Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 55, September 2011


The dearth of fish at the Waihi Beach heads is a matter of general complaint by campers and the disappointment after wearying hours of fishing day after day of finding none are about is so acute that some have determined to give Waihi Beach a wide berth for the future. The heads, under favourable circumstances, offer unusual facilities for fishing but if rumour is true the present dearth of fish is not surprising. It is said that dynamite is frequently used and that often plugs of the explosive have been thrown into the water just for the mere fun (?) of killing the fish, the perpetrators not even having the excuse of wanting the catches. There is no defence for such practice and it is to be hoped that sooner or later an example will be made.


The risk attaching to the discussion of even business matters on licensed premises after closing hours was exemplified this morning, when four young men of strictly temperate habits were charged in the Magistrate's Court with a breach of the Licensing Act. It appears one of them was engaged on purely a business matter with the licensee forgetting that a technical breach of the Act had been committed by him so doing, and the others waited until he finished. Sergeant McKinnon, who visited the premises while the talk was in progress, had no option but to issue a summons. The Magistrate accepted, without hesitation, the explanation of the young men, and dismissed the case, remarking that the law was never intended to punish innocent people.


If the opinion of a businessman at Thames is to be taken as a criterion, the Thamesites view Waihi in anything but a favourable light. A local resident during a visit the other day to the premier goldfield of the Hauraki Peninsula met with a talkative shopkeeper and after making a small purchase was supplied with some interesting information. Yes, he intended to go to Waihi, said the youth in reply to a question. "Don't", said the shopkeeper, "they have terrible winters there. The frost is three inches deep and as you walk along it sticks to your boot heels and makes you walk crooked. I've been there and I know. And the hail is terrible. There's no end of it. People shovel it off their houses to prevent the roof falling in. Don't go to Waihi. And the Waihi wind—have you ever heard of it? No? Well, when they plant things there they do it three sections away if they want crops of their own. Once, they put grass seed at the hospital and it came up at Bowentown Heads, six miles off. I saw that in the paper after I left. I've known children to be blown away and I've helped mothers to look for them. And then there's the Waihi dust. You can't see pictures on the wall for it. In fact at times, you can't see your hands before you. Keep away from Waihi. And there's no money there. I went to Waihi with £20 and in three years came back to Thames with as many shillings." The Waihithan who, in the eyes of Thamesite, was a stranger to the goldfields, listened to the strange story unmoved and wondered why shocking libels should be cast on the town by people who have failed to prosper there.


An actual Golgotha has been discovered among the sand hills on the Waihi Beach, in the vicinity of the mine, where a number of old Maori skeletons have been found. They are no doubt relics of the old fighting days in the neighbouring pa, The skeletons, some of them almost complete, are lying in rows and are being weather beaten and look old. The sand which originally covered these has been blown away, revealing their ghastly treasures. One of the peculiar features of the remains is the beautiful state of preservation in which the teeth were kept, many of the sets being perfect, a proof that there were no dentists in those days.


A somewhat novel spectacle was witnessed yesterday, in which a cat was the prominent feature. In the centre of a young patch of oats in the enclosure adjoining the Martha Dairy premises, in Kenny Street, a domestic animal of the purring species was peacefully curled up, with one end of a few yards of thin rope attached to its neck, while the other end was fastened to a stake driven in the ground. The scene struck passers-by as being somewhat unusual and it transpired that the ingenious proprietor of the patch had adopted this mode of scaring away the small birds.


The clang of the fire bell at about 8 o'clock last night caused some excitement in the street. The hose reel, drawn by half a dozen firemen, went rattling down Haszard Street, followed by hundreds of people. As they passed the Borough Chambers, where a meeting was in progress, most of the councillors rushed out into the street. By this time it was discovered to be a false alarm. It appears that a few sparks from a chimney in Battson's shop was the cause of alarm and the subsequent excitement.