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Bachelor of Science 1977

Brian Gill

Completed a degree in zoology at Massey in the mid-1970s. After studying birds at other universities he worked for over 30 years as a natural history curator at Auckland Museum. Details of his career in ornithology are given in a new book, “The Unburnt Egg: More Stories of a Museum Curator” (Awa Press), published in July. It contains 14 self-contained stories that refer to various natural history specimens Brian came to know during his curatorial career. History, personalities and biology are woven in to make engaging tales for anyone with an interest in nature and museums. One of the stories is devoted to shining cuckoos, their parasitic breeding and their remarkable annual migration to tropical islands in Melanesia. Another gives the background to three of the few known whole moa eggs, including the “unburnt egg” that survived a tragic house-fire in New Plymouth. One aim of the book is to cast light on the work of natural history curators and explain the value and relevance of museum collections. In the Introduction Brian makes brief mention of his years at Massey and how the science lecturers and their courses stimulated his sense of wonder for biology and the natural world.