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Harry and Charles: Henry Ernest Whitaker and Charles Stanislaus Stafford at Te Aroha

Harry Whitaker was a member of a prominent political family, and Charles Stanislaus Stafford came from an Anglo-Irish landowning family. They both invested in mines in the Te Aroha district, Whitaker being particularly active in promoting the interests of the mining industry. But he was also seen as manipulating the share market to benefit himself and as assisting Josiah Clifton Firth’s ‘clique’ to control the field, meaning that for many residents some of his actions were deeply unpopular. Both men acquired and traded in land both within and outside the settlements, and developed their Wairakau estate, all profitably. Whitaker also established the Te Aroha News, and in a variety of ways was a leading member of the community. As a member of the county council he tried to help the district, but once again was seen as working too closely with Firth for their mutual benefit. Stafford also tried to assist local development. Both men were prominent socially, notably in horse races and various sports. Whitaker in particular was renowned for his lively personality, personal charm, and elegant attire, but unusually did not marry nor, apparently, flirt with the opposite sex, which may or may not be significant. Whitaker left Te Aroha for Auckland and, later, Africa before returning to Auckland in 1918 for one last involvement with mining. After farming at Whakatane, Stafford became prominent in Kalgoorlie during the mining boom of the 1890s before retiring to London and making a late marriage. Unlike Whitaker, he ended his life a prosperous man.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016). Harry and Charles: Henry Ernest Whitaker and Charles Stanislaus Stafford at Te Aroha. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 159). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart