SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT
With the establishment of the Geological Survey, the Government assumed an important function. Its direct interest in science, through its own laboratories and establishments, has continued to increase over the years and is now in the nature of an essential national investment. This increase was, naturally, both in depth and in breadth, leading to the formation of new institutions and to changing patterns of administration. In particular, from the turn of the century, various bodies and individuals, of whom G. M. Thomson was one of the most effective, pressed for a great increase in research, to be coordinated under a Minister with special responsibility for scientific affairs. The first tentative move made by Parliament was the establishment of a Board of Science and Art (1913), charged with the duty of recommending the printing or reprinting of certain scientific papers. But even this limited responsibility was further restricted by the requirement that such established publications as the Journal of Agriculture and the Bulletins of the Geological Survey and the Dominion Museum were not to come under its purview. Its chief contribution was the publication of a new journal, The New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology and the issuing of a bulletin series.
The First World War saw the Privy Council (1916) urging the New Zealand Government to follow its lead and take steps to examine the possibility of State encouragement to science, following which (1919) a select committee recommended the adoption of a scheme put forward by the New Zealand Institute and modified by the National Efficiency Committee, centred upon a Board of Science and Industry. Nothing, however, was done, although those concerned about the unsatisfactory position continued to press the Government for further action. This finally took the form of an invitation to Sir H. Frank Heath, Secretary to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (England), to visit New Zealand and advise the Government on a suitable organisation for promoting the application of science to industry. At the same time the Government had the advantage of a memorandum (1925) from Sir Ernest Rutherford on Scientific and Industrial Research.