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This work by Caroline McQuarrie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
In the 1870’s the gold-rich quartz reefs around Reefton began to be opened up, and many small satellite towns sprung up, among them the substantial Waiuta. Established in 1906 after gold was discovered in 1905, the Waiuta underground mine sunk to 879m, 300m below sea level. A company town, Waiuta boasted many recreational facilities including a recreation ground with tennis and netball courts, a whippet track, bowling green and skating rink, a billiard saloon and pigeon racing and gun clubs. The town had a Miner's Hall, school, hospital, various stores, Post Office, two churches, a hotel and a staff club. The continuity of employment ensured a reasonably stable population, climbing to 604 in 1936. However when the mine closed due to a cave-in in 1951, the town didn't last much longer, with the population in 1956 only 11. Today one house is occupied on the road leading into Waiuta, but the main town site is a DOC owned historic site, with the few remaining houses slowly decaying and information boards telling us where other buildings once stood. For more information visit the Friends of Waiuta website.