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New Zealand Mining History

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Worldwide Mining Disasters | New Zealand Mining

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Mining History in New Zealand

On Mining In New Zealand - This PDF reproduces the first review of mining and mineral potential in New Zealand, written by James Hector (director of the New Zealand Geological Survey) in 1869.

The Mining Industry

Underground Mine Near Waihī

[1]Mining underground resources is a feature of modern society. Although gold is the most glamorous commodity, in New Zealand the annual production of aggregate and coal is more valuable.

Contribution of Mining to the Economy

All modern communities use mineral resources extracted from beneath the ground – New Zealand examples include:

  • clay for crockery, bricks and tiles
  • ironsands for the manufacture of steel
  • oil, gas and coal to provide heat and energy sources for electricity generation
  • limestone for agricultural fertiliser.

New Zealand is self-sufficient in many mineral resources, and exports substantial amounts of gold, silver, iron sands and high-grade coal. The mining industry contributes to several major sectors of the economy, including agriculture, energy, construction, transport and manufacturing.

In 2004 the value of production from mining underground resources (excluding oil and gas) was $1,142 million, which is just under 1% of gross domestic product. This has grown over 45% over the five years since 1999, buoyed by strong economic conditions and growth in mineral exports.

Imported Minerals

Pastoral agriculture is dependent on the availability of superphosphate. Only limited amounts of phosphate and sulfur are available in New Zealand so these must be imported and processed to make superphosphate. The other main mineral imports are copper, zinc, gypsum, lead, magnesium, manganese, nickel and titanium oxide. Although some light oil is produced in Taranaki, mainly from the Kāpuni and Māui gas fields, this is not sufficient for national energy needs, especially for transport fuel. Imported oil is processed at the Marsden Point refinery (in Northland) to produce petroleum and a range of other oil products.

Underground to Opencast

The mention of mining conjures up visions of dark underground mines, but the nature of mining has changed dramatically since the mid-20th century. There is now little underground mining in New Zealand, and most mines are opencast pits that are excavated with explosives and earth-moving machinery. In practical terms, there is no distinction between a quarry and an opencast mine. The labour-intensive aspects of mining have largely disappeared. The workforce is smaller, and there are few unskilled jobs.

Mining traditionally had a bad reputation because of the high accident rate. Safety standards are dramatically higher than in the past, and the number of deaths and accidents has fallen to low levels. There is no longer public tolerance of the high level of accidents traditionally associated with mining and quarrying.

Environmental issues

Mining, like other land uses, can cause significant environmental problems. Some past mining practices were highly destructive. For example, dredging in Otago and on the West Coast destroyed large areas of river flats, leaving behind unsightly trails of tailings. Protests and community concerns about the effects of mining have gradually resulted in higher environmental standards. All mining proposals are now evaluated in terms of the Resource Management Act 1991.

Since the 1980s, mining permits have included requirements to undertake land rehabilitation after mining has been completed. At its best, land that has been mined and rehabilitated is not easily distinguished from land that has never been mined. Agricultural scientists and engineers have developed considerable expertise in land rehabilitation.


Recycling of a range of materials helps minimize the costs and effects of mining as well as the need to import products. For example, a substantial amount of recycled iron and steel is used as feedstock in the New Zealand Steel works at Glenbrook. Motor oil can be cleaned and reused. Metal products such as copper wire and aluminum cans, already the products of smelting metal ores, can be readily reused.

History of Mining

Māori Use of Stone

Although Māori did not use metals, stone was widely used for tools, weapons and ornaments. Suitable local rocks were used in different areas, but some types of stone were widely traded or taken as spoils of war:

  • Pounamu (nephrite and bowenite), found mainly on the western side of the South Island near Hokitika
  • Obsidian – the best-quality material coming from Tūhua (Mayor Island)
  • Adzite (also called baked argillite) from D’Urville Island and other localities in east Nelson.

Archaeological evidence shows that these rocks were widely distributed around New Zealand by 1400 AD, within 150 years of Māori settlement. Former quarries have been identified where blocks of adzite and obsidian were excavated and fragments trimmed to a convenient size.

The Search for Minerals

New Zealand was colonised primarily for agricultural land rather than for its mineral wealth. As an increasing number of European settlers arrived after 1840, they started to search for metals (particularly gold) and coal. Gold rushes in the 1860s led to the migration of men to hitherto remote areas in Otago, the West Coast, and Coromandel.

In 1870 when James Hector, the director of the New Zealand Geological Survey, described the minerals and mining industry in New Zealand, gold, silver, copper, lead and iron had all been discovered, and small-scale mining was under way. Occurrences of chromium, zinc, antimony and other minerals were known. All the main goldfields and coalfields had been discovered, and coal was being mined in many areas around the country.

In addition to metallic minerals, kauri gum or resin lying on the ground in Northland was collected, and later buried gum was mined. Development of a mining industry

Most of the gold won in the 1860s was found in rich, surface gravels, and was worked by individuals or small groups using simple equipment. The richer and most accessible ground was quickly exhausted, and larger-scale mining started in the 1870s. Alluvial gold was sluiced and dredged, and hard-rock gold and coal were worked in underground mines. This required substantial capital, and many speculative mining companies were set up, both in New Zealand and overseas. High returns were obtained from the more successful mines.

1. F. Reed, Catalogue and description of exhibits of the Mines Department at the Panama Pacific Universal Exposition (San Francisco 1915). Wellington: Government Printer, 1914, p. 19. Production of gold varied, but peaked about 1905 and then gradually declined. In contrast, coal production grew steadily to 1 million tonnes in 1900, doubling to 2 million tonnes in 1910, and stayed around that level for the next 70 years. A significant part of the mining revenue before the First World War came from kauri gum, but this declined as the resource became worked out.

Changes After 1945

The total value of mining output (excluding oil and gas) increased steadily after the Second World War, and exceeded $1 billion for the first time in 2004. The increase was due to changes in mining technology and in the products produced, and to increases in export markets.

  • Non-metallic minerals – industrial development within New Zealand since 1950 has led to construction projects needing large amounts of non-metallics, especially aggregate.
  • Iron – large reserves of black ironsands on the west coast of the North Island have been known about for 150 years, but it was not profitable to smelt the sand to produce iron and steel until the 1960s. Now New Zealand Steel produces iron and steel for domestic use and for export.
Value of Minerals 1863-2004
  • Oil and Gas – following the discovery of natural gas at Kāpuni in 1959, the offshore Māui gas field was found in 1969. Since then, there has been substantial exploration in the Taranaki region, with the discovery of a number of smaller oilfields and gas fields, and exploration continues.
  • Gold – because the world price of gold was fixed, production gradually declined in the middle of the 20th century. Once the gold price was deregulated in the early 1970s, there was a marked increase in exploration and mining. In 2005 most production came from two large opencast mines at Waihī (Coromandel) and Macraes (Otago), with minor production from alluvial mining on the West Coast and in Otago using modern technology.
  • Coal – production fluctuated between 2 and 3 million tonnes for many years. It increased after 1990 with the development of an export market for bituminous coal and passed 5 million tonnes in 2004.
Ownership of Minerals

The New Zealand government owns all naturally occurring petroleum (including both oil and gas), radioactive minerals, and gold and silver in New Zealand. Any individual or company wanting to prospect, explore or mine these substances must obtain a permit under the Crown Minerals Act 1991 and pay the specified fees and royalties. The same rules apply to coal and all other metallic and non-metallic minerals and aggregates on Crown-owned land.

Mining of minerals and aggregates other than petroleum, radioactive minerals and gold and silver on privately owned land requires the consent of the landowner together with resource consents from local authorities granted under provisions of the Resource Management Act.

Environmental and Safety Regulation

The Resource Management Act 1991 and its amendments is the major piece of environmental legislation that controls the use of land. It has a comprehensive framework for the development and protection of almost all physical and natural features. Mineral extraction is excluded from the sustainability provision of the act, but as mining invariably involves the use and modification of land, all other parts apply.

Territorial authorities (district and regional councils) are responsible for administering the Resource Management Act. Most authorities have incorporated local rules and guidelines for mineral extraction in their district plans.

Workplace safety is covered by the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. Specific rules for mining are covered in HSE (Mining Administration) Regulations 1996.

Workplace Training

Because of the skills required in different aspects of mining as well as the hazards of working with explosives and heavy machinery, qualifications have long been required to undertake many aspects of mineral extraction. In the 19th century the government set up a network of schools of mines that provided practical and theoretical training. The Otago School of Mines, at the University of Otago, produced graduates in mining engineering. These schools have all now closed.

