The New Zealand Geographical Society had its origin in 1939 when a small group of Christchurch enthusiasts formed what later became the Canterbury branch of the society. In February 1944 a similar group was formed in Wellington and, towards the end of the year, the New Zealand Geographical Society was launched officially. Early in the following year branches were formed at Auckland and Dunedin. These were further increased by the formation of the Manawatu sub-branch in 1957.
The New Zealand Geographical Society exists “to promote and stimulate the study of geography — particularly New Zealand geography”. It promotes geographical studies about New Zealand and matters closely related to New Zealand's interests. Twice yearly the society publishes The New Zealand Geographer and Record of Proceedings. Selected articles from the former are issued in the society's Reprint Series. Some of the titles are: Literature and Landscape, Mulgan, A. E. (1946), and Land Utilization in Metropolitan Christchurch, Parks, F. J. (1946). In 1947 the council decided to publish, in book form, a series of New Zealand Geographical Society Special Publications. The first of these was published in 1950 and others will follow “as material of high quality and real interest becomes available”. In addition a “Research Series” is planned.
In 1955 the first triennial geographical conference was held at Auckland; and since then there have been two conferences, at Christchurch, 1958, and Palmerston North, 1961. In 1962 the council decided to establish an annual award of 10 guineas for the scholar obtaining the highest marks in geography in the University Entrance scholarship examinations.
The society's branches organise lectures, studies, and excursions; they also encourage members to prepare the results of their original researches for publication.
by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.