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Waihī memorial hall


Waihī memorial hall.

The Waihī Miners’ and Workers’ Union first opened a hall on this site  in 1905. The Waihī Miners’ Hall became well-known as a rallying place during the 1912 Waihī miners strike. On 12 November 1912, a policeman fatally bludgeoned striking mine worker Frederick Evans here.

The hall was a centre of union and community activity for many years after the strike. However, when the Martha Gold Mining Company closed down its Waihī mine in 1952, the union went into decline. Before disbanding, it donated the Miners’ Hall to the people of Waihi. Waihi Borough Council demolished the old building and used both community contributions and a war memorial subsidy to fund a new hall on the site.

Minister of Customs Ralph Boord formally opened this hall on 18 November 1958. Two plaques were unveiled during the ceremony. One recorded the gift of the site: “This site and Miners Hall / was presented / to the people of Waihi / on July 10th 1954 / by  the members of the Ohinemuri / Miners and Batteries Union / as a tribute to the memory / of the men who have finished / their last shift.” The other recorded the hall’s new function as a war memorial hall: “Waihi Memorial Hall / In memory of / those who served / that we may be free / Lest we forget.”

The name ‘Waihi Memorial Hall’ was chosen in preference to ‘Waihi War Memorial Hall’ to underline the building’s dual purpose.

There is no roll of honour on display inside the hall. An honours board compiled in1994 lists a number of ‘Honoured Citizens’. These are mostly Waihī residents who have received royal honours or honours from the Order of St John, but also include five local men who earned military honours: Robert V. Hollis MC and Edward M. Dean MM in the First World War; and Evan D. Mackie DFC, DSO (also United States Distinguished Flying Cross); James R. Cullen DFC and John E. Miller (United States Distinguished Flying Cross) in the Second World War.

A memorial seat outside the hall recalls its industrial past. In 1987 a group of trade unionists formed the Fred Evans Memorial Committee to erect a permanent memorial to Frederick Evans. After some controversy, they were given permission to place a memorial seat in front of the Waihī Memorial Hall. Committee chairman Dick Davis and secretary Diana Wilsie unveiled the seat on Sunday 13 November 1994. The accompanying plaque reads: “ In memory of / Frederick George Evans / died during Waihi mine workers strike / November 12, 1912 from injuries suffered /  at Waihi Miners Union Hall. / ‘No fight for human freedom is wholly lost. / Therefore, no strike is ever wholly lost. / It lives in its educational results.’ / Presented to the people of Waihi on / behalf of the Workers of New Zealand. / Aotearoa November 12 1994”.

Frederick Evans’ grave is found in the Waikaraka cemetery in Onehunga.

Sources: ‘Waihi in Very Festive Mood: Opening of Hall’, Waihi Gazette, 20/11/1958, p. 5; Stanley Roche, The Red and the Gold: An Informal Account of the Waihi Strike, 1912, Auckland, 1982 (esp. p. 146); Percy Allison, Tales of Waihi, Waihi, 1987, p. 44; ‘Achievers Board Mooted’, Waihi Gazette, 8/11/1994, p. 9; ‘Martyr’s Place in History Cemented’, Waihi Gazette, 15/11/1994, p. 5.

See also community contribution from Mary Carmine below.


Images of hall and memorial plaques: Hauraki District Council, 2011. Images of Evans memorial and information: Bruce Ringer, Auckland Libraries, 2014.

How to cite this page

Waihī memorial hall, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated