The Prow Newsletter, Issue 8, Winter 2012


Korero from the Prow. In this issue:

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Jane Evans 1946-2012
Jane Evans, a new working member of the Nelson Suter Art Society, with one of her works, "Lost". Jane was described to us as a lass with a lot of talent. Nelson Photo News, 1964.
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Jane Evans in her Nelson garden 1997. She cultivated specific flowers to use in her paintings. The Nelson Provincial Museum, Nelson Mail Collection: C39932
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Art on the Prow

Three new stories about art and artists are loaded, or in the pipeline, for the Prow.  When the Prow team heard about the death of much loved Nelson artist, Jane Evans, we knew we had to record the story of her life and work online as early as possible. The story has now been published. 

At the time of her death, there was  a lot of media coverage, which is included in the Prow story’s bibliography along with earlier books and articles.  For Prow writer, Joy Stephens, this was one of the most inspiring stories she has researched and written for the Prow.

“I’ve always loved her work but I didn’t realize that Jane’s strength of character was so extraordinary.  From the time she was diagnosed with lupus, aged 19, a blow which might fell any lesser character- let alone an artist who needs physical strength and dexterity – she founds ways to overcome the obstacles the illness put in her way.

“She was also largely ignored by the art world, even though the public loves her work- but she didn’t seem to let that get her down either.  I love the description that, despite her delicate appearance, she was as ‘fey as a Mack truck’.  I will definitely be sharing this inspirational story of a life generously and well lived with my family and friends,” Ms Stephens says.

A week or so earlier, Joy met Marie Simburg-Hoglund from Nelson’s Hoglund Art Glass.  Marie and her husband, Ola arrived in Nelson in 1984 and set up a glassblowing studio where they created beautiful Pacific-inspired pieces of glass which reflected their Swedish heritage and training. By the late 1990s, there were galleries throughout New Zealand and the world, with people such as Bill Clinton and Elton John dropping by to buy a piece.

The world was seemingly their oyster, but in 2005, on the verge of signing the contract for a gallery in Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive, Marie realized that they really loved making glass, not running businesses. So today, with their two sons also trained master craftsmen, the Hoglunds run a family business from their Lansdowne Road complex, with Hoglund art glass still in demand around the world. Subscribe to our RSS feeds, or follow us on Twitter (TheProwstories) and we’ll let you know when this story is online.    

And coming soon: a story about New Zealand’s eminent 19th Century watercolour artist- John Gully.  An early European colonist, John Gully sketched and painted around Nelson and New Zealand, showing the poetic grandeur of the landscape. Interestingly, he completed a series of 12 watercolours of mountains and glaciers in Canterbury based on sketches done by geologist, Dr Julius von Haast, without laying his eyes on them. He had been unable to take two months leave from his job as draughtsman at the Nelson provincial survey office.        

Toss Woollaston. Mount Arthur 1940's. Reproduced courtesy the Toss Woollaston Trust. Click image to enlarge

The artists John Gully, Toss Woollaston (whose story is already on the Prow) and Jane Evans represent three distinct eras in New Zealand’s art history, but all lived in, and were strongly identified with Nelson.

Curriculum Objectives

There is plenty of material in these Prow stories for local art students to explore our art heritage and their own response to Nelson’s physical landscape as well as fulfil curriculum objectives such as: Level 4 Visual Arts: Develop and revisit visual ideas, in response to a variety of motivations, observation and imagination, supported by the study of artists’ works.  Business studies students, or people considering a creative life,  may also find it interesting to examine how the region’s artists have made a living from art - which can be a risky undertaking in any era.

See www.theprow.org.nz/resources-for-teachers for other ideas about using Prow stories to meet curriculum objectives. Note- many stories have been added to the Prow since this resource was prepared and we’d love to add new stories to the Curriculum Objectives resource. Any help with this would be most gratefully received.

Prow Revamp

There have been a few changes to www.theprow.org.nz.  There is a little tweaking on the Home Page which has a more streamlined features area, with news coming in from our Twitter feed and the latest comments to stories featuring on the Home Page.

A Google site search now allows you to search across the whole site, story content and further resources, and highlights your keywords on your search results pages. The search also allows accurate three letter word searches, for example, allowing the story on the Cut to be found by searching for the first time.

Behind the scenes, we can now embed video and audio properly onto the site - previously we were only able to add links. Security on our forms has been improved, so we are less open to spamming, and the bookmark linking on each story page has been updated to reflect more commonly used ‘sharing' tools.  The Prow's site administration is now more compatible with the latest versions of Internet Explorer.    And there's a better looking timeline feature still to come!

