History of the Coromandel
The first European contact with the area originally named Waiou by local Maori, was in 1795 when the ship Fancy arrived to cut kauri spars for the Navy. It was not, however, until 1820, with the arrival of HMSS Coromandel, also to collect spars, that the name Coromandel was given to the town and the peninsula.
Timber was the first extractive industry to dominate the economy and it was not until gold was discovered by Charles Ring in 1852 that Coromandel's character began to change. By 1861, after negotiations with Maori land owners, an agreement was reach allowing all Maori land in the area to be open to prospecting. The present township was first established on Kapanga Flats in 1861-62 and was officially declared a Gold Field on 27 June 1862.
During the 1870s as the town 'boomed', the Courthouse, school, National Bank, Presbyterian Church and many residences were built, and more than 20 of these buildings still survive. The large increase in population in the 1880s-90s was marked by the opening of the hospital in 1898. By this time the town boasted hotels, drapers, blacksmith, storekeepers, stationers, booksellers, restaurant and a branch of the Bank of New Zealand, Post Office, and local newspaper The Coromandel Mail.
On Christmas Eve 1895, a fire that started in the Star and Garter Hotel destroyed much of the business district. A year later the Coromandel Volunteer Fire Brigade was established. World War 1 saw the end of the mining 'boom' and the area developed a strong agricultural industry.
Coromandel has a rich stock of surviving buildings of heritage significances and although 'boom and bust' in nature, gold mining was the dominant industry for 34 years from 1868, and this is reflected in the Register of Historic Places.
Coromandel Town is now rapidly growing as a popular tourist destination and is know internationally for the production of marine-farmed green lip mussels for the export market.It is well known nationally by kiwis as one of the best places for recreational inshore snapper fishing charters takes guests staying at whyworry bed & breakfast out for island cruises around many of the islands close to coromandel town and fishing charters.Their penninsular accommodation premises offer some of the most outstanding views from their studio units private decks.