Robert Speight (2 October 1867 – 8 September 1949) was a notable New Zealand geologist, university professor and museum curator.
Speight was born in Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, England in 1867. When he was about 12, his family emigrated to New Zealand. His father, a strong disciplinarian, was a teacher at the school at Tai Tapu, which is a rural village some 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) south of the Christchurch suburb of Halswell. Robert Speight gained a scholarship at Christchurch Boys' High School and it is said that his daily travels along the foot of the Port Hills, an extinct shield volcano, raised his interest in volcanology. His father transferred to St. Albans School and the family moved to Christchurch, and Speight continued his education at Canterbury College. He graduated in 1888 with a Bachelor of Arts, and in 1889 with a Master of Arts with first class honours in mathematics.
Stockton-on-Tees is a market town in the unitary authority of Stockton on Tees within the ceremonial County of Durham, England. The town has a population of 85,000, with a population of around 196,000 in the wider area, the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees, according to 2017 estimates by ONS UK.
Durham is a historic city and the county town of County Durham in North East England. The city lies on the River Wear, to the south-west of Sunderland, south of Newcastle upon Tyne and to the north of Darlington. Founded over the final resting place of St Cuthbert, its Norman cathedral became a centre of pilgrimage in medieval England. The cathedral and adjacent 11th-century castle were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The castle has been the home of Durham University since 1832. HM Prison Durham is also located close to the city centre. City of Durham is the name of the civil parish.
Tai Tapu is a small town adjacent to the Halswell River and nestled in the Port Hills, located 6 km east of the town of Lincoln and 18 km south west of Christchurch in the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island. State Highway 75 passes through the centre of the village, connecting Christchurch with Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula.
Speight took a teaching position at his secondary school and studied science part-time under Frederick Wollaston Hutton, graduating in 1891 with a Bachelor of Science. When Hutton retired his teaching position from Canterbury College in 1903, Speight succeeded him as a lecturer, while retaining his teaching position at Boys' High for some more years.
Captain Frederick Wollaston Hutton, FRS, was an English-New Zealand scientist who applied the theory of natural selection to explain the origins and nature of the natural history of New Zealand. An army officer in early life, he then had an academic career in geology and biology. He became one of the most able and prolific nineteenth century naturalists of New Zealand.
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years, or a person holding such a degree.
Speight was appointed assistant curator of Canterbury Museum in 1911, and was full director from March 1914 to November 1935.During his career, Speight published 130 papers and reports, which span a wide area of earth science. Geographically, he mostly published Canterbury topics, but also the Kermadec Islands and the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands (which he visited in 1907). His papers on past worldwide climate changes and their causes gained him international attention, and he was elected to fellowships of the Geological Society of America and the Geological Society of London. He was also a fellow of the New Zealand Institute, and was the organisation's president from 1933 for two years and during that time, the name was changed to Royal Society of New Zealand in reference to the Royal Society based in London.
The Canterbury Museum is a museum located in the central city of Christchurch, New Zealand, in the city's Cultural Precinct. The museum was established in 1867 with Julius von Haast – whose collection formed its core – as its first director. The building is registered as a "Historic Place – Category I " by Heritage New Zealand.
Canterbury is a region of New Zealand, located in the central-eastern South Island. The region covers an area of 44,508 square kilometres (17,185 sq mi), and is home to a population of 624,000.
The Kermadec Islands are a subtropical island arc in the South Pacific Ocean 800–1,000 km (500–620 mi) northeast of New Zealand's North Island, and a similar distance southwest of Tonga. The islands are part of New Zealand, 33.6 km2 (13.0 sq mi) in total area and uninhabited, except for the permanently manned Raoul Island Station, the northernmost outpost of New Zealand.
The New Zealand Institute awarded Speight the Hector Memorial Medal in 1921, at the time its highest award.He was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal in 1935.