Abel Tasman/Māori First Meeting Story Revised
Copy of painted portrait of Abel Janszoon Tasman, Art Collection, The Nelson Provincial Museum.
Click image to enlarge

In June, Karen Stade and some of the Prow team attended a day-long seminar on the first disastrous meeting between Māori and Europeans in Golden Bay in 1642.  The information they heard at the seminar has resulted in Karen revising the original Prow story, which she wrote back in 2008. The seminar was hosted by the Dutch ambassador, Arie van der Weil and Dutch and New Zealand academics,including Anne Salmond, John and Hilary Mitchell, Grahame Anderson, and Nelson musician, Richard Nunns, who presented and discussed the latest research.  

Karen's original Prow story about New Zealand's first meeting between Māori and Europeans was based on research which indicated there may have been some kind of cultural misunderstanding when Māori and Abel Tasman's men first met on the water in Golden Bay.

The experts at the Abel Tasman 370 seminar were trying to establish what exactly took place during that first exchange, which resulted in the dominant tribe in the area, Ngāti Tumatakokiri, attacking the Dutch ships, Heemskerck and Zeehaen, resulting in deaths on both sides.

"Māori played some musical instruments and the Dutch played some back in a kind of exchange and then fired a canon and it was felt that Māori had taken this to be a challenge. A lot of the history to date has been from the European perspective, however people at the seminar talked about other areas of potential cultural misunderstanding." 

The event took place in the middle of the kumara season and there is archaeological evidence of kumara gardens and storage pits. "People from this area had been under attack from many tribes for a long time and were constantly on the alert.  Ngāti Tumatakokiri  may have thought the Europeans were going to raid their crops.  Kumara was such a critical part of their diet, they might literally have gone to war over it," says Karen.

There were other potential areas of misunderstanding. It was noted there were a lot of Māori present and while tribes-people are likely to have followed the progress of the boats up the West Coast, they may also have been gathered for a hui or a tangi, when the European ships sailed into view.  There was also evidence that Abel Tasman's ships were anchored close to a cave where a taniwha lived and the waters were tapu at certain times. 

While Tasman had been warned of the possibility of attack, Māori had experienced a number of bewildering firsts - firearms, tall ships and white men. "Abel Tasman and his men were quite unprepared, did not recognize the signs and blundered into the situation," says Karen. 

See Karen's revised story at www.theprow.org.nz/the-first-meeting-abel-tasman-and-maori-in-golden-bay

And for more on events commemorating 370 years since the first recorded meeting between Maori and Europeans see:

Of floods and a dolphin

In our last newsletter we promoted two projects, which in different ways, invited people to add images and stories to supplement and enhance Prow stories. 

Nelson/Tasman Floods, December 2011. Rocks Road slip.  The Nelson Mail. Click to enlarge

Following Nelson's December 2011 floods, we compiled a story and bibliography featuring as many media resources as we could find about the floods, as well as reference material about major floods in the Nelson region's history.  It's still not too late to add your stories and images to our digital archive.  For information on how to submit material, email info@theprow.org.nz or ask for assistance at your local Nelson or Tasman library.  

Pelorus Jack. Marlborough Historical Society - Marlborough Museum Archives
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The second project was a series of writing workshops to be run by children's author, Gavin Bishop at the Marlborough District Libraries. The new Prow story on the much loved dolphin, Pelorus Jack was to be the inspiration  for the budding young writers. Unfortunately staff at the library and Gavin Bishop both found themselves over-committed and the workshops have been indefinitely delayed.

If your class is looking for ideas for fictional writing about early colonial life in the Marlborough Sounds, check these stories out for stories, characters and atmosphere:

Wish List

Back in the Spring of 2010 (Issue 4) we published our wish list for the on-going development of the Prow. Here it is:

  • To grow the number of stories contributed by the community and schools
  • To become a repository for stories about the area - which would mean stories produced for other community publications being actively contributed to the site.
  • To add more audio, and video material - linked out from our stories.

At that time we were pleased to be getting 4000 visitors/month. Latest figures show that we currently get up to 8000 visitors /month.  As for the Wish List, this is what we have achieved:

  • We now have 96 stories contributed by members of the public.
  • Community publications don't give us stories, but are usually happy to let us use stories when we ask. We are also very pleased to have Nelson City Council audio walks and heritage material on the Prow, and to have Prow stories included in the council's Top of the South Maps feature. We welcome the opportunity to include any such material from local bodies. Just contact Nicola, info@theprow.org.nz to discuss further.
  • As you will see from the Prow Revamp, we now can embed audio and video and, when we have some time, will go back and do this where possible.

This newsletter was prepared by WordPower Communications, www.wordpower.co.nz
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