The first New Zealand Diary by Ferdinand von Hochstetter, founder of the Natural History Museum in Vienna, is now published.
The geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter (1829 -1884) is only one of the central figures in the history of Austrian science. His stay in New Zealand as part of the circumnavigation of the world by the frigate Novara (1857-1859) made a decisive contribution to his career on his return and led to his appointment as the first director of the largest natural history museum in the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Natural History Museum in Vienna.
This stay was to have a decisive influence on Hochstetter’s scientific thinking and thus also on his later career. A total of five diaries document his stay in New Zealand. The first diary, the so-called Auckland Diary, covers the period from January 8 to March 5, 1859 and has now been published by two NHM scientists – geologist Mathias Harzhauser and museum historian Stefanie Jovanovic-Kruspel. Hochstetter’s diary manuscript is thus being made available to the public for the first time. Thanks to funding from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the texts have been transcribed verbatim and extensively annotated by various scholars. The book is in German but includes English abstracts of all the articles.