Stories from the Top of the South

Welcome to The Prow, a website featuring historical and cultural stories from Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough. 

Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Maui is the Māori name for the top of the South Island. Legend tells us that Te Tau Ihu was the prow of Maui's waka, or canoe, from which he fished up the North Island.

Join our voyage and discover more about the history and stories of Te Tau Ihu. Search or browse the theme pages, our timeline or the map location feature,  add your own story, comment on any story, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter. Contact us for further information or to provide feedback on our stories.

The Prow is a collaboration between the Nelson City, Tasman and Marlborough District Libraries, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and The Nelson Provincial Museum.  Images are supplied by supporting institutions, please check their terms of use.

Prow Features

Tuia 250

A commemoration to mark the onshore encounters between Māori and Europeans during the first voyage of James Cook and the HMS 'Endeavour' in 1769 to Aotearoa. The central event is the Tuia 250 Voyage with a flotilla of waka hourua, va’a tipaerua and tall ships sailing the coast from October to December 2019. The flotilla visits Waitohi/Picton 21-26 November. Find Prow stories which describe first encounters in Te tau ihu o te waka a Maui.

Top of the South Timeline

Find a story or an event using our timeline feature


Includes curriculum resources for teachers, Nelson Historical Journal, Nelson Photo News and more..


Find out more about the prow and its stories in this series of newsletters……

Story of the Day Sunday 25 October 2020

Wairoa River 1893

Brightwater Tuna

Brightwater's Wairoa River was an important source of tuna, or eels, for local Iwi, but European settlers saw eels as a threat to the newly introduced brown trout.

Read More »

Recently Added Stories

  1. Griffin's Factory in Nelson
  2. Ngaire Lane
  3. Richmond Park emergency hospital 1918

Recently Added Comments

  1. 27 days ago
    My Grandfather William Marshall Macready got a farm in a war ballot after WW3 up... read more
  2. 1 month ago
    Can anyone tell me the name of Kehu's wife? read more
  3. 1 month ago
    This was all very interesting. My main reason for logging in here was to... read more

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