In the 2000s the Extractive Industries Training Organisation (EXITO) provides a range of qualifications covering both underground and opencast mining, mineral and petrochemical processing, use of explosives and electrical engineering.

No university-level education in mining or mining engineering is available in New Zealand, and those who need graduate qualifications must study overseas.

Miners' Work & Life

The Miners
Miner at portal of Banbury Mine, late 19th Century

Almost all 19th-century mining was underground, and colonial men, used to a footloose, independent life, did not easily adjust to underground mining. Those who took up mining in New Zealand tended to be immigrants – at first from the copper- and tin-mining areas of Cornwall and Devon, and then from coal-mining areas in Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire and Wales. Many brought traditions of trade unionism and Methodism. In the early 20th century a number came from the Australian fields, while the expansion of the Waikato fields after the First World War attracted Māori workers into the mines.

Underground Mining

Given their backgrounds, it is unsurprising that the early miners used traditional techniques to extract coal. At first this involved picks and shovels. Seams of coal were mined using the ‘board and pillar’ method – sections were extracted leaving a pillar to hold up the roof, then the pillar was attacked as the miners retreated towards the entrance.

By the 1900s compressed-air coal-cutting machines were used, and in the later 20th century high-pressure water-jet cutting. Coal flowed out in water directly from the face, whereas in conventional mining the coal had been drilled, blasted, and loaded into cars.

Work Conditions
1. Strongman Mines, 1938–2003.

Christchurch: Solid Energy New Zealand,2003, p.18.

Besides the hewers at the coal face, there were many other workers underground –those hauling the coal, pumping water, looking after the ventilation, and trimming the lamps. In the 19th century their conditions of work were often appalling. At first, the same areas were used as eating places and latrines. When excrement cans were provided, they were often placed in old workings where toxic firedamp (methane gas from coal) collected.

Most mines before the First World War did not provide bathhouses and it would be a long, dirty and often wet walk back home. Above ground, men worked as loaders, screening the coal, and as blacksmiths, carpenters and engine men.

On the West Coast, work was erratic because the river ports were often closed by bad weather. On many days the mines did not open.

Opencast Mining

Modern mining is increasingly opencast, and in the early 2000s only two major underground mines remained (Huntly East and Spring Creek).

At the turn of the 20th century miners began to use compressed-air machines. These were often used, as in this image from around 1903, by miners called ‘shooters’ who drilled holes and placed explosives in them. Three coal miners boring a hole down a mine. Ref: 1/1-007751-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22506306

Opencast mining involves removing overburden from the coal seam using motor scrapers or by blasting harder cover rocks. The debris is removed by heavy equipment, including drag lines, shovels, bulldozers, front-end loaders and trucks. Opencast mining generally recovers about 90% or more of the coal seam, compared with the 50% or less from underground mining. The deepest opencast mines in New Zealand are at Rotowaro.

From the 1990s it became normal practice to restore mine sites as closely as possible to their pre-mining states.

Mining Accidents

In the 19th Century, working in mines and quarries, and on road and railway works, deaths by crushing were common. Miners were smothered underground, or died from drowning, sickness, or poisoning from handling dangerous chemicals


Traditional mining was highly dangerous. There were three main causes of accidents:

  1. rock falls, often when the pillars were mined;
  2. explosions, most frequently occasioned by firedamp (methane gas given off by coal), which was usually ignited by a miner’s naked flame; and
  3. tubs travelling on the haulage system knocking men over.
‘Blood on the Coal’

Fatal and serious accidents were so common in coal mines that the miners had a saying, ‘There’s always blood on the coal’. They were paid by how much coal they produced, and this led to unsafe working practices. In 1879, 34 miners lost their lives after an explosion in the Kaitangata coal mine in South Otago. Those not killed in the explosion died of suffocation.

A lack of safety lamps in the mine meant that miners sometimes used ordinary candles underground and one of these caused the firedamp (methane gas from coal) to ignite.

Single Deaths

There was a high level of injury and death, but there were few large-scale tragedies. At Denniston in the 10 years from 1881 to 1891 there were 10 deaths and 35 serious injuries. Of the 141 men killed nationwide between 1900 and 1914, 98 were individual deaths.

