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 Tuesday 21 January 2020


The Art of Wakefield Quay

Many early European Settlers first set foot in New Zealand at Wakefield Quay in Nelson. It boasts beautiful views of Nelson's sheltered harbour and is also home to a collection of varied and exciting artworks that enhance the setting.

Read More »

Recently Added Stories

  1. Nelson's Botanical Reserve
  2. Ben Crisp and the Band of Hope
  3. Takaka's First Library

Recently Added Comments

  1. 15 hours ago
    Is it not true that the government we have today, is still a company? read more
  2. 10 days ago
    I am researching the life and work of Flora Scales and would very much like... read more
  3. 13 days ago
    A Redwood freind was contacted some time ago establishing a North Island connection this was... read more

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