Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 43, September 1999
Members of the Paeroa and Waihi Historical Societies probably all believe that there is value and interest in learning more about the events of the past and in preserving what we can of the documents and places which make this past more real and vivid to us. Many people, of course, do not share this outlook - the immediate present is all that matters to them and the personalities and happenings of previous decades are quite without meaning or significance. People with a feeling for history believe that change and development are continuous in the story of any nation and that our century must have its roots in the centuries that went before.
Our present is the result of the struggles and failures and achievements of the millenniums and our inheritance includes ideals that have come down to us from the Greeks, from Joan of Arc, from the French Revolution, from religious leaders, trade union leaders, Maori leaders, explorers and all sorts of people. History is the story of the attempts involved in the adventure of life; in our case in New Zealand, it is largely the attempts of the European immigrants to adapt themselves and their customs to a new environment and the attempts of the native people to adjust themselves and their customs to fit in with those of the strangers. It is the way people behave that makes history and why they behave as they do depends on their basic philosophy, their own past and
the complex problems which face them at various critical junctures. The programmes of the Historical Societies aim at helping their members to understand the development of their districts and the causes which made them develop in this or that direction.
This Journal, too, tries to make a contribution towards this better understanding of our local story by preserving and publishing accounts of early days which throw some light on our development. Sometimes these reminiscences may seem trivial or intensely local but they are authentic and therefore have value. Records of pioneer times are especially interesting, as the changes of the last century have been so sweeping and have so altered the face of the country that the early days of the horse-buggy and the sailing vessel might be five hundred years ago instead of one hundred. All the more reason for us to try to understand this continuing transformation and to make the best job of living it.
The calendar is shortly to turn from 1999 to 2000, a milestone event that the privileged few will experience and it goes without saying, will only experience once in their lifetime. Putting aside the controversy over the correct date on which to celebrate the "end of the millennium", New Years Day 2000 certainly had significance, a "magic" date.