New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
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A Diamond Jubilee Survey of Methodist Witness and Work in Waihi.

More Precious Than Gold


Wesleyan Methodism 1891-1912
Primitive Methodism 1895-1913
Negotiating the Union 1912-1914
The Difficult Years 1914-1935
The Modern Circuit 1936-1956
The Ladies Guild
..... and Finally
List of Officials      
By Mr J. B. Beeche.

With thankfulness to God for His goodness, and with grateful remembrance of the devoted lives and faithful service of those we seek to honour, we approach the 60th Anniversary of the appointment of the first Methodist minister to Waihi. By the perusal of available records, unfortunately far from complete, and by much research, we are able to produce this brochure. It was 18 years earlier, in 1878, that giold was discovered at Waihi in the world-famed outcrop of the Martha Reef, although real development came years later. By 1896 the Waihi (Martha) and Silverton mines were bullion producers, the Union and Silverton batteries operating- at full capacity. The Victoria battery at Waikino had not yet been erected. A township had sprung up and was growing rapidly, Bullion in ever-increasing quantity was being won. (The peak production was reached in 1909 at £959,594, from 416,813 tons of ore.)

The Waihi Plains were barren except for stunted tea-tree. In contrast the surrounding hills were forest-clad almost to the edge of the township. Access was by road only, all transport being horse-drawn, and approaching Waihi the road became a winding series of tracks.

Life and interest of everyone centred around the mines. (Whether actively engaged in mining or in subsidiary industries and trades, it was the gold from the mines that provided for all.) Men's hopes were justifiably high; the future was diffused with yold. Thus it was that Primitive Methodists and Wesleyan Methodists, as separate bodies, true to their tradition, each built a Church wherein to worship God. They knew the value of the go\d of the earth, but they knew also the value of the sold of the heavenly kingdom in the hearts and lives of men.

We accord the chief place of honour to those ministers and lay-men and women, to whom after 60 years we acknowledge our in-debtedness, and also to all those who in early years followed in their train. Throughout the years the mines within the Borough of Waihi have produced wealth, the Martha Mine alone during its working life of 61 years having produced gold and silver to the value of £28,496,011. However, largely owing to the exhaustion of ore reserves, goldmining is no more.

But with the development of farming and secondary industries Waihi is enjoying a stability unknown before.

The following record of the past, though incomplete, will, we trust, awaken memories, do honour to those to whom honour is due, give to us all a higher appreciation of the heritage that is ours, and encourage us all to walk more worthily of the high vocation to which, in the mercy of God, and through Methodism, we are called.