Malcolm hardy: the last Waiorongomai miner
Hart, P. (2016). Malcolm hardy: the last Waiorongomai miner. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 106). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10438
Malcolm Hardy was notable for his artistic skills but not for his dynamism until becoming interested in gold mining during the 1920s. A self-taught geologist, he was enthusiastic about the prospects for finding gold, but was also completely wrong and thoroughly pig-headed about the wondrous outcome he anticipated. In 1931, his father, Edwin Henry Hardy, took him to Waiorongomai to show him the spot where good gold could still be found, but died before reaching it. Undeterred, Hardy acquired several claims and set about re-opening old workings and doing some prospecting, being assisted by a few others off and on. Hardy was notable for his assertions of having traced millions of tons of payable ore – and for demanding government assistance to test and work these – but his special pleading and misrepresentations exasperated officials and experts. In response to their criticisms and failures to see the glowing prospects he proclaimed, he accused them of incompetence and bias, ignoring the fact that all the assays and tests disproved his claims. Attempts to obtain financial backing had little success, and a company, Hardy’s Mines, established in 1940, was stillborn. Even Hardy abandoned active mining during the 1940s, but he encouraged the Auckland Smelting Company and then South Pacific Mines to explore all the mountain, insisting, despite all the evidence, that Te Aroha would become a leading mining centre.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart