This series of working papers focuses on the Te Aroha Mining District from 1880-1980, starting with the year when gold was discovered until when the environmental consequences of base metal mining were being tackled. Although the papers always contain a mining element, much more is covered, with background papers dealing not only with the geology and impacts on vegetation and the wider environment but also the consequence for iwi of the search for gold, including the sale of the Aroha Block. Interspersed with papers on the rise and fall of mining are others on some of the leading personalities of the time (and not just miners), which broaden the focus from being just about the Te Aroha district.

Supported by the Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato.


Click on each section below to see a full list of papers:

  • William Nicholls, Hera Te Whakaawa, and their children

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Two years after arriving in New Zealand in 1840, William Nicholls married Hera Te Whakaawa, who had an illustrious whakapapa. For the rest of his life he lived as a Pakeha Maori, trading and farming on land owned by his ...
  • Maori and goldfields revenue

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    When gold was first discovered, the Crown accepted that it needed Maori consent to open their land for mining and had to assuage fears of losing their land. Accordingly, officials devised agreements to protect Maori interests ...
  • Alice Grey Nicholls, daughter of William, and her husband, Charles John Dearle

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Alice Grey Nicholls was the ‘half-caste’ daughter of a Pakeha Maori, William Nicholls. She would marry a Pakeha and have several children, losing her only son but bringing up a family of daughters, who all received a Pakeha ...
  • Black Americans and Te Aroha mining

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Although no black Americans lived in the Te Aroha district, several, including some miners, lived in Hauraki and elsewhere in New Zealand. In general, blacks were stereotyped as figures of fun (as were the Irish often), ...
  • Charles Gould: a farmer living near Te Aroha

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Coming from a wealthy business family and with a brother who became a successful businessman, Charles Gould left the South Island to settle in Waitoa with every prospect of making a success of the large estate he had ...
  • The Goldsworthy brothers (and James Gribble, a brother-in-law): prominent Hauraki miners

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    This paper gives a basically chronological account of the lives of five prominent miners, all born into mining families. Most began their mining on the Thames field, becoming mine managers and even company directors. Some ...
  • James Mills: a carpenter who became Te Aroha’s first mayor

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    After being active in Liberal politics in England, James Mills, a carpenter, settled in Te Aroha in 1882. Although he constructed many houses, work was erratic and he never became wealthy. Investing in Waiorongomai mining, ...
  • The Thames miners’ union

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    More of a friendly society than a class conscious workers’ movement, the Thames Miners’ Union was formed in 1890 as a branch of the Amalgamated Miners’ Association of Australasia. The state of mining at this time in Australia ...
  • Michael Dineen O’Keeffe: president of the Thames miners’ union

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    An Irishman, O’Keeffe remained very ‘Irish’ throughout his long life as a miner. Arriving in New Zealand in 1879, he moved to Te Aroha in 1881 and became one of the more prominent miners at Waiorongomai. Partly because of ...
  • Robert and Elizabeth Mackie: a Te Aroha butcher and his family

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Although Elizabeth Mackie was fondly remembered, her husband, Robert, was not. Both were of Scottish parentage, and lived in various places in New Zealand before settling in Te Aroha in the early 1880s. Having participated ...
  • Hoera Te Mimiha

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Hoera Te Mimiha was a rangatira of Ngati Koi, an inferior hapu to Ngati Tamatera, and had affiliations to other hapu. Although to Pakeha he was a mere labourer, in Maori society in Ohinemuri in the 1870s and 1880s he was ...
  • Hone Werahiko: the discoverer of gold at Te Aroha

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Originally Hone Kahukahu, when he was living at Ohinemutu in the 1860s he became known as Hone Werahiko, an Arawa name he retained for the rest of his life. His father, a member of Ngati Kahungungu, had been captured by ...
  • Maori land in Hauraki

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Imagining the Hauraki Peninsula to contain payable goldfields and knowing that land to the south of Thames had great agricultural potential, Pakeha were determined to acquire it, and were frustrated by what was considered ...
  • Merea Wikiriwhi and George Thomas Wilkinson

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Merea Wikiriwhi was one of the few women to invest in Te Aroha mining. Her life has been traced in as much detail as can be found because so little has survived about the lives of Maori women. As George Thomas Wilkinson’s ...
  • John Squirrell: a farmer and storekeeper who mined (briefly) at Te Aroha

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    An English merchant’s clerk, some years after his wife’s death John Squirrell brought his sister and daughters to New Zealand to settle in the new Shaftesbury settlement, upriver from Te Aroha. His letters to English ...
  • James Gordon: a ‘useful all-round man’ at Te Aroha and elsewhere

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Some confusion over the early details of James Gordon’s life is unavoidable because his birth was not registered and there were several namesakes. Born to an Irish father and a Maori mother, after the latter reputedly ...
  • William Morris Newsham: a prospector and miner in the Te Aroha district

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    New Zealand-born William Morris Newsham fought against Maori without suffering any mishaps, but when aged 35 had the most perilous experience of his life. When assisting to survey a potential railway line in the King ...
  • Social relations and class divisions in the Te Aroha district

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Although the nature of mining encouraged mateship amongst miners, this ideal was weakened as companies increasingly dominated mining districts. As miners liked to work for themselves to obtain the highest possible financial ...
  • Women’s lives in the Te Aroha district

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Pioneer women were praised for their hard work, and this paper deals with all aspects of their lives in this district in the late nineteenth and, occasionally, the early twentieth century. Details are provided of all the ...
  • Joseph Harris Smallman

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Born to a mining agent and trained as a mining surveyor, in 1864, less than a year after the birth of his first child, Smallman left England for New Zealand to establish a ‘Mining business’, promising that his family would ...

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