We have held regular mine Open Days which allow members of the public to visit the site. These events have attracted between 5,000 and 10,000 people each time over the years and have proved to be a valuable fundraising activity for a wide range of local groups and organisations.
Early miners' reunions
Every year Waihi Gold hosts a pre-1952 Early Miners’ Reunion. Employees of the underground Martha Mine, the Victoria Battery, refinery and students who attended the Waihi School of Mines are invited along with their partners. The old timers look forward to this opportunity to reminisce and renew friendships. Many of them travel from far afield to attend.
Oral history project
Waihi Gold commenced this extensive, ambitious and ongoing project in 2005. The aim of the project is to record informal videotapes of interviews between Waihi Gold staff and a range of people on a variety of subjects. The tapes are annotated and catalogued and form a growing library of valuable historical knowledge.
Gold mining in Waihi spans three centuries and five generations. We are reminded of this at each of our annual early miners’ reunions. When the men from the pre-1952 Martha Mine get together a lot of stories come out about the early days’ underground mining and processing. The Oral History project grew initially from a desire to capture as many of these stories and memories of the early mining industry as we could. As time marches on and inevitably the old miners pass on too we are losing an irreplaceable source of historical information. We felt it was essential to record this information for posterity.
As the project progressed, it moved from simply collecting interesting anecdotes to forming the basis of a significant and substantial body of knowledge on past mining practices and a reflection of the miners’ lives, recalling their youth and vigour. With 70 oral history interviews completed this project has now ended. The information gathered continues to be used widely.
Future focus - Waihi’s golden legacy
The Waihi community is considering its future. A range of projects and initiatives are being actively considered. These projects are being driven by Waihi Community Vision and the Vision Waihi Trust.
Waihi Community Vision
WCV started in May 2003 and for several years was funded by Waihi Gold. The group is made up of representatives from a range of community organisations. Its objective is to implement community projects that will replace and even exceed the contribution to the economic and social fabric of Waihi that is currently provided by mining. WCV worked collectively to produce a ‘2020 Vision for Waihi’. This provides a solid foundation for the development of projects and positive outcomes for future generations. WCV formed the Vision Waihi Trust (VWT) to investigate and, where viable, implement projects that will contribute to Waihi’s sustainable future.
Vision Waihi Trust
The VWT was formed in December 2005 based on a Trust Deed developed by the WCV. The Trust is an executive body focusing on turning the proposed projects and other ideas that arise into reality.
These satellites have grown from the WCV and are working hard on plans for development in their specific areas.
- Sport’N’Action Waihi
- Waihi Heritage Vision
Waihi has a developing network of walkways. Waihi Gold has established the Pit Rim Walkway and the Black Hill Walkway.
The Cornish Pumphouse
In its new location, after the completion of the Cornish Pumphouse relocation project during 2007, the well-known building regained its place as a unique local icon and makes a bold statement about Waihi’s mining heritage and identity. See more on the Cornish Pumphouse.
The building was regarded as a catalyst for change as the Waihi Community Vision’s ‘2020 Vision’ came to life and it was the springboard for the town’s re-branding as ‘Waihi – New Zealand’s Heart of Gold’.
The Grand Junction Refinery
This building was relocated to a new site adjacent to the Pit Rim Walkway in 2010. See more about the Grand Junction Refinery
To replace a lake that had formed over part of the early mine workings on Martha Hill, Gilmour Lake and reserve was developed by Waihi Gold and handed over to the Hauraki District Council in January 1993.
Waihi Gold is involved in a number of community based biodiversity projects:
DotterelWatch: A partnership began in 1995 and ran until 2015 between the Department of Conservation and Waihi Gold to protect the threatened NZ Dotterel on Coromandel Peninsula beaches.
KauriBank: One kauri tree is planted each year for each person working at the mine.
Bridge to Bridge: A five kilometre stretch of the Ohinemuri River and its tributaries was retired, fenced and planted over a ten-year period and maintenance continues.