Waihi Heritage Vision are having their AGM on Monday and the group encourage locals to come along and get involved. Waihi Leader chatted with secretary/treasurer Warwick Buckman about the group. He says the AGM is an opportunity to put forward ideas to maintain the town's heritage and discuss the concept of using heritage to promote Waihi. There will also be a few stories told from the past.
What is the object of the society?
That the rich and unique heritage of Waihi will be recognised, cherished and restored.
When did Waihi Heritage Vision begin?
2003. It was one of the Waihi Community Vision offshoots – people researching , recording and preserving Waihi's valuable heritage in a coordinated way. It became a formal independent group in 2006.
Why is this work so important?
Without an ongoing awareness of what is happening around town, it is easy to lose heritage features. This is not to say that we can readily save features but at least we can initiate discussion and provide a sounding board for organisations such as the OceanaGold and Hauraki District Council to consult.
When we have travelled to other small towns and can find out more about their communities by following local heritage trails or reading plaques it makes us want to interpret our town's heritage.
I think there is great scope and need to keep pushing for our past (and present) mining heritage to be recorded and where possible kept. This also applies to keeping a distinctive main street – one that has character and sets the town apart from others.
What is the society's proudest accomplishment?
Our linkage with the NZ Tunnelling Company – which resulted in the creation of the Tunnelling Company memorial in Gilmour Reserve and contacts with Arras. The memorial represents the only monument to the work of the tunnellers during WWI.
There have been a number of significant events at the memorial with gatherings of descendants of tunnellers and it is used as a place of remembrance at times like Anzac and Armistice days.
How many members?
Not as many as we would like. Eight core members.
● Removing weed plant species on Union Hill to enhance the historic features
● Plaques on Waihi's historic buildings
● Weir on the Ohinemuri River
● Headstones and bronze plaque restoration in the RSA section of Waihi Cemetery and research of soldiers
● The laying of crosses on Martha Hill leading up to Anzac Day
● The NZ Tunnelling Company Memorial in Gilmour Park
● The rebuilding of the mine cart beside the Grand Junction refinery
● Khaki Miners WW1 Tunnelling Company display at OceanaGold Education Centre
● 2018 Armistice Commemorations exhibition
Waihi Heritage Vision AGM, OceanaGold Education Centre, Moresby Ave, September 14, 5.30pm. Warwick Buckman RSVP ph 863 8455 or 027 309 4181 or email wkbuckman@xtra. co.nz