KARANGAHAKE the years of the gold 1875 -1935
To these Ohinemuri Hills,
Adventurous men once came,
With grim determination,
To stake a golden claim.
Prospecting Trig and Taukani,
The rocky gorges they explored
For reefs that bore from north to south
The lordly mountain's hoard.
From near and far the miners rallied,
Dank shafts and drives their dim terrain,
Where countless tons of quartz were quarried
With precious gold in gleaming vein.
Inspired by leadership of Mackay,
A camp of tents became a town, -
And lights lit up Karangahake,
While batteries thundered its renown.
Its sparkling waters lost their lustre,
As work went on by day and night;
And lives were risked, or maimed or muted,
As men braved death for prospects bright.
Yet danger drew them near together,
Communal life was at its best,
They shared both joys and sorrows deeply,
Played, worked and worshipped with a zest.
In 1905 the rail was opened,
The tunnel seemed a marvel then;
Five bridges spanned the roistering river,
The school's five hundred crowned the glen.
But where are now its asphalt foot paths?
The busy streets and lusty band?
Where are all the miners' candles,
The sirens and the tailings sand?
Grand names arise in retrospect
Of women and children too,
Who pioneered this settlement,
And loved the local view.
All honour to their memory -
The stalwarts of those rousing days,
When everyone faced wilderness
And sought a trail to blaze.
The scene maintains its grandeur,
And nature clothes the scars,
Beside this rugged mountain,
Wagons still can hitch to stars.
We need not seek a golden store,
With other bounties we are blessed;
All life is but a challenge
And our response the test.
N. S. C.