The Prow Newsletter, Issue 9, Summer 2012/2013

Korero from the Prow. In this issue:


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We Tweet Therefore We Are..

About three times a year, we prepare and send out a newsletter- many people receive it via email but we also print copies which are available in public libraries in Te Tau Ihu. Hard copies are also sent to schools and, we hope, eventually end up in staffrooms where they can be perused over morning coffee and lunch.

We are thinking about replacing the newsletters with something digital in which we would post material at more regular intervals and we would welcome your suggestions and feedback about this.

The objectives of the newsletters are to keep readers updated with new developments and stories, seek feedback and draw attention to various stories and themes. There are now 325 stories on the Prow and we don't want you to miss too many which could be of value or interest!

However we are also keen to embrace the potential of social media and other digital tools. We already Tweet regularly- you can follow us - @TheProwstories. We use Twitter to flag various stories, either newly uploaded ones, those relevant to a particular date, or just stories that we like. We'd love people to Tweet back at us with feedback, suggestions, and, also retweet our Tweets to spread the great stories we have about the history and heritage of the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough regions.

 Your Feedback Please!

We would appreciate your feedback about new ideas for sending you news and information. It would help us if you could very briefly answer the following questions - or just give us your thoughts-and email your replies to  
  1. If you read our newsletter- Korero from the Prow- what is of value to you?
  2. If you don't read it when you receive it, could you briefly tell us why not?
  3. Would receiving the information via the internet or mobile phone in more regular bit-sized chunks be more helpful or not?
  4. Would you be more, or less, likely to pass on our digital posts via email, Twitter or other social media?
  5. What social media, if any, would work best for you and, if you are a teacher, your classes?

John Gully, The Western Coast of Tasman Bay 1885. Image courtesy Bishop Suter Art Gallery.
Click to enlarge
The John Gully story is now published!
Latest Prow Statistics

The number of visits and page views is up again on last year.  Between 1 November 2011 to 31 October 2012:

  • visits were up 24.1% (86,287 compared to 69,529)
  • page views were up 15.58% (163,735 compared to 141,667)

Te Tau Ihu and the Taranaki Wars

The Taranaki Wars exhibition at the Nelson Provincial Museum  until February 2013 features additional material about Te Tau Ihu's involvement in the 19th century land conflicts. 

Te Tau Ihu (the top of the South Island) found itself in a very difficult position once the first shots of the New Zealand Land Wars were fired.  Members of two Taranaki iwi - Nti Tama and Te Atiawa - settled in Nelson and Marlborough in the first half of the 19th century.   Many of their whanau and descendants remained in the area, but retained strong ancestral ties to Taranaki.

By 1860 most South Island land was in Pakeha hands, but Māori in the North Island began to resist land sales. The resulting war between Māori and Pakeha in North Taranaki continued from March 1860 - March 1861. Descendants of Ngāti Tama and Te Atiawa continue to live in Te Tau Ihu today. About 1200 European settler refugees from the Taranaki War relocated to Nelson in August 1860 - some of their descendants also live in the region today.

Go along and see the exhibition and also check out a number of background stories from the Prow's home page

Māori Stories on the Prow
Fox, W. : On the grass plain below Lake Arthur, Alexander Turnbull Library, B-113-014 Kehu, Brunner, Heaphy and Fox are in this painting
Click image to enlarge

The Myths and Legends of Te Tau Ihu and the meeting of Abel Tasman and Māori in Golden Bay almost always feature in our top ten statistics.  

Most of the Māori stories have been written by local researchers Hilary and John Mitchell who have worked with local iwi to record their stories for their fine  three volume series: Te tau ihu o te waka: a history of Māori in Nelson and Marlborough.

For more fascinating stories from our pre and early European past check out the Māori tab on the website and find out about the incredible guide Kehu and his adventures with Thomas Brunner, Charles Heaphy and William Fox.,;  early pa and kainga;  the Wairau Affray - and more!

