Julius Haast: towards a new appreciation of his life and work
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Little is known about Julius Haast's life prior to his arrival in New Zealand in 1858 at the age of 36. Without knowing something about his background, it is difficult to explain his life in New Zealand. This work pursues a historical context that can more fully explain Haast's remarkably active career in New Zealand. The geological survey of the Canterbury Province, the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury and the Canterbury Museum represent Haast's major contributions to science and culture in New Zealand. Julius Haast carefully engineered his own transition from geologist to museum director within the social and political climate of Canterbury in order to remain in Christchurch where he raised his family. Heinrich von Haast's book about his father has been the accepted source of information about his father since its publication in 1948. Until recently, scholars have failed to explore beyond the scope of von Haast's biography. There is now a trend toward recognising Julius Haast as having made significant contributions to many aspects of science and society.