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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]


Waikaka is the name applied to a flag station, to a mining settlement, and to a river. The station is on the Dunedin-Invercargill railway, and is ninety-seven miles from Dunedin, and forty-two from Invercargill. It is three miles from Gore, stands at an elevation of 275 feet above the level of the sea, and is fully twelve miles from the mining township of Waikaka. The township is in the Mataura riding of the county of Southland, and on on the boundary of the Tuapeka and Wakatipu electorates, and the Waikaka river, which runs through the district, joins the Mataura at Gore. Farming is not the only industry carried on in the district, as about thirty dredges are now (1904–5) at work in the locality, and many of these secure handsome returns of gold. There are two public schools in the district—one at Waikaka, with an average attendance of fifty-two, and another at Waikaka Valley, with an attendance of thirty-three. At the census of 1901, there was a population of fifteen at Waikaka railway siding, 112 at Waikaka township, ninety additional in the vicinity; 113 at the Waikaka diggings, and 276 at Waikaka Valley. The township is eighteen miles from Gore, up a long valley, through which the coach travels daily. The business places include one hotel, two stores (to one of which is attached a bakery), a butchery, and two blacksmiths' shops. A new post office has lately been built, and daily mails are received and despatched. There are Presbyterian, Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, and the Presbyterian congregation has a manse and a resident clergyman; the other churches are visited from time to time by clergymen of their faith. Waikaka is a prosperous district, and splendid grain is grown on many good farms. Extensive deposits of lignite are worked to supply the dredges, which, in turn, employ a considerable number of men.