Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 24, July 1980


Sixty years back is a long while. There are some of us who can remember reasonably well the affairs of those days, and there are some a little younger who are still getting close to the senior citizen age, that remember nothing at all of them. A close perusal of "The Daily Telegraph" of the year 1920 clarifies many things, but perhaps the clearest message that comes through is that although man may be the most intelligent of all mammals he is also most certainly the slowest to learn from past events.

Notably the foreign news of 60 years ago is exactly the same as featured in the papers of today - all the news generally is gloomy. The Irish were fighting, Post World War One Germany is being eyed with suspicion, the "Yellow Peril" is threatening the rest of the world, the Pacific Islands are rioting and rebelling, there are industrial strikes in many parts of the world, including New Zealand, there were post mortems over aspects of World War 1, the Russians were causing consternation, and Education was under fire. Does this sound familiar to you? Because it was just as familiar to those of six decades or over 2 generations back!

On the local New Zealand scene things too seemed not much different. The cost of living was being questioned with "prominent New Zealand businessmen" prophesying that it could not go any higher, even was reported "in depth" and by the gory details given, the readers of 60 years ago were not as squeamish as todays. Prices being received by farmers were generally unsatisfactory both in New Zealand and overseas. Reports on the number of flu cases in various places emphasised the fact that the epidemic of 1918 was still in everyones mind.

However there is one very pleasing feature in the 1980's, there will be no news reports of destitution as there was then - elderly men being found dead on the road and in huts, women and families being deserted and left absolutely penniless and without any means of sustenance.

The news as affecting Waihi will be shown in the following pages - some articles will be verbatim, others will be abridged. Some will be advertisements hopefully reflecting the situation in Waihi financially, and some will be calls from clubs and associations long since finished.

Some of the local burning issues are discussed fully and now sixty years on, who can remember them, much less care about them? Perhaps there is a message there for us, both in the foreign and local aspect of news, if we care to analyse it carefully!