Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 4, September 1965

Waitekauri Every Time

There's a good old war cry sounding, It hangs on every lip;

In the city, in the township, in the mine, and on the tip.

A phrase that gives the story of the old prospector's pluck;

Their doings with the pick, and gad, their cursed bally luck.

When the battered dish flowed empty, bar a tail of new-chum gold,

Or it gave a ring of "color" that betokened wealth untold.

I can weave it in my ballad. I can swing it in my rhyme.

It's - Waitekauri, Waitekauri. Waitekauri, Every time !

Oh! the days of Hughey's tribute and the doings that they did,

You had to drink your grog those times from out a billy lid.

When all the picks were furnished by poor old Pick handle Dan,

And Harry Skene retorted in a broken frying-pan.

When the dirt went 15 ounces, and every now and then

They used to weigh the bullion - not by troy-weight - but by men!

I can swing it in my ballad. I can weave it in my rhyme;

It's - Waitekauri, Waitekauri, Waitekauri, Every Time!

They never growled at road or track, or at the County groan,

With a compass and a slasher they would travel "on their own."

I used to pack the tucker to the "perseverance push,"

And the only road I knew of then was blasphemy and bush

There was no Rae nor Ryan, but the boys could get their fill

At the shanty in the ti-tree, up at Paddy Sheehy's hill.

Ah the tears come in my ballad, and the sadness in my rhyme,

Those times 'twas - Waitekauri, Waitekauri, Every Time!

But now they've got a boarding house, a lock-up and a cop,

And a milkman and a parson, and good Gawd! a barber's shop!

J. Bull he owns the country, and he snavels every find,

And the poor old-timer, well, HE gets the dust that blows behind.

Perhaps it's for the better but somehow, it seems to me

That up there, at the Beehive, they ain't what they used to be.

There isn't just the accent as they howled it in their prime.

When the ranges used to echo, - Waitekauri, Every Time!

I think of those vast aisles of bush and fern, where I have heard

The whistle of the tui and the screeching of that bird,

The gloomy lonesome ka-ka, whose gloomy lonesome ring

Which breaks the solemn silence where no other songsters sing

He's dead. The bush is fallen, and There's dust and cyanide

And syndicates and companies, and God knows what beside.

Well, it is the way of all things - you must climb, and climb, and climb

Anyhow we'll yell the chorus, Waitekauri! EVERY TIME !


This was a popular ballad about the turn of the century [1900 - E] and was often sung lustily to the tune of "Clementine".