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The discovery of gold at Te Aroha and its consequences: January to October 1880

By mid-1880, when there were expectations that gold would be found at Te Aroha, at last Ngati Rahiri permitted prospecting. A government-subsidized prospecting party under Hone Werahiko set out in early August and announced an apparently valuable find one month later. As the discovery was on Ngati Rahiri land, a goldfield could not be declared open immediately, but despite this increasing numbers of prospectors arrived. Newspapers were cautious, not wanting to encourage a rush based on nothing but rumours, some of them extravagant, notably one of finding ore that would produce 200oz to the ton. Despite being doubtful about the prospects, officials prepared to proclaim a new goldfield. In late October, good specimens were shown in Thames, encouraging more to leave both there and the Waikato to explore. After the warden inspected the ground where Werahiko had found gold, which was off limits to everyone except the original prospectors, he arranged to have the only test made before the field was opened. Although this gave an uncertain indication of whether the ore was payable, and little real work was being done outside the prospectors’ claim, regulations were devised permitting the proclamation of the new field.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016). The discovery of gold at Te Aroha and its consequences: January to October 1880. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 64). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart