Gilbert Edward Archey

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Sir Gilbert Edward Archey CBE (9 August 1890 – 20 October 1974) was a zoologist, ethnologist, World War I officer, and museum director from New Zealand. He wrote one of the major works on moas, based on his own field work and collection. During his life he published numerous articles and described many new species of animals.

Early life and education[edit]

Archey was born in York, England in 1890 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1892 with his parents Thomas Archey and Sarah Triffitt. He graduated from Canterbury University College, Christchurch, with the degree of M.A. with honours in zoology in 1913.[1]


After a period teaching at Nelson College, he was Assistant Curator of the Canterbury Museum from 1914 to 1923, where he studied and published papers on numerous New Zealand fauna. He was then appointed Director of the Auckland Institute and Museum in 1924, and was personally responsible for getting funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 1935.[1]

In the First World War, he served in the New Zealand Field Artillery, rising to the rank of captain. In the Second World War he was attached to the British Military Administration in Malaya with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.[1]

He was on the New Zealand University Grants Committee, 1948–51, 1954–60, and on the Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand, being president from 1941 to 1942. He was a member of the Maori Purposes Fund Board, the Waitangi National Trust Board, and the Auckland branch of the Royal Society, and the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council.[1] He retired from the Auckland Museum early in 1964. His publications, apart from contributions to learned journals, include The Moa, a Study of the Dinornithiformes (1941), South Sea Folk (1937 and 1949); Sculpture and Design, an Outline of Maori Art (1955); and Whaowhia: Maori art and its artists (1977).[2]


He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1919, for services in connection with military operations in France and Flanders,[3] and promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1958 Queen's Birthday Honours.[4] In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.[5] He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 1963 Queen's Birthday Honours.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Morton, John. "Archey, Gilbert Edward". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  2. ^ R. M. S. Taylor, "Obituary: Gilbert Edward Archey (C.B.E., D.Sc., F.R.S.N.Z.) 1890-1974" in Journal of the Polynesian Society, pp. 336-340. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  3. ^ "No. 31684". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 May 1953. p. 15457. 
  4. ^ "No. 41406". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1958. pp. 3553–3555. 
  5. ^ "Official jubilee medals". Evening Post. 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "No. 43012". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 June 1963. pp. 4831–4833.