This group of quartz miners is about to go underground on their shift in the Blackwater mine, around 1931. The photographer, Joseph Divis (who often appeared in his own photographs), is on the far right.
Quartz mining required skill and experience. It was often difficult to find suitable miners in New Zealand, so a high proportion were immigrants from European countries, predominantly the United Kingdom. After the First World War a large group of Cornish miners (and their families) were recruited by the Blackwater mining company. They formed a distinctive group at Waiuta, and were often known as the ‘Cousin Jacks’.
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Photograph by Joseph Divis
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