History never repeats

"Disregard for the past will never do us any good. Without it we cannot know truly who we are." - Syd Moore

At the Prow, we think the stories we research, write and welcome from the public, are not only a digital archive for the future, but also enhance the present. We always have an ear out for current events and issues which have a local history angle. In the past year we have featured historical stories which relate to a number of topical events. Here are two examples:

Salisbury School: At the end of October, the Government announced that Nelson's Salisbury School was to be closed in January 2013 in favour of a co-educational residential facility at Halswell School in Christchurch. In November, the school's board filed judicial review proceedings against the Minister of Education's decision in the High Court in Wellington. The school has also sought an interim order that Ministry officials take no further steps to shift the girls and close the school in December until the legality of the Minister's decision is determined by the court.

The Prow tells the story of its proud history of providing guidance and education to vulnerable girls for 90+ years. See:  This story was also published in the Nelson Mail.

Rocks Road, The Basin, High Tide. The Nelson Provincial Museum, Tyree Studio Collection: 179915
Click image to enlarge

Rocks Road: Nelson's iconic Rocks Road has been in the news in 2012. The Nelson City Council and New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) plan a joint project to rejuvenate the route as a scenic boulevard for pedestrians and cyclists. The dilemma is how the project will accommodate various needs and requirements - see:

The Prow has two historic stories about the development of Rocks Road. One was previously published in a Port Nelson Limited report in 2004 and is called Rocks Road

We also recently uploaded a story by long time Nelson City Councillor, Seddon Marshall, about the early construction of Rocks Road which shows that challenging projects have always  attracted disagreement- and always take time. Read the story of the Construction of Rocks Road.  


Building infrastructure

The Waihopai powerhouse situated above the Waihopai River. Photo courtesy Marlborough Lines Click ito enlarge

If you take local amenities for granted, you might think again after reading some of our recent Marlborough stories about how the early European pioneers had to start from scratch building roads, water and sewerage systems, generating power and developing community facilities such as libraries.

The early Blenheim Borough Council couldn't get people to pay rates and parts of Picton still had a night soil man collecting human waste until 1923. There was great excitement when Blenheim's first street lights were switched on in 1927- with the electricity generated from the brand new Waihopai Power Scheme.

As for the early libraries and reading rooms, one poor fellow  in 1899 couldn't hear himself think because of  "....the gaping women who assemble there to hear, the news of the day, and continue their gossip well into the hours of the night." Read our stories:



What do people talk about at a Barcamp? Also known as ‘unconferences',  Barcamps are participant-driven events where the attendees create the agenda and run the sessions.  A series of National Digital Forum Barcamps were held throughout New Zealand in October and November to share ideas about the digital work of galleries, libraries, archives, museums, (the GLAM sector) and other cultural heritage organisations.

In November, about 30 people from Nelson's GLAM sector attended a Barcamp hosted at the Richmond Library and facilitated by Prow project manager, Nicola Harwood. There were many topics and much Tweeting. It was noted that the best digital projects have come about due to collaboration. The Prow, the digitisation of the Nelson Historical Journal and Nelson PhotoNews were all regarded as good examples of good collaborative projects between local institutions and groups.

A topic of interest to the team from the Prow was about bridging the digital gap between digital natives and older people. This is a particular issue for as many older people are interested in history and may have historical stories to share but, in many cases, they are disconnected from the technology. The idea of community libraries partnering young people with older people to share knowledge was mooted.

Lowering barriers to participation in digital and social media was also discussed. Skills and knowledge of social media varied widely at the Barcamp, from those who could barely use their cellphones to veteran social media users. This illustrated how this disparity in knowledge in any given group could mean people get lost and unmotivated as unknown terms and concepts are increasingly used.  

To best sum up the issues faced by those in the cultural and heritage sectors, one of the participants produced an online blog which said "This is a digital forum- why am I surrounded with pieces of paper and pencils?" For many they are still essential tools and there needs to be ongoing discussion about how to integrate the two ‘worlds'.


If you know of other people who may be interested in this newsletter, please let them know or link them to our subscription page - where you will find information about how to subscribe and unsubscribe. 

Images may not be reproduced - see our Terms of Use page for further information. This newsletter was prepared by WordPower Communications