Bange on the Waihi Borough Council 1960 – 1988
I will only briefly touch on this, a facet highlighting Waihi's difference from other small towns in New Zealand.
I was told that during the great depression years in the 1930's when severe hunger was experienced by many other New Zealanders people in Waihi did not suffer as mining continued going strong, providing work and money for food.
Following the closure of mining in 1952 a multitude of smaller industries developed in Waihi, whether it was a result of special skills being retained in the town or skilled labour being available is hard to say, but it is a fact that when I started work in Waihi there were a multitude of diverse industries in and around the town.
Albert Thomas, when he was Mayor, used to boast that "per head of population, Waihi was the most industrialised town in New Zealand"
In the late -70's and early -80's quite a severe recession occurred in New Zealand, culminating in closures or amalgamation into larger units, of many industries nationwide. Waihi did not escape from this and lost among others; a foundry, a timber mill, a timber treatment plant, the cheese factory (in the county), a pre-cast concrete manufacturing unit, a blacksmith's shop.
However, once again Waihi "escaped" the severe impact of this as simultaneously to these happenings renewed mining interests and related activities developed in Waihi, eventually leading to the opening of the new open-cast Martha Mine by AMAX.
As well Cyprus Minerals, with their NZ head office and laboratories in Waihi, developed and operated a combined underground/open-cast mine just west of Waihi at the Golden Cross for a number of years.
As the town consolidated several new
industries developed in Waihi, Ferrentino's motorbike helmets, tool and die manufacture, timber yards, joinery manufacturing, Ready Mix Concrete, aluminium joinery, plus a multitude of small ones in the old Philips TV-factory, which closed through the consolidation of all Philips New Zealand activities in Wellington. Elliott's furniture factory, which produces high quality solid timber (rimu) furniture, shipped all over New Zealand, deserves special mention here as an old family business in Waihi at the bottom end of Clarke Street.
The full document of Henk's memoir can be found here: http://www.helenharrison.co.nz/documents/20140117_Henk_Bange_memoirs_red.pdf