Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 8, October 1967


A well-known businessman, sportsman and prominent resident of Waihi for the past 62 years, Mr. John Whitehead died recently, in his 85th year. He was the second son of Mr. M. Whitehead of Thames, and was educated and spent his boyhood there, where his father was a pioneer businessman on the goldfields.

In 1905, Mr. Whitehead came to Waihi to manage his father's boot and shoe store, later owning the business himself. During his 44 years in business Mr. Whitehead specialised in good shoes for family wear and was renouned for the quality of the boots he supplied to the Waihi miners.

Keenly interested in all kinds of sport, he was at various times president of the Bowling Club, captain of the hockey team, captain of the Waihi Golf Club, of which he was made a life member, and also a keen trout fisherman. In community affairs he held the positions of both president and secretary of the Waihi Chamber of Commerce, and was also a Justice of the Peace. Mr. Whitehead's enthusiasm for motoring promoted him to being the first Waihi agent for the Auckland Automobile Association.

Always a keen gardener and lover of native trees, he was a great asset to the original Waihi Beautifying Society. More recently he presented his water lilies for beautifying Mine Lake where they have proved a wonderful and increasing attraction. His garden was full of unusual and rare shrubs and miniature rock plants.

Mr. Whitehead who retired in 1949 is survived by his wife, who always enthusiastically shared his interest in public affairs, gardening, and sport.