Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 2, October 1964

The hills, valleys, plains and seashore of our District are so steeped in the intriguing history of the early Maori occupation, in the trials and tribulations of the pioneer settlers and in the engrossing story of the goldseekers, that we of the present generation have a very real obligation to preserve for posterity, and before it is too late, as much as possible and as accurately as possible, the history of those earlier times.

We, who live in a land of plenty, with modern living conditions and up-to-date transport and trading facilities, are not able to appreciate fully the many hardships so heroically endured by our forebears, but, by recording the events that we know to be authentic, we can help our readers to visualise something of the atmosphere of those bygone days.

We can image Hongi Hika, after the Thames massacre sending his canoes round the Peninsula while he and his Ngapuhis marched through the Karangahake Gorge, over the Waihi Plains and down to the conquest of the Beach Maoris: we can see again the earthen floors, slab huts and other primitive conditions of the earliest settlers, and we can accompany the indomitable gold-fossicker as he carried his 90 pound pack along over-grown Maori tracks, while he built his nikau shelter and while he carried on his often unrewarding and dangerous tunnelling.

We can better understand the immense enterprise behind such undertakings as the Martha, Talisman, Crown and other mines and their batteries, and the herculean task of damming the Waikato River and stretching power-cables over mountain and plain nearly sixty years ago. We can follow the absorbing story of the regeneration of the Waihi Plains so that to-day the name "Waihi" is still synonymous with the word "gold" - this time that of the golden dairy produce, something equally important to Paeroa and the fertile Hauraki Plains.

This recording can best be done by a concerted effort on the part of all interested persons, by research work and articles on a particular theme, by lodging with the Society any early photos, articles or newspapers - either as loans or as donations, and by recording on tape or in writing the memoirs of any of the "oldtimers" still left with us. Each contribution will be acknowledged and carefully recorded, so we appeal to all interested to support the Society in its work for the benefit of future generations.

Particularly rewarding is the fact that some very alert young people are keen members. Perhaps it is because the youth of to-day is far enough away from the "early days" to ask "When, and Where and Why?"

I wish to thank most sincerely all those who have contributed to the successful launching of our two affiliated Historical Societies. In Waihi, we are particularly grateful to Miss Freda Clark, whose efforts to enrol members have been truly wonderful. I also wish to congratulate the Editress, Mrs N S Climie, on the outstanding success of the first issue of the Ohinemuri Historical Journal.


Member Council W.A.C.M.A.

President Waihi Historical Society