Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 1, June 1964


Waihi has been the greatest producer of gold and silver in the country and this production has been augmented by that of mines which operated in nearby areas. Operations of this kind and period necessarily leave behind them a colourful History; while still remember by some people, to many it belongs to a forgotten era.

The people of Waihi and surrounding districts are or should be deeply indebted to a small group people who had the initiative and fore-sight to take steps to preserve for all times many items of mining and local district interest. Had it not been for these persons and the Waihi Borough Council who generously made available an admirable building to house the collection, then it is quite possible that what is now a valuable and irreplaceable collection could have remained dispersed and gradually lost.

The Museum contains a small but comprehensive selection of material and rock specimens the majority of which pertain to Waihi and surrounding areas. The collection is being and will continue to be added to as time passes.

In addition to specimens etc; the Museum contains many items of local mining interest of which perhaps the most outstanding is a glass model of the Martha Mine workings. This model representing individual level workings to scale has attracted very considerable interest from mining men and the general public. As an example the Lecturer of Geology of the Auckland University together with his students made a special trip to Waihi to inspect the model.

Another feature of the Museum is a most excellent collection of photographs pertaining to the general area and for these the association is indebted to local people who have either donated or loaned them and also the Turnbull Library who have supplied many photographs and copied others that would have otherwise deteriorated; also to Mr Eric Lee-Johnson who collated and arranged them for display. It is intended that they should be put under glass.

Apart from the specific items already mentioned the Museum contains many others of interesting Historical nature and it is most gratifying to the management that items continue to be contributed. There are valuable old Maps, and Documents such as old Newspapers, "Miners' Right" and the Minute Book of the first Katikati Road Board, formed in 1876.

Perhaps too much attention has been focussed on the past as far as Waihi is concerned and it should be remembered that what is happening to-day or in recent years, is tomorrow's History. In this connection it would be well to remember the vital part that radio production has played and is playing at the present time. The Museum has a considerable number of items of early equipment that are not yet on display and a section should be devoted for this purpose.

As the presence of the Museum and Art Gallery becomes more widely known, so the number of visitors continues to increase. It is felt that during the current year the number should approximate 5,000.

The Museum is, needless to say, closely associated with the recently formed Historical Society, and, for the formation of the latter and other activities of Historical nature every credit must be given to Mrs N.S. Climie, who has worked so tirelessly to further the projects and co-ordinate the early story of the Ohinemuri District.


This unofficial group was formed early last year in response to much interest being shown by local people in geological and kindred subjects. In spite of the fact that there is currently little in the way of metalliferous mining in the country there is an increasing interest being shown in Geology and mineral detection. This interest will undoubtedly increase now that active measures are being taken to examine the mineral potential of the country the situation being aggravated by the adverse balance of overseas exchange.

In an endeavour to supply the wants of these interested people, regular lectures in Geology and Metallurgy were given throughout the year. In addition to the lectures practical demonstrations of certain metallurgical processes were given together with film showings and field days.

During the current year lectures have been continued and emphasis is to be laid upon rock cutting and polishing in addition to general geological instruction.

David Haszard