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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.


BATES, Daniel Cross


Clergyman and meteorologist.

Daniel Cross Bates was born on 9 June 1868 at Spalding, England, the son of N. Bates, a farmer, of Spalding. He was educated in England, first at Spalding Grammar School and then at Salisbury Cathedral School and St. Augustine's College. Later he spent some time in Australia and while there became a minister of the Anglican Church. He was ordained at Newcastle in 1892 and came to New Zealand in 1898, being for some time vicar at All Saints' Church, Invercargill. During 1902 Bates served with the 9th New Zealand Contingent in the Boer War, attaining the rank of Chaplain-Colonel. He was present at Vereeniging when peace was signed in May 1902 and was awarded the Queen's Medal for service in South Africa. On his return to New Zealand he retained his interest in military affairs and was later awarded the Officers' Territorial Decoration and the Long Service Medal.

Because of an illness contracted in South Africa, one of the more serious symptoms being a loss of voice, Bates was obliged to retire from the church in 1903. In the same year he joined the staff of the Colonial Museum relieving the director, A. Hamilton, of the large amount of climatological work which was at that time a museum responsibility. Weather forecasting was then carried out by the Weather Reporting Office under the direction of Captain R. A. Edwin. In 1906, however, Edwin, in addition to his forecasting duties, assumed responsibility for the climatological work and Bates became his assistant. He succeeded Edwin as Director of the Meteorological Office in 1909 and served in this capacity until his retirement in 1927. During this period he was also for a number of years the Director of Meteorology for the Army, being specially concerned with the meteorological requirements of military aviation. On retirement he was appointed consulting meteorologist to the New Zealand Government.

In addition to his meteorological interests Bates also participated actively in the life of the community. He played a considerable part in the discussions leading to the establishment of the Wellington Zoological Gardens at Newtown in 1905. He also helped to found the New Zealand Numismatic Society and was its first president. His time was also freely available to seamen and others connected with shipping. In this connection he was an honorary member of the Merchant Service Guild and the Marine Engineers' Guild, and gave valuable service to both these organisations. In his later years, although he took occasional services for the Church of England, he was also interested in the Greek Orthodox Church and became their pastor for a time. He died at Wellington on 7 August 1954.

Although Bates did not have the extensive technical training possessed by those meteorologists who followed him, he was a colourful personality and did much to interest other scientists and the general public in meteorological work. He also served the community in a great many ways and is probably the best remembered of New Zealand's early weathermen.

by Jack William Hutchings, B.A., M.SC., Senior Principal Meteorologist, Meteorological Service, Wellington.

  • Evening Post, Aug 1954 (Obit).


Jack William Hutchings, B.A., M.SC., Senior Principal Meteorologist, Meteorological Service, Wellington.