A Proud New Zealand History

Waihi was named after the nearby river. The founder and first headmaster, Joseph R Orford, opened the school doors for the first time on 5 September 1907 to just three boys. He was a quite exceptional character, graduating with First Class Honours in Classics and a triple blue in sports from Cambridge University in England. In addition to being a top academic and sportsman, he was a deeply humble man, who placed great importance in the welfare of the boys, compassion and generosity of spirit and strength of character, instilling an ethos at Waihi that still flourishes today.

The Orford years produced outstanding individuals, including Randal Burdon, New Zealand’s best-known professional historian of the time; Roger Blunt, a Wisden Cricketer of the Year who toured England with New Zealand on two occasions; Bill Hamilton, inventor of the jet-boat; and Charles Upham, who won the Victoria Cross twice during the Second World War.

Waihi values and respects its traditions and for over a century its old boys have done outstandingly well in their chosen fields.

Today, the thriving Waihi Association continues to ensure that friendships and links forged in schooldays last a lifetime.