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:

  • Mokena Hou and his wife Rina

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Mokena Hou had a distinguished whakapapa, but as nephew to Hou was subordinate to the latter’s son, Karauna Hou. He was born near the Te Aroha hot pools, and his future wife, Rina, who also had illustrious ancestors, ...
  • Te Karauna Hou: the senior Ngati Rahiri rangatira

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Te Karauna Hou, the principal Ngati Rahiri rangatira living at Te Aroha in 1880, had a distinguished whakapapa linking him to several hapu. Before settling permanently at Te Aroha in the 1870s he lived in several places, ...
  • Lavinia and Henry Dunbar Johnson

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Rawinia Manukau, of Ngati Tamatera, married Henry Dunbar Johnson in 1868, when aged 21. Johnson had been a storekeeper at Coromandel from 1863 onwards and after 1866 had the first store at the site of the future Paeroa. ...
  • Joseph Campbell and his thermo-hyperphoric process

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Joseph Campbell was both an Anglican clergyman and a scientist, with a preference for the latter. Actively involved in educating the masses in scientific matters, and particularly those, like miners, with particular problems ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 mining in New Zealand and beyond

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Before the arrival of Europeans, Maori had known of the existence of gold but did not mine it and had no understanding of its value. Once mining commenced in California in 1849 and Australia in the early 1850s, many Maori ...
  • William Sharman Crawford (Billy) Nicholl, the prospector who discovered the Martha lode at Waihi: his life, told largely in his own words

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Billy Nicholl was that rare miner, one who recorded his life. Born in Ireland, when still a boy he arrived in New Zealand in 1862. After his father died at an early age, he acquired a step-father, whom he disliked, with ...
  • 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), ...
  • Harry Kenrick: the first warden of the Te Aroha mining district

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Because of his improvident father, Harry Kenrick left England for the Victorian goldfields before moving to the South Island of New Zealand. In 1865, he settled in the West Coast to begin a lifetime career of working for ...
  • Thomas William Carr: a Te Aroha storekeeper and speculator

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Thomas William Carr arrived in New Zealand in January 1881 accompanied by his large family and, reportedly, with extensive business experience and a large amount of capital. After first settling at Gisborne he moved to Te ...
  • 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 ...
  • Physical and mental health issues in the Te Aroha district

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Although Te Aroha was considered to be a healthy district, until the early twentieth century it lacked clean water or adequate sanitation. There were justifiable fears of typhus and other diseases being created by these ...
  • The Auckland smelting company

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Mining in the Tui portion of the Te Aroha field was revived in 1948 by Benjamin John Dunsheath, a small businessman who had owned several private companies, none of them very successful, in a career marked by dubious ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...

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