The Hector Medal is a science award given by the Royal Society of New Zealand in memory of Sir James Hector to researchers working in New Zealand. It is awarded annually in rotation for different sciences – currently there are three: chemical sciences; physical sciences; mathematical and information sciences. It is given to a researcher who "has undertaken work of great scientific or technological merit and has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the particular branch of science." It was previously rotated through more fields of science – in 1918 they were: botany, chemistry, ethnology, geology, physics, zoology. For a few years it was awarded biennially – it was not awarded in 2000, 2002 or 2004.
The King George V Silver Jubilee Medal is a commemorative medal, instituted to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the accession of King George V.
On 4 January 1899, he married Ruth Mary Seager at St Michael's Church in central Christchurch.His wife was the sister of Rose Elizabeth Seager, the mother of the writer Ngaio Marsh. Ruth and Robert Speight's three children all went to live overseas, so after his wife died in 1941 his life was lonely. He died at St George's Hospital on 8 September 1949, aged 81.
The Church of St Michael and All Angels is an Anglican church in Christchurch, New Zealand. The church building at 84 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch, is registered as Category I by Heritage New Zealand. Its freestanding belfry is registered separately.
Christchurch Central City is the geographical centre and the heart of Christchurch, New Zealand. It is defined as the area within the four avenues and thus includes the densely built up central city, some less dense surrounding areas of residential, educational and industrial usage, and green space including Hagley Park, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and the Barbadoes Street Cemetery.
Dame Ngaio Marsh, born Edith Ngaio Marsh, was a New Zealand crime writer and theatre director. She was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1966.
The University of Canterbury is New Zealand's second oldest university.
The suburb of Cashmere rises above the southern end of the city of Christchurch in New Zealand's South Island.
The University of Canterbury Drama Society Inc (DramaSoc) is a student performing-arts club at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. It began in 1921, and enjoyed a reputation as one of New Zealand's leading theatre groups from the 1920s to the 1960s, with notable alumni including Dame Ngaio Marsh and Sam Neill. With the exception of some brief pauses, the club has continued to be the primary non-musical theatre society of the university, and remains active today, with a membership numbering from dozens to hundreds and typically staging at least two or three productions each year.
Leonard Cockayne FRS is regarded as New Zealand's greatest botanist and a founder of modern science in New Zealand.
Sir Gilbert Edward Archey was a New Zealand zoologist, ethnologist, World War I officer, and museum director. He wrote one of the major works on the moa, based on his own field work and collection. He also published numerous articles and described many new animal species.
The Ngaio Marsh Theatre will be open from July 2019, within Haere-roa, the University of Canterbury Students’ Association building at 90 Ilam Road in Christchurch, New Zealand. The theatre is available for short-term or long-term hire. Full AV and technical facilities and orchestra pit are available. A retractable seating structure allows for capacity of 330 seated and 1000 standing.
Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes, usually known as Sir Heaton Rhodes, was a New Zealand politician and lawyer.
Raymond Robert Forster was a New Zealand arachnologist and museum director.
Alfred Walter Averill was the second Anglican Archbishop of New Zealand, from 1925 to 1940. He was also the fifth Anglican Bishop of Auckland whose episcopate spanned a 25-year period during the first half of the 20th century.
Colonel George John Smith (1862–1946) was a New Zealand Member of Parliament for the City of Christchurch electorate in the South Island, and later a member of the Legislative Council.
Henry Thomas Joynt Thacker was a doctor, New Zealand Member of Parliament and Mayor of Christchurch.
Oliver Duff was a New Zealand writer and editor. In 1939 he was founding editor of the New Zealand Listener, a widely read magazine with a national monopoly on publishing radio and television programs.
Sir Malcolm McRae Burns was a New Zealand agricultural scientist, university lecturer and administrator.
Robin Wayne Carrell is a New Zealand-born medical researcher.
Viola Helen Macmillan Brown was an artist from Christchurch, New Zealand.
Henry Eamonn Connor was a New Zealand botanist and science administrator. He was an expert on New Zealand poisonous plants and the taxonomy and reproductive biology of New Zealand grasses, and served as the director of the Botany Division of the New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
Phyllis Dagmar Drummond Bethune was a New Zealand artist.