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DEATH OF SIR WALTER BULLER.

A NOTED ORNITHOLOGIST. • A cable message received ' here this morning brought news of the death today of Sir Walter Buller, at his daughter's residence, England. The late Sir Walter Buller, K.C.M.G., F.R ; S., was a native •of New Zealand, having been born at Newark,' Bay o Islands, on 9th October, 1838. He was a bon of the Rev. Jas. Buller, a veteran missionary, who was termed "The Bishop of the Wesleyan Church in New Zealand." He received his early training at Wesley College, Auckland, and On leaving, school entered the service of the Union Bank in that city. There ife is that ho won xapid. promotion, but his -health could nob stand the strain, and by medical advice he took a year's rest at Wellington, devot-ing himselt during that period principally to literary and scientific- pursuits, for which at an early age' he had displayed a natural taste. During t'liab period of N he enjoyed the intimate friendship of the lots Win. Swainson, a celebrated ornithologist* in his day, whose extensive collections in. natural history and, valuable stores of information were always at the command of his willing disciple. In 1861 he gained, the first prize for au essay op "The Moral Welfare of New Zealand," ' offered by the Auckland Association and open to irhe competition of all colonists under the age of 26.. In 1865 ho was awarded by, the, Royal Commksioners the silver medal of thb Now Zealand Exhibition for an "Essay on ihe Ornithology of New Zealand," which was published by command and afterwards reprinted, witlt other essays, in "The Transactions of the New Zealand Institute." Having acquired a complete knowledge of Maori, Mr. Buller was in 1855 appointled Government Interpreter at Wellington, and' whilst holding that office, he started, and conducted as editor, a weekly newspaper in the Maori language, called Te Karere o Poneke. In 1859 he was ap pointed Native Commiseioner for the. Southern Provinces, and: during his location in Christchurch undertook and earned through to a most successful issue the, experimental partition and individualnubtion of the Kadapoi Reserve. In 1861, by the desire- of Governor Browne, ho acted as honorary secretary of the Kokimarama conferencs of native chiefs, and prepared the proceedings for publication. In the 6amo year he was appointed editor of the Maori Messenger, a journal in English and Maori issued under the authority of Che Government, and he was likewise the promoter and first editor of the Maori Intelligencer, Early in 1862 he was appointed Resident Magistrate in the ManawatJU district, and in April, 1865, he was gazetted a Judge of the Native Land Court. During that distuibed period he performed many special services in connection witli native affairs, for which he received, on eight different occasions the official thanks of the Government!. As a volunterr on- Sir George Grey's staff' at the taking of the Weraioa pah he received the New Zealand war medal. ,On that occasion, declining the protection of a military escort), he carried the Governor's despatches at night through forty miles of the enemy's country, attended only by a Maori orderly — a piece of work for which he was mentioned in despatches. He was also an active contribute, to scientific literature, chiefly on his favourite subject of ornithology. He was elected successively a Fellow of the Linnaean, > Geological, and Royal Geographical Societies, and a corresponding mem--ber of the Zoological Society of London. In 1861 he succeeded Major Done as Resident Magistrate and Sheriffs of the Wanganui district, which appointment he held till 1871, when he obtained leave of absence and went to England as Secretary to the Agent-General. Before his return to tlhe colony three years later he was called to tSie Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, and had produced his well-known work, "A History of the Birds of New Zealand." He had' also taken so active a part in the Vienna Exhibition, thatiDr. Featherston, in his official report to the Government, declared that the great success which had attended the New Zealand court was mainly owing to his individual zeal and' energy. Every eppy of his beautifullyillustrated book was subscribed for ' before the last pager went to press, , and several crowned heads were among', the subscribers. The University of Tubingen conferred on him the Honorary Degree of' Doctor of Science, • and ' he received decorations from the Grartd Duke of Hesse, the King of Wurtemberg, and the_ Emperor of Austria, and tfbe London Daily Telegraph, in a leading article, described the author of the work as "The Audubon of New Zealand." In recognition of his liberal treatment by the colony, the author presented twenty-five copies of his classical work to the Government for distribution among colonial libraries, and donated to the Colonial Museum the whole of tho collection of birds on which the descriptive letterpress was founded. On hia return to New. Zealand in 1874, Dr. Buller was admitted a barrister and .solicitor of' the Supreme Court, and for some years devoted himself to the active practice of his profession. He devoted himself largely to native work, and on one occasion earned from Mr. Justice Gillie* the graceful tribute of being "the 6upreme advocate for the Maori race.'^ In 1875 ' Queen Victoria created Dr. Buller a C.M.G. in recognition of his .labours, and in 1876 he achieved the "blue riband of science" by his election as Fellow of the Royal Society. In the midst of professional business he continued to make contributions to zoological literature, besides publishing some interesting papers on Maori subjects, and in 1882, at the' invitation of the New Zealand Govern^ ment, he* prepared for official publication a "Manual of the Birds of New Zealand," illustrated by photo-litho-graphic prints' from the plates in his larger work. In 1883 he received frowi the New Zealand Exhibition the gold medal for Science and Literature. In 1886 he returned to England as New Zealand Commissioner at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, and for his services on that occasion wae promoted by her Majesty to the rank of K.C.M.G. In 1887 he wtis- awarded the Galleian medal, by the Royal University of Florence, and in 1888 he published a much larger edition of "The Birds of Sew Zealand." '.Besides' the honours already mentioned', Sir ' Walter Buller held the rank of in the Legion of Honour, besides being "Officier de i'lnsrtruction Pubhque" (Oold Palm of the Academy), Knight. fh-st-class of the Order of Francis Joseph of Austria, and Knight Commander of the Crown of Italy. For many years he represented the colony on toe perjsaneot governing bodr of the Imperial Institute. Sir Walter Buller returned to New Zealand for a few years in the earfy nineties, living at Wellinyton, hia country residence being near "Levin, on the shores of the beautiful Lake Papaitonga— "the Beauty of the South," as it has been called by the Maoris from time immemorial. Some teh or twelve years ago Sir Walter. Buller returned, once more to the Old Country, where he haa tinct devoted hinuell to scientific

and business pursuits. Lady Buller, -who -was a sister of Ma j or Maik and Captain Mair, N.Z.C-, died in 1891. Mr. Anderson, who is the business partner of Sir Walter Buller's son, Mr. Percy Bulleri received a 'cable message this morning stating that Sir.W alters illness had taken a critical turn, and shortly afterwards came a second message to announce that death had- occurred. ■ He had been in poor health during the past twelve -months, his heart being the main -cause of the trouble. Sir- Walter had been residing at POndtail Lodge, Fle§t, Hants, near London, ■with his only daughter, the wife of Major Madodfcs, who was on Lord Ranfurjy's staff when his Lordship was Governor of New" Zealand. The other members of the deceased gentleman's family, are two sons, Messrs. Leo and A. Percy Buller, both of whom left Wellington for London in March last, and were at Home when their father passed away.

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Bibliographic details

DEATH OF SIR WALTER BULLER., Evening Post, Volume LXXII, Issue 17, 20 July 1906

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DEATH OF SIR WALTER BULLER. Evening Post, Volume LXXII, Issue 17, 20 July 1906

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