Miners' Compensation in the 19th Century

The Regulation of Mines Act 1874 (which came into force in 1879) provided compensation for workplace injury and death. This had to be sought from the owner and was contingent upon proof of negligence.[2]

Mining Accident Levy

In the notoriously hazardous mining industry, the government charged employers a levy from 1891 to fund the compensation of injured miners. Workers also set up their own life insurance schemes through trade unions. These funds were not large enough to provide adequate compensation because of the large number of accidents and occasional disasters. An explosion in the Brunner mine in 1896 killed 65 miners, leaving more than 200 women and children without an income. The families sued the mine owners, but after a long legal battle they received only a small payout. The community was left impoverished and divided.

Major Disasters

New Zealand mining has seen a number of mass tragedies, the 7 listed below, killed 210 miners combined:

  • Kaitangata, 1879: 34 miners died in an explosion caused by candles in an area known for firedamp.
  • Brunner, 1896: 65 were killed by choking gas. An enquiry determined the cause to be the unauthorized detonating of a charge in an abandoned section of the mine, although this has been contested.
  • Ralph’s Mine, Huntly, 1914: 43 miners were killed when a miner’s naked light ignited firedamp.
  • Dobson Mine, 3 December 1926: an explosion killed 9 men.
  • Glen Afton Mine, Glen Afton/Huntly, 24 September 1939: 11 men were asphyxiated by carbon monoxide. This disaster resulted in the establishment of a Mines Rescue Unit for the Waikato mining region
  • Strongman Mine, 1967: an explosion killed 19 miners.
  • Pike River Mine, in the Grey Valley: on 19 November 2010 there was a large explosion from methane gases, 2 men escaped from the mine. Five days later on 24 November, there was a second explosion, and it was confirmed that the 29 men still in the mine were dead.

Please see Major Disasters below for more details and links to the disaster pages.

Increasing Safety

Following the Kaitangata disaster in 1879, the Mines Department was given power to inspect mines, and this provision was progressively strengthened. But even 40 years later, inspections were sporadic and depended on a strong union to be effective. From 1886 mine managers had to be certified.

The rise of opencast mining brought greater levels of safety, and there was growing intolerance of levels of injury that had once been accepted as part of a miner’s life. By the early 21st century, the mining industry had brought in its own codes of practice. Following the 2010 Pike River explosion, the government set up Workplace New Zealand to be responsible for all workplace safety issues, with a designated High Hazards Unit covering industries such as mining and petroleum exploration.

Mining permits are administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. Environmental regulation is managed through the resource consent process administered by local government.


Miners might also fall sick from miners’ phthisis or pulmonary tuberculosis, and they often suffered ailments such as boils or poisoned hands. It is little wonder that absenteeism was high.

Workers’ Compensation, 20th Century

In 1900 the Workers’ Compensation for Accidents Act introduced a ‘no-fault’ principle. Compensation for industrial accidents no longer depended on proving an employer had been negligent. The act provided injured workers with weekly benefits, and compensated the families of those killed at work. Employers were encouraged to take out insurance to cover themselves against payouts under the act. However the benefits paid were small and lasted for a maximum of six years.

During the first half of the 20th century workers and their dependents continued to struggle to receive adequate compensation for injury or death at work.

Thumbs Preserved in Formalin, (Kirsch)

Losing a thumb in a workplace accident was worth £400 (the cost of a small house) in compensation to a miner in the 1920s. As a result, hard-up men sometimes arranged for a friend (such as a butcher) to cut off one of their thumbs. Miners' wages were not high at the time, and the money was often used to build or repair their homes or to pay off gambling or pub debts. Eventually the mining company's insurers refused to pay out on neatly severed thumbs, so the miners began to use detonators, sometimes with horrific effects.

Two severed thumbs are preserved in the museum at Waihī, where a large goldmine has operated since the 19th century.

The system set up by the Workers’ Compensation for Accidents Act 1900 did not cover non-work accidents or motor vehicle injuries, which became increasingly common. It was also often difficult for injured workers to claim compensation if employers and insurers used legal arguments to dispute their obligation to pay. These issues were examined in 1966 by a Royal Commission. The commission’s report recommended that the state provide 24-hour, no-fault insurance for all personal injury. In return, New Zealanders would give up the right to sue for damages arising from personal injury.

Assistance and Levies

In the 2010s anyone who was injured could apply for ACC assistance, regardless of whether they were working at the time of their injury or were to blame for it. If their application was approved and they were working before the accident, they received compensation of 80% of their weekly income – subject to upper and lower limits – while they were unable to earn due to the injury. Treatment and rehabilitation costs were also covered.

