stitched by the Thames Valley Guild
Thames Valley Embroiderers Guild choice of the Gold mining history in New Zealand was based on our local history. Waihi still has a working gold mine. The gold in this area was hard won. The quartz had to be crushed and treated with cyanide. Many parts of the Coromandel have a history of gold mining and those areas are now mostly covered with regenerated bush, which provide many walking tracks.
It has taken us longer to complete than we planned, and we are mostly pleased with the result. Many members of our widespread guild have taken part, with the tapestry based at Katikati, Whangamata, Waihi and Thames for varying lengths of time. We have had financial help from Newmont Gold Waihi, Waihi ward of the Hauraki council, Waihi Lions, individual members and fundraising by all members.
The panel represents the wide range of gold mining in New Zealand. The careful and hard work involved is highlighted by the stitching of the Chinese miners, for which one member went to the trouble of finding out the correct Chinese words and how they are written. It says something about gold being stolen. Our guild is pleased to have taken part in this historic project.
‘In the 19th century discovering gold was a way out of poverty.’ – Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of NZ
The discoveries of gold at many NZ locations led to various large and small gold rushes in the 1860s. Charles Ring from Tasmania is credited with being the first Pakeha to discover gold in NZ, in the Coromandel in 1852. Thames Valley, central Otago and the West Coast were these scenes of the most significant gold rushes.
Gold brought wealth to towns and regions, particularly for larger mining companies, banks, pubs and stores, and businesses on the periphery. And, adventure and hardship and, if lucky, fleeting wealth for gold panners and miners.
Hauraki District Council, Waihi Ward
Newmont Waihi Gold
Marie Whitman’s family
Thames Valley Embroiderer’s Guild