Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 6, October 1966
Less than two centuries ago, N.Z. had two great natural assets which supplied the material needs of its Maori population. Its waters and its forests teemed with food enough to sustain life, and provided means of clothing, shelter, defence and transport. In the wake of Captain Cook (1769), and the first Europeans, overseas trade took toll of two native giants - the whale from the sea and the tree from the land. Remembering that Ohinemuri is closely associated with the unique Coromandel Peninsula, and was included in the Thames County till 1885, we realise how intimately we have been involved in circumstances that have changed the local scene and way of life.
Reference is made to the "Auckland Industrial and Mining Exhibition" in the 1898 section of "Resources of New Zealand", from the Preface of which we quote the following Paragraph:-
"Things have now changed. The town of Auckland with its 60,000 inhabitants stands where in 1840 there were only Maori whares. The Industrial and Mining Exhibition shows a still wider picture of products of the forest, of the mines, of the land, and of industries. - - - The Auckland Province is responsible for a large share of the products which make a country progressive and prosperous. (Fruit, timber, coal, lime, and the goldfields which have yielded, like kauri gum, about half-a-million a year!). We have had Thames for 30 years and latterly Waihi has been the great mine with its enormous reefs and illimitable ore bodies which have already produced £85,000 worth of bullion".
In this 6th issue of our Journal we are touching on the story of our great Forest Wealth, inherited alike by Maori and White Man. The Timber Industry preceded Mining and has survived a long period of usefulness, its early exploitation paving the way for the even greater Farming Industry. Fortunately New Zealand has, though late, developed an awareness of the folly of wasteful destruction and is endeavouring to make amends by conserving its Forests, there being four exotic ones in our area — if we include the Coromandel County. The New Zealand Forest Service has kindly supplied us with details of these, providing a valuable record which we shall use as space permits.
We thank Mrs. E. Mervyn Taylor of Wellington for permission to reproduce her late husband's beautiful Wood Engraving - - "The Canoe Builders" which links the story of the Maoris with that of giant trees, and the New Zealand Forest Service for permission to use "Felling a Kauri".
Again we are grateful to all Contributers, and would like them to know how much their efforts are appreciated by other members, a number of whom have written in enlogistic [eulogistic ? – E] terms concerning articles in the last Journal. It has been necessary to hold over a few contributions but they will appear in due course. We particularly thank people who have sent us old photographs, especially Miss I. Moore of Auckland. Pictures are now reproduced by the "Off Set Printers, Hamilton" and we record our indebtedness to the co-operation of Mr. and Mrs. Barron who are responsible for our final production.