museum’s first Curator of Entomology who had an impressive association with the institution for more than 50 years.
Born 1 June 1926, Keith Wise passed away at the end of March 2012 at his Auckland home.
He was the Museum’s Associate Entomologist in 1954 and again in 1957-1961 before becoming the first full time Curator of Entomology in 1965.
The Bishop Museum in Honolulu recognised his ability and enthusiasm and took him on as part of their programme of expeditions and insect research in Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand in the 1960s.
Keith Wise made a significant contribution to the development of the Museum’s entomology collection of 300,000+ specimens. He continued research on springtails commenced while working for the Bishop Museum. This resulted in a number of scientific publications which continue to be referenced (particularly the Antarctic springtails), as are the specimens he collected and which are kept in the Auckland Museum.
Keith Wise was instrumental in getting the Museum’s insect collection properly established and stored, and for many years he was editor of the Museum’s scholarly publication Records of the Auckland Institute and Museum.
His research strengths included aquatic insects particularly caddisflies (Trichoptera); lacewings (Neuroptera); tiger beetles on North Island sandy beaches; Monarch butterfly migration and overwintering; invertebrates of forest remnants in Northland; and insect dispersal across oceans, between islands and major land masses.
Keith’s contribution to entomology in New Zealand has been recognised by other colleagues who have named species after him, for example the the shore fly Zalea wisei, and the genus of porina moths Wiseana.
Since his retirement in 1991 he continued his deep association with the Museum by becoming a Research Associate. Over recent years he worked to complete a monograph on the lacewings and alderflies of New Zealand.
To mark his contribution to research and scholarship, the Museum made him an Associate Emeritus and awarded him an Auckland Museum Medal. His presence will be sadly missed.
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