October 13, 2014

1296 NEW ZEALAND (North Island) - Waihi, the Heart of Gold

Located in the Coromandel Peninsula, one of the great gold mining districts of the world, Waihi is a little settlement (4,503 inhabitants at the 2006 census) notable even for its history as a gold mine town. The township grew around the mining operations since the discovery of gold in 1878, and was a major centre of union unrest in New Zealand during the early years of the 20th century. Mining stopped in 1952 after a total of 160 km of tunnels had been driven into the quartz of Martha Hill, not because the Martha had run out of gold, but rather because of fixed gold prices, lack of manpower, and increasing costs. Mining in the Coromandel Peninsula had otherwise ceased by the 1980s. However, mining later resumed, with some protests against it during the 1987 consent process. As of 2009, the mine comprises about 25-30% of the local economy.

The Martha Mine (in the postcard) was one of the world's most important gold and silver mines, after industrial cyanide processes made recovering gold from the low-grade ores easier. From the 1880s to 1952 it was an underground mine. By 1952, when the mine closed, around 5.6 million ounces (174,160kg) of gold and 38.4 million ounces (1,193,180kg) of silver had been produced from 11,932,000 tonnes of ore. The modern Martha Mine has operated as an open pit since 1987. An average of around 100,000 ounces of gold and 700,000 ounces of silver have been produced annually since 1988. Statues in the main street of Waihi also help form the 'Heart of Gold' identity. In front of the Memorial Hall the statue of a miner (in the postcard) and a plaque tells the story of the 18th century prospectors John Mc Combie and Robert Lee who first discovered the quartz reef, which would yield millions of dollars worth of gold.

About the stamps

Two of the stamps are part of the 2007 Scenic Definitives stamps and 2009 Scenic Definitives stamps, covering some of New Zealand’s favourite scenic locations.
• Whakarewarewa, Rotorua (0.05 NZD) - it's on the postcard
• Central Otago (0.10 NZD)
• Rainbow Falls (0.20 NZD)
• Lake Coleridge (0.50 NZD)
• Rangitoto Island (1.00 NZD)
• Able Tasman, National Park (2.50 NZD)
• Tongaporutu, Taranaki (3.00 NZD)
• Tolaga Bay (0.30 NZD) - it's on the postcard
• Russell (1.80 NZD)
• Lake Wanaka (2,30 NZD)
• Auckland (2.80 NZD)
• Rakaia River (3.30 NZD)
• Wellington (4.00 NZD)

The third stamp is part of the series Great Voyages of New Zealand, issued on September 5, 2012:
• Aramoana (0.70 NZD) - it's on the postcard
• Waka (1.40 NZD)
• Earnslaw (1.90 NZD)
• Dunedin (2.40 NZD)
• Rotomahana (2.90 NZD)

The last stamp is part of the series issued on January 17, 2013, to marks the start of the Year of the Snake:
• the Chinese calligraphic character for the word "snake" (0.70 NZD) - it's on the postcard
• a snake made by the traditional Chinese art form of paper cutting (1.40 NZD)
• a traditional Chinese lantern with the image of a snake on it furled into the shape of a koru (1.90 NZD)
• the thekoru-snake lantern design attached to Queenstown’s Skyline Gondolas (2.40 NZD)

For NZ Gold Mining, Look To Waihi - grownups.co.nz
Waihi - Wikipedia

Sender: Heather
Sent from Waihi (North Island / New Zealand), on 28.02.2013 

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