Workplace Health & Safety - 1990s & Early 2000s

By the 1980s, workplace health and safety was covered by a large number of very prescriptive industry-specific acts and regulations overseen by various government agencies. The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 brought all workplaces and workers under one act that was primarily administered by the Department of Labour’s Occupational Safety and Health unit. Employers had to take all practicable steps to safeguard workers under a regime that allowed for a high degree of self-management. The Department of Labour could take employers to court for breaches of the act.

The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 set special requirements for handling explosive, toxic or other dangerous materials at work.

Pike River

In 2010 a methane gas explosion killed 29 workers in the Pike River coal mine on the West Coast. The tragedy exposed major shortcomings in the country’s health and safety regime. The Department of Labour had only two mining inspectors, so mines could not be rigorously checked – Pike River’s health and safety systems were wrongly assumed to be legally compliant. The Pike River Royal Commission (2012) and the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety (2013) both recommended a major overhaul of the law and regulatory agencies.

New developments

A stand-alone regulator, WorkSafe New Zealand, was created in 2013. This organisation assumed the health and safety responsibilities of the Department of Labour and its successor, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 replaced the 1992 act. Businesses in high-risk sectors and those in low-risk sectors with more than 20 workers now had to have health and safety representatives and committees if workers requested them. Penalties for non-compliance were increased.

Mining Community


The structure and conditions of the coal-mining industry led to difficult industrial relations. From the 1880s the industry was controlled by a small group of the country’s capitalist élite. Many of the miners came from Britain bringing strong traditions of trade unionism. The conditions of work were dangerous. The workers lived in isolated environments where it was easy to organise resistance and create a sense of togetherness. Many mining towns became centres for socialist activism and teaching. The result was a series of strong unions and a pattern of strikes. The unions included:

Amalgamated Miners and Labourers Association, which had some success in the Grey and Buller areas in the 1880s under John Lomas’s leadership. However, it was crushed by its involvement in the 1890 maritime strike.
Federation of Miners or ‘Red Feds’, which grew out of the successful 1908 strike at Blackball for a full half-hour break or ‘crib-time’. It was eventually destroyed by the 1913 general strike.
Miners’ Federation of 1915, which led opposition to conscription. It disintegrated in the early 1920s.
United Mine Workers Federation, whose leader, Angus McLagan, was forced, as a minister of the Crown, to negotiate with striking Huntly coal miners in 1942. The agreement, which included wartime state control of the mines, led to the withdrawal of the National Party from the War Cabinet.

House owned and built by coal miner, Thomas Donaldson, at Water Street, Coalbrook Dale, Denniston Hill, West Coast. Group outside include members of the Donaldson family - Florence Mary Donaldson (later Mitchell) holding baby Elizabeth. Two girls in front are Flo (left) and Maggie, and neighbour, Mrs. Oldham, is standing beside. The boy to the far right is her son, Joss Oldham. The other boy is Tom Donaldson.

Group of women and children outside the house of coal miner Thomas Donaldson, Denniston Hill, West Coast - Photograph taken by John Pascoe. National Archives of New Zealand : Photographs of coal miners' houses at Burnetts Face, and Denniston Hill, West Coast. Ref: PAColl-D-0817-3. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22705866; Date: [ca 1920]

Most coal mines were in isolated places, and on the West Coast they tended to be in the damp Grey River valley or the foggy, cold Denniston plateau. Often miners did not anticipate living there permanently and were loath to invest in housing. The mine owners skimped on single men’s huts. The results were unlined, damp shacks, unsanitary conditions, and often no more than a kerosene tin for washing.

Overcrowding was common. Hurst Seager, a Christchurch architect, was appalled when he investigated mining centres in 1918. He described ‘barbarous conditions’ and housing ‘dreary in the extreme’. Housing for Māori miners in the 1940s was appalling, with ‘flattened oil drums for weatherboards’. Quoted in Len Richardson, Class, Coal and Community. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1995, p. 264.


Isolation, physical hardship, poor housing and the British origins of many miners bred a distinctive culture. It became accepted that on ‘pay Saturday’, once a fortnight, men would take the day off. Drinking was widespread. A 1919 Board of Trade report claimed that alcohol consumption was twice as great in mining areas as elsewhere.

