Story: Geological exploration

Instructions to field staff

Instructions to field staff

These instructions to field staff were written in 1920 by Percy Gates Morgan. He was director of the New Zealand Geological Survey from 1911 to 1926. Dedicated to his work, he set high standards for his staff.

Below is the full text:

‘The true geologist will never spare himself when his work is in question. He must be prepared to work long hours, to endure cold and heat, and wet and hunger, and at times risk life and limb (though not without consideration of the advantage to be gained). He should allow no difficulty that can be overcome to stop him. Streams must be forded, precipices climbed, tent and clothes and food swagged many miles up and down stream, through bush, up mountain sides, etc. …

All available time should be employed in field work. For this there are no fixed hours. The time in the field should be limited only by daylight, weather, and the physical ability of the members of the party.

If members of the party wish to work only regular hours, they must be prepared to cook their own meals, etc, the cook being provided in order to increase the time available for fieldwork.

The geologist ought to work at night on his notes and maps so far as he is physically able. Wet days must be employed on plotting and on notes. Some time may be devoted to private correspondence, etc, but the geologist must limit his hours of recreation…

In settled roaded country bicycles may be used with great advantage, but long rides should be avoided, especially in hot weather. It would be generally be well to shift camp (or erect a flying camp) if work is more than one hour’s bicycle ride away, provided that the work in question will occupy more than one day.’

New Zealand Geological Survey archives. Reproduced in the New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics 8, no. 6 (1965): 1,260–1,261

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How to cite this page:

Simon Nathan, 'Geological exploration - Mapping, volcanoes and geophysics: 1900–1965', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 June 2021)

Story by Simon Nathan, published 12 Jun 2006