History at our fingertips

Issue: Volume 98, Number 19

Posted: 8 November 2019
Reference #: 1HA27m

A Nelson Marlborough (Te Tau Ihu) history website features many stories about pre- and post-European history and first encounters. The Prow is named for the prow of Maui’s waka, from which he fished up the North Island.

Not only was the Nelson Marlborough region the location of the first encounter between Abel Tasman and Māori, and visited by James Cook’s ships on five separate occasions, but the Wairau Bar is a significant archaeological site. Archaeological studies have revealed the area to be one of the earliest settlement sites by Polynesians, ancestors of tangata whenua.

The Prow(external link) website was launched in 2009 by the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough libraries. It is well used by students, researchers, amateur historians and genealogists, with 84,000 visitors in the July 2018–June 2019 year.

Making history accessible

“We envisaged a website which preserves and makes accessible the unique history and culture of our regions with fact-filled stories, memories and photographs,” explains Prow project manager Nicola Harwood. 

The Prow(external link) offers local history stories for people to enjoy and dip into, followed by detailed references and extensive resource lists if they want to dig further.” 

The project was launched with 50 stories from Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough and the site currently has 565 stories, with 176 stories contributed by members of the public.

Some of the website’s most popular stories include the fateful first meeting between Abel Tasman and Golden Bay iwi Ngati Tūmatakōkiri in December 1642 and a series of stories by Hilary and John Mitchell, authors of a three-volume work Te tau ihu o te waka: a history of Māori of Nelson and Marlborough.

Other first encounter stories include those of James Cook and his crew, who first sailed into Ship Cove/Meretoto in the Marlborough Sounds on 16 January 1770, where they found safe anchorage, food, fresh water and timber. Cook’s ships returned to ‘our old station’ four more times on his subsequent two voyages to Aotearoa. 

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 9:39 am, 8 November 2019

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