1. Quoted in Jane Tolerton, Ettie: A Life of Ettie Rout. Auckland: Penguin, 1992, p. 78

Brunner had six hotels, Denniston had three. The hotel was often the only warm, comfortable place to meet and chat, and it was the venue for activities as diverse as darts and boxing bouts. Gambling on these pursuits and on horses and dogs was widespread. Yet mining communities also included non-drinkers, often of a Methodist background, some of whom encouraged their fellows into socialist reading cells.

Mining and its distinctive character helped enrich New Zealand society. With people like Paddy Webb and Bob Semple the country gained some unique public figures – both were Australian-born radicals who later became members of the 1935 Labour government.

Men, and a dog, in the Denniston Hotel. Pascoe, John Dobree, 1908-1972 :Photographic albums, prints and negatives. Ref: 1/4-001245-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22380772

Four men in the Denniston Hotel. One of them holds a dog in his arms. Taken by John Dobree Pascoe in 1945. Original caption reads: "Some find their recreation in the pubs where beer is the staple drink."


Several New Zealand novels have evoked the experience of coal mining – Bill Pearson’s Coal Flat (1963), Eric Beardsley’s Blackball 08 (1984), and Jenny Pattrick’s The Denniston Rose (2003). Mervyn Thompson’s one-man play Coaltown Blues, which he performed 114 times between 1984 and 1988, depicts growing up in a West Coast mining community.

Any Miner Lost Is A Tragedy

While the focus is on mining disasters under the US, Canada and UK definitions of a "disaster" in the mining industry as a mining event where 5 or more lives are lost, any miner lost in doing his job is a tragedy with devastating effects on family, fellow miners and the community.

They are gone but not forgotten and also should be found, honored and remembered.

Please see Miners Killed in New Zealand Mining Accidents for a list of 851 miners who are gone, killed in mining accidents between 1863 and 2006 (although one miner killed in 2006 is also included).

Please see Miners Injured In New Zealand Mining for a list of 1,145 miners injured in mining accidents between 1869 and 1924, now also gone.

For these and all the miners lost in the disasters, this is for you:

Proud Partner of the New Zealand Project

New Zealand Mining, a part of Worldwide Mining Disasters , recently was made a subproject of Wikitree's wonderful New Zealand Project which has much more information on all things "kiwi" and many more resources.

Please see Project New Zealand

I thank the New Zealand Project for allowing me to use their project template and acknowledge Rob Ton for the beautiful creation it is.

To Do

For each Disaster Page (prepared from the Table of Disasters):

  • History and circumstances of the disaster with photos as available
  • Memorial to be used for that disaster (Project Template)
  • List of names of those killed, injured, etc. where available
  • Genealogy Resources
  • Museums/Memorials commemorating the disaster links
  • Resources & Read More About It
  • Sources


Genealogy Resources

  • Waihi Museum & Research Family History - Research & Settler Register and other online and onsite information at the Waihi Museum.

Mining Museums & Historical Sites

Coal mining is a big part of New Zealand's history and many of these not only pay tribute to those lost in disasters but also show how incredibly beautiful the areas are. Monuments to those lost in the disasters stand along the way.

Coal Miners Memorial, Greymouth, Photo by Tim Tyson

These links are to fascinating museums and tours and are great resources to plan a bucket list trip to New Zealand and research coal mining, military and other ancestors in New Zealand.

Other information on museums and memorials in New Zealand:

Read More About It

  • Crawshaw, Norman. The first wave: a history of the early days of coal in Buller. Westport: N. Crawshaw, 1999.
  • Macfie, Rebecca. Tragedy at Pike River Mine: how and why 29 men died. Wellington: Awa Press, 2013.
  • Ministry of Energy. The coal industry of New Zealand. Wellington: Government Printer, 1974.
  • Richardson, Len. Coal, class and community: the united mineworkers of New Zealand, 1880–1960. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1995.
  • Sherwood, A. M. An outline of the geology of New Zealand coalfields. New Zealand Geological Survey Record 7. Wellington: New Zealand Geological Survey, 1986.
  • Wood, Brian. Coal Gorge and the Brunner suspension bridge: a heritage and environmental study. Greymouth: B. Wood, 2004.
  • Armstrong, Hazel. Blood on the coal: the origins and future of New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme. Wellington: Trade Union History Project, 2008.

See Also


  1. *http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/coal-and-coal-mining Alan Sherwood and Jock Phillips, 'Coal and coal mining - Mining community', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand]
  2. Hazel Armstrong, 'Workplace safety and accident compensation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand

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