Located in the Southland region
Racemen often lived alone in isolated environments, yet their jobs were critical to gold mining success. You can visit Port's and Martin's water races, and stay in historic Martin's Hut.
For your safety during March and April, the 'roar' (deer hunting season), you should wear hi-viz clothing and pack covers when tramping in the area.
Southland’s Longwood Ranges became a major centre for gold mining from the mid 1860s to the 1950s. Gold mining began at Round Hill in the 1870s, but the initial workings were not particularly successful. After the original miners abandoned the site Chinese miners moved in. By 1882 there were 500 Chinese living at the Round Hill township, named ‘Canton’. This was the largest settlement of Chinese in New Zealand, and the southernmost settlement of Chinese in the world.
The mining enterprises at Round Hill and elsewhere in the Longwoods were dogged by a lack of water. A series of races were built to service the workings including Turnbull’s Race, Martin’s Race and Port’s Race.
Martin’s Hut was built in 1905 by Fred Mason to house a water race maintenance worker.