Mining in the Te Aroha mining district during the depression years
Hart, P. (2016). Mining in the Te Aroha mining district during the depression years. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 103). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10435
Because optimists believed there was payable gold still to be discovered in New Zealand, prospecting was seen as one way of soaking up the unemployed, and a subsidized scheme was established to assist those willing to try their luck. In the Te Aroha district, residents, despite their lack of geological knowledge, and supported by the local newspaper, held great hopes for a mining revival. In contrast, officials and the experts they consulted insisted that these hopes were in vain. After local businessmen and would-be prospectors exerted political pressure on the Minister of Mines, in whose electorate Te Aroha was situated, permission was granted to subsidize parties of amateur prospectors. Despite none of these parties finding anything worthwhile, the amateurs continued to claim to know more about the prospects than the experts. Some of the parties did little work, and as it was clear to officials that the subsidies were being wasted, these ceased, despite continued claims about potential discoveries. Some parties continued work, sometimes with private backing, prompting concerns about speculators trying to obtain ground. When a Labour Government came to power, it was no more willing than its predecessor to waste public money on fruitless prospecting. It was clear from the assays taken for both prospectors and experts that the value of the ore left by earlier miners was far too poor to permit a revival in mining, and on that note mining ceased at Waiorongomai
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart