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North Island

New Zealand facts & history in brief               New Zealand Map


is a small gold and silver mining and service town for the surrounding area's dairy farming with a population of about 5000 people, at the southern end of the Coromandel Range, 230 km south-east of Auckland.
There are the still operating 'open-cast' gold and silver mines, near the town centre, around the famous Martha Mine. James Hector, pioneer geologist and the director of the New Zealand Geological Survey confirmed the presence of gold and silver in the 1870's.
Soon, prospectors Robert Lee and John McCombie discovered a rich lode near the town but were unable to extract the minerals from the quartz.
In the 1880's William Nicholl and his syndicate opened the Martha Mine.
In the 1890's new technology made the gold and silver extraction from the quartz simple and inexpensive and Waihi became a thriving 'boom' town, with about 6000 people, larger than the nearby Hamilton, at the time.
In 1952, the Martha Mine was closed, during its operation it produced about $84 million worth of gold and silver.
Recently, again due to new technology it has been reopened as an 'open-cast' mine. I
n 1912 the Waihi mine workers went on strike for six months until the militant strikers were forced out of the town.
Waihi is an often used name throughout New Zealand. In recent times, there were a number of disastrous subsidences in and around town, as old workings collapsed taking some houses and the residents hard earned homes with them.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.

Waihi Old Martha Mine

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