Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 27, September 1983


It had been a pleasant year and attendances at meetings appeared to have increased, stated Mr. E. J. Cunliffe in his annual report. There had been speakers at most meetings.

A number of Waihi members had attended the Wine and Cheese Evening at Paeroa to launch the Karangahake book. Several carloads of members had visited Mrs. N. Climie one Saturday and had spent a very happy afternoon.

The President had attended the Convention of the Federation of Historical Societies at Tatum Park, Otaki, which he had found very enjoyable.

Speakers at meetings during the year included:-

June: Mr. Royce Morgan gave an interesting talk about China which he had recently visited with the Waikato Chinese Society.

July: Mrs. B. McAra spoke and showed photographs of a trip she and Mr. McAra had taken on a river boat on the Murray River, Aust.

Oct.: Mr. E. Cunliffe spoke about the Waitete district in Waihi as he remembered it as a boy.

Feb. 1983: Mr. Fred Carbutt spoke of the history of the Waikino Hotel and other hotels in the district.

March: An article received from Mr. A. D. W. Walker about the Waihi Post Office was read by Mrs. M. Wells.

Life Members of Society:

Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Adams.

Mr. Caudelle G. F. Clark.

Mrs. N. S. Climie, B.E.M.

Miss A. M. Gale.

Miss Ruth Gamble, B.E.M.

Mr. R. Green.

Mr. S. M. Hovell.

Mr. A. E. Kinsella.

Mr. and Mrs. J. B. McAra.

Mrs. M. D. Smeaton.

Mrs. L. Wheeler.


The President reported that the year had been quite active with a high degree of support among members. The finances are also in a very sound state. Mrs. Mona Townshend has been Treasurer for 15 years. Attendances at meetings average over 20.


Visit to Fire Station.


Museum display of dolls and baby clothes.

11-12 June 82

Maori Church celebration at Rotokohu.


Visit to I.H.C. workshop.


Speaker – Mr. S.G. Wood - St. John’s Ambulance.


Speaker – Mr. G. R. Honeyfield - Trade Mission to Middle East.


Speaker - Mr. G. Button — Rotary aid to Tonga.


Visit by Cambridge Society.


Street Stall - Raised $383.


Visit by Senior Citizens - Glen Innes.


Visit to Puhoi.

Visit by Manurewa Society to Paeroa.


Pot Luck Tea - 40 people.

Speaker - Michael Burgess - Teaching in Gilbert Ellice Islands.


Wine & Cheese evening to promote book "Karangahake".


Mystery Trip - Arranged by Mr. & Mrs. Townshend. Visited: Waihi – Katikati.


Speaker - John McDonald - Public Relations Officer

Our Patroness, Mrs. Thorp has given the Society $100 to be invested to ensure the care and maintenance of the Thorp Cairn in Puke Road. This is adequate and her wishes are being carried out.

* * *

During the year, at the Paeroa Museum, interest was shown at the different displays that the Society members had presented. At present a fine collection of Maori artifacts lent by our President, Mr R. Murdock is showing. A new glass case presented by Mr Duffy is showing displays of shells that were given by his late Mother, Mrs Rose Duffy. The Society expresses their thanks to Mr Duffy for his generous offer. Several old photos have been added and we wish to thank those who have so willingly given them but we are always interested in receiving more especially of the years 1920 to 1980 of any buildings that have since been removed or perhaps a photo taken at a sports gathering.

During the year several members of our Society lost members of their families. We express our deepest sympathy to them.

Mr. J. Corbett, Hikutaia.

Mr. R. Hovell, Coromandel.

Mrs. F. Morgan, Paeroa.

Mrs. J. Poland, Paeroa.

Mrs. A. Pivott, Waihi Beach.

Mrs. L. Ziegler, Panmure.

Mr. L. Rusden, Auckland.

Mrs. S. Wolstenholme, Paeroa.

Mr. Peter Pringle, Takapau H.B. eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. G. Pringle, Paeroa.


On 27th January 1983, an estimated 250 people packed into the Museum during a 2 hour period to obtain their autographed copy of "Karangahake, the Years of the Gold 1875 — 1935", co-authored by Mrs Nell Climie and Mr Gary Staples. During this period almost 200 copies of the book were purchased and in the four to six weeks following it all but sold out.

Speakers at the launching ceremony included Mr Hamish Wilson, President of the Society; Mr Staples; Mrs Climie; Mr Hank Hanlen of Waihi, a descendent of one of the families of the late 1890s, Mr Alistair Isdale, historian of Thames and the Deputy Mayor of Paeroa, Mr Norm McMillan.

The following excerpt is from a letter written by a Hamilton author. It is indicative of the many favourable comments made concerning the book:

"I was delighted to receive it and was soon immersed in the story, pictures, diagrams and maps. It is altogether excellent reading and I thoroughly appreciate the searching and writing, the interviewing and sorting out of material and the making of decisions that have gone into the final copy. Congratulations on your fine joint effort.

"The book is most informative, and very human - indeed a history of hopes realised and hopes dashed. At last I feel I know something of how those big mines and companies worked, and I was fascinated by the "cross section" diagram showing tunnels, shafts, etc., as well as by the terminology of the whole process from claims to batteries.

"I expect it would be the same again if someone should unearth further gold today, although everything would be so mechanised that the Gorge would no longer be alive with diggers with picks and shovels. You have certainly achieved a truly worthwhile record of the activities in that region during the days of the gold".

A review of the book appears elsewhere in the Journal [see: Book Review - "Karangahake: Years of the Gold 1875-1935" in this journal - E].