Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 22, June 1978
1878 – 1978
The Centennial Year of Waihi. Four generations old. Still infantile by Old World standards, but by New Zealand standards "getting on".
Waihi is the most important place in New Zealand, if not the world, to those who live there and despite the trials and tribulations that are forced upon us by the outside world it is what happens at home that affects and interests us most.
About fifteen years ago it was appreciated that today's news is tomorrow's history and so the Historical Societies of Waihi and Paeroa were created to try and record about 85 years of history which had passed without anyone regarding it as anything else but "today's news".
Two World Wars, economic depressions and recessions, six reigning monarchs, the transition from wheelbarrow to space machines, educational revolutions, men injured and killed, homes and families created, periods of prohibition, industrial strikes, the creation of farms and new local industries - how can these events, both foreign and domestic, possibly be jigsawed into the life of Waihi over the last century? The short answer is that it wasn't possible, but in fact, it did happen.
From McCombie and Lee setting off from Waitekauri in 1878 to the exploratory reworking of Martha Hill in 1978 is a hundred year journey - a journey that came via a hundred miles of underground tunnels, the removal from underground of 1 1/3 million tons of ore, the recovery of £28,000,000 of bullion, and many premature, dust induced deaths. This journey also encompassed four generations of living in the one town, and each generation leaving its mark in its own way according to its needs and the social mores of its times and the pity of it all is that no one thought of those times as being important enough to write down for we latecomers to appreciate. Let us not make the same error, armed with hindsight as we are now.
And what of the next 100 years? The story of any town is the story of its people, and people generally do their best for themselves and their community - within the knowledge of their times - but this time let it be recorded by the people making the history!
Editor's Notes: I wish to thank those who have contributed articles. Sometimes items submitted do not appear in the Journal immediately. This does not mean the item is not wanted but occasionally it is necessary to hold articles over due to lack of space or so that they may be published in a following Journal together with items or pictures relating to a similar subject. Any items forwarded direct to me P.O.Box 92, Paeroa, will be acknowledged. Items for publication may also be handed to any of the Society's committee members.
Early Photographs - Many photos are held showing scenes of early Karangahake but I am endeavouring to locate photographs of Karangahake in the period 1920 - 1940. If any one has such photos which I could copy I would be pleased to hear from them. It is not necessary that the photos leave the owners' possession. They can be copied "on the spot" if desired.