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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 2, October 1964

Waihi Arts Centre& Museum Association

Barely two and a half years have passed since a group of people at the residence on Mr and Mrs Lee-Johnson originated the idea of an Arts Centre and Museum for Waihi and the Ohinemuri District, to encourage New Zealand artists and promote various forms of art appreciation, in conjunction with an Historical Museum for the collection and preservation of the fast vanishing relics of a colourful mining epoch.

The W.A.C.M.A. was formed and the Waihi Borough Council made available the old disused Technical School in Kenny Street. By means of working bees, largely staffed by local Jaycees and members of the Committee, this was transformed into suitable headquarters, In 1962 the initial show was an exhibition of Aboriginal Bark paintings after which great efforts were made to open the Museum and a display of pioneer photographs to coincide with Waihi's Jubilee Celebrations. This was a signal success and attracted a great many people.

We are greatly indebted to the Pye group of Akrad Radio and Television Corp., whose annual grant eases our budget, enabling us to employ a part-time custodian. Gratitude is also due to Mr and Mrs Lee-Johnson whose energy, enthusiasm and "know-how" as Director and Secretary respectively made an invaluable contribution towards establishing the institution. Mr Lee-Johnson was this year appointed to the Management Committee of the National Art Gallery, Wellington.

After the Jubilee there were many renovations, but regular exhibitions of work by both local and widely known New Zealand artists were arranged. Graphic art, pottery, design, Chinese art and photographic displays have catered for all tastes, while several C.A.S. artists have given musical performances. A highlight was a visit and address by Mr Eric Westbrook of the Victoria Art Gallery, whose commendation of our project was heartening.

The Waihi Camera Club, Art Club, Geology Group, Historical Society and C.A.S. share the facilities of the building so that it caters for much of the cultural life of the community.

In spite of some lack of local support the Arts Centre and Museum is making progress, and with the passage of time will have an institution of which residents may be proud, if they step up their support, justly proud.

Norman Morton - President, W.A.C.M.A.


Paeroa and District Historical Society

This group, which is affiliated with the W.A.C.M.A. is now well established with a membership of 116, meetings being held on the third Wednesday of each month.

Our president, the Rev. L M Rogers, M.A. gave on inspiring inaugural address; Mr A M Isdale, B.A. spoke on some special aspects of Ohinemuri history; we have shown a film of old Paeroa and heard tape recordings of Mr William Hammond's "Talks of Early Days". A memorable evening was spent at the Hikutaia home of Mr Charles Murdock who has a private museum housing a wonderful collection of Maori artifacts. Our last meeting was held at the Waihi Arts Centre and Museum where we were the guests of the Waihi Historical Society. We were welcomed by Mr N Morton and addressed by Mr D Haszard who showed us local rocks and demonstrated by the flotation method the extraction of minerals particularly lead and zinc, at present of special interest in connection with mining operations at Te Aroha.

R W Hughes - Hon. Secretary


Report From Waihi Historical Society

On 12 May, 1964, a meeting of people interested in the Historical Section of the Waihi Arts Centre and Museum Association was held at the Art Centre. The meeting was convened by Mrs Climie and attended by over 20 people. The guest speaker was the Rev. L M Rogers of Paeroa, formerly President of the Whakatane Historical Society. He spoke on the function and task of a local historical society. A committee with Mr D McPherson as convener was appointed and thus the Waihi Historical Society began its career.

Since then meetings have been held on the second Monday of each month. The June meeting was devoted to general organization, suggestions for future programmes, appointment of further members to the committee and discussion about certain local films of historical interest.

July meeting, Treasurer, Miss F Clark, reported that membership has risen to 61, 22 of these being families. At this meeting Mrs A Young showed her 8mm colour movie of the Waihi Jubilee celebrations of 1962 and Mr R Cleary showed portions of the films owned by Mr Margan who had caused them to be made in 1948. These films were in colour, black and white, and dealt with several aspects of Waihi life but special attention was paid to the quartz mining operations of the Martha Company. During the showing of these films Mr Morton's commentary was produced on a tape as a record to accompany the films.

A meeting of the committees of both the Paeroa and Waihi Historical Societies took place at Mrs Climie's house on 30 July with the special object of arranging for the management of "The Ohinemuri Regional History Journal", the joint publication of the societies.

At the August meeting, Mr Isdale, Secretary of the Thames-Hauraki Historical Society, gave a most interesting address on the "Main Periods in the History of Waihi and District".

There were, he reminded his audience, several phases which could profitably be explored. The geology of the district was already being studied by the Geology Club; Moa Hunters, early Maori settlements of the Kupe and Toi periods (950 - 1150A.D.) are some of the pre-European phases of history.

At the September meeting of the Society, Mr Dowdle with the aid of a sketch map showed an interested audience the sites of early Maori settlement at Waihi Beach and explained their role for purposes of defence, agriculture and food supply. Mr Middlebrook followed this up with displays of Maori artifacts, principally from Beach areas. His excellent explanation of the function of these objects made them much more significant to his audience.

At this meeting the Treasurer reported that membership had increased to 134. This in itself is an indication of the keen interest that the Waihi Historical Society has aroused in the district.

Jean Clark, Hon. Secretary.