Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 31, September 1987

As part of the New Zealand Police Centennial celebrations, there was a re-enactment of escorting gold bullion from the Waitekauri Mines to Auckland. The re-enactment took place on the weekend of 18 and 19 October 1986.

The Police party, consisting of two mounted constables, four foot constables and two pack horses, was escorted through Paeroa's main street by a large group of members from the Paeroa Drama Club and Paeroa Historical Society, all dressed in period costumes. The Police party wore police uniforms of the 1880's, complete with side-arms.

The contingent formed up at the old New Zealand Dairy Company factory in Fraser Street and escorted the gold to the Bank of New Zealand for overnight safe keeping. On Sunday the escort party transported the gold from the Bank to Puke Wharf, where it was loaded onto the waiting "M V Settler" for the journey down the Waihou River to Shortland Wharf, Thames. The "Settler" anchored in the channel owing to low tide and the Police party and gold were rowed ashore. After a night at the Bank of New Zealand, Thames, the gold was reloaded next day on board the "Settler" and taken to Auckland.

The original gold escort from Waitekauri was in early October 1876, when the itinerary was as follows:-


The SS "Durham" arrived at Thames from Auckland, carrying Mr J C Stoivin, an Auckland shareholder of the Waitekauri Mining Company, representing all Auckland shareholders. He joined about 30 shareholders from Thames and they boarded the SS "Ruby", which left for Paeroa at 5 00pm, arriving there just before 8 00pm. Most of the men stayed the night at the Criterion Hotel at Paeroa.


The group, including Mr T L Murray, Manager of the Bank of New Zealand at Thames, and Sub Inspector S Newall and two Constables of the Armed Constabulary Force (all on horseback) travelled to the Waitekauri Mine early in the day. Some of the party walked.

At the Waitekauri Mine they were met by the Manager, Mr Wilson. After a visit to the Mine, ore from the Waitekauri Mine, the Young New Zealand Mine and the Welcome Mine was retorted, while lunch was taken by the party.

Results of the retorting were:

Waitekauri 924 oz

Young New Zealand 106 oz

Welcome 317 oz

TOTAL 1347 oz

A total of 1354 oz was given to the Waitekauri Company's horseman, Mr Fisher. The escort then began, with two Armed Constabulary Constables, the packer with the gold. Sub Inspector Newall and Mr Murray, followed by other horsemen, and others on foot.

The group went seven miles to Mackaytown, arriving at McCloughen's Hotel at about 5 30pm. A meal had been prepared at McCloughen's Store, which was decorated for the occasion. Several toasts were then drunk between 6 00pm and 8 00pm. People mentioned as present were:

Goldfields Warden Fraser


Mr Bleazard

Company Directors Waitekauri Company

Mr Brown

Mr Ehrenfried

Company Director

Mr Horne

Battery Representative

Mr Kelly

Water Race Contractor

Mr Allom

Local Farmer

Mr Goldsworthy

Young New Zealand & Welcome Directors

Mr Liddell

Mr Porter


Mr Riordan

Owharoa District Rep.

Two Press Representatives

The trip back to Paeroa was of 3½ miles and the party arrived at the Criterion Hotel at 9 00pm.


At 6 00am the SS "Ruby" took the party back to Thames, the journey taking 3¼ hours.

At Thames the gold was melted.


The SS "Durham" returned to Auckland with four boxes of gold for the Bank of New Zealand, containing 3937 oz of gold.