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:

  • George Devey: a Te Aroha carpenter and his family

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    A cabinetmaker, George Devey brought his wife and young family to New Zealand in 1864, accompanied by his brother Jess, a blacksmith. After settling in Thames, from 1883 onwards they lived in Te Aroha, where George erected ...
  • Edward Kersey Cooper: mine manager and mine owner in Hauraki

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    After having a variety of occupations in several countries, Edward Kersey Cooper arrived in New Zealand in 1880 to manage a manganese mine. From 1881 onwards, he was involved in Hauraki mining, commencing with the Waiorongomai ...
  • The strike at Waiorongomai in 1884

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    After the initial crushing produced lower returns than expected, the decision of mine owners to reduce costs by cutting wages provoked a strike to retain the former rates of pay. A particular cause of the sense of injustice ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • Private lives in the Te Aroha district, mostly in the nineteenth century

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    This paper is based mostly on gossip – deliberately so, for gossip can reveal details of the private lives of people who are otherwise lost to history. Usually it is not possible to identify them, but even if this is not ...
  • 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 ...
  • The Te Aroha hot springs (mainly in the nineteenth century)

    Hart, Philip (Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato, 2016)
    Unique amongst New Zealand mining districts, the hot springs sited at the base of the mountain were popular with miners, residents, and an increasing number of visitors. Highly valued by Maori for their medicinal qualities, ...
  • 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 ...

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