For its wide systematic coverage as well as its historical and scientific value, the Hudson Collection is perhaps the best private insect collection ever made in New Zealand. It contains several thousand dry mounted insects collected mostly by George Vernon Hudson (1867-1946), but also by his wife, his daughter, and by other entomologists of that time.
The period covered by the collection ranges from 1881, when Hudson arrived in Wellington with his family, until the year he died.
The collection is housed in nine cabinets made of kauri timber, which altogether hold 162 glass-topped wooden drawers, lined with cork covered in paper. Specimens are either pinned through the body or, in the case of beetles and small insects, glued to cardboard strips which are also pinned.
The collection reflects Hudson’s strong interest in moths, butterflies, and beetles, but also contains many specimens of other groups such as cicadas, weta, grasshoppers, flies, wasps, and aquatic insects. It was the basis for a number of important books published by Hudson and his wife from 1892 to 1950.
Hudson did not sympathise with professional and government entomologists, being quite outspoken about his feelings. Perhaps for that reason, he intended to bequeath his collection to the British Museum. However, we owe thanks to John T Salmon (1910-99), an enthusiastic entomologist employed by the then Dominion Museum, for persuading Hudson to change his mind and bequeath his collection to the Dominion Museum. It was received on 28 May 1946.
The Hudson Collection is extremely valuable not only as a research and reference collection but also as an early database of the New Zealand insect fauna, especially of the Wellington region. Today, it is used by conservation entomologists to compare the status of present day fauna with that of a century ago, to ascertain changes due to modification of the environment.
Ramsay, G W. 2000. 'Obituaries. John Tenison Salmon CBE, NZ 1990 Medal, D.Sc, FRSNZ, FRPS, FRES.' The New Zealand Entomologist 22. pp99-102.
Sharell, R. 1982. New Zealand insects and their story. Revised edition. Auckland:Collins. pp205-217.